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My most recent post was to inform all of our email followers and wordpress.com followers that I  (Brian) would be blogging at our new website http://www.cellsoflife.org.  We have gone through and attempted to resubscribe all of the email followers (we are not able to do that for those that are following through wordpress.com).  A confirmation email was sent to you.  Take a moment and ‘confirm’.

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All new posts will be at http://www.cellsoflife.org.  The site is not complete but the blog is up and running.

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Irrationality of Reason

Irrationality of Reason

I recently watched the debate between Ken Hamm and Bill Nye. Promoted as a debate Creation/Evolution (I am sure that this was just a marketing ploy) the standoff prevailed as entertaining and somewhat informative. I didn’t tune in with the expectation of learning something new but to watch two respected men within a given field present opposing arguments from the same data. It was the craft I was interested in…no really it was the bout.
Attending a Bible College near Washington D.C. it always intrigued me when people would debate a topic, provide two opposing views, drawing from nearly the same data. In the context of the Bible College it was a matter of perspective based on the data. In the case of Hamm and Nye, like at the Bible College, it is their fundamental foundation of faith which provides each their basis of perspective.
Nye referred to himself as a “man of reason”, Hamm, unapologetically, a man of faith. Secularist rightly urged Nye not to subject himself to a battle the he was sure to lose, not because he was wrong, but because Hamm and his followers in Kentucky and abroad are “unreasonable” people, unwilling to accept reality.
I have not searched to many of the responses in the blogosphere. I did receive an email from Ref21 with a link to Rick Phillips’ article that brought a few good gleanings from the debate. I thought it was of value and he has a link to a secularist writer’s response in the article.
While the debate questioned the validity of what Nye referred to as “Hamm’s Model of Origins” ( really it was whether the Scripture’s story of the origins of man was valid ) in today’s modern scientific world, the real area of interest was in the relationship of Nye’s reason and Hamm’s faith.
Nye, as do many secularist, consider’s himself a man of reason. It is my understanding that in this context reason is set in juxtaposition to faith. I guess my question would be is it reasonable to assume that reason can operate completely separate from faith? In other words, is it reasonable to say that faith and reason or at opposite ends or are they in some way unique properties of the same DNA strand?
I get that science in the secularist world declares that there is no room in the “rational” real world for an unseen Intellect that supremely governs that which is known and that which is mystery. The reality of such a position requires faith. I as a believer in the declarations of Holy Writ can openly admit that I can not prove all that I have faith in, namely I cannot show you God whom I serve, but neither can the secularist prove that God whom I serve does not exist. Both positions are faith perspectives.
They may say that I am a fool for believing in what can never be proven. However, naturalism is based in a faith. Faith in a system of facts, many which are historical and that cannot be proven without reasonable doubt, it must be taken by faith – on some level. Sure most secularist would not agree that faith is necessary, I would only say that insisting that something is not necessary doesn’t make it true.
In Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 the Scriptures speak “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.” These are strong words from the Psalmist and difficult to receive apart from being a believer. The argument obvious, “if I don’t believe in God then I am unable to do any good? Then what about all the good things that people do that don’t believe as you do?”
With compassion I can say I understand the difficulty in this truth. It is this difficulty that fuels assertions that the text is irrational, charging archaism to raise skepticism. But does the age of something affect its trustworthiness or truth? Without falling down the rabbit hole of post-modernism I will simply suggest that there is nothing more irrational than the idea of subjective truth.
I am sure that neither I nor a secularist will be persuaded by one another. The only thing that I would ask is that my friends that oppose my view be honest about their faith in naturalism. Admit that there are things that they hold to that cannot be proven. I don’t have an issue with the belief that continued exercising of processes with someday provide understanding that did not previously exist ( that is a faith also ) but I do take issue with the irrationality of reason apart from the truth of faith.

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Cultural Christian

Cultural Christian

What does it mean to be a Christian?  There are certainly several opinions of what it means to be a Christian today.  We are most definitely in a Postmodern society and often it appears that the approach to the Scriptures for some has “evolved” into what is more palatable within the constraints of societal popularities.

There is a view that the Postmodern Christian must be able to operate themselves in the context of what is acceptable while keeping their “values”.  A great example of this is the way the media made a mockery of Tim Tebow, essentially to prove that a Christian must “stay in the closet”, but adversely proclaim the heroism of Jason Collins.  Since we are a civil and supremely intellectual society I am sure there was no intended double standard — and everything on the internet is true.

