Heading to heaven??? Part 1

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I can’t tell you how many people I hear say that they are a “Christian” yet when asked about any particular tenets of the faith or indeed of their own Christian walk, are left speechless and unable to answer because they are little more than what I term “cultural Christians” – those who believe they have a right to the title because of where they live,  I vividly remember a conversation I had with a Roman Catholic lady in a staunchly Republican are of West Belfast.  We were all attending a meeting with a shared interest in a medical condition we each suffered from, so at least had that in common.  Somehow the conversation turned to religion – a dangerous topic at any time in our Province but definitely a no-go one in the heart of IRA Belfast for a Protestant at any rate.  Yet I stood my ground.  It went something like this…. Me “I’m a Christian”, “Her “Sure, isn’t everyone?”  Me “How so”  Her “Well, if we’re not Christians, then what else are we?” Me “But Christianity isn’t a right, nor a hereditary faith” Her “Well, I’m not a Muslim, not a Hindu, not a Protestant, nor any other religion, so I’m a Christian.  I live in a “Christian” country so I’m a Christian!!”.  After another 10 minutes bouncing the topic around by the end of which she was starting to get just a shade more antsy than I wanted given I was there to talk about my role as chair of a medical charity, I had to just let her have her view and hope that what little I did manage to say about “true” Christianity might be used to turn her around at some later point.   But sadly in this little part of the world, religion has come to be more than a hot button topic given how many lives have been affected by the actions of those insisting on using it as a weapon complete with actual weapons to back their views up.  But before I finish this little portion, let me just be very clear on one thing – the “war” here has never been about religion.  Sure, it’s been used to whip up sentiments and attitudes etc but the Troubles were always primarily about power, control & eventually money – on both sides.  Left to themselves, here as elsewhere, Protestants & Catholics can live happily together and often forge lifelong friendships (one of my very best friends currently is an RC girl who connected with me through my charity work.  In the very early stages of our developing friendship we started discussing our differing views on faith, and discovered we had polar opposite views on many important topics from abortion and sexual attitudes etc, to who the Black Pope was etc, yet never once did it impact our friendship to any degree.  If anything I think it’s strengthened it – we don’t discuss faith matters as much these days purely because of circumstances but are very comfortable doing so nonetheless).

Belfast itself has more churches and chapels per square mile than probably even the Bible Belt in the US and is only now beginning to see an odd one being taken over for demolition.  Yet during the “Troubles” it was still interesting to see how the Protestant paramilitaries (more than the IRA) insisted their part in the war was for “God and Ulster” somehow totally missing the 6th Commandment as if God would somehow be pleased with them for continually breaking it.  But while the IRA never openly put God anywhere in their statements much, they were many times equally tied in to religion in some sense usually through priests who had no problem burying “volunteers” having a firing “squad” sendoff or Chapels providing safe haven for others etc.  But aside from all of that, most of those involved on both sides saw themselves as “Christian” “good Catholics”, or at the very least likely to make it to heaven.  Even murderers often think they have a right to heaven!!

If you’re not a Christian in any sense of the word let alone a “true” one, think on this.   If everyone could just die & go to heaven, what would be the point of living here?  After all, if there is a heaven to start with, then obviously there is a God Who created it and logically also the universe, earth & everything therein, and He could have obviously just not bothered creating us to live on a decaying planet in decaying bodies etc.  He could have just kept us in heaven to start with and save all this hassle.  But He desired more from us than initially mankind (aka Adam & Eve who by the way were real people!!  I’ll write up something on why you can believe that soon) wanted to provide Him – love and a reciprocal relationship.  Should have been easy don’t you think, but sadly there was a fly in the ointment aka Satan, who told the first lie to Eve, who determined she then knew better than her Creator and His “rules”, and the rest is history.

So ponder on all those things and if you find you then maybe are intrigued enough to return for Part 2 I’ll outline a bit better on the dangers of assumption of your eternal future and guide you on how best to ensure you DO end up in the most desired final destination.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:20-21

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If you believe in evolution then you need to learn biology…

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I never cease to be amazed at how supposed intelligent rational thinking scientists forever put that intelligence & rationality in their back pocket when it comes to the subject of creation.  Why do they prefer to consider that mankind “evolved” from apes & monkeys (& all the way back to single-celled organisms) rather than consider we are created by an awesome God?  They twitter on about all the “evidence” for evolution and throw out crazy figures like 150 million years ago in the hope that the more they bandy about such terms the more society will accept them, & sadly, for the most part, they’re right.  Too many nowadays prefer to get their “truth” from television & biased BBC programs rather than actually investigate any alternative, lest it point them in a direction they truly do not wish to ever go.

