In Between Sundays

Where does logic end and faith begin?

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Maybe another way of asking this question is, “How much effort do I put into something before I let God take over?” I think this question is valid for anyone wanting to live a life for Jesus. Although valid, I think the presuppositions are wrong for the question. I believe this question poses an “either/or” type of scenario, when in reality I believe it should be “both/and.” Maybe a better question would be, “How do I integrate Jesus in and through my daily life?”

 I know we have all heard it said, “God helps those who help themselves.” This is not a proverb. Although, you might find it somewhere in 1st Hesitations. This phrase is actually unbiblical. The assumption is that we have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps first before God will intervene. I’m thankful Jesus doesn’t apply this principle. Romans 5:8 says that WHILE we were still sinners Christ died for us. Jesus didn’t wait for us to help ourselves before He died for us. He loved us the most when we were at our WORST! Think of some of the worst sins you have ever committed. Got them? Those moments are when Jesus had (and still has) His unending, covenantal love for you.

Does God reward laziness then? Is this an excuse to be lazy? By no means. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about a person who is slothful, none of them are good things. We have to put in effort. The trick is not doing it without Jesus. Let’s not make plans and then expect God to bless those plans. Let’s seek wise counsel. Let’s be on our face at the feet of Jesus before plans are implemented. Prayer should be our first line of defense, not the last. I believe all throughout scripture God speaks through wise counsel. If we ask God for wisdom, He gives it freely and liberally. He is generous beyond your wildest imagination.

The problem with thinking that logic is somehow devoid of any type of faith is deeply rooted in the enlightenment era (another blog for another day). Christians adopted parts of this philosophy and said that God is number one, family is number two, work is number three, etc. This is very flawed. I believe this has truly produced what has been referred to as a “Christian Atheist.” This is when you go to church and act like a Christian on Sunday, but live nothing like it throughout the week. Your finances don’t look like Jesus. Your marriage doesn’t look like Jesus. Your singleness doesn’t look like Jesus. Investing in the next generation through discipleship is nonexistent. Putting all of this into separate categories has created a strong sacred-secular divide. What I think it should look like is: God in family, God in work, God in your sporting events, God in your school, etc. Let God work through every aspect of your life.

I am in conversation with students frequently. They range in age from middle school to college. If they are a Christian, they are on the hunt for a girlfriend or boyfriend with prayers that sound like this, “I am just waiting for God to bring me the person I will marry.” To which my response is this, “Do you use that logic in any other area of your life?” Of course the answer is always “no.” If I’m hungry, I don’t pray for God to make me a sandwich and bring it to me on the couch. I get up and make a sandwich! I tell them (especially the guys) to actually go ask someone out -- not over Facebook or a text. Do it face-to-face. You are praying and you have faith that God will provide a Jesus-loving spouse, and that usually starts with a first date. Get date #1 and we can talk from there.

Let me give you another example. Several years ago, I had started a new job at a bank. I was being trained by a guy in my department and I knew I would interact with him every day for the next 3-4 weeks during training, and then frequently after that. I prayerfully asked God for opportunities to share my faith not knowing if he was a Christian or not. I soon initiated a conversation about church and spiritual things. He said he wasn’t interested in any of that. I then simply offered to him, that if he ever did have any questions, I am here to listen judgment free -- because if I’m honest, I still have many myself. What transpired over the next year in a half was not only a great working relationship, but a friendship as well. He’d ask spiritual questions on occasion and we would have great discussion. I would ask him about spiritual topics and his perspective. I made fun of him for being a Steelers fan. He strongly reciprocated words that were unkind about me being a Rams fan, all of which were justified.

After many spiritual conversations and laughs, a foundation of trust was built, and I was convicted by the Holy Spirit that I hadn’t shared the gospel with him. I had talked about Jesus plenty, along with many other theological topics, but I was feeling pushed to do more. So, I prayed for an opportunity to really lay out the gospel: we are all wicked sinners who have refused, rejected, and cheated on God, and deserved to be punished eternally for sinning against an eternal God. I would then tell him how God became a man. That God/man is named Jesus. He came to save the sinners, heal the sick, and ask all people everywhere to repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Him alone. I would then tell him that the reason we could put our faith and trust in Jesus is because He is the only One in the history of ever who has provided a sufficient solution for our wrongdoings. I would say that Jesus was beaten to the point where His own mother couldn’t recognize him. This showed what our sins do to God and how we should be punished. Instead, Jesus took our punishment. I’d then tell my friend that Jesus went to a cross to take on the wrath that should be on us for our sins. Instead, Jesus took that wrath. He died and was buried. Three days later, He rose from the dead conquering our enemies of Satan, sin, and death. He showed that death and the grave couldn’t hold Him like it had everyone in years past. That’s why we can trust Him. I wanted to say that, but I was just looking for the opportunity.

