Thursday, July 31, 2008

Shack Discussion Guide Questions

Chapter 1
16 Could God actually send a person a letter?
22 What is your favorite name for God?
Mack told Nan I’m sure God knows what he is doing even though Mack did not personally believe it. Do you ever try to encourage people with things about God you do not believe? For instance? How does this help them? What does it do to you?

Chapter 2
The Gathering Dark
24 Mack’s companion was the Great Sadness. What is your companion?
25 How does your companion effect you?
28-29 How does truth, reality, legend, history mix in the story of the Multnomah Falls? Read Young’s blog on Truth, reality and Fiction and the story of the Good Samaritan.
30 What are the similarities between the Princess and Jesus?
31 How can we tell the difference between legend and history?
Why do people think God is mean? Is He? Why or why not?
32 How far will God ask us to go?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


The other day an incident that happened while driving reminded me of our discussions of where we went wrong in our spiritual walk. Down the road from where I live is a European style round-about. You’ve seen the pictures of drivers going in circles. This round-about is a band-aid to ease traffic congestion caused by a four lane road narrowing to a two lane bridge. There are no stop signs and if you know how to use it, it really speeds things up. Much better than the same situation 5 miles north of here where they put in a traffic light…which to my knowledge has never seen a green light it likes. The people who lived near it protested a round-about because it is “to confusing”. Fact of the matter is, the first time you use it, it is…if you don’t know the secret. This is the only place in our state where the signs have you yielding to the Driver on the left! If everyone is going 20 miles an hour and yielding to the left traffic flows with ease. I remember making eye contact with a young female driver and she shot right out in front of me! WAY TO GO! That was exactly what she was supposed to do. Traffic flowed and I did not have to slow a bit. The problems come when a newbie approaches the circle and panics. They all do the same thing. They hesitate, confused not knowing what to do. There is plenty of room to go but they freeze up. That hesitation causes all sorts of problems. Seizing the opportunity to be helpful and instructive I give a short beep of my pleasant sounding horn. This is much more effective when driving my lifted one ton diesel truck rather than my Scion that more resembles a juice box or toaster. If the pleasant pleading of the short beep is not effective I will…for their sake and instruction…give a longer blast generally lasting as long as they are frozen. What else could I do?…and if I had the temperament to sit in silence and wait, I probably would not write blogs either. We each have to do our part for traffic safety, right? Hesitation can, at least in this situation get a person killed, or at least beeped at. There is another kind of hesitation that is more serious. Oswald Chambers explains it in My Utmost for His

The golden rule to follow to obtain spiritual understanding is not one of intellectual pursuit, but one of obedience. If a person wants scientific knowledge, then intellectual curiosity must be his guide. But if he desires knowledge and insight into the teachings of Jesus Christ, he can only obtain it through obedience. If spiritual things seem dark and hidden to me, then I can be sure that there is a point of disobedience somewhere in my life. Intellectual darkness is the result of ignorance, but spiritual darkness is the result of something that I do not intend to obey.
Do you ever get the sense that the Spirit is behind you HONKING? Me to.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thank God for Unanswered Prayer

