This Week’s Conversations

Wednesday July 24th

A Christian friend and I had lunch with our Hindu / Skeptic friend.  During the course of our conversation, here are some of the objections he brought up:

  1. He believes that all paths/religions are valid – there is not 1 true religion
  2. Evolution – thinks that all true scientists believe in evolution. If there are any anti-evolution writings, their origin can always be traced back to a spiritual source, and therefore can’t be trusted (biased).
  3. Many of his objections were of the category, “God doesn’t do what I expect (or how I would do it), and therefore He doesn’t exist.
  4. Inequity – bad people do well, good people suffer.
  5. All religion is man-made.
  6. Leaders rise up and have millions of followers and people end up deifying them. This has happened numerous times in history and Jesus is just another example of that
  7. There is no physical evidence of God or Christianity
  8. He is absolutely certain that there is no heaven or hell. This earth is where heaven or hell are.
  9. God can’t control his people – he can’t make them believe. Also, the ones who do believe, split into “denominations”.  He named Protestants, Catholics and Mormons.
  10. He challenged, “So what happens if everyone believes in Jesus?” Do all the problems go away?
  11. He wanted to know about believing in Jesus, “what difference does it make?” I told him about the wrath of God that each person has due to him for his sin and how believing that Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins reconciles you to God, making peace between you and God, since Jesus took your punishment, but if you reject Jesus and what He did, you have to pay the penalty for your own sins.
  12. He doesn’t trust the Bible – anytime we would bring up what it says, he would dismiss it. Anytime we would bring up what Jesus said, he would say that no one knows what Jesus actually said – that’s just what His followers said that He said.
  13. He believes that the followers of Jesus (who saw Him risen from the dead) were hallucinating. He believes they talked themselves into believing.
  14. His standard of belief is very high – he won’t believe unless God personally talks to him. Even then, he might think he is hallucinating.
  15. He wants “proof” for God.
  16. He wonders why Jesus showed up in this little insignificant place like Israel 2000 years ago. Why didn’t He show up in a big place, like New York City where many millions of people would’ve seen Him?
  17. He wanted to know “what is God?” I said, “Creator”.  My friend said, “God is Spirit”.  He said, “So, you can’t see God, right?”  He went on saying that he can’t believe in anything he can’t see or detect in anyway.

Needless to say, we answered his questions the best we could – I thought we gave very reasonable answers, but he wasn’t convinced by them.  Interestingly enough, on the way out to the parking lot, we were talking about who’s right and who’s wrong and I made the comment, “Maybe I’m wrong (although I don’t think I am), please convince me!”  He said, “I can’t convince you, I’m lost!”  I thought that was a remarkable admission and told him so and hugged him goodbye.  I don’t think he knows the profoundness of his admission there – he is truly “lost” – in the biblical sense.  Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and I pray that Jesus seeks and finds him, and similarly, I hope our friend seeks Jesus with a sincere heart!

Yesterday (Friday July 27th), shortly before it was time to leave work for the day, I saw a Muslim colleague of mine who will be quitting work next week and moving back to his country of origin.  I wanted to talk to him and tell him I was really going to miss him and our conversations.  He had another friend with him who I hadn’t met before.  It turns out that guy works at our company on a different floor than me and in fact he is a Christian too!  Anyway, my Muslim friend asked me something about whether the Bible spoke about his country of origin, so I showed him my Nuggets web site and searched the full Bible and found out that what he was asking me appeared in the Bible twice (Gen. 2:14, Dan. 10:4).  I will let you (the reader) determine what he asked me to search for 🙂  Anyway, that opened a spiritual conversation that lasted about 45 minutes (caused me to get home late from work :()!  It was a great conversation in which we compared and contrasted Christianity and Islam, and talked about our respective worldviews.  I was able to share the Gospel with him as I explained the core message of Christianity, when he asked what the absolute necessary thing was to be a Christian (we had been talking about baptism, because another colleague of his is Mormon and had discussed baptism previously).  During that part of our conversation, I shared Romans 10:9 – “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  I emphasized that you have to believe in the Deity, Death and Resurrection of Jesus and trust in Him as your Lord and Savior in order to be a Christian.  Of course he said that Muslims don’t believe that Jesus was crucified, but that Judas was crucified in His place.  I searched my copy of the Qur’an on my Kindle for Sura 4:157 and showed him that.  During the conversation, he was sharing various verses out of the Qur’an showing that all paths lead to God.  He is a very moderate Muslim and made extreme effort to communicate that he respects all religions and that it is good people who go to heaven (from all religions).  Wow…  A lot could’ve been said there (and some was said in response at the time), but we would need many hours to fully unpack this topic and make sure he understands the biblical view and how it is different from Islam.  Anyway, it was a great conversation and I will miss him and do pray that he would be reconciled to the one true God, Yahweh!  I also hope and pray that I can continue to meet with and fellowship with the other new Christian friend I met during that conversation.