The Cultural Christian is an interesting species.  They reduce the gospel to a message of values and principles.  For the Cultural Christian “judge not lest ye be judged” is the sum of the biblical message which, in the context of modernity, is applied to the disregard for the biblical standard of holy living.

The Cultural Christian strips the truth of the Gospel message in order to be acceptable to those that reject it.  The Cultural Christian embraces the environment often at the expense of the responsibility of being the “salt of the earth”.

It is definitely a strange time that we are living in if you are “Bible Thumper” — essentially that means that you believe in the Holy Writ and the message of Jesus Christ and that you desire, as God does, that none should perish so you tell other people of salvation through Christ Jesus.  We live in a time where we are to accept everything and stand for nothing.  We live in a country where there is free speech with the following disclaimer – as long as you don’t say anything about morality as described in the Scriptures.

Cultural Christianity is practiced by people in every facet of American society.  From the pulpits through the pews… From the outhouse to the White House.  Cultural Christianity holds a doctrine that focuses on following the teachings of Jesus and not Jesus.  It sounds the same but it is vastly different.

In its subtlety following the teaching Jesus is not the same as believing on, trusting in and relying on the finished work of Jesus at Calvary’s Cross ( a fairy tale story for the enlightened ) since does not require a commitment beyond a statement that Jesus had a good message and He is the Lord.  Following the teaching of Jesus does not change the heart of a person, as we can see by the actions of several high ranking officials that claim to be Christian not excluding the commander in chief.

It is however in this modernity that people will quickly attempt to impute Matthew 7:1 because of in retaliation of my previous without considering the basis of the statement — even James 2:14-17.

But I digress… The point is not to solicit opinions but merely to expose this Gnostic sect that call themselves Christians.  Well I am not a Christian if this is the “new normal”!  I declare that I am a Follower of Jesus Christ!

For the cultural christian church is something you  fit into your life, for the follower it, like the Synagogue, is at the center of your life.  More clarification is needed here but we will save that for another time.

Here’s to being a good old fashion sold out believer in the life and timeless work of Jesus Christ for the salvation of those that will submit to His Lordship believing against the practical-ness of life on a Hope that can’t be explained or learned but that must be revealed! (Matt. 16)

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Determined Faith, Discipleship Thinking

Determined Faith: A Decision to Seek and Touch God

One of my favorite passages of Scripture is found in Mark 5:21-43  where Jairus, a leader in the synagogue, has sought out Jesus and requested for him to come and heal his dying 12 year old daughter.  As Jesus is on the way to Jairus’ house there is a large crowd of people that are approaching, gathering, and begin following him.  They were trying to get close to Jesus because of the great things that they heard about him.

The story takes on an interesting focus as the “camera” turns to a woman that had a 12 year old issue of which she relentlessly searched for a cure with no positive results.  In verses 27-28 the Scripture reads, “She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28 For she said, ‘If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.'” (ESV)  This narrative of the woman within the story of Jairus ends with positive results for the woman.  Her name is never given but her mindset may be one of the most important insights we can get from the Scriptures as it pertains to the power of determined faith (see v. 34 of the same chapter).

Though there are many applications that can be drawn from this passage I will only focus on one.  That is the woman’s determined faith.  It is her determined faith that caused her to make a decision to do something different.  Not only did she do something different, her determined faith caused her to believe and trust that her actions would produce what was seemingly impossible.  In other words, if she simply considered all the she had done then she may not have made the decision to continue in her relentless search for wholeness — her salvation.

Yes, her previous attempts put her in man’s hands and this time she was in the Master’s hands.  But how many of us today have gone through a number of scenarios where we have trusted that people would be able to help us, or that they would simply do what they say they are going to do?  How many of us charge to God what are the failures of mankind?

Sure we could agree that she had nothing to lose.  But doing something under the mindset of “I have nothing to lose” rarely, if ever, has a foundation in faith.  In fact I would say that the exact opposite is true.  The “nothing to lose” mindset is one of hopelessness not of hope.  Hopelessness certainly is at least an attribute of faithlessness.

What I love about this story is that at some point she made a decision to seek God and touch him.  While there were many people that were “pressing in on God” she believed something about Jesus that his fans did not.  It is even interesting that Jairus sought Jesus that he would come and touch his daughter.  But this woman did not seek Jesus to touch her but that she, finding him, would touch him.

It is a subtle difference but I believe it is a noteworthy difference.  Believers often sit, pray and wait for God to “touch” there situation.  Rarely to we not only carry the circumstance to God in determined faith seeking to touch Him.