Some things hinder our fellowship with Father that really shouldn’t or wouldn't, not if we really understood. The country crooner enjoins us to consider the benefits of unanswered prayers. Let me hum a few bars to jog your memory. HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. That help? My singing it would be just about as effective. In his case he realized at a high school football game that he would have ended up with the wrong girl if God had actually answered his childhood prayer. I’ll bet that happens a lot. I was just thinking (more directly asking the father to do incredibly wonderful things for a house for Heidi, Shauna an a job, Susie and her real family needs. I was dreaming of what I could do if I won the lottery…(I plan on finding the winning ticket, the odds of buying it and finding it are about the same). I was wish/thinking, just like you do, of what I could do with a ton of lottery money and for a moment wondering (somewhat judgmentally) why Father has not fixed everything already. He certainly could and does, but why not on a grand scale? Boy! (as in gee wiz or wow, not gender specific, don’t want to upset the PC police) what glory that would give Him to heal Jacob, give Heidi a home of her own, or financial security for Shauna. Father whispered in my ear, they love you and you have not done any of those things…they just love you and you feel so special because of it. OK, I get it. IF I were able to do all my heart would like to do I’ll bet I would have zillions of people who really love me…In China a century ago they were called rice Christians. Worship whatever god is giving the rice today. Father will certainly take care of every thing in a way that will not distort our, or anyone else’s love for him. Remind me to tell you what God does with “unanswered” prayer sometime. When you understand, you will want to have a few go unanswered. It is amazing. Father whispered it to me a while back and I am really lousy about keeping secrets.
Are we really trusting God or just giving Him our daily instructions?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Special request for Papa's Skee

Chapter 6 THE SHACK
88 Well Mackenzie, don’t just stand there with your mouth open like your pants are full. How does the earthy talk coming from God effect you? The story?
89 Is the real Holy Spirit full of surprises with perfect timing? Explain
Jesus had just told Mack he was free to do what ever he wanted and Mack volunteered he felt obligated to talk to Poppa. Jesus instructs: Don’t go because you feel obligated. That won’t get you any points here. Go because it’s what you want to do. What is the message here?
90 how does the creator value things given?
How can Poppa listen to music from a band that has not been born yet?
What does this mean in relation to how Poppa might view all of life’s experiences?
How is time different for us?
91 Would God really value all kinds of music? Why?
Why was Mack uncomfortable with Poppa manifesting as a woman? Why did Poppa manifest that way?
92 If you will let me Mack, I will be the Poppa you never had. How much does our earthly fathers effect how we view our heavenly father?
If you couldn’t take care of Missy, how can I trust you to take care of me? In the back of Mack’s mind would he also wonder why God did not rescue him as a boy too?
Why does God allow the great gulfs that separate us from Him?
Do all God’s children have wounds at some point in life that God needs to heal? Does anyone escape?
Life takes a bit of time and a lot of relationship. In real life, does relationship really triumph over answers?
93 What are the head issues that must be gotten out of the way that makes the heart issues easier to work on?
Is a relationship a head issue or a heart issue or some combination of both? Explain.
Why is Poppa a woman?
How big a part of the average Christian’s life is religious conditioning compared to genuine relationship?
List all the religious stereotypes (or non religious) of God you have heard of. Which are the most accurate?
94 If God is not male or female, why is he presented as Father in the Bible? Is his feminine side ever shown?
Agree or disagree: God is neither male or female because gender is part of creation and God is above and beyond creation but it is contained in him.
Does God’s prior knowledge of any matter effect our freedom to choose?
95 What are the limiting influences of life that limit freedom?
Why can’t freedom be forced?
How is a person ever truly free?
Where does freedom happen? Why there?
Why did Poppa have scars on her wrist to match the one’s on Jesus’ wrists?
96 Love always leaves a significant mark. What kinds of marks does love leave?
Was Jesus alone on the cross, forsaken? Was that in his humanity only?
Mackenzie I never left him, I never left you. What is the message and point here?
How did Jesus put himself completely in God’s hands? How do we?
Deep inside, who did Mack think God was?
97 What was man created for? What does that imply?
Can a person be loved with out feeling like they are loved? Why don’t they know they are loved?
When Poppa says that unlike man, his wings cannot be clipped, what did he mean he was free to do?
98 How do people make up their versions of God according to Poppa?
How much of God can man comprehend?
How can Poppa live in a state of perpetual satisfaction? What does that mean for sinners?
99 Man was created to share in…..?
Paraphrase Poppas description of the incarnation of Jesus.
What are the implications of the incarnation?
99-100 How does Jesus accomplish his life in the flesh according to Poppa?
Humans are not defined by their limitations but by the intentions I have for them…Clarify.
101 What was Poppas reaction to Mack’s not being able to comprehend completely the trinity.
Paraphrase Poppas definition of the trinity. How does it differ from yours?
How does love and relationship that exists in the trinity flow into the life of humans?
102 How does Poppa’s explanation, unless I had an object to love, or more accurately, a someone to love, if I did not have a relationship within my self, then I would not be capable of love at all…effect your understanding of his nature and the trinity?
What are the implications of the God who is….cannot act apart from love.
Is it reasonable to believe that humans cannot possibly comprehend why God could allow a tragedy such as Missy’s death.
103 If Mack had been the only human, why would Jesus still have died for him alone?

