A Great Sermon..by a friend!

Check this out. Someone has put this video together with a sermon from a friend of mine, Paul Blackham. I have said before on this journal – I think Paul is probably the finest preacher I have heard and one of the best theologians out there.

Check out the whole sermon HERE; 03 D037-02a Why isn’t good good enough

GOD IS GOOD, GOD IS GREAT: Why Believing In God Is Reasonable and Responsible Edited by William Lane Craig & Chad Meister

Atheism is no longer simply about ‘not believing’ in a God or an intelligent designer. New Atheism has arrived and it has gone on the offensive. Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and others are now not just refuting the existence of God, spirituality, heaven or hell, they are proclaiming the message that to believe in a God, or in intelligent design is irrational and dangerous. The only sure and true ‘truth’ that can be relied upon is science.

These new atheists are pro-active – almost evangelistic in their zeal. Their mission is simple – to actively turn people away from any form of theistic belief.

This book is a powerful and substantial response to the claims and arguments of the new atheists.

The authors take on Dawkins et-al head on, unafraid of tackling the toughest of subjects including ‘Are The Old Testament Laws Evil’, ‘How Could God Create Hell’, ‘God Evil and Morality’. There are also chapters on ‘Arguments for God’, ‘The failure of Scientific Atheism’, ‘God and Physics’& ‘God and Evolution.’

What I find wonderful about this book is the breadth of the scholarship from Christians, philosophers, theologians and  scientists. From Dr William Lane-Craig, a philosopher, theologian and strong apologist of the Christian faith, to Michael Behe, a top scientist in the area biochemistry and Anthony Flew a well known former atheist who have both declared that evolution is not possible without an intelligent designer.

This book is by no means anti-science. Indeed, the aim of this book is to show clearly that the claims and arguments of the new atheists simply do not stand up to intellectual, scientific and philosophical scrutiny. And it succeeds.

God Is Good, God Is Great provides the reader with a wealth of wonderful information that, while scholarly, is readable and most importantly encouraging. But for me, the most impressive thing about this book is that it is incredibly balanced. Each author writes carefully, clearly and logically not making any outlandish statements or rash leaps in their argument.

There is now no need to worry about what Dawkins, or Hitchens or Harris says. There really is no need to be on the defensive when people raise the apparent objects to theism which is advocated by the new atheists. This book will give you the depth, understanding and confidence to respond directly and to the heart of the issues.

This book is for both christians and non-christians, those interested in science, those who have no scientific background, those who simply want to be better informed and those who wish to study the arguments fully and those who want to be apologetically armed.

Daniel Chapter 3 – part 2

THEY ARE WILLING TO DIE FOR A GOD WHOM THEY DO NOT EVEN KNOW HAS THE POWER TO SAVE THEM – BUT THEY KNOW HE EXITS AND THAT HE IS REAL AND THAT HE IS WORTHY OF WORSHIP!!

What faith!! What faith!!

Here are three things for us to learn about this kind of faith that Shadrach, Meshach and Abedego showed:

1.   Our faith needs to be rooted in who God is – not in who we are or where we are. Faith based on our circumstances – hey, life is great, God is good; life is crap God is…….  Is not a good place to be. If our faith is based on what is happening to us we will not benefit from faith nor will we be able to group as a Christian. Faith based on a God who is Lord of the Universe even though he seems silent should still be able to give me peace, even when we face our worst fears.

2.   Our faith needs to be rooted in BOTH the power of God and in his goodness. God can be trusted. Therefore we need to be able to leave the decision of whether God will protect us or rescue us to Him. Shadrach, Meshach and Abedego say that their trust in God is not based on whether they are save dor not – he is God, he is Good – they trust that!!

3.   Our faith should be about loving God for his person not for his performance. Too often we pray to God as if we are sending God coded signals to dictate his behavior like a performing pony. Instead we should approach God like loving parent who will do what is best for us. Can we, WILL we trust his decisions?

This is the type of faith we are called too. Resilient, (able to cope in tough situations) adaptable (able to survive the unexpected in life) and strong, able to face even our worst fears knowing that God is God.

There are times when we will want God to show up so badly, but we will say or try and think that it does not matter if that prayer or desire is not answered – when in fact it does matter and we silently get angry with God – and there are the times when we have prayed and then the things we asked for happens and we are totally stunned God showed up

Sahrach, Meshach and Abedego held the tension between “it really does not matter whether God shows up” and “we are totally shocked that he has shown up.”

They really didn’t care either way – it would not effect their thinking or decisions.

As the three are thrown into the fire, Neb sees a fourth person in there with them. God shows up and the three guys don’t faint shocked that God did rescue them.

Now if I was one of the guys I would popped my head out of the furnace and gone – “Nanananana”.

Who was the fourth person in the fire? Jesus.

And this was not just for the benefit of the three guys, although I am sure the three were vaguely happy to see God. Jesus showing up is for the benefit of Neb. Here was the second encounter he has had with the followers of Yahweh. Daniel not only interprets Nebs dream but tells him what the dream is and Neb is impressed and acknowledges Daniels God to be powerful. Here, he sees three followers of Yahweh completely protected from the fire, in a miraculous way and his response is good, but it is still not the right response. Neb says that the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abedego should be praised – but he still has not bowed the knee to God  and that was the reason for this miracle. Sharach, Meshach and Abedego could have died and gone to be with God, but God is chasing Neb’s heart.

It is the kind of faith which these three Hebrews showed that allows missionaries to continue to try and lead Muslims to Christ. It is this type of faith which will help us when we stand up for those being bullied, or picked on, or beaten up, and it is the kind of faith which will help us to stand up for truth.

Is this the faith you have? Is it the faith you want.

You know, the true reward of faithful witness to God is not to be found in its results but in the experience of knowing the presence of God in the midst of the struggle.

Life will through at you some hefty knocks – some bad situations – times when your so sad you will hurt – and times when you will be SO happy you wish it would never end.

Living life with the faith of Christ – the faith that Shadrach, Meshach and Abedego had – will help you pass through the hardest and the best of times knowing that God knows what is happening and all things are in is hands.