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mid-week apologetics booster (7-25-2019)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1200) from Nuggets:

Jesus implicitly claimed deity in at least twelve ways. He claimed three divine rights: (1) to judge mankind, (2) to forgive sins, and (3) to grant eternal life. He declared that (4) his presence was God’s presence as well as the presence of God’s kingdom and that (5) the attitude people took toward him would determine their eternal destiny. He (6) identified his actions with Gods actions, (7) taught the truth on his own authority, and (8) performed miracles on his own authority. He (9) appeared to receive worship or obeisance. He (10) assumed that his life was a pattern for others, a divinely authoritative form of life. He (11) applied to himself OT texts that describe God and (12) in several parables indirectly identified himself with a father or king who represents God. — NET Bible comments on Matthew

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Atheism and communism – Conservapedia: https://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_communism
  2. China Tells Christians to Replace Images of Jesus with Communist President – Christianity Today: https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/november/china-christians-jesus-communist-president-xi-jinping-yugan.html
  3. Visions of God even communists won’t erase – WND: https://www.wnd.com/2014/04/visions-of-god-even-communists-wont-erase/
  4. YouTube and Twitch star Ninja shares how doctors wanted him aborted : https://www.christian.org.uk/news/youtube-and-twitch-star-ninja-shares-how-doctor-wanted-him-aborted/
  5. DOES THE EXISTENCE OF SO MANY RELIGIONS ARGUE AGAINST THEIR TRUTH CLAIMS?: https://mannsword.blogspot.com/2018/08/does-existence-of-so-many-religions.html
  6. TrueU #1: Does God Exist? – (Short Video promo – 2 min): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnawqqA7vmw
  7. When An Atheists Says, WHY SHOULD I BELIEVE IN JESUS?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2yRjw8-j-s
  8. Four Benefits Apologetics Provides the Believer – Rob Lundberg’s Online Ministry Page: https://roblundbergapologetics.com/2019/07/19/apologetics-and-the-believer/
  9. A Look at Messianic Prophecy: Who is the Prophet of Deuteronomy18:15-18 THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2019/07/20/a-look-at-messianic-prophecy-who-is-the-prophet-of-deuteronomy-1815-18-4/
  10. An Open Letter to Those Debilitated by Their Sexual Sin: https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/an-open-letter-to-those-debilitated-by-their-sexual-sin
  11. Can Evangelicals Vote for Trump? A Hard Yet Easy Decision | The Stream: https://stream.org/can-evangelicals-vote-for-trump-a-hard-yet-easy-decision/
  12. How Do We Align Our Careers with Our Faith in Christ? – Thomas Nelson Bibles: https://www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/how-do-we-align-our-careers-with-our-faith-in-christ/
  13. Does it matter that Buddha came long before Jesus? | CARM.org: https://carm.org/does-it-matter-that-buddha-came-long-before-jesus
  14. The Basic Argument for the Deity of Christ – Warren Christian Apologetics Center: https://warrenapologetics.org/sufficientevidence/2019/7/16/the-basic-argument-for-the-deity-of-christ
  15. THE APOLOGETICS REPORT The official apologetics aggregate of The Daily Apologist: https://theapologeticsreport.com/
  16. Evolutionist Clarence Darrow v. William Jennings Bryan, Creationist – American Minute: https://newsmaven.io/americanminute/american-history/evolutionist-clarence-darrow-v-william-jennings-bryan-creationist-H9i6WriGYE-2LBQUrgYW4A/
  17. Deconstructing Darwin: Darwin’s real message – creation.com: https://creation.com/charles-darwins-real-message-have-you-missed-it
  18. This is a library of free online books of the most famous authors in Christian history from the Church fathers onward: http://www.ccel.org/index/author/
  19. American Minute with Bill Federer First Prayer in Congress “It was enough” says Mr. Adams, “to melt a heart of stone.” : https://myemail.constantcontact.com/First-Prayer-in-Congress–It-was-enough–says-Mr–Adams–to-melt-a-heart-of-stone–.html?soid=1108762609255&aid=fqzfemft9wk

For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. 1 Peter 4:6

Blessings to you all

mid-week apologetics booster (7-18-2019)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1200) from Nuggets:

Yes, I know it sounds cliché, but I’ve got to say it, because I believe at the core of my being it is true. Jesus is the answer. Jesus is the answer for a tragedy such as what happened in Florida. Jesus is the answer for the man who committed this atrocity. Jesus is the answer for the people on whom this atrocity was committed. Jesus is the answer for the society who is trying to cope with this tragedy. Jesus was the answer, the only answer, for those who perished in this tragedy. Jesus transforms sinners into Spirit-filled believers, who exhibit the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. Jesus is the answer!
To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. Can You Keep a Secret? So Can Your Daughter’s School. Imagine sending your daughter off to school only to find out that she was headed for an abortion appointment instead. Then imagine this: her teachers knew and never told you. In California, parents don’t have to imagine it. Thanks to a new undercover video, they know — it’s already happening.: https://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WA19G08&f=WU19G04
  2. Book Plunge: Can We Trust The Gospels? – A review of Peter J. Williams’s book: https://www.deeperwatersapologetics.com/?p=11929
  3. Bloom Where You’re Planted | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/articles/bloom-where-you-re-planted
  4. Bloom Where You’re Planted (shorter article by Melinda Penner): https://www.str.org/blog/bloom-where-you-re-planted
  5. How Should a Christian Vote? – One Minute Apologist: https://oneminuteapologist.com/blog/how-should-a-christian-vote/
  6. The Ark Encounter review – the Ark was absolutely thrilling, and at the end of the day, worth the price of admission to be sure. : https://thinkdivinely.com/the-ark-encounter/
  7. Old Earth Belief: http://oldearth.org/old.htm
  8. Understanding Worldview – Engaging the World Around Us – Impact 360 Institute: https://www.impact360institute.org/articles/understanding-worldview-engaging-the-world-around-us/
  9. Is Religion Just a Social Construct? | Strange Notions: https://strangenotions.com/is-religion-just-a-social-construct/
  10. Old Testament Prophecies of Jesus Resurrection | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/old-testament-prophecies-of-jesus-resurrection-1
  11. Listen: Nancy Pearcey on the Surprising Early History of Darwinism | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2019/06/listen-nancy-pearcey-on-the-surprising-early-history-of-darwinism/
  12. Why Is Evidence Important for Faith? – FaithGateway: https://www.faithgateway.com/why-is-evidence-important-for-faith/
  13. Doesn’t the Bible Say True Faith is Blind? | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/doesnt-the-bible-say-true-faith-is-blind/
  14. Trend-line of Scientific Discovery Points To A Creator – Part 2: http://natureandscripture.blogspot.com/2019/06/trend-line-of-scientific-discovery_20.html
  15. New Engineering Textbook, Hacking the Cosmos, Argues for Intelligent Design | Evolution News: https://evolutionnews.org/2019/06/new-engineering-textbook-hacking-the-cosmos-argues-for-intelligent-design/
  16. Quantum Mechanics and the Laws of Logic, Part 1: https://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/reflections/read/reflections/2019/06/11/quantum-mechanics-and-the-laws-of-logic-part-1
  17. Responding to You Can’t Prove or Disprove God’s Existence THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/responding-to-you-cant-prove-or-disprove-gods-existence-2/
  18. How to Share Your Faith with Friends of other Faiths: https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/how-to-share-your-faith-with-friends-of-other-faiths.html
  19. Five Fake News Stories That People Believe about Early Christianity Canon Fodder: https://www.michaeljkruger.com/five-fake-news-stories-that-people-believe-about-early-christianity/
  20. Detecting False Dichotomies that Hinder the Mission of the Church | Douglas Groothuis, Ph.D.: https://douglasgroothuis.com/2019/06/06/detecting-false-dichotomies-that-hinder-the-mission-of-the-church/
  21. A Christian Perspective on Pagan and Secular Belief Systems: https://www.reasons.org/explore/blogs/reflections/read/reflections/2019/06/04/a-christian-perspective-on-pagan-and-secular-belief-systems
  22. Treating the Gospel Like a Cookie Rather Than a Cure | Cold Case Christianity: https://coldcasechristianity.com/writings/treating-the-gospel-like-a-cookie-rather-than-a-cure/
  23. IS JESUS’ DEATH AS A PUNISHMENT FOR SINS CENTRAL TO CHRISTIANITY…OR COSMIC CHILD ABUSE?: http://2besure.blogspot.com/2019/05/someone-in-one-of-online-groups-i-am.html
  24. Does God Know & Not Know Simultaneously? Free Thinking Ministries: https://freethinkingministries.com/does-god-know-not-know-simultaneously/
  25. 7 Unbiblical Statements Christians Believe | RELEVANT Magazine: https://relevantmagazine.com/god/7-unbiblical-statements-christians-believe-2/
  26. The Sexual Ethics of Jesus and His People | Radically Christian: https://radicallychristian.com/the-sexual-ethics-of-jesus-and-his-people
  27. Why Everyone Should Believe that the Gospels are Reliable – Capturing Christianity: https://capturingchristianity.com/why-everyone-should-believe-that-the-gospels-are-reliable/

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

Blessings to you all

Follow-up conversation with a Hindu friend

On Monday of this week, I had a follow-up conversation with a Hindu friend (read about prior conversation here), this time, bringing you along another Christian friend. We met for lunch at a busy fast food place. The conversation got right to the point.

