New Year, New You?

January 7, 2010

I’ve seen a lot of posts from people over the last few days about “New Year, New Me”   All I have to say about that is, “Really?””  What brought on this sudden new you, was it the changing of the clock from 2009 to 2010?  I know that “new starts” often bring a little spark of excitement and change to people’s lives, but for the most part the change is not that great.  I’ve heard it said that people don’t change unless they are really motivated to do so or that they are forces to change or lose something.  I think that this is true for the large part.  There are some exceptions of course.

Here, Just a few thoughts on the new year, new you.

 Anyone can talk, but few can back it up.  Yeah, I’m skeptical  for the most part of many who talk a lot about change, but in the end they either drop out or cop-out.  The notion was a noble one probably brought on by emotion and a fresh start at a new year.  If you are going talk about a new you, don’t be like 99% of all the rest of the world and quit before you eve n get started.  Why not keep your comment to yourself and wait until after you have changed to announce all about the new you.  Most of us will believe it when we see it. 

On a related note, just so you won’t think that I’m all pessimistic or a hater, if you do fail at a goal, don’t quit after you make your first mistake.  Perfection is hard to come by and very few every reach it.  I only know of one who was perfect in everything and they nailed him to a cross.  Get back on your feet and try again. 

Second there are always the ones who say you shouldn’t set goals because when you break them you will look like a hypocrite and the world has enough of them.  In fact we are all hypocrites in one way or another.  These are the kind of people who never change year after year and have no intention to do so either. When your goal is nothing, you reach exactly what your aim was, nothing.   I’m reminded of an old Peanuts comic, where one of the characters is shooting a bow and arrow on a wall with no targets.  After he is done, he goes and draws the targets around his arrows and gives himself all bullseyes.   Another character comments back, wow, when you have nothing to aim for you hit it every time.

Lastly,  I have but a few ideas and thoughts about how to set some new years resolutions or goals if you prefer and have a good chance to succeed in them. 

1. Make them realistic, don’t aim for pie in the sky and set yourself up for failure before you even get started.  For example, don’t pledge to never say another cuss word or stop smoking immediately.   Many of those addictions and habits took years to build up and they will take a little bit of time to break free from also.  Instead try goals like to cut back or gradually slow down in areas.  This way you can see your progress and be encouraged.  Trying the never again resolutions are a quick trip to failure. 

2. Tell someone who will hold you accountable about your goals.  Ask them to ask you about every week.  When you know someone will ask you about it, you are more likely to be motivated by that and perhaps even a little embarrassment when you fail. 

3. Post your goals and reminders all around you.  In your car, on your refrigerator, in your bathroom,  everywhere you can.  You might even want to set yourself up for a prize if you reach your goal or deadline for a goal.  Reward yourself with a trip, a new toy, or something you have wanted for a while. 

4. Last ask God for some help.  In our human minds and bodies we are often weak and limited, but God knows no bounds.  I’m not saying that God will give you a miracle if you ask Him, He doesn’t work like that.   You can get help from him in a variety of different ways.  Prayer, to help you get your mind focused on the right track and off other things.  Memorizing scripture to help you in time when you feel weak.  Believe it or not, but there are scriptures for just about anything you may struggle with in the Bible. 

Whatever you do, do it to the best of your abilities and then let God help you will the rest and motivation.  Just don’t type  up new year, new me or your favorite social networking site and trick yourself into thinking you will be any different from before all the while your friends laugh at you behind your back in disbelief.  They’ll see it and then believe it.  I’m pulling for you!

Knowing and Not Knowing (part 2)

April 27, 2009

Here is the second part to my thoughts that came from the seeing the KNOWING movie with Nicolas Cage. If you missed the first blog it’s around here somewhere.

One of my favorite areas to study with the Bible is Apologetics.  In short it is WHY you believe WHAT you believe.  The word comes from the Greek word, “Apologia”  found in 1 Peter 3:15.  It is the equivalent for the word “answer.” 

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, — 1 Peter 3:15 (emphasis added)

I fully believe today’s younger generation is ready to believe in something, they just want to know if it is the real thing before they fully commit with their whole heart to it.  Apologetics always helps them see the evidence behind the Bible and the life of Christ.  I enjoy a good discussion about the Bible and I love to hear from teens and adults who have genuine questions about the Bible or Jesus Christ.  I’ll be quick to tell you I don’t have all the answers so please don’t peg me as some know-it-all, Bible thumping, religious fanatic.  Ok, enough of the explanations, just wanted to give you a basic introduction to the subject mater.

