Advent Carries me

Today, I attended my daughter’s chapel service at East Side Lutheran School. I remember each time I go to Chapel on Wednesdays why I enjoy this school. Listening and singing along with the k-8 sing God’s praises enlivens my soul. Each element of a service, simple or complex, is meant to illuminate God and his Word…and ‘Oh thank God I received much illumination’ this morning. I need Advent.

My soul is often darkened by the vices of this life. But lo their breaks the next season of the church and I am accosted by His light. Now, so bright I lose myself. Else, constant stream peering through I draw nigh to find myself. I need Advent to illumine the darkness of my heart as much as I need the sun to illumine the world before me.

I hear John the Baptist, all rugged and true, calling, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” At my best, much confidence arises, and I can say, “I am ready.” Every other moment though I cry out, “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” Advent is a magnet that draws out my true intentions. Why do I do what I do? Do I really love? Have I lived my life well?

I recently wrote an old boss of mine. He will be retiring soon in his 60’s. He is by all measures a good, even a great man and a wonderful Christian. He wrote back saying, “It’s bitter sweet thinking about retiring. On the one hand it is nice to be able to focus on other things but on the other hand it is one step closer to being off of this earth sooner…” The Day is drawing nigh. Like moths around a flame our moment of firing will come. In the seasons of the church we are asked pointed questions about holiness and our openness to God and his Word.

The way I developed myself through the years keeps me asking “What’s the next thing?” Specifically, what mountain do I run up next? I have been graced to achieve several of the big goals I have set for myself (Master’s Degree, being an Apologetics oriented Pastor, taking part and hosting a debate on God’s Existence…to name a few). And, although I know there is much more to go after, I am reminded that I often am asking the wrong question. The real question is, “What and who am I loving?”

This may at times also be characterized as a sort of mountain. In C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce” we are all asked to walk toward the Mountain that God himself resides at. Yet, so many find this difficult. We take our witless excuses and dress them up to make them sound like sophisticated reasons why walking toward the mountain is not the right thing for us now. Witless dressed beautifully, is still witless. That nakedness will be shown for what it is on the Day. It may be easy to deceive ourselves now, but then even we will be horrified by the ruthless sight of our vices exposed and our loose preparation for Him.

Each year we hear the voice of one crying in the wilderness and we get another go at making a straight path for HIM. May the grace of bravery be upon us to push back the laziness and attend to holiness.

Pastor Isaac

All Saints Day

In many ways I would make a great Anglican, at least in the classical sense. Anglicanism is a mix of the classic catholic (read pre-reformation) style of worship and prayer as well as classical Protestant theology surrounding the doctrines of faith and grace. I even made up my own joke to illustrate this VIA MEDIA (middle way), which unless you enjoy Church history, you may not appreciate. Here it goes.

What happens when you mix a German Lutheran with an Irish Catholic? You get an English Anglican! I am usually the only one cracking up when I tell this joke. Still, the Middle Way has been incredibly attractive to me. We might say (in Hegelian fashion) that the Thesis was catholic (read pre-reformation) doctrine, the Antithesis was Protestantism, but the Synthesis was Anglicanism. One can be a synthesis without having to attend a building with the name on it.

Evangelical Protestants, at least in Wisconsin, have complained about traditional churches ad nauseum. I am my own source on this. I have sat through the sermons and spoke with dozens of Pastors and even more Christians of this stripe. Sometimes I relate to their complaints, but other times those complaints are misdirected. Let’s not forget Jesus’ words on the speck and the plank here.

Every time I am preaching from the Scriptures on something that sounds a bit more liturgical, I have to remind everyone that this is found in the Bible! All Saints Day, and Reformation Day, afford us a moment to reflect again on the kind of event the Reformation was, and how, despite differences, Christians can still be one in Christ, regardless of their denomination.

The Reformation is still debated to this day. Was it a return to doctrinal purity? Or, was it a breach of Christian Unity? Was it inevitable? Is it still going on today or has it long ended? These questions are actually quite difficult to answer in simple ways. If Protestant you see it one way, if Catholic another, and it seems there is some grain of truth in both answers.

One of my Professors at Asbury, Kenneth Collins wrote a book critiquing Catholicism. The read is quite heady, but is worth it to those who can. Still, as much as his critique of Catholicism is real, he has also written prolifically that some of the greats in the Protestant tradition, would be correcting the ideas that modern day Protestants have. I remember distinctively sitting in one of his classes where he critiqued this novel idea that somehow, after forgiveness, God does not actually remember our sins. He challenged the class that this could not be the case.