I asked him about a prior statement he had made that religion is “man-made”. I said, “I can’t speak for the other religions, but what makes you think that Christianity, in particular, is ‘man-made’?” He said, “Well, everyone knows that Christianity didn’t start till 2000 years ago.” He said, “If God is so powerful, why can’t he stop all these other religions? Why couldn’t God make it obvious that he is God? Why couldn’t he (on every continent, simultaneously) make it absolutely clear that Jesus is God?” He talked about the priests molesting young boys and wondered why God couldn’t stop that. He also wanted to know why God couldn’t just make everyone believe in Jesus? I gave an example: “Let’s say your son wants a girlfriend. So you decide to find a girl and pay her a $1,000 to date your son and to act like she loves him.” I asked him, “Now would that be real love if the girl was paid $1,000 to date your son?” He said he didn’t know! Wow, I couldn’t believe he said that, because it’s quite obvious that it wouldn’t be real love and I told him that. So, I said, “God is in the same position. He wants people to freely love him, although he doesn’t need us to love him. He’s given man free will. A love that is forced is not true love. It’s not that he doesn’t have enough power to make people love him, it’s that he’s chosen to give people free will to respond in love, or to reject him. True love can only be freely given, it cannot be not forced. He doesn’t want robots (or puppets) who love him because they’re programmed to love him.”

He said, “If God lives in the temple or the church, the priest or pastor who is in the church should be closest to God, right? God can’t even control those people that are closest to him, the priests, who are doing evil things. He can’t even control who believes in him so it’s just a never-ending cycle!” I told him that the Bible actually says that God does not “live in temples built by human hands” (Acts 17:24b).

The Christian friend who was with me, shared with my Hindu friend the story of Jesus telling people about a tower that fell on some people and killed them. He said, “Jesus didn’t explain to them why the tower fell on them and kill them, but rather that they should repent otherwise they would likewise perish.” So it is instructive that Jesus did not give an answer about why these bad things happened, but rather warns people that they need to repent and get right with God.

My Hindu friend said that any religion that tries to scare people with hell (or has a concept of hell), is “man-made”.  So I reminded him that he was eliminating Hinduism (since it has a concept of hell)!  Also, in the same breath, he’s eliminating Islam, Judaism and Christianity as legitimate religions, since they all teach about a concept of hell. Additionally, I reminded my friend that just because evil people use religion to oppress people and scare people, does not mean that it is not true. I pointed out the contradiction in him complaining on the one hand about priests who are doing evil things and God not doing anything about it, and then also complaining about the concept of hell, which is the means that God uses to punish evil ultimately.

He seemed to have a concept that whatever a true believer prays for, he should receive. I reminded him that the 12 disciples, who wrote the New testament, did not often get what they asked for. In fact, 11 of the 12 were martyred for their faith — they were killed for proclaiming Jesus. So if it is a requirement that people get what they pray for to show that God is who he said he is, then the record of the disciples seems to go against that notion.

Also I talked to him about Christians needing to live their lives according to how the Bible tells us to live. In his view, the “true believers” are the ones who renounce family and material possessions and go to other continents to help people and serve the poor etc. They’re not worried about their retirement plans, money, health or or even dying — they are totally giving their lives to God.  But I said, “That that goes against other things that the Bible commands us to do. For example, we are instructed to save money, we are instructed to leave an inheritance for our children’s children. We are told that ‘he who does not provide for his family has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever’ (1 Timothy 5:8). So, we need to live our lives according to what is written in the Bible.”

Then he complained about the Bible being this huge complicated book.  He wonders why it has to be made so big and complicated because it could’ve been simple — something like a one-page document with just the important information about Jesus. I told him that most of the Bible is the record of the nation of Israel, through whom the Messiah would come. 39 books of the 66 books in the Bible are the Old Testament which record the history of the nation of Israel. Only 27 books are the New testament from the time of the birth of Jesus onward. in fact, only 4 books record the life and teachings of Jesus.

We also talked about the Bible verses other religions books.  I explained that the Bible was written by 40 different authors from all walks of life (kings, shepherds, fisherman, etc.) over a period of 1500 years on 3 different continents in 3 different languages, yet it all has the same theme.  Compare this with, say, Mormonism, whose holy book was written by a 14 year old boy who had a vision of Jesus and God the Father while in the woods, then was told about some “golden plates”, which he supposedly translated from ancient hieroglyphics by looking into a hat.  Which is more believable to you?  The eye-witness, corroborating testimony of 40 people or the “visions” of a 14 year old boy with no corroboration?  He acknowledged that the Bible would be more believable, but then he quickly moved on to other objections.

