Friday, August 31, 2012

Back to School

It is a running joke in my family that if I do something once it becomes tradition. We'll, in that light, since I think I've posted our first day of school pictures for a couple (or three?) years now, I've got to continue. If you are new to this blog please know that it is not only a place I share things God is showing me, or thoughts on issues, but also a place I share slices of my life. I do so not arrogantly, thinking tons of people will care, but knowing that many of my readers are people who have come here knowing me and who have an interest in me and family. For you new readers, I welcome you to my life! I'd love to get to know more about yours!

With that said, today was our first classroom day of homeschool. Bethany is entering 6th-grade, and Abigail 2nd, and they are sure excited. We already have had some awesome instruction in matters of God at LIFE Camp as well as some other educational days, but this was the first in our classroom. I guess that is why, though we fall back into the word "homeschool," we find the expression "home education" a much more proper description of what we've chosen to do. The word "school" when attached to "home" implies to us (not everybody) that the learning/teaching stops when the "official" day is over, and it tends to subconsciously force us to try and compare to, or match, public school decisions about what is taught at what age, etc. It may seem like a small thing, but that shift in words was very freeing to us!

So, here's some pictures so you can share our day! Thanks for being interested! May you be deeply aware of God's love for you and nearness with you this long weekend, and may your "rest" in Him.   —Erick

Praying and then blowing the Shofar to start the year.

Excited girls . . . of course with a hot drink. It's tradition!

I am so blessed! Thanks, Lord!

Posing with their end of year presentations from last year. Abigail did volcanoes,
Bethany did Incredible Creatures that Defy Evolution.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

As For Me and My House . . .

Yesterday there was a CNN blog by Eric Marrapodi called “Bill Nye slams creationism.” According to the blog Mr. Nye is, “a mechanical engineer and television personality best known for his program, ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy’.” In the blog the author quotes from an online video that Mr. Nye released for Big Think last Thursday and adds some thoughts of his own. Here are a few quotes from the article:
"Denial of evolution is unique to the United States," Nye begins . . .

Nye . . . said the United States has great capital in scientific knowledge and "when you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in it, it holds everyone back."

"Your world becomes fantastically complicated if you don't believe in evolution,"

"I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, that's completely inconsistent with the world we observe, that's fine. But don't make your kids do it. Because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems," he said.

"In another couple centuries I'm sure that worldview won't even exist. There's no evidence for it. So . . ." Nye ends his video.
So, if Mr. Nye was your teacher, or your child’s teacher, or someone your neighbor listened to on TV or the internet, how would you respond?

In opposition to Mr. Nye’s “advice” or “plea” to grownups, Psalm 78:4 says, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” ESV

So, we face a choice. It is not unlike Joshua's challenge to Israel before his death, recorded in Joshua 24:15, “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” ESV

Making the decision to serve the Lord and teach of His wondrous works which confound the wisdom of the wise, are you equipped to answer your children’s questions? Are you confident in your own position and can you supply answers to the doubts the enemy wants to plant in you? Do you know why you, and your family, can stand with your head up, unashamed, declaring the Genesis account to be true? What is your reply to the claim that believing in Creation is not believing in science?

These are important questions, not just intellectual debates for fun. These questions cut straight through Genesis to the entirety of the Bible itself, which ultimately affects our faith in God, the Gospel, and our worldview. Words and beliefs like Mr. Nye’s are what you and your family and coworkers and neighbors are facing in increasing waves.

Do you know what you believe and why you believe it? The answer you will give is more critical than you can imagine.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Stark Contrast

Last week I was in a courtroom accompanying someone who'd asked me to be there with them, and what transpired in the two issues before theirs came up was truly both an amazing contrast and a picture of the two "realities" we are offered in this life, and eternity. I think you'll be blessed by the story . . . 

In the first case a man and woman came up with a boy and the issue before the judge was an adoption. I had heard about the amazing picture in adoptions of God's adoption of us when we are born again, but I had never seen one in person. It was incredible.

I gather that the man had married the woman and wanted to adopt her son. After the judge asking the boy some questions like, "Do you like this man?" and "Do you want him to be your father?" the judge asked the man something to the effect of, "Do you understand that by adopting Michael he receives all rights as a child, including inheritance?" After the man said he did the judge asked something like, "Do you understand that by adopting Michael you assume all responsibilities of a parent, as if he was your own child?" After the man said he did the judge verified with the mom that she wanted this as well and then asked what the boy's last name would be. They told the judge (I believe it was the new father's last name) who then asked if Michael had a middle name. They said he didn't and asked if they could give him one then. The judge smiled and said, "Now would be the time," after which they chose a middle name for Michael which the judge recorded. The judge then signed the papers and declared, "And now I've signed that and Michael is the child and Jorge is the father." And it was done, sealed, official. The line of natural, worldly descendance from a father to a son was broken and a son received a new father, and a father received a new son, all in a transaction that transcended and overrode the earthly blood line. The judge then gave the boy a teddy bear to remember the day by and the courtroom—filled with people focused on things ahead not nearly so pleasant—exploded in applause at this display of love and goodness and joy before them. It was as breath of fresh air in a thick cloud tension. It was a ray of sun streaming through a wall of dark clouds.