What to do?

Have you ever been in an impossible situation where it really did not matter what you did, it was not going to be enough anyway? But you still felt like you had to do something, anything. When I was 11 years old I watched my mother and a high school boy carry my father from his office to the car, the apparent victim of some heart ailment. Weeks later my father was declared permanently 100% disabled. He lay in bed months at a time. I remember my well meaning relatives telling me, you're the man of the house now. I believed them and that was the beginning of my ulcerative conditions that began showing up when I was around 13. Every one was always saying, is there anything I can do? I should have said yes, Mow, rake, weed, vacuum, trim the roses, paint, dust, I think you get the idea. No one ever did to the best of my recollection. As I look back on it now I have to wonder, WHAT WERE THEY THINKING! Did they really expect an 11 year old to DO what a man could do? Of course I could not and I do not seriously believe they intended it either. The Lord himself rescued me from my self, but that is another story. Nothing I could do was going to change his health. They wanted to strengthen and encourage me and that was the best they could think something, anything, even if you really can't do it. Pretend, fake it till you make it. Something similar to this has happened in our spiritual lives.

The children of Israel went through a spell of that. They had just escaped Egypt after a series of 10 totally divine miracles that ended in the destruction of the first born of all Egypt. For confidence and comfort God provided a night light and an umbrella for what may have been 3 million people. Then God puts them to a test, actually a series of tests so they would get to know Him better. He had already demonstrated His incredible power but now He leads them to the spring of Marah, where the water is undrinkable. Later they would run out of food and have many other similar tests. The worst part of the test that they had trouble with was "what to do?" Where do you find enough food and water for 3m people in the desert? The hard fact was there was absolutely nothing they could DO to solve the problem,but DOING was not the test. The test was BELIEVING. Those that believed in every case were saved, those that tried to DO something...complain, make a new God, refuse to look on the serpent raised, or whatever failed the test and some paid the ultimate price. They struggled because they refused to understand the nature of the test. JUST BELIEVE ME, I will take care of you. And God did every time, miraculously.

We have been wondering together where we have gotten onto a side trail and lived "less loved" than what Father offers. We are struggling with the same affliction. When we don't know what to do, we panic, grumble, complain, worry etc. God is not asking us first to do, but first to Believe. Doing is a result of believing. is there something you are failing to believe that is causing you to live Less Loved? You will never do your way out of or in to anything with the Father. He does not leave that option. If your leery of sharing, just hit the anonymous button..

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Shack Discussion

Tonight was our first Shack discussion group. It would be impossible to recapture the dynamic so I will not even try. What I will do is share the discussion questions we used

Ch 1-3

7 Willie describes Macks family as committed to calloused hands and rigorous rules…externally religious, etc…
How common is this today?
8 How does being overly religious leave a child feeling?
9 Why would Mack “see the landscape of human ideas and experiences differently than everybody else?”
Mack claimed to have a way of pointing out people’s faults and humiliating them while maintain his own sense of false power and control. How and why do people do this?
10 What is a “love/hate relationship with religion?”
How would childhood experience effect marital relationships?
11 Explain: “most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing”.
Why does “grace rarely make sense for those looking in from the outside?”
Are you totally at home in your own skin? Why or why not?
Willie says Mack is no longer just wide, he has gone way deep. But the dive cost him dearly. Does it have to cost dearly?

