Friday, April 29, 2011

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo, a Short Review

A story bouncing around the grapevine about  a kid that has some kinda near death experience and goes to Heaven (the Judeo-Christian version of Heaven) but comes back and lives to tell the tale is sure to get pretty good share of hype. Being a cynic to a factor of Annoying, I never really intended to read this book. But, it just so happened that while at my In-Law's, gearing up for a weekend road-tripping that the book was lying on their kitchen table. Picking it up, noticing that it wasn't a long read, I figured, "what the he.." uh, "why not?"  Finding my way to a nearby couch, book open, kids being incapacitated by bath time -  I dug in.
Admittedly, I read the book fast. I basically skimmed, looking for good stuff. In my impatience, some chapters disappointed, primarily because I was in a "get to the point" kind of mood rather than "let's slow down and smell the roses." So basically any chapter that didn't directly have to do with the boy's describing his experience of the Heavenly bored me in my selfishness. Considering that you may not be as selfish as I, you may not experience that frustration at all and will likely appreciate the extra background given by said chapters. 
But i was in it for the extra yummy stuff, the goods, the Manna from .. well y'know, Heaven. When those golden nuggets did pop up, they didn't disappoint, well not totally.Remember, I'm selfish, impatient, and always wanting for more. So when the author, the boy's father, relays the bits and pieces of Heavenly views the boy experienced I kept saying to myself, "hello?? is that it? what is this, the low-carb value meal? Ask more questions, put the kid in a chair with a spotlight and let the interrogation begin!"    But the author confesses feeling the same, desiring to question the boy and squeeze out all the details but thought better of such an approach for several reasons.  
What you do get from the book is an interesting, thought provoking, encouraging, and mind expanding wonderment that perhaps can only come via the perspective of a child. And that the child's descriptions do seem to align themselves fairly well to Scriptural reference, at least from the interpretation of the author.
Skepticism:  I found this review on the web of the book offering some healthy criticisms about the theological aspects. He argues that the description of Heaven doesn't jive because he is describing the "New Earth" which hasn't been created yet.  A couple of problems I have with this criticism: 1. How do YOU know it hasn't been created yet, just because You or We aren't there yet.  2. Additionally, he assumes that an "intermediate" place that he feels the boy must have gone to,  couldn't have looked just like what Heaven, or the New Earth, or any other place God wants it to look like.
So often we assume the things God can or can't, will or won't do.  The book is an interesting read, and will lift your spirits and Hope for Heaven if you let it. Sure, being skeptical about it is fine. That will just cause you to want to discuss it further with others, which is a great way to let someone know about your own Faith, and to reveal to nonbelievers that it's actually OK to question things pertaining to the Bible.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kingdom Come by Elevation Music and Your Great Name by Natlie Grant

Just a couple of very worshipful songs that you may or may not have heard before. These two both have very sincere lyrics that are worth listening to over and over. I hope you appreciate them as much as I did.

"Oh God arise up in us, we'll show the world how You Love."
"Kingdom Come" - Elevation Music

"The enemy, he has to leave, at the sound of your great name."
"Your Great Name" performed by Natalie Grant

Kingdom ComeLove RevolutionYour Great Name

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Bible Answer Man doesn't believe in a literal Genesis?