Even more, on the Doctrine of Salvation, Evangelicals often maintain a simplistic understanding of the term. Some use it in such narrow categories that at least some churches think about it as the moment of deciding for Christ, and not as a process throughout life with distinctive moments.

I am highlighting my Professor’s thoughts to illustrate one thing. Whether, Catholic or Protestant, or some Middle Way, there is room to critique ourselves and see how well we truly hold up to Scripture and the early church. This thought is our reminder from the Reformation. Yet, with this in place, should this not allow us to remember the great Christians in both traditions in time’s past? Moreover, it is a reminder of all our imperfections, which should drive us to rest on God’s perfection.

When we come into the doors of Church on All Saints Day, let’s remember God’s grace through the Catholics, the Protestants, as well as the middle way, of Anglicanism. Both those who have died and those who are still alive on earth. This All Saints Day, let’s pray for real solutions to bringing the divided branches of Christianity back together. Whether it is achievable or not, the final result in heaven includes that unity for all who truly love the Lord. Therefore, until we reach that great City of God, we must always be striving forward to it in the City of this World.

3 General Books

When I am not reading for Theological and Philosophical purposes (writing, debate, or preaching) I like to keep learning in other areas as well. Today I just finished three books. I was reading them a chapter a day (albeit missing most weekends). Reading outside of my research area, is fun and relaxing and sometimes allows me to be better informed in other areas. Here are the three books.

  1. Retire Inspired, by Chris Hogan – This book is a great book if you need information on thinking about your retirement, regardless of your age. The author is connected with Dave Ramsey, and follows the same 7 Baby Steps, but then offers a whole lot more information on retiring well. A colleague gave this book to me.
  2. Women with Money, by Jean Chatzky – This book was an enjoyable read, albeit it was directed at the females. I found it at the library and thought it could contribute to the book by Chris Hogan above. I also thought it might help me understand my wife a bit better as well. This was a nicely written book, that highlights some social inequalities between male and female income in the same jobs, but also the differences between the way many females interact with money compared with males. There is plenty of information regarding buying a house, spending fun money, saving for retirement, and taking care of your parents later in their lives.
  3. 168 Hours, by Laura Vanderkam – Laura, at the time of this writing, is a busy mother, wife, writer, and is highly involved in singing and planning choral based productions. This book is an evaluation of how we use our time. Laura writes to offer better ways of using our 168 hours in ways that please us and still get more done while not sacrificing family time. Laura recommends that we write down 100 dreams that we all have, both small and large. Personal, familial, religious, work, and more. Then, ask what are we doing to accomplish those great dreams of ours. Moreover, recommendation is to focus on our core competencies that will advance us in the areas that we most care about. We can always be stretched so thin, but when we evaluate what is stretching us, a lot of times these areas do not reflect our values. It is a worthwhile book to ponder how you use your time. One area that comes up again and again is how we use screens. Put them down and turn them off and you will have a lot more time!


Augustine’s City of God – Book 1

I am reading through the great Augustine’s ‘great book,’ “The City of God.” It’s around 700 pages, and he wrote it over a 14 year period in his upper 50’s till he was 70. In his time, (early 400’s) Christians were being blamed for the sack of Rome. That somehow, this destruction of Rome was being placed on the Christian religion, is something Augustine shows great surprise at and offers a whole new way of thinking about events like these. Yet, even the Christians were surprised that this event could happen at all. Rome was going to stand forever, at least in many an ancient mind. He spends the first book (think a long chapter) of many, arguing that this could not be the case, and the blame needs to go elsewhere.

What is great about this book so far, is that we get to see what the introduction describes as the first Philosophy of History. Basically, a large angle lens that interprets all of history, and particularly the history of Rome’s fall with meaningful explanation. Augustine’s point is that the kind of religion that Christians follow, is one in which the people are challenged to holiness. They are challenged to live good lives, so much so that if everyone were really a Christian, Rome would not have been able to fall.

However, Augustine’s greater point is that the kingdom of God, which he calls the City of God, is distinct from the City of this World. Where the people of this world act in ways contrary to God’s goodness, it is only inevitable that society will devolve and become vulnerable. He spends time listing how even the non-Christians of Rome that found refuge in the churches, were spared their lives both the invaders. Augustine’s point, seems to be that the real God was able to protect those who came to him, even on the basis of pretense from them losing their lives.