To be honest with you, I don’t know if this friend of mine is truly seeking or not.  At the end of the conversation, he said that we would need many hours to talk about this.  I said, “Great! Then how about we meet every Monday?”  He said, “Maybe we can…”  In any case, he sounds like he is willing to do this again.  My Christian brother assured him that according to Bible, if you seek God with all your heart, you will find him (Jeremiah 29:13) and that he has determined that we would live in places where we could find him and that he is not far from each of us (Acts 17:26-27).  So, please be praying for my Hindu friend.  I don’t want to give names for good reason, but nonetheless you can be praying for this situation and for his eyes to be opened.

mid-week apologetics booster (7-11-2019)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1200) from Nuggets:

The fact that skeptics are free to think that their thoughts are entirely physical is evidence that their thoughts are not entirely physical. – J. Warner Wallace, God’s Crime Scene

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. What to say to Jehovah’s Witnesses – Part 1 – bethinking.org: https://www.bethinking.org/jehovahs-witnesses/what-to-say-to-jehovahs-witnesses
  2. Giving Up Darwin: https://www.claremont.org/crb/article/giving-up-darwin/
  3. Strengthen a Teen’s Faith with these 3 Questions – Laugh Hope Thrive: https://laughhopethrive.com/2019/05/13/strengthen-a-teens-faith-with-these-3-questions/
  4. What is Islam, and what do Muslims believe?: https://www.gotquestions.org/Islam.html
  5. Glenn Stanton: Is Christianity really shrinking? Christianity is certainly not declining, and our nations citizens are not growing more secular. Let’s look at just three questions that reveal the actual story based on a broad array of leading academic research from our nation’s top sociologists of religion: https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/glenn-stanton-is-christianity-really-shrinking
  6. The Attempt to Find Purpose Without God THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2019/07/05/the-attempt-to-find-purpose-without-god/
  7. The Bible and Modern Astronomy, Part 2- The Question of Extraterrestrial Life (Dr. Jason Lisle): https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/the-bible-and-modern-astronomy-part-2/
  8. Some Questions for Linda Sarsour: https://www.jihadwatch.org/2019/07/some-questions-for-linda-sarsour
  9. 5 Simple Steps for Connecting with Gen Zers | Sean McDowell: https://seanmcdowell.org/blog/5-simple-steps-for-connecting-with-gen-zers
  10. How Apologetics Can Change a Life | Sean McDowell: https://seanmcdowell.org/blog/how-apologetics-can-change-a-life
  11. Chinese Christians flee China amid crackdown on church: No longer safe for us | Fox News: https://www.foxnews.com/world/china-christian-church-crackdown-safe
  12. A man over the moon. The historic Apollo moon landings still marvel scientists a half-century later, but astronaut Charlie Duke says hes also learned the heavens declare the glory of God. “The evidence to me is overwhelming that theres a Creator, he says. The orderliness in the universe and the physical laws that we experience see Gods hand in creation. That can’t happen by accident.”: https://world.wng.org/2019/07/a_man_over_the_moon
  13. Christian Bachelorette Star Defends Premarital Sex: A Man Does Not Control Anything I Do’ | Daily Wire: https://www.dailywire.com/news/48837/christian-bachelorette-star-defends-premarital-sex-paul-bois
  14. Answering Jewish Objections: Jewish People Don’t Believe in a Suffering/Atoning Messiah THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2019/07/10/answering-jewish-objections-jewish-people-dont-believe-in-a-suffering-atoning-messiah-2/

You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” John 14:4-5

Blessings to you all

A Few More Spiritual Conversations

Here is a quick follow-up on a few conversations I’ve had recently.

First of all, the Indian colleague that I had lunch with last week who’d agreed to go to church after our talk: I had said that I would research good churches for him based on his address that he texted me and I did. As God’s Providence would have it, the closest church to his house, literally a 4 minute drive, is also a church that my best friend attends.  And to top it off, my Indian colleague also knows this Christian friend of mine from a company that we both worked at previously!  That gives him not only a place he and his family can go where he already knows someone, but also, a church that I’m comfortable is a doctrinally solid, Bible preaching church.  I was thrilled about how God arranged all that. So I reported this information back to my Indian colleague and he replied “Thank u sir for all ur help. Plz send me his number and I will call him up.  Thx again”. So, apparently, he seemed willing to go. I pray that it in fact happened yesterday. I will probably find out this coming Thursday.

Secondly I had a doctor’s appointment Friday morning, and the doctor I was meeting with was named Bethany. So while I was in the waiting room for my appointment, knowing that her name was a biblical name, I did a search on my nuggets website for the name Bethany in the Bible. It appears 12 times in the Bible.  Here are the search results:

Passage Ref Passage Text
Matthew 21:17 (niv) 17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
Matthew 26:6 (niv) 6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper,
Mark 11:1 (niv) 1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples,
Mark 11:11 (niv) 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Mark 11:12 (niv) 12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.
Mark 14:3 (niv) 3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Luke 19:29 (niv) 29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them,
Luke 24:50 (niv) 50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
John 1:28 (niv) 28 This all happened at Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
John 11:1 (niv) 1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
John 11:18 (niv) 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem,
John 12:1 (niv) 1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