This is primarily an emotional response, so it may not be well thought out nor truly accurate of Hank Hanegraaff's beliefs. As you may or may not know, Hank Hanegraaff is part of Christian Research Institute and hosts a radio program called The Bible Answer Man. I don't listen religiously, but on occasion hear it and get interested in the questions that listeners call in with and his answers to them. Quite a challenge to be available to take on any wild question someone might pose. That is usually the fear of any would be evangelizing Christian, "what if they ask a question I can't answer?"
But on today's broadcast (04/21/2011), which I was listening to online, a listener poses a question about Hank's personal belief of the Genesis account of Creation in 7 days. I fully expected a well thought out answer about why we can believe in the literal 7 day creation power of God without any dilution of worldview. What he answered was sorely disappointing. Indeed, instead of what I expected, what I heard was that Genesis was a masterful piece of literature with various tools for helping one remember the events of Christian, but that it wasn't Chronology. Rather for Chronology, one needs to go to "God's other book" namely "Nature." In other words (my words) he is saying go to God for the belief that He made it, but go to Science for how it all came about.
I'm a pretty big follower of the train of thought. Yea, some of their theories seem wild and fly in the face of our modern day science... but I think the big crux of that is the fact that modern day science is generally executed with a WORLD VIEW rather than a BIBLE VIEW of the world. If you take God out of the formula then how can you possibly get the Right answer. So, Hank's comments, especially since he didn't support them with what led him to believe such, sound diluted by a worldview belief in evolutionary science. He didn't say that of course, so maybe he has a different take on the subject. In any case, sounds like dangerous ground to not simply take the Word as literally as possible.
By the way, I was a science major in college, and can have no problem believing that God could have simply created all things in the 7 day window. Do i KNOW that He did, well, I wasn't THERE in the beginning, just as evolutionists weren't either, so for the most part this looking back at the footprints of history and deciding "what happened" is speculation. But what I DO KNOW is that there is a book, that I and many others claim and believe to be the entire Word of God. And that book says creation happened in 7 days. So why in the world would you have an issue with believing it? Unless, that is, you've been taught all your life and continue to be taught, that it's impossible - due to modern day non-Biblical science.
So scary to me, that even Christian speakers, who are famous, and have such a following of consumers - can struggle with the idea that God DID what He said He did, because the scientific non-Biblical worldview has permeated into nearly every avenue of education.
Evolve a backbone... so to speak. :) And do not be ashamed to simply believe what the Word says. And then, use SCIENCE, based on YOUR BIBLE View of the world, to figure out what those footprints you see are telling you.
The New Answers Book, Volume II (Answers Book Series)The Global Flood: A biblical and scientific look at the catastrophe that changed the earth (Answers in Genesis Pocket Guides)AnswersThe Complete Bible Answer Book: Collector's Edition

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tony Evans on Marriage, Focus on the Family, 04/20/2011

"The unfortunate reality is that people usually tell their biggest lie, on their wedding day." - Tony Evans, in a message about marriage and materialism aired on Focus on the Family 4/20/2011. And though his name is Tony, you'll find that he is 'quite Frank' as well. You may want to pull in your toes a bit as they may be stepped on.

Marriage MattersOneness Embraced: Through the Eyes of Tony Evans

Birth of Days

Some people really hate when Birthday time comes around, I am one of those. I hate the attention to my aging body; my diminishing life; my mortality on the earth. I hate being reminded of what I haven't accomplished yet in the years I've been given. I hate stressing about what, if anything, I'll get accomplished in the years I have left. So once a year, with every "happy birthday!" greeting, the reminder of these things are put forth. Sometimes the reminders even come sprinkled with embellishments like "boy you sure are getting old" and other "over the hill" comments. "How's it feel to be another year older?" I get asked by a poor, unsuspecting wisher of good will. I'd like to respond, "Well, similar to how it feels when I kick you square in the face." I'd like to respond that way, I think it, but somehow before the words get from my mind to my voice it gets converted via the "Be Nice" thought converter into something like "oh, just another day."
Though I should thank God for every birthday I see, and I try to - don't get me wrong. Satan likes to pound at us with negativity, and I'm one of those that often lets him. Birthdays were meant for celebration. And if I didn't get those birthday greetings I might well be complaining that "nobody loves me" or some dribble.
So wish me a happy birthday, but you might wanna do it from afar.
God Bless! :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring has Sprung

         Rising up in action, 
but breaking under too much pressure; 
         softening your ride, 
and bringing more light to your every-day

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lee Strobel and Alison Strobel on Focus on the Family 4/14/11

From Focus on the Family 4/14/11
Lee Strobel and his daughter Alison Morrow lend advice and perspective about helping our children develop a Biblical worldview, even amidst the non-Biblical worldviews that they are getting bombarded with.
Part 1

Part 2 - 4/15/2011

Lee is an Atheist-turned-Christian, former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune, is a New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty books and has been interviewed on numerous national TV programs, including ABC, Fox, PBS, and CNN. He presents great arguments as you battle the permeating worldviews all around. Just consider that not only is he an expert in the legal world; but he's also someone who DENIED Christianity, became an Atheist, but then later while on a personal mission to prove that Christ is a fake, found Salvation himself (kind of reminds you of the Apostle Paul huh?)
His books are worthwhile and easy to read, I've not seen the DVD's but I'd be willing to give them a look-see as well. And now, with his daughter's interest in reaching out to kids, we have a children's book that brings some of the same apologetics but in a form kids can enjoy.
That's When I Talk to God The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for JesusThe Case for the ResurrectionThe Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to ChristianityThe Lee Strobel Film Collection