Thursday, July 24, 2008


We were wondering together why we are here. I enjoyed reading your comments. Some of you were paying attention in Sunday School! What I learned and what I experienced were two different things. I learned guilt. Did anyone else?
To understand where I am going you need a little background. I was raised in a fairly rigid, autocratic, legalistic, but loving family. My German born and raised grandfather was the chief law giver. He came from a long line of patriarchs who laid down the law. His father was a Colonel in the Austrian army pre WWI. While still living in the land of the hops my (then unbelieving) great grandfather outlawed liquor of any kind in the Zimmermann household. Picture this, mid 1800’s Germany, NO booze allowed in a military family. No one had any idea why and as far as I know, no one ever dared ask. 100 years later when I was a child and well before I knew what alcohol was, I was informed that Zimmermanns did not drink alcohol. Why? Great grandfather said no. Never mind that he died before I was born! We were gold metal Olympic caliber rule keepers. My grandfather was raised with that ideal and brought it with him to America as a young man just before WWI. The style suited him well in his new land and even after he became a believer and a traveling evangelist who led 10’s of thousands to the Lord, he never completely gave up the rigid veneer. Grandpa was a wonderful and godly man but boy, did he have rules. Rules about everything…and they were to be unchallenged. As early as 4 years old I remember challenging grandpa’s rules with my childish logic. (I wanted to say innocence there but in honesty I had and agenda) Once after church we went out to lunch. A rigid rule was no playing or working on Sunday. (come to think of it all the rules were rigid, I guess that’s the nature of rules) In feigned innocence I asked “aren’t we making them work by eating here?”. In my logic if I could weaken him here, maybe I could play too. Didn’t work. That pattern continued through out my life with Grandpa. As I grew in boldness, he grew in grace which explains why he let me live. (we are getting to the point, really) Another BIG sin in the early 60’s was the theater. Christians did not go to the theater, at least not the ones I knew. Attendence at a movie would run my testimony! They showed Horrible things on those big screens of people doing ghastly things like smoking, drinking, dancing, playing pool, foul language and things that were to horrible to speak of in polite company. I never went. I was afraid to. It was plainly wrong. I was sure. Then my godly, rule keeping, Bible toting, track carrying, always evangelizing (except in theaters) grandfather snuck me and my sister away to another town and entered…dare I confess?…a theater!. Did you know they have bigger boxes of candy than I could get at the store? And popcorn. And Cokes! It was a sinner’s paradise! If my testimony was going to be destroyed at least it would die on a full stomach. I was more than a little confused. Grandpa was a little ashamed, but the movie we had to sneak out to see was….The Sound of Music! It was filmed in part in grandpa’s beloved Austria and he knew it was as close to home as he would ever be again. If grandpa felt guilty about it, he would never say, the sneaking to another town told me all I needed to know. We were again cautioned that this was an exception, a special circumstance and since we were not caught by anyone who knew us, our testimony was still in tact. Later Grandpa snuck into BEN HUR! A couple of years elapsed before our next venture into Satan’s stronghold. We traveled over 100 miles…to Hollywood no less…to see How the West Was Won and It’s a Mad, Mad, World. Same conditions and precautions as before were applied. I was handling the guilt pretty well but I still would not go to the theater. We lived in a small one theater town and everybody went. No way to keep my testimony and go to that demonic pit! Problem, BIG problem. As a junior in high school I met a girl. First saw her in Church, a very proper church that kept all grandpas rules and may even have had a few of their own. It took almost a year to get the courage and the right circumstances to ask her out. She said yes. She was truly a fine Christian girl and could easily pass any test/standard/requirement/expectation my grandfather, father or church had. Truth be told, she was way better than me. She was a great rule keeper and did not struggle with it a bit. Why she said yes to the first date is still a mystery. I’m pretty sure she broke some rule in doing it because she told her mother it was not serious. (40 years, 5 kids and 10 grandkids later just may contradict that excuse) Anyway I fell in love with her…still am. My Problem. Her father was the projectionist at the local theater. I could now get into for free to a place I was not free to go. At first I would sit in the car while she went up to the projection booth to see her father. Finally I somehow got the courage to risk my all important testimony. The future of all Christianity and the salvation of all my friends depended on me keeping my testimony in tact, but I figured it was only a few feet from the side door to the door that led up stairs to the booth. I had already learned if they don’t see you do it, it doesn’t count against you. I decided to sneak in and go with her. The plan would have worked perfectly except for the fact that nearly all my teammates from my high school football team were in the lobby. I was caught red faced and handed. Do you know what my very pagan teammates had the nerve to say to me? They said, Hey Z, how’s it going? Terrorized by the deafening sound of my shattering testimony I quickly defended my presence in Lucifer’s Lair with a brief but powerful offering. “I’m not here to see the movie, my girlfriends father is the projectionist. We are going up to see him.” They immediately saw through the ruse and retorted: ”so you can get in for free? Awesome!” In a way only known to God my tattered testimony traveled at light speed going from certain destruction to unscathed in the eyes of my envious friends.
I learned something that day that was a long time in coming. Sinners and Saviors don’t try to make you feel guilty, Pharisees do. They tried to do it to Jesus too! We are definitely not here to feel guilty. Live free!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Hereafter