He lists some rather immoral practices that the invaders did during their sacking of Rome, such as rape young women who had dedicated their whole bodies to the Lord. And, as much as he answers questions Pastorally about these events, namely that the women are still pure in the Lord, despite this heinousness happening to them, he also offers a broader point which contrasts the false gods and their behaviors as well as the behaviors of those society looked up to, with the steadfastness of God’s people through trials like these.

Again, he is offering God’s people the edge, because of the City that they are a part of.

Why God? A Reflection on the Problem of Evil

“Why God?” This is the question that arises during times of sorrow and loss. I recently did the funeral for a cousin on my wife’s side of the family. She was only 32 and left two wonderful children at her passing. The funeral was in West Palm Beach, Florida. All around us were gated communities, with high HOA fees, and all the niceties that come with it. From the houses, to the grass, the air conditioning, and not to mention the awesome waterparks attached to various housing communities. The modern world has a way of causing us to forget about death. Well, at least until it comes close to us.

When death strikes, the pain unmasks our wealthy poverty. Grief is present and powerful. The relationship of daughter, mother, cousin, and more become so close that modernity itself comes to a crashing halt. What are we to say of suffering and God?

We cannot and should not blame suffering on the devil. This gives him too much power. Moreover, we cannot and should not blame all suffering on “sin,” although the Catholic Catechism is right to say that it acts like an air pollutant, and thus is part of the problem. Moreover, it does not ‘feel’ right to blame all suffering on God. We know he is good and just and merciful. So, how shall we answer the question of pain and suffering?

A quick aside. If you are in the middle of grief or suffering right now, philosophical answers tend not to go so far in the moment, even if they are true. I recommend, spending time with a friend or counselor to walk you through the pain.

The truth is that God is in some sense on the ‘hook’ for the suffering that we see in this world, because he set the world up to work and operate the way that it does. However, in another sense he is off the hook, because if he was going to create a good world, he has limitations on the kind of world that he can create in the first place. Perhaps a better way of saying this is that God could end all suffering right now if he was prepared to take away several of the most important and good attributes that this world has to offer in the first place. For instance:

  1. God could end all human evil, and hence the suffering that comes with it, if he took away free-will. Namely, he could have stopped Hitler’s action, he could stop the lies that happen in marriages, he could stop all the racism. However, for God free-will is a valuable and good thing, despite the consequences that it has for evil. Without free-will there would be no love, and hence there would be no Mother Teresa’s in this world or Ghandi’s etc. God considers the enshrining of free-will a greater good, that presupposes the possibility of incredible evil. If asked “why?” about a murder, the answer is that someone used their free-will to kill someone else. Free-will answers the question of human (moral) evil. But, what about the natural suffering in the world?
  2. God could end all suffering if he took away the natural laws that operate this world/universe. Remember, that the natural laws are things like gravity. With repeated experiments and observations scientists (and humans in general) have figured out the way much of the world works. Let’s use an example that is used in the Philosophy of Religion. It’s really simple; water. Water has the capacity to bring health to our bodies. One drink on a hot and dry day can greatly aid us. At the same time, water has the ‘power’ to drown us. Unless God is willing to change these properties in each circumstance we are in (and he is not willing in 99.9999999 (imagine seeing 9’s to infinity here) % of the time), then we will see the natural consequences that they bring. Namely, if we jump off of a building, we can know (that without a net or some other safety device) that we will crash into the pavement below in ways that destroy our bodies. Therefore, when we are asking “Why someone died?” we can simply answer by highlighting the natural circumstances of their condition or situation. So, in the case of a drowning, we can say that a given person drowned, “because water filled their lungs and they were unable to breath until they died.” The natural answer really is good enough here, as harsh as it may be sometimes.

Moreover, it would be a very strange world indeed if God did jump in to mess with the trillions and trillions of possible circumstances by changing the natural laws. Natural laws are a good thing. They help us to know that when we walk out of our houses in the morning, gravity won’t switch at random and we go up into space never to come back again. They help us to know and interact with the world that we live in.

Therefore, God sees that the natural laws are the very rules and tools for humanity to get to know the world. Having an orderly world means that we can use our reasoning in such a way as to make decisions. Without the natural laws, the concepts of free-will and reason (both of which God highly values) cannot exist in any strong or valid way.

