Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spoudazo app finished!

And here is the devotional I wrote for it, if you are interested:

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV

I think it is easy for us to read this verse and say, ok, here is the check list: 1) tell someone that Jesus is Lord, 2) believe in my heart that God raised Him from the dead. Boom, done, hello heavenly dwelling. Right?
But there is so much more to this than Paul lets on. Simply saying “Jesus is Lord,” is easy, anyone can do that, and anyone can choose not to mean that when they say it, or they may not fully understand what it means to follow up those words with action (See James 2). Likewise, what does it mean to “believe in your heart that God raised [Jesus] from the dead”?
I think it is more than simply accepting that Jesus died for you and washed your sins away, so that now you are holy in God’s sight. Jesus’ resurrection was (one of?) the last miracle(s) He did while He was physically on this earth. If you truly believe in the resurrection of Christ, then what does that say about all the miracles He did before that one? Do you believe in those too? And if you believe in all of the previous miracles He did (after all, if He could come back from the grave, what is turning water into wine or feeding thousands of people with a couple loaves of bread?), then do you believe the things He said as well? And if you believe the things He said, do you follow His advice? CS Lewis once said, “There would be no sense in saying you trusted Jesus if you did not take His advice.”
So I ask you, what is Jesus advising you to do? Has He advised you to do something recently that you have not done? Good news, He is patient and merciful, and He allows second tries. If you faltered previously, spend some time with God and ask for another chance. Ask that He would change your heart so that you would desire to follow His advice, and listen for His voice.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blue Like Jazz comes out in 1 week!

I want you to enjoy this with me, so check out the trailer :)

Unfortunately, I do not think the movie will be opening in Lincoln :( which makes me very sad..

Monday, April 2, 2012

12 Step Program

So, in a Bible study I go to, we recently started going over The(?) 12 Step Program to help a person get past an addiction. It is popularly known by its use in Alcoholics Anonymous, and the leaders/hosts of the Bible study have both been through AA and are recovering alcoholics - they have personal experience with the program and its success.
The 12 Step program was mentioned in my Abnormal Psych class the other day, but the grad student who was giving the lecture (My professor focuses on a different subject matter and is starting to invite guest lecturers in to cover topics he is not as familiar with.), she mentioned that the 12 step program was good for people who are at a point where they want to get help and get past an addiction, but that the program had been criticized for its emphasis on spirituality, which is not for everyone.

And that is what I want to vent about, sort of. Because when I hear something like, "Spirituality/Religion/God is not for everyone," what I am actually hearing is "The truth is not for everyone." And I am strongly against that stance. I believe that everyone deserves to hear and know the truth. But, I don't think that the person/people who would make a statement like the first would understand that I transition to the second almost instantly. And this, I think, is the underlying issue. Or at least one of them.

The issue I talk about the is question about whether or not there is absolute truth. Is it an absolute truth that God, heaven, and hell exist, or do they just exist for me because I believe in them? (the second part being a relativistic truth system)
I've been thinking about it lately, sort of. I can come up with several arguments against that idea, the one about relative truth, but I have a hard time coming up with arguments for that idea. I would like to think that this is one of a few discussions that I don't know much about both sides while still holding a firm stance, but I don't know for sure. That being said, if you have any arguments for the idea of relative truth (regardless of your personal beliefs), I would be happy to hear them, because I don't want to just rant at nothing.

Relative truth. What I believe exists for me, and what you believe exists for you. Everyone wins, right? But what happens when I try to do that with a physical object? You throw a baseball at me, and I will choose to believe that you did not throw a baseball at me. Now, depending on your accuracy, I will get hit with a baseball. That is what happens, physical things do not disappear simply because we choose not to believe in them. (haha the idea of the cat in the box comes to mind...but I think that has more to do with atomic/nuclear things rather than spiritual things. I could be wrong, feel free to correct me.)
If you choose to believe that the speed limit is 50 mph and drive accordingly, you will still get pulled over if you are driving on a street where the speed limit is 35 and there is a police vehicle watching for speeders. Your beliefs do not change reality. Neither do mine. We will still be held accountable for speeding, even though we may choose to believe otherwise. (possible circumstances where you don't get a ticket: you are not from the area and did not know what the speed limit was, maybe you bribe the police officer or something else illegal, like running away. There are probably more.)

So, does this idea apply to spiritual/religious/God things as well as physical things? Obviously I think so... If I would choose to believe that God did not exist, that I did not have a soul that endures beyond my physical body, that would not change the reality of those things. If I choose to believe that God will not find out or punish me for doing something like running over pedestrians while driving 50 in a 35, that does not change the reality that I will receive punishment for such things. (Now here is where the Gospel comes in. Interesting, because I never intended to make that point. God is pretty neat :P )

As a side note: I am assuming the presence of a spiritual reality, which I know is not agreed upon by all. I can write another blog about why I believe that, but you may have to ask me to or let me know somehow or another. But this one is about truth.

So what is truth? Jesus claimed He was truth. Jesus claimed that He was the only way to the Father (God). (Another possible tangent: Was Jesus being close-minded? Was He being arrogant in saying He is the 'only way'?) Jesus said that He was the one that the Jewish prophets talked about when they talked about a sacrifice that would be sufficient for all sin, for all people. They talk about a person who is God incarnate, someone who is a ruler and a king, someone who is a servant, who is beaten and ultimately executed. This is the same someone, and many believe that Jesus is the person they were describing. Jesus said that He is/was the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no one comes to God except through Him (John 14:6). That sounds pretty absolute. And if Jesus was serious, and correct, about the claims He made, then shouldn't we take them seriously? Shouldn't we look at what Jesus claimed before we try to dismiss Him as some other crazy guy who thought he was God? What merit does Jesus, or the Bible, have? I think these questions are worth answering because, again, if what is in the Bible is true, and if what Jesus said is true, then it is of the utmost importance.