It’s funny as I read through the passage that God, the Lord Jesus Christ, was not even looking at her!  Yet her faith and determined faith to fight through the crowd, to find Christ, and touch him made her well.

Determined faith doesn’t just look like prayer, it looks like purposed prayer and purposed fasting with a relentless reliance (faith) on the compassions of God.

Make a decision to seek God.  Make a decision to reach for God to touch God and believe that when you initiate contact with him he will surely supply to you that which you are seeking him for.

Prayerfully develop a determined faith.

#CellsOfLife

Rev. Brian Green is an ordained Associate Minister at Emmanuel Baptist Church of Laurel, MD.  You can connect to him on Twitter at @ChristEternal

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Floaties and Faith, General Articles

Floaties and Faith

I recently went on vacation with my family and spent several hours at the pool with my children. My son swims just fine and my daughter (3) is fond of the water but does not know how to swim yet. Naturally, I take her out into the water while holding her but I also do several things to prepare her to begin swimming on her own. I have purchased a few things, such as a swim suit with built in flotation pads and a small kick board (or minature boogie board) just to name a couple of items.

One of her older cousins (4) was in the pool with her with blow-up arm balloons. These were quite interesting to her so we decided to allow her to use one of her other family member’s blow-up arm balloons so that she too could float with them. The purpose of these arm floats are to minimize the bodily restriction of the child while still keeping them from sinking below head level… a brilliant invention! or not if you are my daughter.

As I listened to her scream at the top of her lungs for the full 93 seconds that we were able to endure the shreik while at the same enduring the smiles and snickers of our onlooking neighbors, I simple said to her “daddy is right here what is the matter?”
None of the “soothing” words seemed to penetrate the fear that she was suffering from. I asked the same thing repeatedly and added “don’t you want to learn to swim” While trying to explain the physics behind the balloons that surely would not allow her to sink. ” What are you afraid of”, I said.

“I don’t want you to let me go”, she said. I sat and her the Lord clearly in her words to me, “If I don’t let you go you won’t learn to swim…but I am right here I won’t let you sink.” God uses my daughter in so many ways to communicate His word to me. Floaties are like faith, you don’t know it works until your in the water by yourself.

#CellsOfLife
#StrengthandFaith

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All She Said Was I Want God, General Articles

All She Said Was “I Want God”

The other evening my daughter and I were laying in the bed planning to drift off to sleep together.  Every night she says her prayers and typically gets a story read to her.   This particular evening we were just laying in the bed (she didn’t want to lay in her own bed since for some reason mommy and daddy’s bed has better pillows to sleep on — trust me, I am enjoying this for as long as I can — )

Before I forget let me back track a little bit.  Earlier in the day my daughter (she is 3) was asking about where God was. In my own feeble attempts I tried to explain to her (she is 3) how God was all around us, and how He lived in those that believed and committed themselves to Jesus.  Oh yes, quit a feat.  You know it is so funny to me how the Lord will show me how much I really don’t know.  As I continue to increase in Theological width and depth of understanding, learning the several different positions of thought in various areas of the Christian doctrine, considering the deep things of God, but yet the simplest things baffle me to no end and have become so very difficult to explain.   Especially to a 3 year old!

[You know you can preach the gospel when you can explain to a 3 year old the existence of God in a way that is true to the message of the bible and on their level of understanding.  Pray for me because I am obviously not there yet LOL…]

So, like I said my daughter asked me about God and she explained how she wanted to touch him.  She wanted to see and touch God and couldn’t understand why she could not do so.  She said , “I can’t touch God because He is all the way up there”.  Again I told her “No, babygirl God is not just up there He is right here with us…”  Well, I don’t think I did a great job of explaining to her but the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, prepared an opportunity for me to learn something about Him that I had misplaced myself.

My daughter and I are laying in bed ready to drift off to sleep.  Since we were not quite ready the lights were still on as she lay on my arm while I continued to read my book.  I decide to get up and turn off the light.  When the lights went out she says, “I want God…I can’t see Him, but I want Him”.  WOW!

In the darkness I say this, “Babygirl, can you see daddy?”

She says, “No.”

I say, “Well, how do you know I am here?”

She said, “I can hear you and your right there.”

I said, “We can’t see God but if we learn the sound of His voice we will always know He is there.”

I don’t know how much she took in but I know it sure did prick the center of my own heart.  What a reminder. And to think all she said was, “I want God“.

#CellsOfLife

#COLNewNation

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