The older I get the more spiritual I become. My mind is constantly wondering about the here after. Just today I found myself wandering from room to room thinking “what am I here after”? Usually I spot it and remember but sometimes I just give up hoping it will reveal itself again some time in the future. Eventually I will need whatever it was I was looking for and start in search of it again. That is not really so different from what we are talking about. Why on earth did God create us in the first place? What was the point, the purpose? We are pretty certain we have some things clear but there seems to be something eluding us that would tie all the pieces together, but what?

Reverse engineering what went wrong from God’s point of view, (and again assuming He is the creator/sustainer) should give us a good idea of what will fix our problems. The Big question, why am I here? Before we ask reverse engineer and ask God, let’s reason it out, what are the possibilities? The probabilities? Later we will contrast the reasoned ideas with the revealed idea.
Possibility #1 God made man to serve him. I hear a lot of really nice religious people say that. It sounds like what nice religious people should say and maybe even believe. My response: You’ve got to be kidding, ME? I am a lousy servant, and to be honest I do not like the idea of being anyone’s servant It sounds a little to close to being a slave to me and no thanks, I’ll pass. Our black brothers have not been slaves for 150 years and they are still ticked off about it and I don’t blame them one bit. It was a rotten thing to do, a really lousy idea that didn’t work out well for anyone. If my primary purpose is to serve God why can’t I do any of the way cool stuff his other servants do? He says he has angles, seraphim, powers, principalities and all sorts of really powerful and wonderful beings surrounding him constantly doing all his bidding. Some even keep track of us and protect us. I wonder if I have a special guardian angel assigned to me or do they work in shifts? Boy does he have some stories to tell! Gabriel and Michael are two especially powerful servants who even do hand to hand combat with the devil. While I may serve God because he is God and I am not, if serving was my chief end, I am really not equipped very well to do it. It just does not sound like my primary purpose in the greater scheme of things. (Did I just hear you call me a heretic again? I guess is should get used to it. If your gonna get upset reading my ponderings go brew yourself some nice tea and calm your nerves. I hear chamomile is good for soothing the nerves. I promise things are going to get a lot worse! If you are fond of the idea of slavery be my guest…but I bet your no better at it than I am. :)
The agnostics have a version that is interesting: They suggest that IF there is a god and If he did create us we cannot know it. He does not show it and he lost interest a long time ago the speculate.. We are on our own. If you ever ask one of these types over for dinner, don’t bother asking what he would like to eat, he will never know for sure. Just fix what you like, you would never make him happy anyway. I think these are the same guys who invite all the ants to the picnic. Like Eor, if their tail fell off, don’t bother putting it back on, it will probably fall off again anyway. My reaction: My personality just can’t go here. These people just drive me crazy. They are hoping that God will be like the local police and excuse them for speeding because they were not sure what the posted speed limit is so they made up their own. Did you ever see Ferris Buelers Day Off? The teacher is calling role, Bueler, Bueler, in the most deadpan, mind-numbing boring tone imaginable. He is the same guy who does the red eye beach ball ads on tv. Besides the fingernails on the chalkboard effect they have on my personality, these types have miss some logical stuff. He is the creator/sustainer. This place cannot be on total autopilot. We would have destroyed it a long time ago. It only makes sense to me that if God created it, he would be interested in it and see it all the way through. (if you happen to consider yourself and agnostic and I have not totally insulted you, please just consider that I am the one with the problem, not you. God Loves you just as you are. I want to love you too, I just don’t do as well with people who can not make a decision. In retrospect, all this seems a little hyper critical and hypocritical since the whole point of this blog is to try to figure out whatever it is that went wrong. You are fully entitled to your questions too. I was wrong. Sorry. Will you forgive me? I guess I could have just erased my judgmental tirade but God already read it and forgave me so I figured you might as well know the real me, not the edited version. Pretty scary uh? At least maybe you can feel free to be you too.