dna_500 But there is indeed evidence in abundance in every single living creation on the planet to prove their theories are wrong, yet when faced with it, they just shout all the louder that they are right, & creationists are so very wrong.  But I have no concerns of their erroneous position ever actually becoming the right one, as while they can warble on endlessly about fossils, carbon dating & other things they insist point to evolution, I just sit back & throw out one word which they really can’t deal with as it invariably throws 90% of their arguments out the window.  And that one word – DNA.  Yep, the basic building block of life – the life that evolutionists insist had to start out as nothing & then become something without any Divine input!!  Yet without DNA no life can exist and not just DNA but its counterpart – Messenger RNA.  You can’t have one without the other, & both are arguably the most complex protein molecules on the planet.  But we’re expected to believe that somehow time & little else produced DNA as well as everything else.   But the evolutionists neatly sidestep that whole thorny topic of how DNA came into being given it’s a zillion times more complex in itself than the first organism in the chain that’s supposed to somehow end up with mankind!!!  However, even an article in Evolution News & Views alludes to the design in mRNA as well as throwing out another long-famed argument of evolutionists – that of “junk DNA/RNA”.  It also accepts the enormous complexity involved in just a single 4-amino acid sequence coming into being and how mRNA is considered even more complex than DNA due to its dual role in DNA production.  For life to be formed from all the materials we have available to us from scratch, we would have to engineer or design it to function, and that’s the whole point. Life has the appearance of being engineered, and points in the direction of a Designer & one with a rather exceptionally higher level of intelligence than us!!

But the evolutionists, utterly intent & locked into their worldview, continue to just consider all of this information, while bothersome, to be just another thing that the passage of time will sort out, & in their view prove their hypothesis.  In other words, no amount of alternative evidence, regardless of how concrete will ever convince them otherwise, because they’ve all too much to lose, from credibility through to major investment in research projects & employment etc.   Sadly it’s a flaw of human nature that sometimes when we fix our worldview & opinions in one direction, few are willing to truly consider any objections to it lest they prove right, & then huge decisions will have to be made which may change lives.

But even if you’re dead set on accepting evolution as a worldview I’d still suggest you consider your reasons why!  Is it because you’ve just accepted all you’ve heard about it and figure it makes sense to you – in that case I’d suggest you go and spend a bit of time doing some more meaningful research into your opinion before fixing it.   Or perhaps you’ve spent most of your life pursuing the evolutionary aspect and thus to ever consider it errant or faulty, would be to have to accept you’ve wasted most of your life, & madna-detailed-structure-5ybe face criticism & ridicule should you change your views now?  I would just ask – what’s worse – continuing to live in ignorance & accept something that even on the most basic level is utterly flawed, or seek out the more plausible reason for everything you know – a Person Who can provide more than just answers to creation questions, but answers to sin questions etc too.  Or is it because you really don’t want to consider a Creator God just might be real and if you accept He created everything, then other things you don’t want to accept might just be true too?   Then you do have a serious dilemma – ultimately whether you accept evolution or not as a worldview isn’t going to kill you, but denying God & ultimately the existence of Jesus absolutely will, not just in this lifetime but eternally!   It’s far more important that you get to know the Saviour of the world Who will determine your eternal future, & in doing so, you’ll also find a lot of your creation/evolution questions answered along the way.   Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, & the Life, & only in Him can you find real life both here & eternally.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”   John 14:6

“…..but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel….”    2 Timothy 1:10

If yankerberg-show-512x288-v1ou are in a position of genuine desire to know all angles of the issue, and you’ve heard all the evolutionary “evidence”, then please consider spending some time hearing this mini-documentary on the John Ankerberg show a while back – The DNA enigma.  It might not provide all the refutation possible, but will go a long way to countering much of the error pushed out from the evolutionary camp, and from a Christian point of view.  If, however, you’d prefer a secular scientific approach then you could check out http://www.biologicinstitute.org/post/20025768653/of-codes-and-rna but be warned this is a fairly complex topic.

Ultimately, every argument has 2 sides and thus each person has to make their choice on which side they will stand, but at least ensure that you’re standing on a side you’ve comfortably researched until convinced of its worth, rather than just standing on a viewpoint because it’s where your peers are or others you respect, or worse, because you’re just too lazy to bother finding out the truth of it.

As ever, I welcome comments, but please provide them on the basis of the evidence, & not my writing ability etc!  Thanks.

Christmas Greetings

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mother1-nativityYet another year has disappeared faster than I can understand looking back over it, but one I’m quite glad to get to this point in without any further hospital admissions since my last one last month, and with a vague hope that I might actually now manage to stay out a lot longer than before, I’m hopeful of at least seeing the year out from home!!

Goes without saying it’s had a major impact on my blog writing which has been almost non-existent through the year.  However, if the Lord provides me the health I desire, I should hopefully pick up a bit through the coming year.

