Monday, September 8, 2014

Today Was an Eventful Day...

For those who don't know me personally and therefore don't follow me on Facebook or Instagram, I want to recount today what I have witnessed and been a part of because it was a phenomenal experience!

I do want to warn some however that I will be getting into specific topics that some may not want to hear and or listen to.

Okay, here it goes. So today, after my College Writing course out here at MSU, I walked outside and low & behold there was a man who was preaching the Gospel to a bunch of college students. As a believer myself, this was obviously of great comfort and joy to me, so I sat down and listened from across the way. As this man, who's name is Keith, was speaking the Truth of Scripture, others, atheists & agnostics alike, began to, as you can imagine, debate him.

One kid asked about why Christians don't sacrifice animals to God anymore, to which the Keith asked him to give back an answer. The kid said, "because it's no longer socially acceptable" or something to that effect. Keith pressed on asking the kid to give an answer from his position, and the kid continued to say "because of society". He would refuse to even acknowledge the position of Keith, the position of Christianity. Finally, Keith told him he was done with the conversation because he refused to acknowledge his position on why we no longer perform animal sacrifices.

For those curious, obviously Jesus is the reason we no longer perform animal sacrifices to God to atone for our sins. John 1:29 refers to Jesus as the "Lamb of God", meaning the ultimate sacrifice. Hebrews 7:27 and 1 Timothy 2:5 also talk about this. Obviously as we know from the first few chapters of Genesis that God had not intended animal or human sacrifices at all, though after the Fall it was the only way to atone for our sin.

Anyway, back to the story. So as this kid gets frustrated and leaves because he's not winning his argument, another kid shows up. Now this kid, who I'll call Z because that was the first letter of his name though I don't remember is name, although was pretty disrespectful to Keith, he actually had some good, intelligent, and respectful conversation later, though I'll get to that in a bit. Z began arguing against Keith by using the basis of "logic". Now here's the thing about logic. Logic means "reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity". That's what it means. Now here's the question I want to ask you, and if you don't give me the right answer then you're obviously fooling yourself, this is going back to philosophy class. How can you prove something exists? The correct and only answer is, no matter how much evidence you give or how much you want to believe something, you ultimately cannot prove that anything exists.

Think of "The Matrix" for a second. When Neo was living in the Matrix, everything felt real, it tasted real, it looked real, it smelled real, and it felt real, at least based on his trust in his own senses. However, when he took the red pill and woke up, he realized that he wasn't anywhere near where, or even when, he thought he was. Now, yes this is just a film but think about it for a second, can you really prove you're in front of a computer right now reading this? Can you really prove that what you're seeing/reading is real? If so how? Because you can see and feel it? How can you prove that you're not like Neo and your senses are being manipulated by an outside force? Or like extremely vivid dreams, how do you know you're not in the world of "Inception"? I'm not trying to make you question life or anything like that, I'm just bringing up a point.

Now back to logic. If we're going by the definition of logic, it's something we can infer based on reasoning or "principles of validity". Can we prove that the Bible is true? Can we physically see the events described in the Bible (the parting of the Red Sea, David killing Goliath, Jesus on the cross, etc.) happen in real life? Can they be repeated? Well, no, we cannot. On the other hand, can we prove that evolution (and I'm talking macro not micro) is something that took place where we as humans were once apes and now human? No we can't because we haven't found "the missing link" and we clearly don't see apes evolving into different species nowadays. On that note, can we prove the big bang theory either? Absolutely not, when have you ever blown something up and it turned into anything but rubble? 10/10 times when you blow something up it's just destroyed! You never see a building that's blown up turn into a bigger building unless someone physically came and rebuilt it (thus pointing to a creator once again...).

Sorry, I went off on another tangent there, but I think you get my point (anything italicized is off the main topic by the way, still important but not on my main train of thought, different track). Logic, as an idea or a concept, cannot technically be proven to be true or not. People always talk about the "logical" solution, but what does that mean? On top of that, what if my logic is different than yours? Now I'm getting into something really philosophical so I'll stop there, but I think you understand my point. You may not be able to 100% prove GOD (that's where faith comes in by the way, we're saved by faith not works, not calculations, not knowing, but by faith, Ephesians 2:8), but you also cannot 100% prove anything else, regardless of the "evidence".

By the way, this in no way means that I don't believe in absolutes or absolute Truth. Just because you can't 100% prove something (and by that I mean ANYTHING), doesn't mean absolute Truth does not exist. I believe The Lord God is Absolute Truth as He is my Absolute Authority. Jesus said that the entire reason He came to Earth in the first place was to testify to the Truth (John 18:37). Ultimately, one day either we'll die and there will be nothing, or we'll die and meet the Creator as Absolute Truth is revealed to us 100%.

So Keith continued to talk to Z about this, saying what I previously stated and more, but Z didn't want to hear it. To him, using the Bible as evidence was counter-productive, to which I understand his point. You can't use the Bible to prove the Bible, but there are plenty of other resources that we can use. For instance, there are cave drawings and legends of a world-wide Flood as described in Genesis that Noah and his family survived. Are these not evidence that further proves Scripture? The ancient philosopher Josephus wrote in his book the "Antiquities of the Jews" about John the Baptist, James the brother of Jesus, Pontius Pilate, and even about Jesus Himself as well as the origins of Christianity. What about the chariot wheels found at the very bottom of the Red Sea? Or the fact that, as prophesied in the Old Testament, Israel is a nation again?