So I kept the search results up on my phone screen. When I got called into the office the first thing after some small pleasantries, I said to her, “Bethany, I don’t know if you knew this… but while I was waiting in your waiting room, I did a search on your name in the Bible. Did you know that your name appears 12 times in the Bible?” She said, “No I didn’t know that!”  She said she knew that her name meant “House of God”, but she didn’t know that it appeared in the Bible (now, looking the meaning up here and here, I think she may be wrong).  So I motioned her over and showed her the search results of her name in the Bible. They were all in the gospels.  I said not only does your name appear in the Bible, but it is a very significant name.  In fact, Jesus spent quite a bit of time there:

  1. After He died and rose again, He ascended to heaven from Bethany.
  2. At His second coming, He will return at the Mount of Olives, which is in Bethany.
  3. Also, Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead lived in Bethany with his sisters Mary and Martha, who are also featured in several Bible accounts.
  4. Simon the Leper lived in Bethany
  5. Jesus stayed overnight in Bethany.
  6. Bethany is about 2 miles from Jerusalem.

She was shocked to see that her name was referenced so often in the Bible. She commented, “I’ve read that book!  I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools through 8th grade.” When she said, “I’ve read that book”, I thought to myself – the Bible is not a book that you’re supposed to read just once.  It is not like a novel ….  But I thought I would just keep that to myself.  Anyway, she thanked me for telling me that and told me she learned something new today! That was pretty much the end of our conversation.  I hope that she goes home and researches more about her name in the Bible.

Then, when I got to work, there was hardly anyone in the office, it being the day after the 4th of July (Independence Day) which is a holiday.  I had a short conversation with 2 of the people that were in the office (a Hindu and a Muslim). One of them indicated that he was going to be leaving the company and actually moving out of the country back to the Middle East — I won’t name the country, but it is a Muslim country. So I asked him, are you a Muslim (before this conversation, I didn’t know)? He said yes I am. I replied, “I didn’t know that…” We were looking at a map showing the country that he was moving too, and of course in the region of the Middle East, this is where Mecca is located, so I asked him, “So being a Muslim, have you ever been to Mecca?” He said, “No, but I really hope to go there one day, and Jerusalem as well.” I commented, “Oh, that’s one of the five pillars of Islam. A pilgrimage to Mecca.” He said, “Well, actually, it’s not a pillar of Islam.” So I just kind of let that slide, but I’m pretty sure it is a pillar of Islam.  However, did I mention that saying the shahada is also a pillar of Islam. And he said, “Yes, there is no God but one…” And I said, “Isn’t it, ‘there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger’?” And he corrected me, “One of his messengers.” I thought this to be very interesting. In the short couple of sentences, I could tell that he was not a very strict, conservative or well-informed Muslim.  In the past, this individual and I have talked a little bit about Christianity and Jesus — in particular His death and Resurrection.  During those conversations in the past, he didn’t seem to have any push back or comment on it. I would think a devout Muslim would have really took exception with the idea of Jesus’s crucifixion and Resurrection.  I hope and pray that I will be able to talk to him more before he leaves.

Finally, yesterday at church, I was able to talk to the girl who just graduated from high school that I had previously talked to while serving at St. Vincent de Paul. She is the one who indicated she’s “not quite there yet” on Christianity and her faith. This time I was able to talk to her during the fellowship time after the service. I asked her if she’d be willing to share more about her prior comment that she’s “not there yet”. Initially she was saying that it was more something that she needed to “discover on her own”. I asked her if she would be willing to give me a try, “What is it that you’re struggling with?” She said that it has to do with all of the evil and suffering in the world. She said that when she’s asked questions of Christians before, they all gave the same answer.  I asked if she could try me 🙂  I would like to compare my answer against theirs. She said “They say that God gives man free Will and that’s why we have all the evil.”  So, I asked her, “What do you think God should do about the evil and suffering?”  After pondering for a moment, she said, “I don’t know”.  Then I re-phrased the question, “What would you do about it if you were God?”  Again, she said, “I’m not sure.”  So, I followed up and said, “Do you think God will deal with the evil and suffering ‘one day’?”  She said that yes, probably he would.  I said to her that if there is a God who created the universe and everything in it, He would have to be incredibly powerful and intelligent.  So, our knowledge would be just a small slice of all the knowledge He has and maybe, just maybe, He has better insight into how to deal with all this than we do.  She seemed to agree.  We then had a discussion about the difference between moral evil (e.g. Hitler) and natural evil (e.g. earth quakes and hurricanes).  I told her that if there is no God, then Hitler, who killed 13 million people total and 6 million of them Jews, just “got away with” what he did.  Yet, if the God of the Bible is real, He promises there will be justice for people like Hitler.  She said that she’s having a problem with trusting Him.  I told her that I’m glad she used the word “trust”.  Faith is a biblical word, but it has a lot of baggage.  Faith really means trust in a God who you have good evidence to believe exists.