The Big Bangers see absolutely no reason for us to be here at all. We simply are the result of some quarks and or Higgs/bothems (they are sub atomic particles that make up an atom and just simply exist for no known reason) traveling through the limitless reaches of empty space an super collider speed with no know power source colliding head on (assuming something that small has a head) and exploding spontaneously creating all the matter that makes up the universe. Over eons of time on some cooler rock an electoral shock of unknown source and power struck a slime pit that somehow turned the dead slime into a living cell. Eons later the slime evolved, crawled out of the pit, continued to evolve, and my favorite part, decided that cellular division for procreation was no fun therefore separating into male and female with the appropriate and compatible paraphernalia and accompanying abilities to produce what we now know as humans. All this was a COSMIC JOKE. And yes, I am laughing but not at what they are laughing at and no I did not make any of this up, it is really what they teach in our schools…honest.

So why do you believe you are here?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reverse Enginering

Reverse Engineering

The Chinese are really good at reverse engineering, ie copying something by taking it apart. It works really well on mechanical things but not so well or even impossible on other things like chemical compounds and people. I tired a new product the other day that worked incredibly well and I asked the manufacturer if he had patented the product. He said no and he never would because to patent it he would have to tell them how he made it. Since it was impossible to reverse engineer it, the process was all the protection he needed. That brings me to where we were in our ponderings. The jury is still out on the degree of brokenness of the planet, but according to the responses I received from the last blog, some of us have come to the personal conclusion we are definitely broken, wondering if it is irreparable. Even believers who think they should know better by now are struggling and do not know why. To figure out what has gone wrong we have to do a little reverse engineering to figure out what it was before we can correct it.
So what is wrong with man kind and more specifically what is wrong with ME? Why am I not where I think I should be or could be by now? If we use the popular evolutionary model with the big bang we could, at least in theory, go back to whenever it was man separated from monkeys, chimpanzees more specifically I’m told. Casual observation reveals them to be generally interested in feeding, breeding and fighting. The fighting prioritizes the rights to the first two. Come to think of it, that seems pretty much like the essence of most of the soaps and reality TV shows. I guess they could be on to something. We could skip a few generations and ask my mother. I’m sure my mother would say there is nothing wrong with me, you can ask her…she and dad are a little busy doing something with Jesus right now, same with all my grandparents so I guess we will have to skip that one till later. We could ask my sister Annette, but I have found her memory of things (especially things about me) is not always that reliable, especially now in her advanced years. (Bet she comments on that one). I’m gonna give the evolutionary approach a pass on this question and try reverse engineering from a creator approach, ie God. So which one? The Hindus have a lot, but since they made all of them in shop, I will give them a pass too. Budda was a good guy I guess, but he died and quit talking to people. Allah is quite popular but he never said