There's a lot of historical and archaeological evidence for the Bible's validity than people look for or care to admit, but the point of Christianity isn't to prove its validity, it's in fact to share the good news of the Gospel and to spread the Word of Jesus Christ to those who will listen. That's what Keith was trying to do here today at MSU, but sadly there were many who did not want to hear it. Does that shock you? It certainly didn't shock me.

Luckily the story doesn't stop there. After everyone started winding down away from Keith, different Christians (students mind you) began talking to the kids mocking Keith and asking him questions that they already knew the answer to. One of them was a brother, and dare I say friend, named Deonte Flowers (yes, that is really his name, and yeah, he's on the football team). Now, Deonte is an awesome guy. Two weeks ago while I attended Grace Bible Church's college-age ministry and fellowship called CrossLife (which I'm now regularly attending and LOVING by the way), I heard Deonte share his testimony as I was encouraged and convicted, leaving it with my heart truly feeling what it means to have radical faith in Jesus Christ. I have to say, for anyone from CrossLife to show up and answer genuine questions that kids had or get into real deep conversation about God, it was him. After listening from where I was sitting for a while, I decided to join Deonte and jumped into the conversation myself. Other fellow believers (from different college ministries as well) also contributed and it was an amazing and fruitful discussion where we talked morality, true Christians, Creation, purpose of man, and more, and it was great. We were probably out there for about 2 hours total as people came and left. By the end of it, it was just myself and two fellow believers, each from a different college-age campus group dedicated to spreading the love and good news of Jesus, named Gavin and Sam. They were great guys who truly just wanted to share the Word of God with others.

Before I wrap up I want to cover a few topics that we touched on in greater detail in our discussions today but that I would like to present here just for the sake of both of our benefits (myself writing it all down and you reading, and hopefully thinking about, it). Is there any such thing as morality without God? The short answer to that question is no. No one man, no human, can make up morality and set it as the standard for everyone else, because even he can't find it. We all know that it's wrong to lie, even if you're doing it for "the right reasons". We all know that it's wrong to steal, or murder, or rape, or hate, or fill-in-the-blank. But HOW do we know this? WHY do we know this? I would present to you that it's because we were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27, imago dei) and that we, deep down, know right and wrong not just because humanity ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but also because God knows good and evil, and we were created in His image. Case and point, when I'm writing a story, it's hard for me to NOT put myself into my characters, especially my main characters, and every character that I write (mainly the protagonist) has some sort of personal connection to me, whether if it's his name, description, the way he talks, or his beliefs, it always points back to who I am as a person based on my own personal experiences. Remember, God is an author, an artist, He constantly puts Himself into His creation, into His story, because it's who He is! He may have used specific humans to write down the words of Scripture, but it was He that inspired it so that we may know Him (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Galatians 1:11-12, 1 Corinthians 14:32-33)! Without a perfect standard like God, like Jesus, for morality, then we could all just do what we want with no consequences.

What is a true believer? When talking with Z and Cam and other people we met today, one thing that they threw at us was that "Christians" could easily say they believe in Christ when they really don't, and still go around killing people while claiming to be a Christian. Deonte and I were not terribly excited to get into that argument given all the bloodshed spilled in the name of religion, but I pointed them to two verses of Scripture (Matthew 7:15-16 and 1 John 2:4) that talk about knowing believers by their works, as faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26), and also realizing that if they say they believe one thing and do another, as is the case with anything really, then they're most likely a liar.

As for Creation, it's clearly stated in Genesis 1 that GOD created ALL. There isn't much more I can say about it. There was no "Big Bang", there was no "evolutionary process", God created plants, animals, the elements, and man all separately, and specifically set man apart from animals by creating them/us in His image (the imago dei, again seen in Genesis 1:27). That's pretty straight forward. The purpose of man, why God created us in the first place, is one that we can only begin to answer. God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden, talked with them, had a relationship with them, so on one hand I would say that God created us so He could have a relationship with us. Not because He was lonely or because we're arrogant enough to claim that He wanted a relationship with US, but because He desired that fellowship that we now share with Him and the Body of Christ through church, youth group, and good conversation. The other reason I believe He created us is because, and I'm just talking here I don't truly know (none of us do) but I like to speculate, He wanted us to worship Him. Quite honestly, I'm sure He missed when Lucifer would play music for him, the same way David did to Saul, but after Lucifer fell and became Satan, I'm sure it left a hole in Heaven's Host in terms of their worship section. Again, this is all speculation, I don't really know and I WON'T pretend to know, but these are conclusions that I think may be possible via my own personal study of Scripture, which is why I didn't include any references for this part because I would rather you all do your own research than look at mine as fact.

I'm happy to report that Keith is in town for a few days and will continue to preach and MSU during the upcoming school days, which I think it awesome and cannot wait to listen to once again. However, I really and truly hope that more believers, we had quite the turn out today, but that more young believers will stand up for their faith and be excited to share the Gospel with their peers. I know that those of us (Deonte, Sam, Gavin, Micah, and myself) were really excited to be there ourselves, and if anyone from MSU is reading this, I hope and pray that you are willing to be there too, not just in the next few days, but over the course of this school year and the next! I'll leave you with a verse that I constantly remember every time I look at the mountains that surround the area in which I now live, which points to the Lord God Himself and reminds us that faith can come from the simplest of things. Cheers everybody!
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. - Romans 1:20

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