I asked her if she’d be going with us to feed the homeless again next weekend and she said yes, she was planning to and possibly bringing a friend – she said she likes charity.  I said that’s great and was looking forward to serving again along side her and the rest of the group.  I’m thinking now of possibly buying her a book and giving it to her next weekend.  That book is “Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God” or possibly, “The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between”, which also has a good chapter on the problem of evil and suffering.  I pray that God works in her life to cause her to understand and accept these difficult things.

I continue to try to be alert for ways to start spiritual conversations that will lead to fruit.  2 passages are relevant here:

Colossians 4:5-6

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

1 Corinthians 3:5-8

What then is Apollos ? And what is Paul ? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one ; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

Conversation with an Indian Colleague

This week, I went to lunch with a colleague of mine who is from India. The occasion was the celebration of the job I helped him to get many years ago, for which he considers himself eternally grateful to me. Most of our lunch was spent talking about career and technical topics, since we are both in I.T. However, at the end of the conversation, as he was complimenting me on being such a good technologist, I mentioned to him that any good he sees in me all comes from God, as I pointed up towards the sky.

(Note: In the past I’d had lunch with him and his wife when he’d wanted “mentoring/coaching” from me on how to have a successful life.  I think he had in mind how to be successful at a career level, not in other aspects of life. At that point in time, I told him about my faith and gave him a Bible.)

Near the end our time together this week. I followed up and asked him, “So where do you stand with Jesus?” He said, “I like Jesus. I really like him. Who wouldn’t like him?” I acknowledged that was a good thing, but told him that “liking Jesus” isn’t enough. I said that I’m very concerned about him as a friend that he’s going to end up in hell. I told him that I didn’t want to discourage him, and that I’m wasn’t “looking down on him”. But rather that I am giving him friendly warning about his future destiny.  I’m just one beggar, telling another beggar where to find food! He said he understood. However, he said that he thinks he’ll be fine, because he hasn’t hurt anyone or done anything wrong. He says he’s always kind to people. I told him that God is not going to judge him based on how he is compared to other people. “Compared with other people,” I told him, “you’re a really nice guy, you’re probably better than most other people. But that’s not God’s standard. His standard is perfection. One day when you die – and it could be by surprise – you will stand before God and he’s going to ask you, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven?’ And if your answer is something like, ‘Because I was a good person, because I didn’t hurt anyone’, that will not be good enough. The only answer that will be acceptable is that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.”

So he then started to talk about how I’m an “Uber Christian”. With all my Facebook postings and so forth it is apparent to him that I devote a lot of time to “my religion”. He said that he would never have enough time to do all of that. He’s too busy with his family and his career. I tried to make him see that none of that will matter when he dies.  Additionally, if Jesus is truly your Lord and Savior, then you will still be prioritizing your family (and in your career, you’ll be working for Jesus).  But you’ll also be needing to spend some time with Him, getting to know Him while you’re on earth. So I encouraged him that he needs to get right with God now. He asked me a great question – he said, “What do I have to do?” I made sure that he knows that he cannot work his way into heaven. You can’t just say, “I go to church every week, I read my Bible every day, I help poor people and I don’t do any wrong to other people.” That won’t cut it. Instead you have to be born again. You can only be born again by exposing yourself to the Bible – God’s word.  You have to start somewhere, how about starting by going to church once a week, and reading your Bible each day a little bit?  He seemed to think that he would have enough time for one hour a week at church. I’m quite concerned about his priority being family and career over God.  After our meeting, I was listening to the Not a Fan audio book and just so happened to have it on Chapter 13, which is “whenever. what about now”.  This chapter seems to describe this colleague’s attitude toward eternal priorities.  I would highly recommend the book.

During our conversation, I also told him that when he talks about time for his family, he needs to realize that one of his responsibilities as a parent is to teach and to raise up his child in the faith. However I said, “You can’t give what you don’t have. So you have to instruct yourself first before you can pass that on to your children.” And I went on to talk about how most churches have Sunday school where you can have your kids learn about the faith while you and your wife are in the adult service. So he gave me his address and asked for a church that would be a good church that’s near his house.

