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Blog

Words Matter

shawn beaty

Today, I am trying to be more mindful of my words. It only takes a few words to change the life of others. Words that may not mean much to me can stick to a person for a lifetime. So which words will you use?

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Long Tradition of Scientists Who Believe in the Resurrection

shawn beaty

 

Dr. Ian Hutchinson, a professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, explains why he and his Christian colleagues at MIT believe in a literal, bodily, historical resurrection of Jesus Christ. First, he says that he's following a long tradition that includes many scientists:

For Robert Boyle (of the ideal gas law, co-founder in 1660 of the Royal Society) the resurrection was a fact. For James Clerk Maxwell (whose Maxwell equations of 1862 govern electromagnetism) a deep philosophical analysis undergirded his belief in the resurrection. And for William Phillips (Nobel prize-winner in 1997 for methods to trap atoms with laser light) the resurrection is not discredited by science.

Hutchinson continues:

To explain how a scientist can be a Christian is actually quite simple. Science cannot and does not disprove the resurrection. Natural science describes the normal reproducible working of the world of nature … Science functions by reproducible experiments and observations. Miracles are, by definition, abnormal and non-reproducible, so they cannot be proved by science's methods.
Today's widespread materialist view that events contrary to the laws of science just can't happen is a [philosophical] doctrine, not a scientific fact … Contrary to increasingly popular opinion, science is not our only means for accessing truth. In the case of Jesus' resurrection, we must consider the historical evidence, and the historical evidence for the resurrection is as good as for almost any event of ancient history. The extraordinary character of the event, and its significance, provide a unique context, and ancient history is necessarily hard to establish. But a bare presumption that science has shown the resurrection to be impossible is an intellectual cop-out. Science shows no such thing.

Ian Hutchinson, "Can a scientist believe in the resurrection? Three hypotheses." Veritas Forum (3-25-16)

Race and the Gospel

shawn beaty

All weekend, I saw comments on social media about the white nationalist incident in Charlottesville and its tragic aftermath. Comment after comment rolled through the feed from friends who lean both left and right. Of course, all of them to one degree or another are denouncing the evil of racism and then proceeding to place blame on people with the opposite world view. For the few of you who care, I want to make a few observations.

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Habits

shawn beaty

 

 

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Fear

shawn beaty

The Huffington Post recently ran a short article about fear. It featured a series of comics depicting common fears that children have alongside similar fears held by adults. Titled "Childhood Fears vs. Adult Fears," the cartoons illustrate the following pairs:

  • Childhood fear: Doctors. Adult fear: Doctor's bills.
  • Childhood fear: Bad dreams. Adult fear: Unfulfilled dreams.
  • Childhood fear: Strangers. Adult fear: Crippling social anxiety.
  • Childhood fear: Clowns. Adult fear: Clowns.

The article notes that though the fears of children are often discounted as irrational or silly by us "older" and "wiser" adults, they are not far off from our own fears. "They're proof that no matter how old we get, we're never alone in our fears," it says. In the end, however, it would seem that there is a line of logic that explains why the most common fears among adults are often as irrational as those of children: everyone has a fear of the unknown. There will always be uncertainty about jobs, relationships, finances, health, and any number of other daily concerns that can bring down even the most spirited people.

Is there a way avoid the downward spiral that anxiety brings? In a world as chaotic as this one, you definitely can't replace uncertainty with certainty. You can, however, fight against it with hope.

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Compromise

shawn beaty

“The very ones whose social pressure cause you to compromise will despise you for it. They probably respect your convictions,
and many of them wish they had the moral stamina to stand alone.
May the Lord give you added courage to be a witness for Him,
even in a hard place.” 

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Ugly Fruit still tastes good

shawn beaty

Wal-Mart is now selling "ugly fruit and vegetables." The fruits (mostly apples right now) are labeled in a bag called "I'm Perfect." Wal-Mart was already selling weather-damaged potatoes in bags called "Spuglies." "Ugly fruits and vegetables are a fact of life on the farm. Sometimes the dents and scars are so minor that you wouldn't think twice about buying them. They're perfectly edible, delicious and just as nutritious as their unmarred brethren—or perhaps even more so." Wal-Mart's John Forrest Ales says, "All of our conversations are about, how do we maximize the harvest?"

It sounds like a good calling for Christians. We're all "Spuglies" in need of God's grace and we follow a Savior who is on the hunt for other Spuglies to love and redeem for his good purposes.

 

www.clovishills.com

The Power of Focus

shawn beaty

In 1957 a graduate student at Columbia University named Gordon Gould had been working with "pumping" atoms to higher energy states so they would emit light. As Gould elaborated his ideas and speculated about all the things that could be done with a concentrated beam of light, he realized he was onto something. In his notebook he confidently named the yet-to-be-invented device a LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation).

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Is that what God really said?

shawn beaty

Recently I heard the great apologist Lee Strobel use the following illustration to highlight how good we are at making the clear truths of Scripture much more ambiguous than they are.

"Imagine a daughter and her boyfriend going out for a Coke on a school night. The father says to her, "You must be home before eleven." It gets to be 10:45 p.m. and the two of them are still having a great time. They don't want the evening to end, so suddenly they begin to have difficulty interpreting the father's instructions: What did he really mean when he said, "You must be home before eleven"? Did he literally mean us, or was he talking about you in a general sense, like people in general? Was he saying, in effect, "As a general rule, people must be home before eleven"? Or was he just making the observation that "Generally, people are in their homes before eleven"? I mean, he wasn't very clear, was he?

And what did he mean by, "You must be home before eleven"? Would a loving father be so adamant and inflexible? He probably means it as a suggestion. I know he loves me, so isn't it implicit that he wants me to have a good time? And if I am having fun, then he wouldn't want me to end the evening so soon. And what did he mean by, "You must be home before eleven"? He didn't specify whose home. It could be anybody's home. Maybe he meant it figuratively. Remember the old saying, "Home is where the heart is"? My heart is right here, so doesn't that mean I'm already home? And what did he really mean when he said, "You must be home before eleven"? Did he mean that in an exact, literal sense? Besides, he never specified 11 p.m. or 11 a.m.

And he wasn't really clear on whether he was talking about Central Standard Time or Eastern Standard Time. In Hawaii, it's still only quarter to seven. As a matter of fact, when you think about it, it's always before eleven. Whatever time it is, it's always before the next eleven. So with all of these ambiguities, we can't really be sure what he meant at all. If he can't make himself more clear, we certainly can't be held responsible."

As children of the living God we are so quick to question God and what is best for our lives. Could it be that he actually does know best? Can I trust that he has my best and I actually don't know what is best for me? What kind of person would you be if God always gave you what you wanted? And so it is with God and his word, most of us question and write it off because we think culture knows better or we know better.

www.clovishills.com

If The News Is Good You Share It...

shawn beaty

George Sweeting, in his book “The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing,” tells of a man by the name of John Currier who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1968, Currier’s sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on that farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told even after the farmer for whom he worked had died.

Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier’s plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man.

Sweeting concluded that story by asking, “Would it matter to you if someone sent you an impor- tant message -- the most important in your life -- and year after year the urgent message was never delivered?” (Adapted from Our Daily Bread, November 6, 1994.)

John Currier obviously saw other people living in freedom. They were setting an example for him on how to live in freedom. But what he needed were the words which would tell him HOW he could be free, and there was only one source for that.

We who have heard the good news and experienced freedom through Christ are responsible to pro- claim it to others still enslaved by sin. Are we doing all we can to make sure that people get the message?

www.clovishills.com