A littler further reflection on Natural Evil

I myself think that natural evil does not make any sense. In the philosophical literature, moral evil is the kind of evil that humans do. I answered that above in a short paragraph on free-will. However, that is only one half of the equation about ‘evil.’ Very often we are asking questions that have no free-will attached to the apparent evil done. Examples of what are called ‘natural evil’ abound, such as, earthquakes, avalanches, tornadoes, tsunami’s, cancers, and much much more.

Why are these things taking place? Again, my answer is that these things are not actually “evil.” They just are. They are destructive for sure. They cause lots of pain and sorrow. No one will deny this. But, to call that “evil” seems to be attributing to a non-rational agent (let’s say an earthquake) moral power and capacities. However, natural events have no moral power whatsoever. They happen without intention or moral force. We cannot say, “That evil tsunami” because a tsunami is not evil. It is just a force that takes place in the ocean that impacts the land that humans and other living things abide.

Therefore, my answer to the question about the problem of evil is really that we only need answer the moral problem of evil. Once that question is answered with free-will, we simply need to understand that the natural laws are a prior good. Sure, they can cause much destruction, but ‘on the whole’ they set up the possibility of a better world than one without them. Again, if there are no natural laws, anything can happen at any time for no reason whatsoever, and that would be much more destructive than the world that we live in.

The universe that we live in, although set up by God, is set up for the good and long-range goals God has, such as giving people free-will, building an orderly universe, gifting human creatures with reasoning capabilities, and more. This means, that when events happen, God is not to blame in the sense that he did a given act in the moment. Instead, the moment can be explained in natural terms. Cancer takes lives. Lions eat antelope. Earthquakes hurt populations that build their societies near fault lines, etc.

Suffering and evil take place because the kind of things that make for learning, stability, love, and more are enshrined by free-will, natural laws, and the power of reason. These are great goods, which all the while allowing for great evil or destruction. We might say, for clarity purposes, that if God wants the incredibly important categories of free-will, natural-laws, and the powers of reason, there are certain possibilities that can always happen. Hence, suffering.

God and Time….and Services

Occasionally, one wonders about the length of our services. These prospective visitors, are making sure they will not be coming to a three hour marathon every Sunday. Here is my take on God, Time, and Services.

First, time is relative. In the book “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking, one learns that time is different depending on (1) where you are in the universe, (2) how far off the ground you are, and (3) how fast you are traveling. To give one example, if you could travel near the speed of light, you would not age as fast as someone on earth. We now know, there are no universal clocks. On earth we measure time based on earths turning (a day) and rotation around the sun (a year). This is not the same on Mars or Jupiter or in some other galaxy.

Second, God has no time. Therefore, his ‘ability’ to ‘move’ in a given length of service is the same. One does not get more of God, just because the services are longer. If you did, then perhaps we all should convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, because their services are long. 🙂

Third, most length of service discussions around the world are culturally driven. When I am in Honduras, I too preach for two hours. When I am here in Sun Prairie, I usually go for twenty five minutes.

Fourth, our length is an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. In this ‘time,’ we try not to ‘generate’ the work of God, but rather trust that God is working. There is a big difference between us ‘priming the pump’ and ‘controlling’ how we think God should work versus just letting God work, regardless of what response we see.

Fifth, the church of the first 1600 years relied not on the length, but on the Word of God in Scripture and the Grace of God in communion. If these two arenas were covered, then a legitimate Christian service had been held and God’s grace was received.

Sixth, I think it is an act of kindness, especially in our culture, to let people out ‘on time.’ It means we prayed throughout the week, trusted God in the song choices, sermon preparation, and Scripture texts. God ‘works’ methodically in the preparation process throughout the week, not just in spontaneous moments on Sunday.

Seventh, on a somewhat separate note, if you wanted to write a theological treatise on ‘God and Time’, you could. There is actually quite a large and heady discussion on “time” in academia if you happened to be interested in spending your earth’s rotations on it. 🙂

-Pastor Isaac


A Better Christianity from Classical Christianity

I was reading about a church leader named Ambrose in the late 300’s. Because of his work showing the reasonableness of Christianity, he was helpful in the conversion of one of the largest theological and philosophical minds in history, Saint Augustine. I so wish we can regain the reasonableness of classic Christianity that Ambrose offered Augustine. Therefore, I am offering a number of correctives for our world based upon the Church’s teaching through the ages.