He sounds like he’s willing to give this thing a try.  So, I will be working on finding a good Bible preaching church that has a children’s ministry for his kids and is close to his house.  I pray that this colleague of mine would sincerely consider his (and his family’s) eternal destination and get his priorities in order.

mid-week apologetics booster (7-4-2019)

Good morning friends,

Here is a random quote (of over 1180) from Nuggets:

Make religion attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is. Worthy of reverence because it really understands human nature. Attractive because it promises true good. – Blaise Pascal

To view more of these quotes, visit:

http://www.ps11911.com/nuggets?dest=quotes

Now, here are your weekly links:

  1. 4th of July Article – We continue to be the longest on-going Constitutional Republic in the history of the world. Blessings such as these are not by chance or accidental. They are blessings of God.: https://wallbuilders.com/4th-july-article/
  2. American Founding and Federal Era (1785-early-1800s) – 23 page PDF file lesson: https://wallbuilders.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Lesson-4-American-Founding-and-Federal-Era-1785-early-1800s.pdf
  3. Young Adults are Leaving the Church, Do You Know Why? | Hope’s Reason – note: this article seems to knock expository preaching (which I’m strongly in favor of), but as I consider the message here, I think the author is lamenting the hesitancy of preachers to mention culturally relevant matters in the context of their sermons.: http://www.stephenjbedard.com/2015/06/11/young-adults-are-leaving-the-church-do-you-know-why/
  4. Chinese Christians memorize Bible in prison: Gov’t ‘can’t take what’s hidden in your heart’ – The Christian Post: https://www.christianpost.com/news/chinese-christians-memorize-bible-prison-cant-take-whats-hidden-in-your-heart.html
  5. My thoughts on the passing of apologist and author Dr. Norman Geisler THINKAPOLOGETICS.COM: https://chab123.wordpress.com/2019/07/01/my-thoughts-on-the-passing-of-apologist-and-author-dr-norman-geisler/
  6. 3 Questions You Need to Ask When Reading the Bible – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut0jA0OvQ5g
  7. Why Christians Should Not Smoke Pot | The Stream: https://stream.org/christians-not-smoke-pot/
  8. The U. S. Women’s Soccer Team and Jaelene Hinkle – Break Point. …American Christians need to develop a theology of getting fired … It’s simply more likely than not that we too will face a choice at some point between our career and our convictions.: http://www.breakpoint.org/2019/06/breakpoint-the-u-s-womens-soccer-team-and-jaelene-hinkle/
  9. Why Apologetics? | Stand to Reason – Why apologetics? Well, the Bible commands it, the culture demands it, the Church needs it, and the results confirm it. Taken individually, each reason should motivate us to engage in apologetics. However, taken all together, these provide a powerful apologetic for apologetics.: https://www.str.org/blog/why-apologetics
  10. Dr. James Dobson visits the border and reports on the humanitarian crisis: https://drjamesdobson.org/about/july-newsletter-2019
  11. Dr. Ben Carson speaks of fetal pain, describes abortion as barbaric and murder: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/dr.-ben-carson-speaks-of-fetal-pain-describes-abortion-as-barbaric-and-murder
  12. What about people who have never heard?: https://youtu.be/yQISdCWQhRg
  13. 4 Reasons That Christianity is True: https://youtu.be/ata3XrCiGtY
  14. Why did God create the tree and put it in the garden if he knew Adam and Eve would eat from it?: https://youtu.be/h1jOsYw6qIg
  15. Mary and Jesus Appearances | Reasonable Faith: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/appearances-of-mary-and-jesus-resurrection-appearances/
  16. Morality as Natural: Why the I don’t need a god to be moral critique fails: https://www.tacticalfaith.com/morality-as-natural-why-the-i-dont-need-a-god-to-be-moral-critique-fails/
  17. Another Journey from Atheism to Christianity Proslogion: http://blog.drwile.com/another-journey-from-atheism-to-christianity/
  18. Do pets / animals go to Heaven? Do pets / animals have souls / spirits?: https://www.gotquestions.org/pets-heaven.html
  19. The Bible’s Reliability & Accuracy – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0OWYAf2TNA
  20. The Christian foundations of the rule of law in the West: a legacy of liberty and resistance against tyranny – creation.com: https://creation.com/the-christian-foundations-of-the-rule-of-law-in-the-west-a-legacy-of-liberty-and-resistance-against-tyranny
  21. Why Intelligent Design Is An Argument from Knowledge, Not Ignorance | Stand to Reason: https://www.str.org/blog/why-intelligent-design-argument-knowledge-not-ignorance
  22. Prayer is Not a Blank Check Signed in Jesus’ name: http://faithphilosophy.com/en/prayer-is-not-a-blank-check-in-jesus-name.php
  23. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg Donates $1 Million to Planned Parenthood to : https://www.lifenews.com/2019/06/28/facebook-coo-sheryl-sandberg-donates-1-million-to-planned-parenthood-to-fight-for-abortion/
  24. Contend Earnestly – Jude’s epistle defending the gospel is as valid today as it was in the early church | The Institute for Creation Research: https://www.icr.org/article/11386
  25. The appendix – The appendix is just one of many organs once commonly claimed by evolutionists to be useless leftovers from our evolutionary past. Over the years, however, the list of vestigial organs has become shorter and shorter, as scientists have discovered their functions. Some evolutionists now doubt whether any genuine examples exist.: https://creation.com/the-appendix

The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” Galatians 3:12

Blessings to you all