anything, we have to take Mohammed’s word for it and Mohammed was as much a political leader as a religious leader and that causes me some concern. I also question any god who promises me something later that he forbids me to have now. Ie if the ultimate goal is 72 palaces equipped with 72 virgins, why wait for heaven? (and how do the 72 virgins feel about this arrangement!) Then there is the God of Jews, Christians, Catholics, Protestants, Mormons and whoever else claims the God described in the Bible. (I know you are questioning how I could lump all these very different groups together but I did not, they did it themselves by accepting the Bible as the revealed word of God. This does not make me a heretic! You might as well know this about me right now. I signed the Pastor’s Charter of Reconciliation along with 45,000 other pastors at a conference in Atlanta Georgia in 1994 pledging to try to heal the denominational rifts within all those who call on the God of the Bible. I know and accept the differences between us and I do worry about some of their ideas but I am committed to cooperation for the kingdom of God not competition for my castle. Don’t bother trying to involve me in denominational wars, I won’t go there. What we can agree on is more important to me that the things we do not agree on and all these folks say they agree the Bible is the word of God. That is a good enough starting point for me.) Why accept the God of the Bible? At this point it helps to be old and to have gone through a number of crisis that forced me (on a regular basis) to consider just who God might be. Having an earned doctorate doesn’t hurt here either. I have read a lot over the years, thought a lot about what made the most sense and have always been brought back to the same conclusion: My heart cannot accept what my mind rejects. I got that from Josh Mc Dowell, author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict and More Than a Carpenter. My choice for the creator, the supreme being, the uncaused first cause, the originator, the author, the sustainer of everything is the God who first revealed himself to the Jews thousands of years ago and then to me almost 55 years ago. Of all the gods worshipped by man, He is the only one who bothered to write. NO other book save the Old Testament of the Jews and the New Testament of the Christians claims to be authored by God. There is a lot of technical stuff written on how we can know the Bible is true but for me it boils down to a simple argument. Which makes the most sense? The Bible CLAIMS to be written by men who claimed to be inspired by God, writing at His bidding and instructions. This leaves me with 3 simple options:
1. It was
2. They Lied
3. They were crazy, hearing voices that were not there.
I’ve read it cover to cover many times. The moral principles alone eliminate the Liar inspired writings and the accuracy and honesty would not emanate from crazy conspirators so I am left with the Logical choice, it must be the Word of Jehovah, the Just, Loving and Righteous God, I AM. I’m thinking if we carefully reverse engineer His Word to us we will find out where we went wrong and even how to TRULY fix it. I know there is a story going around about some apple thing, but that may have been put out by the Florida Orange Growers Association.
What do you think God says went wrong? I know the sin thing, but the cross thing took care of the sin thing and we still are doing this blog thing because we don’t have all the answers, only some of them.
P.S. Doni showed me the list of the cities around the country and world where people are reading this blog. I am humbled.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Broken Design?