  1. We need to affirm God’s love for all people and His desire that all be saved.
  2. We need to affirm the goodness of our reasoning powers. At times our reasoning is flawed, such as when we miscalculate something. But, our reasoning has classically been looked at as one of the major elements of being made in the image of God.
  3. We need to affirm the goodness of our physical bodies and stop divorcing physical and spiritual life in such broad ways.
  4. We need to affirm that there are good reasons to believe God exists, not just a blind leap of faith.
  5. We need to affirm that Scripture, Tradition, and Reason are all trump cards over experience. If someone has an experience and I have a sound reason, then I am closer to the truth.
  6. We need to affirm the freedom of the will. ‘Get-rich quick type’ gimmicks abound in various parts of Christianity and sometimes bring in the numbers. But we must seek lasting fruit that allows others their free choice and room for God to work too.
  7. We need to affirm that “anointed” preachers and teachers do not get an ‘automatically true’ pass in their teaching and preaching. We have always been told to discern everything.
  8. We need to affirm being true to God and his way over and against the endless use of the phrase, ‘be true to yourself.’ Check out N.T. Wrights book “After We Believe” for a more robust look at this concept.
  9. We need to affirm both commands and character development as a means to honoring God with our decisions.
  10. We need to affirm that God created the heavens and the earth. Classic Christian teaching has always affirmed “that” God created all things, but it has not affirmed “how” God created.
  11. We need to affirm that Christians have the right to believe what they think is true regarding the age of the earth and universe without feeling like they betrayed the Faith. Historic Christianity has not ruled on the age of the earth, and therefore we are allowed to search these questions out ourselves with and modern science.
  12. We need to affirm that the Bible is not to be read as the same genre in all its books. There are many genre’s and literary devices that control how various books are to be read (literally, historically, religiously, poetically, metaphorically, a mixture, etc).
  13. We need to affirm that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, but we should not give in to easy speculations regarding percentages of persons going to heaven or hell. This is God’s domain, and he knows who are seeking him across the world.
  14. We need to affirm the mission of the church to preach the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the means of salvation and put our efforts forward to bring the message to our neighbors and world.
  15. We need to affirm the real presence of Christ in communion. “How” or in “what way” Christ is present, has been long debated, but that He is present has been long held.
  16. We need to affirm the reality of sin. With all the attempts to psychologize sin away, we still should hold that sin separates us from a good and holy God. This is exactly why, for 2000 years the Church has been preaching the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Believing in Jesus overcomes the powers of sin.

There is much more to say…but I am sure that is enough to chew on for now.

Yours in Christ,



I am in a reading group with some UW Madison students regarding contemporary debates in the philosophy of religion. We are using a text edited by one of my former professors in seminary, which at some level reminds me of the quality I had in this professor. The subject from last week was on miracles.

Miracles by definition should not be expected to happen every day and in every situation. In fact, if they did, they would not be all that miraculous (please take time to think about this thought). If they happened all the time they would be part of the regular sequence of nature, or at least a regular interruption of nature that could be counted on. Sometimes, as a Pastor, I might sound like the bad guy for saying that miracles are irregular events. But, I think this is part of the heritage of our Christian teaching, and the hard work of being intellectually honest.

Moreover, every miraculous report should not be believed. I think the New Testament itself bears witness to discerning all things. The early church often had to deal with other religious groups that made regular and wild claims about supernatural things. Christians were warned to test everything.

One part I really enjoyed from the book reading had to with evaluating miraculous claims in other religions. Sometimes, especially from our non-believing friends, we are challenged as to how we accept our religion’s miracles but reject others. The reading from this week highlighted a couple things I think are worth mentioning. The authors are Charity Anderson and Alexander Pruss.

The first is that no rational persons, whichever religion they find themselves in should believe every miraculous report. My thought from this is that just because one religion or perhaps even several might have legitimate miraculous claims, in no ways means all of them do. This means, just because we believe that miracles do happen, does not mean we believe all or even most reports.

The second point however was interesting to me. Given the idea that a good God does exist, we would not be surprised if we found miraculous reports of his blessing across the world at times to aid a person in need. Thus, we would not have to dismiss all other miraculous reports just because they are not found in “our” religion.

The counter argument against miracles in this chapter (5) was offered by Arif Ahmed. The point he makes is that we need to take into account the unlikely nature of miracles in the first place. He follows an old line of thought from David Hume that given how unlikely they are we should rather believe just about any other explanation than that a miracle did in fact occur. Ahmed thinks this in relation to the Resurrection of Jesus as well. Basically, ignorance, deceit, hallucination etc. is just as believable than an actual resurrection given how unlikely a resurrection is in the first place.