  3. The Bible and Prophecies.   Knowing is based around this note written by a 5th grade student 50 years prior.  The note is discovered to have all these predictions which come true as the movie unfolds.  It made me think back to the Bible and one of the reasons it is unique compared to other religious books in the world.  The Bible contains over 1200 prophecies within the 1189 chapters that make it up.   There are over 300 prophecies about Jesus.   What would be the odds of everyone of those propheciescoming true?  Josh McDowell a former atheist, turned believer, who set out to discredit the Christian faith years ago has calculated some of those odds. 

Taking just 8 prophecies made the odds 1 x 10(17 power) Or taking 48 prophecies made the odds 1 x 10 (170 power)  The numbers are extremely large and the odds are very high.  I’m trying not to get to technical with the numbers, they are a bog killer for sure, but if you want the specifics on those prophecies and number you can check them out in McDowell’s book called The New Evidence that demands a Verdict. 

We are just a few weeks removed from March Madness where the 65 teams go into the brackets and everyone tries to guess who the final winner will be.  We all know it’s the administrative assistant at your work that fills out the bracket and wins ever time.  The NCAA brackets are just about impossible enough to get right, but the prophecies in the Bible make the brackets look like flipping a coin.  No other religious book in the world has the amount of fulfilled prophecies that the Bible does.  It is just one of the areas in which the Bible stands out.

4. It still takes faith.  Well numbers and statistics aside, you can spend years looking for answers and still not come up with a absolute conclusion to the questions that plaugue the universe, even with  all the evidence and history to look at as a reference.  I have heard objection questions before like, “Why does God just give us some continous miracle showing us that He exists?”   I believe that God has given us every bit of proof that he wants us to have.  If He choose to give us a continuous miracle then there would be no doubt that God exists and people would choose Him not because they loved him, but  because it would be the obvious choice to have eternal life. 

The Bible even says in Deuteronomy29:29  “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”  We all have to realize that there are somethings we will never be albe to understand or know with 100% certainty. That’s where faith comes to play in the matter.  The Bible tells us many things about the role of faith in our lives.

Hebrews11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God and those that earnestly seek God will be rewarded.   It is our faith that saves us through the grace given by Jesus death on the cross. (Ephesians 2:8-9)  the Bible has many verses that point to a active faith, one of works and actions, not to have a faith that is dead.  (James 2:17-26)  Having faith is not just “an easy way out” of not having all the answers, but it is more of listening to the Holy Spirit tell you the that what you have heard and read is the truth and something you can place your trust in.  I think there is a difference between having a “blind faith” and a “intelligent faith.”  A “blind faith” has no evidence  or support for making a decision, but an “intelligent faith” looks at the evidence and then makes a decision based on the unknown factors that can’t be seen or proved.

Where is your faith?  What kind of faith do you have?  Have you ever considered the evidence that supports the Bible and it’s claims?  Consider these questions; Do you truly believe that God exists, Do you believe that the Bible is a book written from God?  Was Jesus God, as He said He was?  Let me encourage you to examine the evidence and proofs that God has given us in creation, the written word, and in the person of Jesus Christ.

Is There a Higher Power?

March 10, 2009

I read the front page artical in USA Today, March 9,  2009.  It was a very thought-provoking article and depressing at the same time.  It listed many statistics from the the last 2 decades concerning Americans faith and what religion and denomination they cling to.  One thing I noticed is that the number of  “Nones”, those who claim “no religious/spiritual” conection has grown.  Atheists used to make up about 3% of the population and now in 2008 were reported up to 15% . 

Well, I’m looking for some feedback on what you think about the question in the title?  I’m looking for some honnest answers from you.  Feel free to leave comments explaining what you believe, i’m not just looking for a quick YES or NO. 

Here are a few second questions you can answer as well.  How did the world come to be in exsistance as we  know it?  What proofs or facts allow you to believe like you do?

OK, that should keep you busy for a while.  I will take your answers and share them with a group of young adults to introduce a topic of the exsistance of God in a Bible study in the next few weeks.  You names will be left off and only your answers and opinnions will be shared.  Thanks for helping me out.