Saturday, July 10, 2010

"Christian Evidences: God Shows Up...Really!" (Part 1)


Friday July 9th, 2010
Patrick Mead

Always ask, "So what?"

What good will a bunch of science do in Christian evidences? Not much, honestly.

"The Vikings" - Kirk Douglass
Great movie because of all the hilariously anachronistic mistakes. Norwegians didn't have slave rowers. One of them was wearing a digital watch. In one scene, you could see electrical wires coming down the "mountain."

Mac Beth movie - Gunpowder wasn't invented yet.

Hypothetical story: Imagine you are a tourist in Egypt with the most boring tour guide in the entire world. Because you're bored, you start shuffling your feet, and somehow you find the top of an ancient, never-before-discovered pyramid. Congratulations. So, since this pyramid has never before been discovered, everybody helps dig it up, and you get to go in first, with your torch (since modern technology never exists in these kinds of movies), and you find...a Buick.

Now, there are two trains of thought that you can possibly take here. Either 1) The Egyptians made Buicks, or 2) Someone else has been here.

There are generally two views of the world.
1) The universe is a box, and everything fits into that box.
2) The universe is a box, but at least once, somebody reached into the box and tweaked things a little.


Every so often you'll encounter someone who begins reading the Bible in Genesis because they are trying to be an atheist. They end up wading through the most boring (and most misunderstood) book in the Bible, Leviticus, and they stop there.

Okay, so let's take a look at Leviticus.

Leviticus 11 - Regulations about food.

Ever wonder about this? God doesn't give an explanation for why he bans certain foods. But modern science has found some of them.

1) Pigs - They carry parasites, especially trichinosis. They didn't have ice blocks or refrigerators to keep the meat cold.

2) Bunnies? When bunnies pee (which is probably the first time that phrase has been used in this building), they pee dangerous parasites that cause blood diseases that can be caught if someone walks barefoot.

Other banned animals/foods simply spoil quickly. Yes, some smell and are obvious, but many spooky spoils don't smell at all.

Animals that live in the sea that don't have scales? They're bottom feeders. They eat toxins and yucky stuff and things that nothing else in the sea will eat. Shrimp are the cockroaches of the sea. Catfish are also bottom feeders, and are banned in Levitical law.

Remember, now we have medicine. We can eat these things without worrying, and if we do get sick, we can fix it. They did not have that luxury. God wanted to protect them. And the fact that he did it without offering an explanation reveals something of his heart.

How did Moses know all this? Finding scientific knowledge in a book of the Bible that was written thousands of years ago is like finding a Buick in a pyramid. It just doesn't belong there.

What about camels and horses? Sociological reasons. Firstly, they need to be over 10 years old in order to viably reproduce (you wouldn't consider slaughtering it before it has reproduced so that you have others to replace it). They require huge amounts of food--much more than cows, which chew the cud. And they don't just eat grass--they eat grain, carrots...everything. This would mean sacrificing HUGE amounts of food for a few rich people to eat. God says, no.

What about people who are unclean until evening (the next night at sundown) and were to be isolated, and to wash and change their clothes?

It wasn't until the 1700s that people figured out that doctors should probably wash their hands once in a while, and the first doctor who suggested it was encountered with such opposition that he was ousted from his career and died in poverty. Microscopic diseases were still unheard of.

God gives us regulations for...surprise...how to cure a virus. You can't kill a virus, but the washing, changing clothes, and 24 hours of isolation is enough for it not to spread to the rest of the community.

Leviticus 11:24-25
"You will make yourselves unclean by these; whoever touches their carcasses will be unclean till evening. 25 Whoever picks up one of their carcasses must wash his clothes, and he will be unclean till evening."


If you're a mother, what happens when your kid says, "Mom, look, I found a dead bird!" Exactly. If you're a smart mom, you tell him to put it down, wash his hands, take a bath and change his clothes. God is doing the same thing. Do you realize that if we had followed Levitical rules, we would have avoided the Bubonic Plague?

If only we still followed Levitical law. It's amazing. It told the Israelites how to dig latrines, how nothing that goes in your mouth should come near them (and where do we put our toothbrush??), to keep rats and mice away, to stay away from cats and dogs (which have terrible cases of mites, which is what causes the allergies...and what do we have as pets??) You have enough mites already. Do you know that your pillow accrues 30% more weight because of your own mites? God kept away all the animals with mites. Amazing.