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Picking out Daddy's Shirt

Just wanted to share the amazing things you can discover in the heart of a child. A Daddy asked his 4 year-old boy to "come here." Now this boy is one of those that actually responds fairly well to such a command, being taught that such a command isn't always bad and is often good. So be careful to not make all your directives to your kids things that are "negative" and they might respond the same. But I digress, he came to where I was standing by my closet and I picked up the 40 lb bundle of joy and stepped into where my "work shirts" were hanging. I asked simply, "what do you think Daddy should wear to work tomorrow" (yes I often speak in the third person, I'm sure it's quite confusing and will scar his grammar for years to come).  He scanned the available selection and picked one. I said, "OK, that's what I'll wear" (notice the change from 3rd to 1st person, definitely gonna muck up his English skills). He asks a sensible question, "why don't you know what you were going to wear tomorrow?" Responding, I simply said, "I just thought I'd let Lucas pick (yes, 3rd person again, Lucas is the boy's name of course). At this, he turns his head to face me in acknowledgment of this bestowing of honor, and gives the most genuine hug you can imagine. He ends the moment with "I Love you Daddy."
Now that's what makes being a parent worth it. That's what makes a child's life worth it. You infuse your child with Love AND Discipline, bringing them up in the Way that they should go, being prepared for an amazing ride.
Even Christians wrestle with God, this doesn't make Him any less real.

Genesis 32

Friday, April 8, 2011

Christianity in the 21st Century, Tim Keller speaks with Focus on the Family

The Prodigal GodFocus On The Family has Rev Timothy Keller talking about how to engage non-believers. But within this discussion, I found it interesting how he uses the story of the Prodigal Son from the Bible, and not the part that is typically preached about in church, but rather he focuses on the older brother and makes the parallel to church goers that aren't truly saved.  Part 1 and 2 are linked below, and I'd invite you to go to to see more about what they can offer you, or to make a donation of appreciate for the great speakers and content they produce. Focus has been very inspiring and helpful to me, I know it can be for you as well.

The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that MattersRev Timothy Keller's books and DVDs via Amazon for further reference.

click for Examining Christianity in the 21st Century -click to go to Part 1
and for Part 2

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Scent of Water - Naomi Zacharias, Wellspring International - FoxNews Interview Lauren Green

The Scent of Water: Grace for Every Kind of Broken"the problem with you people [Christians] is that you tell me I should leave [prostitution] but you won't let me forget where I came from." -a prostitute mentioned in the book Scent of Water by Naomi Zacharias

    Naomi, is the daughter of Ravi Zacharias and head of the organization, Wellspring International, an outreach that establishes partnership with existing humanitarian organizations serving women, and children at risk. Naomi Zacharias now has completed a book sharing stories from her experiences in this mission field. Lauren Green of FoxNews interviews Naomi, and even wrote an endorsement for the book after reading it, saying that she literally cried in hearing about the horrible things going on and happening to women and children in other parts of the world - amazed that in our current age these things could go on.
Please watch the interview, and consider checking out the book for an eye opener, perhaps even a motivator to you being involved in praying, supporting, or becoming a worker in the areas of these mission outreaches.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Defending Jesus to Mormons, by being LIKE Jesus - Ravi Zacharias

   Ravi Zacharias is famous for his authoring and speaking, for his apologetics and philosophical debates against attackers of the Christian faith and more importantly the Holy Bible, Word of God. In the linked broadcast below, a concept is exemplified that I felt compelled to point out, and feel compelled to try and LIVE out. Ravi, in the broadcast, delivers a message, of course, this is what he does and has done on countless occasions. What makes this delivery unique is that his words in this message are being heard within the walls of the Mormon Tabernacle in Utah. Why would Mormons want to hear Ravi speak? Perhaps they have a malicious scheme to absorb what he says and twist or utilize it for marketing Mormonism more effectively to weak or alleged Christians. Maybe, but I'd like to believe that they want to hear Ravi speak, because he's Ravi. They want to hear him speak because of how he carries himself; his reputation for being a remarkable speaker of enlightenment; because of his renown of projected goodness, which is of course, Godliness.
So the thought occurs to me, Ravi in living his life and doing what he does is so revered that he is invited to speak in places one would never assume a projector of the Christian faith would be invited to. The notion exemplifies that if we strive to reach others for Christ, even those who would seem to want nothing at all to do with Christ, we need to live as Christ (seems backwards I know). Living us much like Him, keeping Him acknowledged in every minute detail, might just get US invited to then share him to someone who never would have otherwise. Become so revered due to your true faith, that in your circles maybe you, like Ravi, will be asked to SHARE YOUR FAITH.
Who Is Jesus: Defending Jesus Christ as the Way (part 1 of 2)   this takes you directly to the streaming MP3, to get to RZIM's Let My People Think section, of which this broadcast comes from, you can follow this link: RZIM: Let My People Think