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Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Wager

For the living know that they will die, but the dead don't know anything...neither have they any more reward. Ecclesiastics 9:5

Today my friend's brother died. When I typed that sentence some of you were tempted to offer condolences. Some might have even been a bit shocked that I would begin a blog on such a blunt and ominous note. Why? Why is death sad? Why should it matter?

My friend's brother was just 20 years old. To everyone's knowledge he was completely healthy, strong, and athletic and now he's dead. 'Oh he was so young', some of you are tempted to say. We don't like that do we? We don't like hearing about young people dying. I pose the question why?

Approximately 5 hours ago at the time I write this post this young man was alive. He was playing one of his favorite sports when he collapsed. We don't understand how things like this can happen. We don't understand the suddenness of it all. Intellectually we know that we all are going to die. If you are alive now you know that you are going to die one day. That's a sad fact. Death is unfortunately something we all have to live with.

My question right now is what does the agnostic say to the family of my friend? What can the skeptic offer? At the very most he can mumble a half-hearted "I'm sorry". Friends, when your son just died inexplicably "I'm sorry" just doesn't cut it. The skeptic is ill-prepared to offer an explanation for why this event took place. He may try to rationalize it by saying that all life began, through the process of evolution--which is basically an argument that suggests that life is predicated on death. In order for one species to arise many others had to die. This soulless naturalistic explanation does nothing to console the family of those who have lost someone. If life is predicated on death and death is completely natural we would care no more about the dying or the dead than we would about a blade of grass growing in concrete. Why do we mourn death? Why do we cry for hours when someone has passed? Why do we attend funerals, send flowers, mutter "I'm sorry's" if what has taken place is just a natural occurrence.

I have an answer to those questions. It is because death is not a natural process! It is because there is One who has placed eternity in the human heart. There is One who shaped and molded and designed us. One who says unabashedly "I am the way the truth and the LIFE!" We think death is unjust for one reason: because it is unjust. We morn because it is unnatural! Because even in the heart and soul of the skeptic he realizes, even if his mouth will never admit it, that human beings were never meant to die in the first place! That's why we look at death and loss as a tragedy. Indeed our emotions are right! It is a tragedy. A great one, because God did not create us to die.

Blaise Pascal, the 16th century scientist, logician, mathematician and philosopher turned Christian apologist offers a fascinating argument to the skeptic. He proposes that there are two choices. Either God exists or He does not. There is simply no logical middle ground. He posits that through evidences of design in nature and through the scriptures it is logical to believe that there is a God. If one lives life as though God existed and the Christian life was the way to Him, and then dies and finds out their is no God such a person would have lost absolutely nothing. However if one lives as though God does not exist and assumes that Christianity is all fairytales and then one dies and faces God, such a person would have lost EVERYTHING. Essentially there is a wager or a bet if you will. On one side there is the chance to gain everything, literally all eternity if what the Christians say is correct. On the other side if one lives a Christian life, which empirically is not inferior in either quality or quantity but arguably superior to the non-Christian life one would lose nothing. Such a person would have lived meaningfully and died.

In our lives we face a choice. We can either wager to gain everything at the risk of losing nothing or we may gamble to gain nothing and lose everything. We know we are going to die one day, just like my friend's brother did. But before we die what choice are we going to make. Friend, you are free to make whatever decisions you like, but you know what I wager. I'm afraid I just can't risk losing eternity. How about you?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year New Blog New Resources

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.--Apostle Paul 1Cor 13:12

Happy New Year to all who read this blog. I am very blessed that people take time out of their day to read over the words of one neurotic misanthrope. Those who read this blog will never know how much their time and dedication have meant to me over the last year and a half. This year is going to be a bit different that the previous one. Yes, I will present sarcastic social and political commentary and attempt to defend some of my wild and crazy ideas, but the focus this year is on the spiritual rather than the political and sociological. As I grow in my relationship with our Lord I long to share whatever little knowledge I have with those I know and love. I am not a theologian or an apologist, no, just a lowly seeker of the Truth who desires only that those who read my blog will walk away thinking critically about their beliefs or lack there of.

I am thoroughly convinced this New Year that there may not be many more. All the signs that Christ predicted in Matthew Chapter 24 are steadily coming to pass. Many people are running in fear as economic hard times, natural disasters, crime, and political crises overwhelm their day-to-day lives. Fortunately there is hope and solace even in the darkness. There are answers even when the postmodernists, and cultural relativists tell us there are none. These are the last days and I don't say that to be ominous, but because it is the truth. Because we are living at the very brink of the end of time we need to arm ourselves with truth so that when we are faced with deceptions (as the Bible clearly predicts) we will be very aware. The only way not to be deceived is to abide in the Truth.

Friends ultimately their will come a time when we have to make a decision to follow God or to follow the doctrines and traditions of man. Can you honestly say that you would take a bullet rather than compromise your beliefs? Do you daily seek truth in Scripture? Are you a skeptic or an agnostic invested in secular pursuits for answers? How honestly can you answer those questions?

I'm not here to be a prophet of doom, but instead I'd like to share with you my favorite spiritual resources from 2008. I've sent many emails, I've presented people with tons of material, but most people tell me that while they are interested in the resources I have to offer, they just don't have time to watch or read them. That's interesting, but these same people have time to watch TV, party, shop, and live life as though this planet and this meager existence is all that we have. Most don't give thought to the fact that there is so much more than this. Now I realize we are all busy. I am a graduate student, I understand busy! But a few minutes in the Word, reading spiritual material, and listening to apologetics, will make us stronger and better able to defend our beliefs.