For animal carcasses, if a dead animal falls on something, that item is unclean...except for metal. Metal can be cleaned, because it is non-porous. (Still think these are just stuffy religious laws that have no meaning?)

If a grasshopper decided to die in the clay pot you cook in, you have to break the pot, and pots were hard to come by. People traded pots for wives; you were a 3-pot wife or a 2-pot hussy! And just because some grasshopper decided to take a detour through your kitchen, you're now a 2-pot hussy! But what is one of the first questions someone with a serious illness gets asked in the ER, besides, "Where did you go?" "Did you get any clay pottery from there? Are you using it?" God knows exactly what he's doing.

This is not mentioning all the regulations for mold, mildew, etc., that we have now found are accurate as day. Someone reached in from outside the box.

Apologetics resources:


Afterthoughts/preview of Part 2:

Classic argument: The earth appears old; therefore, it evolved over millions of years. Question...how old were Adam and Eve five minutes after they were created? Were they five minutes old, or were they adults? Scripture says that trees were created with fruit already on them--with seeds inside. So, what came first, the chicken or the egg? A chicken, with an egg inside it.

1 Corinthians 15 says that blood was not shed until sin entered the world. This creates a problem for Intelligent Design (the philosophy wherein an omnipotent God made the world evolve).

"Truth: How do we find consistency in an inconsistent world?"

Thursday July 8th, 2010
Mitch Wilburn
NOTES from lesson



This lesson is on how to BE true.
Bringing consistency/truth into an inconsistent world.
But even further: How to be a MIRACLE.

Acts 27:21-25
21"After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me."


Million dollar mattress story.

The truth is, our value is more than we can imagine. Satan is always the one trying to convince us of otherwise.

It had been a hard 2 years for Paul. Paul doesn't want to go to Jerusalem because he knows that people are planning to kill him. He finds this out through someone else. So he gets smart and pleads "Roman citizen."

On his way to Rome, he is on a flat boat (more like a barge) with 276 other prison men, and it's almost winter. He tries to convince the captain not to sail out because of the weather that is coming, and the captain says to keep going.

They're morons, because when the warm weather comes from the south, they say, "Oh, this must be a sign from the gods that we should keep going, " and just past Crete they're toast. A storm begins tearing the boat apart. Paul tries to get everybody to hold it together with ropes and whatever else they can find. They throw everything overboard, even their food and water, so as not to sink.

So, what happens when you're Paul? All the men on the boat, including Paul, have given up hope. They hadn't seen sun, moon, or stars for 14 days. That's a half a month with no food or water.

Imagine what he must be thinking. "I followed a Lord who walked on water, and calmed a storm in the sea of Galilee. Maybe I should pray that it stop, and God will deliver me so that I can go to Rome and continue evangelizing."

But what happens when the storm doesn't relent?
-1st century Christians...persecuted. "God, will you save my son from being tied up and burned, and then my wife, and then me too?"
-2nd century Christians...persecuted. "God, it would be really great right now if you could pull a Daniel, so that when they release the lions, they just sit there and don't do anything and people can see how powerful you are."

Acts 27:21-25
21"After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24and said, 'Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me."


When miracles stop flowing THROUGH men and men BECOME the miracles.
All of them were spared; only the ship was lost.
Paul's faithfulness saved others.

Polycarp inspired an entire church to be brave in the face of persecution.

"Front door man" - In combat, when troops are standing peering through to the other side with guns in hand, this is the guy that busts down the door and leads the others through, before even knowing what's on the other side.

WE are the front door men, because we are on the front lines in this world.

Never view the one soul you reach as just one soul. That means that there will be exponentially more from that one person.

Let us be truth, let us be miracles, and say, "Bring it."

Love and inclusion: e.g. story of a homeless man in Tulsa, Dave Thompson, who encouraged the preacher by giving him two cans of beer, some change, and a Sunday paper. Best gift he'd ever gotten.

Welcoming people under your umbrella of faith: Maybe your "umbrella of faith" won't be standing up against persecution and encouraging others, but it may be being the front door man and doing what no one else around you will.

1) Prepare thoroughly
Interesting that Jesus endured 40 days of temptation to prepare him for his ministry, was with the disciples for 40 days after his resurrection, and made the disciples wait 40 days after his ascension to receive the power of the Holy Spirit.

God's power comes when you wait--then when it happens you'll know that it wasn't from you.

2 Corinthians 11:25
"Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea..."

Mistakes are not a reflection of us; they are to prepare us.

God is really good at comebacks.