Of course there is much to reply to Ahmed with, such as the kind of evidence given for the resurrection makes it rational to hold to until a better explanation surfaces. Moreover, the discussion on background beliefs is important as well. If there is a God, miracles are possible. If there is no God, then Ahmed seems right, that there are none. Thus, we come back to the question about God’s existence.

Pastor’s Notes

There is lots to report this week. I hope you get to read all of it!

First – Defending the Faith – Last week I spent three days teaching High Schoolers in “Master’s Commission” hosted at Faith Christian Church in Mauston, WI. Six plus years ago I used to attend this church. They remembered my love for defending the faith and asked me to do three one-hour sessions on that subject. The students were so interested in the discussion and asked dozens of questions. In fact, the second day was so powerful to them that I was there for four hours instead of one. This experience with young people heavily confirmed my thoughts on how young people in particular are yearning and searching for answers!

Second – MP3 Pastor’s Meetings – Each month many of the Pastors of Madison and the surrounding area come together to hear an encouraging word and pray together. Most of the Pastors are in the Evangelical and Charismatic churches of the area, but we get a few Traditional Pastors as well. I was so encouraged by this last meeting. The meeting affirmed that we all trust in the “Orthodox” Christian faith. And, even though we may differ over ministry models and emphasis, we share the very same essentials passed on from the Apostles themselves. This is worth celebrating!

Third – Intimacy with God Conference at City Church – While at the MP3 meeting, Pastor Tom from City Church asked me to come and pray the morning before their Intimacy with God Conference along with other Pastors and participants. I was delighted and quickly accepted. In the nearly three years I have been here, I have deeply connected with City Church. Many times throughout the year I am teaching at their Bible College. Our churches joined for a leadership conference. Their Pastors and Prayer Team joins us each year here at Living Water for our Summer Tom Stamman meeting. This last January they asked me to lead their multi-church Young Adults retreats up north. You may remember me saying I was ministered to as much as I ministered. Finally, several of their Pastors and I get together for Pickle Ball about once a month. I look forward to continued collaboration with them into the future!

City Church is hosting the Intimacy with God Conference, but the conference is meant to bless the wider Madison area. I want to encourage you to make it if you can! Amos the prophet said, “Seek the Lord and Live!” Please pray about more opportunities for our churches (and other one’s too) to work and serve together! See the details of this conference below or click this link

Fourth – Sermon / Readings – This week the sermon text comes from Colossians 1:15-28. About 60-70% of the time I follow what are called the lectionary readings for which texts we read and preach on Sunday mornings. Long ago, church leaders divided up portions of the Bible to be read in churches over a three-year period that covers most of the Bible. I rely upon these texts most of the time (Minus Sermon Series and the like) for many reasons. The main reason however is that the congregation is fed a balanced diet. Every Pastor has their favorite texts, but the congregation needs more than one person’s favorites. Moreover, I find relying upon the lectionary puts me in a place of trusting God’s Word. It may seem like a tough Word on certain weeks, or perhaps something irrelevant to our situation now, but God will always come through for his Word. If you are interested in keeping track of the Scriptures on the lectionary from week to week, check out

Refreshing Faith

I had a great conversation with two newer young (recently married) people after Church on Sunday. Given my sermon I figured I would get some interesting feedback. What I found in these two was a couple hungry for the truth and deeply in love with their Savior! These two recent converts to The Faith, demonstrated how they are on the front lines of several major forces that work to contravene both the truth of our bodies but also the truth of Jesus Christ. I could not have been more encouraged as they demonstrated their resolve to love people while not giving up the Scriptural truth!

Moreover, they mentioned how they were spending some time with Jehovah’s Witnesses (from here on JW’s) and they really wanted to show them that Jesus is truly God (something JW’s deny). One thing JW’s (and other cult-like groups) do is they have their position handed to them, and then they go on into the Bible (their own fairly changed translation of the Bible) to confirm their already formed beliefs. It is easy to walk into the pages of the Bible and pick verses that already agree with us. But, as Christians we are supposed to take a different route (a more fully human and honest route). We go on into the Bible and begin to form our beliefs from its content and not the other way around. We are not supposed to be building grand echo chambers, but rather a vibrant relationship with God formed on Truth.

Well, enough said there. I was greatly encouraged Sunday (and I have not even mentioned the Baptism’s!!). Let’s be praying for young people like those baptized and those I chatted with to be powerful light bearers in our sometimes dim lit society.