I also know that many people who come across this little blog aren't Christian or aren't even religious for that matter. Some are seekers and some are disillusioned atheist. Friends these resources are appropriate for you as well. So I invite you all, regardless of your background to open your hearts and minds to the truth. I pray that this year you will try to incorporate some of this material into your lives. Please write me to let me know if this has helped or influenced you in any way. The resources are not in any particular order I just have them listed based on whatever ones comes to my mind first.

1) The Great Controversy. This is an invaluable resource to my Christian friends. Many people go to church every week, but have no idea about the violent history of the Christian faith. A lot of so-called Christians can't even name a reformer! If you'd like to know the history as well as the future of the church than this resource is a MUST read. You can find the entire book FREE right here

2) David Asscherick Prophecy Seminar. More than 30% of the Bible is prophecy. That’s what separates it from other religious readings. But most Christians just scratch their head when someone asks them to explain the prophetic works in the books of Revelation and Daniel. David Asscherick is a former atheist turned Christian apologists who has a remarkable gift of explaining Bible prophecy. If you've ever asked questions about whether Jesus is the Son of God, or what will happen in the last days, or who or what the Antichrist is than this resource is for you. I urge you to consider this resource first because I'm not sure how long it will be offered free of charge. Just click here for all 23 episodes. This series will change your life. This is probably one of the most shocking and yet completely Biblically based series I've yet to come across.

3) Dr. Ravi Zacharias. So you don't believe in God. That's fine. But can you intelligently defend your disbelief. Why not let former atheist Dr. Ravi Zacharias explain to you why he's no longer an atheist. This is not emotional blah blah blah, but deep intelligent, rational argument on the authenticity of the Creator. Click here and please check out the broadcast Let My People Think here

4) Discoveries 08 with Pastor Mark Finely. I have promoted this resource over and over again, but I have a sneaky suspicion that most people just read the blog, said they come back to it later and never managed to get there. Friends we have an enemy who is determined to keep the truth away from us. He will do EVERYTHING in his crafty power to make sure that we are confused and deceived. Instead of watching youtube clips why not allow Pastor Finely to show you the archeological discoveries he has seen that prove the authenticity of God's word and answer numerous questions about His character. This is a MUST see. click here

5) It is Written. I stopped watching TV regularly a long time ago. I concluded that there was just nothing good on. And then I found this little jewel! Instead of wasting 30 minutes on a sit com, why not watch an exciting, yet relevant broadcast that helps elucidate the Word of God and it's truths? Click here and don't be afraid to search the site for important spiritual resources. In case your thinking, but Crystal I don't have time for all of this. Do you have 3 minutes a day? If so that you can watch A Better Way to Live. It's a devotional podcast for busy people intended to give them three minutes of hope, joy, and biblical knowledge for the day. And best of all it's from the same folk that produce It Is Written. Just click here to subscribe.

6) Bible Gateway. Don't have a Bible? Don't wanna buy one? Not a problem. Read it free in whatever translation or language you prefer here. I recommend that you read a passage everyday. And if you still don't understand what on earth you are reading check out the next resource.

7) Bible Info. We all can't be talented theologians. That's why people wiser than me put together bible info.com which has a wealth of resources to challenge the skeptic and the believer. Just click here. And you can't leave the site without checking out the discover Bible guides here

I don't want to totally overwhelm you so I'll just stop at seven resources for now. I just wanted to take a few minutes to deal with some of the arguments that I'm sure I'll get from people NOT checking out these resources.
1) I don't have time.
Yes you do. How do I know that? Because I do. I make time for what's important to me. We donate tons of times to lies and garbage, can't we dedicate an hour or less to truth? When God comes back how bout looking him in the eye and telling him that "I would have studied your word and sought your truth but I just didn't have time." I'm sure you wouldn't want to do that.

2)I don't have any money.

Neither do I. Which is why every last one of these resources is 100% absolutely FREE.

3)But Crystal I'm already in the church. I study the Word. I don't need more resources.
Peter was in the church too. He was one of Jesus's best friends as a matter of fact, but that didn't stop him from denying Christ three times when the pressure hit him. If you want to be a soldier for truth you have to have the right resources. In fact I'd argue that you can't have too many weapons when you go to war.

4) But I only consider resources that are put out by my particular denomination.
I'm not here to promote denominations. I'm only here to espouse truth. These resources are rich in truth regardless of the denominations that put them out. As Christians we shouldn't be searching for a denomination, but truth. If our denomination isn't speaking 100% truth we should leave it. Jesus said not every one who claims his name will be saved. Think about it.

4) Crystal I am not a Christian or a religious person. Your blog is cute and all, but I don't have time for any of this religious blah blah blah.
True intellectuals are willing to consider all kinds of options if only to strengthen their arguments and beliefs. So you had a bad experience with the church, but does that take away from the truths that it offers? I can't force anyone to do anything, but I urge even those skeptics to consider these resources, they may change your mind OR you might just throw them out, either way at least you can say that you gave it a try. In fact my challenge to the skeptic is if you have considered all the resources and have found no light or truth in them you have my permission to throw them out, delete my blog from your favorites or blog roll, and never speak to me again. I'm so serious yall!

If you have any more objections send them to me. If not please let me know what you think of the resources. Send me your thoughts on them and share them with others if they have strengthened you.

To my Christian friends. I can only say that the devil is busy and one of his latest tactics is to keep us so busy that we forget to search for truth or we have no time for it. That's tragic because we are about to embark on a time that's unlike any other in history and many of us are going to war without our weapons and armor. That's sad, but as for me and my house...well you know the rest. Please prayerfully consider these priceless resources. They are my New Years gifts to you. Happy New Year!