2) Clear communication
2 Peter 3:9
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

Is prayer, for you, a monologue or a dialogue?

Do we dare to believe that God will talk back? (truck story)
Are you ready for clear communication from God?

"Either God is speaking to me clearly, or I'm crazy. Either way, life is about to get really interesting!"

"The last step toward atheism is deism." -C.S. Lewis

3) Being a miracle
Well, you're doing it already! By being here, you are participating in significant and validating religious experience.

Acts 27:33-36
33Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. "For the last fourteen days," he said, "you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food—you haven't eaten anything. 34Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head." 35After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.


4) Disciples step out, even if they look crazy.

Will God ever say, "Well thought." Well intended." "Well planned." No. "Well done, good and faithful servant."

We need to be people who at some point say, "I'm in." "I'm in all the way."
We must step out at some point and risk it all.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Grace and the Tin Man: "Grace only fails when..."

Lynn Stringfellow
Thursday July 8th, 2010

Notes from lesson. What keeps us from sharing the truth of grace?

What is grace?
Unmerited favor (theological answer)
God's righteousness at Christ's expense.
Purpose and blessing, even though we didn't deserve it
Something beautiful. Love.
Freedom and release (free from past life, sin)


Grace has no singular meaning. It is personal.

Grace and love go hand-in-hand.

Get this: Grace is something that NONE of us deserve.

Romans 5:6-10
6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!


Notice what it says. When did God give us his grace? "At just the right time, when we were still powerless...when we were still sinners."

"Christ died for us." --> THAT is grace.

Can you accept the fact that at one time, you were powerless? A sinner? An enemy of God? Or are you someone who just doesn't get it yet?

If you cannot accept these things, you cannot understand grace. And if you do not understand grace, you cannot share it with others.

"See to it that we do not miss the grace of God..." --> That is our job.

John 4 (woman at the well)
"Slut"? "Not our kind"? That's not how Jesus saw her--at all.
And when she received grace, what did she do? She shared it. (Also think about the story of the woman who anointed Jesus at Bethany. He said, "Whoever has been forgiven of much loves much.")

We were "not God's kind." But now, "a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:21-24)

Mere Christianity quote:
"The real Son of God is at your side. He is beginning to turn you into the same kind of thing as Himself. He is beginning, so to speak, to inject His kind of life and thought…into you: beginning to turn the tin soldier into a live man. The part of you that does not like it is the part that is still tin.”–Mere Christianity: C.S. Lewis


These are the areas where we need to claim God's grace. Then, we can share it. Four specific areas come to mind: Insecurity, Abrasiveness, Compromise, and Pride.

1) Insecurity - Facing who you really are.

Many Christians are afraid to be who they are. Or, they know who they are and they don't like it. Either way, they are concerned with pleasing people.

1 Corinthians 15:6-10
6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

9For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.


In the Greek, "abnormally born" means "born before the full period of gestation." Aborted. Dead.

How do you think this affected Paul's self esteem?

Instead of cringing and hiding, Paul chose to accept God's grace for his life.

2) Abrasiveness
Colossians 4:4-6
4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.


For those who have a tendency toward abrasiveness, this says that our speech should be full of good flavor (salt) and tactfulness.

3) Compromise
Hebrews 13:7-9
7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

9Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them.


"It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace..." This passage was written to a people who were dealing with intense persecution on all sides, who wondered, "Have I believed in vain?" He's saying, "Don't give up!" Don't compromise.

We are surrounded by a world that is preaching tolerance, and "balance." It says that we should have "peace at all costs." But Jesus didn't come to bring peace; he came to bring a sword. Don't compromise.

About compromising in our personal lives: Maybe grace keeps us from being what we're not. It removes the phony.

4) Pride
James 4:6
6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
"God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble."


1 Peter 5:5
5Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
"God opposes the proud
but gives grace to the humble."


Both of these verses come from Proverbs 3:34:
He mocks proud mockers
but gives grace to the humble.


"Young men...clothe yourselves with humility"...

Pride is the classic grace-killer. Understand this: God does not bless pride.

First thing we think of when we think of pride? The parable of the unmerciful servant. Illustrates God's attitude toward pride. We're hypocrites. Isn't it just disgusting? Is this you?

If we don't share God's grace, that is us. We have been given a huge amount, and we are this servant if we do not share it.

Receive God's grace, and you will be able to give it out.

Monday, July 5, 2010

CMU Conference This Weekend

So the annual Campus Ministry United conference at Harding is this weekend, from July 7th-11th. (Facebook event page: 2010 Campus Ministry United Conference: Grace and Truth; main website: http://www.campusministryunited.com.)