Broken Design
Have you ever wondered why people are so messed up and life is so futile?
If you assume there is no god (or like most folks just don’t want to think about it) and evolution and the Big Bang explains all of existence, what difference does it make really? If everything came from nothing and everything is going back to nothing then nothingness should be the pinnacle of life itself. If nothingness is not satisfying to your soul, if you suspect or even just desire there to be more to life you might consider this.
If creation and life is not a giant cosmic accident then logically creation and life must be by design. The first cause, of necessity, must be uncaused, self existent, all powerful and eternal. Assuming such a being existed in and of himself/herself/itself…(can we just use the generic he) and assuming he designed and created all we see, it begs the question why. Why would he create all this and most importantly to me why ME? Is my life as I am experiencing it what the creator had in mind? Did something get broken somewhere along the line? The condition of the world suggests and that something may have gone wrong somewhere. Some scientists and politicall motivated individuals insist the world is teetering on the edge of collapse and in desperate need of repair before it is to late. Their questionable observations and motives aside, a blend of oil, ozone and Osama suggests to me the scientists and politicians just might be right (but what do I know?). What I am an authority on is me. I know I must be broken, at least in some ways. If nothingness were the real natural answer I should desire it, seek it and be satisfied with it, but I definitely am not. I should do whatever I want and not feel guilty, but I do. I should desire less from life instead of demanding more. I should not have the un-provable certainty in my innermost private thoughts that there is more to my existence than this life, but I do.
If the world is on the edge of collapse, I am not sure. I can’t do anything about it anyway. I am sure I am broken. Is there something that can be done about me?
Do you feel it to or am I alone in this?

What Really Is Coming to Christ?

Today a friend told me of his four year progress in witnessing to a self proclaimed agnostic co-worker/friend. The co-worker appears to be close to understanding his need of a Savior. My friend is a newer believer and this is his first foray into seeing someone come to Christ so I asked how he planned to lead his friend to Christ. His response was "I thought I'd bring him to church" implying I could finish the work he began four years ago. I shared with him the fundamentals, gave him a copy of The Soul Winners Guide, showed him an Evangelism Explosion booklet and talked to him about The Four Spiritual Laws. I stopped before I overloaded him with the Romans Road and Casting Nets presentations. This got me thinking about what we tell people who want to come to Christ. I came to Christ as a 4 year old on May 5th, 1954. I know because I found it written in my grandfathers journal. I don't remember it, only the Bible they presented me afterward. Later, as a young teen, I remember the original Left Behind series and the movies on the rapture (Distant Thunder). I was sure glad I was not going to be left behind, but a couple times I came home to an empty house and was really scared I had been. I remember in my mid teens making a decision to share Christ with my friends after sitting most of the night alone in front of a camp fire watching a nail turn white hot and thinking I did not want my friends to go to such a place. I really did begin to try to scare my friends out of hell. I realize that is not the way people usually say that and Dee does not allow me to say it like that either. :)

A year later I went to a week long seminar with Campus Crusade and learned the Four Spiritual Laws which begins: Law One - God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. I liked that and led four people to Christ that weekend. After a while, the Four Laws came under attack because, at least in the opinion of some, it did not deal adequately with sin. I stuck with the 4 laws through the 70's and switched to Evangelism Explosion's presentation of the gospel in the 80's.

Currently I am reading a book titled "He Loves Me" by Wayne Jacobson (an absolutely wonderful book on what happened at the cross). In this book, the author points out that the EE presentation uses fear to scare people into heaven by avoiding hell. I agree it does start with “if you were to die today, do you know for certain that you would go to heaven?” but it moves on to a pretty standard presentation on putting faith in Christ alone to save us. I recall all this for anyone who bothered to read this far to ask the question, "What really is coming to Christ?".

Certainly it is avoiding hell, clearly it is finding forgiveness for sin, but is that all that God had in mind? I am wondering. If I may be so crude, how would Jesus sell himself? What would be His offer? Left behind? Believe or burn? I have a "Plan for You" I think your gonna like. All of the above? There is truth in all the above but it is not all the truth there is. They all miss to some degree the core of what I have come to understand Jesus is offering. A real life friendship/relationship with him right now….and for all eternity. I think it may be time for a relationship driven salvation presentation. It would not exclude what I grew up with but it would emphasize the fellowship and relationship that is at the heart of the gospel in the here and now, not just the (as one unbelieving friend put it) "pie in the sky by and by stuff:". If you’re interested in watching the journey unfold, log on occasionally and feel free to comment.