Today is the first major celebration in the Christian Calendar and always a joyous occasion into the bargain as we celebrate reconnecting to family & friends, and sharing gifts.  There is much in the Season yet to remind us of its true meaning despite the ever increasing secularism of society.

May God bless you all as you celebrate the remainder of this wondrous time of year and I pray you all have a wonderful New Year next week too.

2012 – it’s not the Mayan calendar you need to worry about…(Pt 2)

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**Please see my earlier post on the same topic from last year.**

For the past 2 years or more, the world has been somewhat fixated on 2012,  as they’ve presumed the ending of the Mayan calendar means the end of the world.   However, many historians have proven how the Mayan calendar only ends in 2012 because the Mayans figured it was as far a date into the future they needed to concern themselves with in the presumption that others after them would continue on the calendar (which of course never happened).  It’s a bit like the early computers which only had dates pre-2000 & which everyone figured equally somehow meant a similar fate to the world when they rolled over into the New Year.

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Is God schizophrenic….

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Following on from watching a TV programme “Tsunami- Where was God?” some time ago, I got to thinking about how the presenter had talked to those in other faiths (primarily Hinduism, Islam & Buddhism) using the generic term “God” in his conversations with them, asking questions about whether they felt angry with “God”.   The glaring obvious error he was making was in assuming that they worshipped the same God he himself supposedly did in being a somewhat lapsed Catholic.

This is a fundamental error too many make in the world today whether through ignorance or design.   Whether the world likes to know it or hear it, there is only ONE God – and His name is Jehovah.   And the reason I can stand on that statement is not through arrogance but rather revelation.   There is only one God who has not only created everything and told us about it in extensive terms (both physical e.g. creation & written i.e. the Bible), there is only one God who has revealed Himself to the world in human form i.e. Jesus, and there is only one God Who has provided a reason for and an answer to the age old problem of man’s sin/evil, through Jesus’ redemptive work on the cross, and there is only one God who has provided the surety of heaven for those who are willing to accept their sinfulness, repent, and submit to Him and His Will for their lives.

The gods of other religions are false and glaringly so much of the time.   The god of Islam is a god of war not peace and promotes fear, deception, and angst amongst most of his followers who have no peace of anything much nor any surety of what will happen to them when they die.   Their religion of “peace” is a facade, a veneer which got overlaid on the faith after 9/11 in a means to appease the West temporarily and to promote the idea that muslims weren’t seeking trouble.   However, the years since have shown that while there may indeed be many peaceful muslims their religion is certainly not one promoting peace with a plethora of verses that provoke followers to kill Jews & Christians wherever they may find them.   Deception and fear are twin cohorts in this faith that uses them when it suits to force people to submit.   And if they don’t – well the edge of the sword will maybe help them but if not, they can be swiftly despatched without concern.  Again, I say – this is NOT the God of the Bible Who is being followed in any sense of the word.   Indeed the glaring obvious difference is that the God of the Bible has a Son – Jesus – who is the Saviour of the World, and I contend that that fact stands whether both Jews & Muslims deny its truth.

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.  By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’  Isa 45:22-23 

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What’s in a name?

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Well perhaps more than a name – a term perhaps – this time, it’s the ubiquitous handle of calling oneself a “Christ follower”!  While, for me, it just sounds particularly New Agey, it appears to have been taken on more fully by what’s termed the “Emergent” church and is, at the very least, providing confusion.   For a Christian to take on such a title means little because Mormons and JW’s would consider themselves to be equally a “Christ” follower, but with Mormons in particular, you need to be hugely careful as the words will hold totally different meanings.   They follow a very false Jesus who rather than being the Incarnate Son of God is instead the created brother of Lucifer yet Mormons all consider and describe themselves as being Christians.   So just coming up with a new title of sorts isn’t solving anything and is just going to confuse the masses yet further perhaps.   However, it’s important that those who are true born-again believers in the true Jesus don’t fall into the trap of thinking that labels aren’t important and steer well clear of those like this one which are only designed to cause chaos.

Following is a superb article by Chris Rosebrough of Fighting For The Faith about this very point.

The Problems With The Purpose-Driven Definition of a Christ Follower

Sometimes it is important to step back and review, reflect and summarize your work and look for valuable lessons learned.

I’ve spent some time this weekend doing just that. I’ve been hosting my radio program for almost 2 years. One of the daily features of my program are the sermon reviews. Each week I review 3 to 4 sermons from seeker-driven / purpose-driven churches. I review them in their entirety and am generally mortified and disappointed at the shallow self-help / felt-needs seminars that have replaced true in depth Biblical preaching in so many of these church’s pulpits. After reflecting on the sermons I’ve reviewed from such churches as Saddleback, Willowcreek, Granger, NewSpring, Elevation, Fellowship Church, LCBC, South Hills, Fellowship of the Woodlands, Mosaic, The Orchard, and National Community, I set out to find one question that could tie all these sermons together so that I could identify the common theme in all of them. Here’s the question I came up with:

If I were an unbeliever and I attended these churches and listened to all their sermons week after week, how would I define the term “Christ Follower”?