The next 24 hours for me will consist of waking up early, going to Debbie's house, all of us heading over to the Hartmans' to discuss the wedding, two florist appointments in the afternoon (one of which I will book), then going to the craft store to pick up yarn and a crochet needle and heading to the church building before dusk to stay the night with the rest of the girls. We leave Tampa at 5 am Wednesday morning. I promise I will make my best efforts to put wedding planning on hold for a couple of days.

So, here is the schedule according to the Facebook event page:

THURSDAY JULY 8
4:00pm .... Registration
5:00pm .... Workshop Kickoff/Worship with A Cross Between

6:00pm Class Sessions
1) Cone Chapel: Mitch Wilburn – Discipleship & Evangelism Are NOT Bad Words
2) Regions Room: Lynn Stringfellow – Grace & the Tin Man: Grace Only Fails When We Get in the Way

7:00pm .... Breakout Groups for Classes
8:00pm .... Mitch Wilburn: “Truth: How Do We Find Consistency in an Inconsistent World?”
9:00pm CLOSE



FRIDAY JULY 9
8:00am .... Coffee & Snacks in Cone Chapel
9:00am .... Worship with A Cross Between

9:40am .... Class Sessions
1) Cone Chapel: Patrick Mead – Christian Evidences in Campus Ministry: God Shows Up … Really! pt. 1
2) Regions Room: Clint Hill – Campus Ministry in a Turbulent Setting: How My Ministry Survived a Church Split … and Thrived!

10:40am .... Breakout Groups for Classes
11:30am-2:00pm .... Lunch
2:00pm .... Worship with A Cross Between

2:40pm .... Class Sessions
1) Cone Chapel: Robert Cox – Intervention: Church Discipline in Campus Ministry?!? Are you Serious?!? pt. 1
2) Regions Rooms: Kerry Cox – The Anatomy of a CrossChat: An Effective Model for Weekly Group Bible Studies

3:40pm .... Breakout Groups for Classes
4:30pm-7:00pm .... Dinner
7:00pm .... Worship with A Cross Between
7:30pm .... Monte Cox: Grace: How do We Deal Graciously with People Who Believe Differently Than Us?
8:20pm .... CLOSE (for everyone but campus ministers)
8:30pm-10:00pm .... Campus Minister’s Open Forum (Regions Room – campus ministers only)



SATURDAY JULY 10
8:00am .... Coffee & Snacks in Cone Chapel
9:00am .... Worship with A Cross Between

9:40am .... Class Sessions
1) Cone Chapel: Patrick Mead – Christian Evidences in Campus Ministry: God Shows Up … Really! pt. 2
2) Regions Room: Orlando Henlon - Momentum Shift: How a New Campus Minister Learned to Focus on Outsiders Instead of Insiders and Why

10:40am .... Breakout Groups for Classes
11:30am-2:00pm .... Lunch
2:00pm .... Worship with A Cross Between

2:40pm .... Class Sessions
1) Cone Chapel: Robert Cox – Intervention: Church Discipline in Campus Ministry?!? Are you Serious?!? pt. 2
2) Regions Rooms: Benson Hines – Better Brainstorming with Benson: Connecting Creativity with Christ’s Mission

3:40pm .... Breakout Groups for Classes
4:30pm-7:00pm .... Dinner
7:00pm .... Worship with A Cross Between
7:30pm .... Patrick Mead: No More Samaritans?
8:30pm .... CLOSE



SUNDAY JULY 11
Time TBA .... Worship with The Downtown Church of Christ – Patrick Mead speaking.


I will take notes from each of these sessions and post them each as a separate blog post, so be sure to watch for them if you're interested. You will also be able to find audio recordings of the lessons on the Campus Ministry United website as soon as Wes can post them. I expect to learn a lot that I can take back to my own church, and I pray that our ministry grows as a result of all of us girls (ahem, and Jeff) being there. =P

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Bridal Shower Last Sunday

Thanks to all the Bay Area women who put on my bridal shower! They even gave me an advice book AND a cookbook with everyone's recipes in it. I felt so loved by everyone who came and "showered" me with gifts and cards.

Special thanks to Karen Fanning, who offered to be in charge of the whole shebang, and to Greg's mom Carolyn, who sat in the "mother of the bride" place while I opened gifts. Thanks to all who wrote their advice and shared their recipes. It was a super-special two hours!!