The case the followed was so starkly different it stunned me with the deceit and manipulation and lost desolation of two parties going at one another for over an hour over a landlord/tenant dispute. I found myself totally unclear over which party was more lost and wicked and deceitful and self focused, and just watching you started to feel slimy and dirty and enshrouded in darkness. It was a sea of pride driven by self with no interest in truth and right but simply in revenge and wounding and self profiting at any cost. The concept of doing what was right or noble or virtuous was completely absent (unless, of course, you believe we evolved and there is not God, which means there is not absolute right or wrong, which means focusing on self above all is, in fact, "right").

As I absorbed what transpired before me, and as I have reflected on it in the days since, I am still stunned by the contrast I saw between the two consecutive events, and the stark picture they offer of our two options or "realities" we have before us in this life and for eternity. On the one hand (in the landlord/tenant dispute) you have a world of which both parties were completely a part of and completely caught in. They were totally scratching and clawing through it for their own advance and motives and means. They were fully immersed in the world they were born into and it was their entire reality. In that reality they fought and schemed and maneuvered for themselves with no regard to anything higher or outside of themselves that they were accountable to. Born into this world they were subject to this world and fought within this world for all they could get out of this world. Only having themselves to depend on, they stooped to anything they could do in their own strength and resources to get for themselves what they could from this world, their reality.

In the adoption, on the other hand, you had a boy, born into this world and a certain reality, who was "born again" with a new name and a new father as a new man's son. He had a new reality and a complete new, fresh shift of who was his father and who took responsibility for him. As a result of this shift he had a completely new set of rights, including a new inheritance, not to mention an entirely new framework and lens through which to view his life and the world around him. On his own, without a father, Michael could only depend on what limited assets he had in his life. But now he had a father and a whole new place of protection and provision and security to depend on and rely on, and a whole new person to stand up for him and give his strength to him. What a picture of our adoption by God as His children when we are born again, with a Father from above, as His sons and daughters, in an official transaction that no earthly power can break, no longer of this world (though still in it), born from above, awaiting a new name the Father will give us.

I have long been aware of these two opposing options and realities every man and woman faces, but this was such a stark picture of them that it deeply affected me and I wanted to share it with you. May God bless you this week with a deep sense of His love for you and His presence with you.   —Erick

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monotheism and Gore Vidal

I have either written about, or alluded to, the arguments about moral relativism multiple times. Basically, either there are absolute truths and absolute rights and wrongs, or it is all relative and what is right for some is right for some, but not necessarily for others. This morning Albert Mohler published a very good blog on Gore Vidal and his war on monotheism called Gore Vidal and the Sky God. I would recommend reading it. You can see it by clicking here.

In his blog Mohler captures what Vidal realized—that the absolute of truth and right and wrong lies in monotheism. Apart from one god (I leave it lowercase because he is talking about multiple monotheistic religions) there is no case for absolute truth that says something is absolutely right and other things are absolutely wrong. I'll quote a few parts of the article below, but I recommend reading it and reflecting on it. I think this whole argument is also, probably, one of the reasons evolution is so appealing. If we take God out of the picture and deny His existence then we don't have to make our lives accountable to Him or to face the fact that what may seem right to us may, in fact, not be right to He who defines right and wrong.

In the blog Mohler writes:
In his essay, “Monotheism and its Discontents,” based on the lecture at Harvard, Vidal perceptively and blasphemously blamed the existence of a binding sexual morality on monotheism. "The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism,” Vidal asserted, “From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament three anti-human religions have evolved — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These are sky-god religions.”
And later he says:
Christians should pay close attention to Gore Vidal’s argument, but the mainstream media have almost uniformly ignored it. The obituaries have celebrated his literary gifts and noted his radical political ideas and rejection of Christianity, but not his call for “all-out war on the monotheists.” We should realize that Vidal’s rejection of monotheism, though blasphemous, was truly perceptive. He was certainly correct that a binding and objective morality requires a monotheistic God who both exists and reveals himself. He was also correct in pointing to the fact that a secularized Europe has largely abandoned a biblical morality when it comes, most specifically, to sexual behavior.

It is a truth we must realize to fully understand why the enemy attacks our faith so much—a faith that unashamedly declares itself to be the only way to truth. Because, if we are right, then everyone in the world is accountable to it, whether or not they like it or believe it. With that said, may you spend this week deeply aware of God's great love for you, and how mighty and powerful He is and how completely worthy He is of our standing for Him against all that comes our way. Thanks for reading!   —Erick


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