Here’s the answer I came up with after reviewing the sermons preached at these seeker-driven / purpose-driven churches over the last 24 months:

Christ Follower: Someone who has made the decision to be an emotionally well adjusted self-actualized risk taking leader who knows his purpose, lives a ‘no regrets’ life of significance, has overcome his fears, enjoys a healthy marriage with better than average sex, is an attentive parent, is celebrating recovery from all his hurts, habits and hang ups, practices Biblical stress relief techniques, is financially free from consumer debt, fosters emotionally healthy relationships with his peers, attends a weekly life group, volunteers regularly at church, tithes off the gross and has taken at least one humanitarian aid trip to a third world nation.

Based upon this summarized definition, I’ve come to the conclusion that the world is full of people who can fit this definition but who’ve never repented of their sins and trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins. This definition could easily apply to Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. In fact, it could apply to Emergent Heretics, Unitarians, Muslims and practicing Jews. The reason why this definition of a Christ Follower could be applied to those outside of Christianity is because this is a definition based upon deeds NOT creeds. (Which is precisely what Rick Warren’s so-called “second reformation” is all about.) Even worse, Rick Warren frequently admonishes the pastors that he trains to measure a person’s spiritual growth by their obedience. If obedience were the true measure of one’s spiritual growth then Jesus would have held the Pharisees up as an example of the most spiritually mature Christ Followers on the planet. Instead, Jesus called down woes on the Pharisees because they were outwardly obedient to the demands of God’s law but inwardly their hearts were far from Christ. Plain and simple, the Pharisees despite their obedience didn’t have FAITH. (Matt. 23:25-28, John 5:39-40).

It is frightening but absolutely true that ANYBODY can modify their actions, just like the Pharisees, so that their behaviors conform with this purpose-driven definition of what it means to be a Christ Follower without ever believing the creeds of the Historic Christian faith and without ever trusting in Jesus Christ alone for the forgiveness of their sins.

Tradgically, the “Jesus” that is presented in the sermons that promote this definition of being a Christ Follower isn’t the savior of the world who died on the cross for the sins of the world and calls all nations to repentance of their sins and the forgiveness of sins won by Christ on the Cross. Instead, the “Jesus” that is presented in these sermons is a “life coach”, a training buddy and the supreme example of an emotionally well adjusted risk taking leader who lived the ultimate life of significance and purpose. This purpose-driven “Jesus” is there to help you achieve what he achieved and invites you to follow his examples and methods so that you can be Christlike too.

This seeker-driven / purpose-driven definition of what it means to be a Christ Follower is fatally flawed and I fear that there will be many people who appear before the judgement seat of Christ saying, “Lord, Lord, we were emotionally well adjusted self-actualized leaders who lived a life of significance and purpose, took risks, enjoyed healthy sex lives in our marriages, celebrated recovery, tithed, volunteered at church and helped dig fresh water wells in Africa” and Jesus will say to them “Depart from me, I never knew you!” (Matt. 7:21-23)

Are you a “New Age” Christian??

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Once again, I feel I need to revisit this topic as lately it appears that the depth of deception showering the world currently is growing rapidly. I last wrote about this last year, and since then, things seem to be just getting worse.  It would appears 2/3 of the world considers itself to be “Christian” – primarily because the real term “pagan” is so politically incorrect as to be unusable, and yet about 70% of those who hold that title (of Christian) would really fall into the latter camp of paganism, as they have no concept of what the term Christian truly means – as far as they’re concerned – it is a title given to anyone who is generally “good” or hasn’t murdered anyone. Indeed murder seems to be about the only “sin” that most would say removes that title from someone and place I spoke to recently stated that she felt it was the only title she could have because while she wasn’t a practicing Catholic, she equally wasn’t Jewish or a Muslim so there was nothing left to call herself but Christian, and therein lies the biggest problem of all.

So, my question today, is to those of you in that camp – you’ve always considered yourself to be a Christian but never given much thought to why or what it might mean.  Perhaps if I point out what it isn’t it may help you better decide.   It is NOT a title by default i.e. the one to take purely because you don’t consider yourself a Jew or a Muslim so therefore by default, you must be a Christian.    Nor is it a title you can have just because you don’t break all of the Commandments in one go (but do so regardless).   And neither is it a title you can have because your parents are Christian and/or you regularly attend a particular church (without much care to what’s said within it) or you’ve read the Bible from cover to cover. There are so many confused people out there who hold the title but deny everything the title demands.

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