A great deal of work was put in along with many prayers. Two days after praying, and continually being watchful for my prayers to be answered, he asked me point blank, “How do I get right with God?” We had a fantastic conversation about the gospel.

It is not “either/or,” it is “both/and.” I pray you would work hard for the Lord, being prayerful in your decisions and conversations. Some prayers will be prolonged like the Daniel of the Bible. He prayed every day for years and years. He was finally faced with a situation in which he had to pray a shotgun prayer – quick, silent, and to the point. He didn’t only use logic when he faced Nebuchadnezzar. He also used faith. Read a section of, or the entire book of Daniel. You will find his marrying of logic and faith in chapters 1-3, and learn more about how God has called us to use “both/and.” 

Posted by Clayton Havelka with

Why the Bible Part 3

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We now start the third and final installment of “Why The Bible?” We have gone through “the Bible is a reliable collection of historical documents, written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses…” and we will start this segment with “and report supernatural events”.

The Bible is full of supernatural events. Not just super human events. That would be sports highlights of people like Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan, or Wayne Gretzky. In their respective professional sports they were men amongst boys. It was easy for them against the best in the world. That is super human (of sorts). The writers of the Bible are speaking of the sick being healed, those who are incapable of walking being to walk again (or ever for that matter). People who were plagued with blindness began to see creation for the first time. The writers record Jesus water skiing without a boat or skis. He took a little boy’s Lunchable and fed the masses. On Friday he was dead, and on that very next Sunday he was alive again. These are supernatural events.

These are not just supernatural events in and of themselves. They are supernatural events in “fulfillment of specific prophecies”. 2 Peter 1:20-21 “knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” These are not your everyday general prophecies. You know, the kind where a preacher is in front of thousands of people saying “I know somewhere out there you are dealing with back pain. God said he will heal you in the time to come”. What? Are you serious? We all have back pain. The Bible doesn’t throw these types of generalized prophecies around. They are very specific. Isaiah 53 for example. I am not going to explain that whole chapter right here, I would encourage you to read it for yourself. If you know anything about the passion narrative of Jesus, this chapter is absolutely other worldly. Isaiah is talking about Jesus being mocked, how we was oppressed, the sin that he bore for us, and how he would handle himself during the illegal trial that he was put through. This was written 700 years before Jesus was born and it happened exactly like Isaiah said it would happen

Psalm 22 is another passage that has great prophecy. Not only that, but Jesus quotes the beginning of this song before he dies. When you read the rest of the song your jaw beings to drop. This was written 1,000 years before Jesus was born. This passage speaks on how Jesus would be crucified. David says “they have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones...” I could go on, but I think you get the idea. This was how Jesus would die before crucifixion was invented. Zechariah 12:10 is another example. The probability of this prophecy to be fulfilled is 1 in 10 to the 13th power according to reasons.org. That is just one prophecy being fulfilled. There are literally hundreds of prophecies that have been fulfilled.

Finally the writers claim that their “writings are divine rather than human in origin”. Over and over again all throughout Scripture it is written “The LORD says…”, “thus sayith the LORD…”, and other variations of that. The writers are continually claiming that this is essentially a book that God wrote through humans. The prophecies give legitimacy to this. . Some may be thinking “but men still wrote it”, and you would be write. If that is truly the case, then you can’t believe anything that has been written. Including yourself! We can truly trust the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents, written by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses and report supernatural events in fulfillment of specific prophecy and claim their writings are divine, rather than human in origin. I can promise you, the Bible has too much overwhelming evidence for a ruling to be overturned in a court of law.

The quote that I used is from a pastor named Voddie Bacham. I used the quote that he explains as a platform to help better explain why we can trust the Bible. Along with other research that I used, I hope this 3 part blog has been insightful and helpful. The goal for this was to give you more confidence that the Bible is not only and reliable and fantastic piece of literature, but it is truly God’s word for us, about Jesus, so we can truly know and love him more!

Posted by Clayton Havelka with

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