Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Quotes: Amen

From The Names of God by George W. Knight (page 70):

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. Revelation 3:14.

This verse was spoken by Jesus as He prepared to deliver a special message to the church at Laodicea. By designating Himself as the Amen, He claimed to be speaking a truthful, authoritative word for this church.

The word amen has a rich biblical history. In the Old Testament, it was used to confirm an oath or consent to an agreement. For example, Nehemiah called on the people of his time not to cheat and defraud one another. The people responded with "amen" to pledge their agreement with Nehemiah's proposal (Nehemiah 5:13).

Jesus often used the word verily in His teachings to show that He was about to speak God's words of truth (see Matthew 16:28). This Greek word is rendered as "I tell you the truth" (NIV) or "I assure you" (HCSB) by modern translations. The early church used amen to declare "let it be so" or "let it be true" at the close of prayers (see 2 Timothy 4:18), just as we do today.

Because Jesus is the great Amen, we can trust His words and His leadership. He is the sum and substance of Truth (see John 14:6). He will never say or do anything that will cause us to stumble or go astray. He has promised that if we follow Him, we will know the truth, "and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

About Radiometric Dating

Most people think that radioactive dating has proven the earth is billions of years old. Yet this view is based on a misunderstanding of how radiometric dating works. Part 1 explains how scientists observe unstable atoms changing into stable atoms in the present. Part 2 explains how scientists run into problems when they make assumptions about what happened in the unobserved past.

Monday, January 25, 2010

March/April Book: The Ultimate Proof of Creation

book cover

The Ultimate Proof of Creation
by Dr. Jason Lisle

Trade Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Master Books
First Released: 2009

Source: My father gave me this book to read.

Back Cover Description:
It’s a bold title: The Ultimate Proof of Creation. But is there such a thing? There are many books that contain seemingly powerful arguments for biblical creation. But is there an ultimate proof of creation? There is an argument for creation that is powerful, conclusive, and has no true rebuttal. As such, it is an irrefutable argument – an “ultimate proof ” of the Christian worldview biblical creation. Master the method outlined in the following chapters, and you will be able to defend Christianity against all opposition.

* Learn how to apply the ultimate proof in dialogues with evolutionists, how to spot logical fallacies, and biblical examples of defending the faith
* Discover the nature of scientific evidence and its proper role in the origins debate
* Details how to address theistic evolution, “day age” creationism, and other compromised positions of biblical creationism
* An exceptional book for pastors, ministry leaders, seminary attendees, and students of religion and philosophy

This book is a complete guide to defending the Christian faith, emphasizing the defense of the Genesis account of creation, built on techniques that have been developed over many years and presentations. They are not difficult to apply when you learn how to do it properly. Ready to move beyond the circular arguments? It is time to get to the real heart of the issue and rationally resolve the origins debate. It is time to discover The Ultimate Proof of Creation.

The Ultimate Proof of Creation used the Bible as the ultimate standard, quoted Scripture, and used logic, so of course I liked it. The book mainly focused on using logic as the foundation in our discussions with unbelievers and even gave a two-chapter course in logic.

If this sounds intimidating, I'd encourage you to give it a try anyway though it might take some time to absorb all of the information. Dr. Jason Lisle gave plenty of practical examples of how to apply the lessons. The appendix was also full of real-life e-mails he's received and he walked the reader through how you could respond using the information in the book.

He also applied logic to some creationist arguments to show which ones were valid and to demonstrate how to create a sound argument for the Bible and for the Christianity. Though the book gave the ultimate proof, not everyone will be automatically persuaded by it (since some people are convinced by bad arguments and others won't be convinced by good arguments), so don't expect that. But it will help with anyone not already dead-set again Christianity.

I'd highly recommend this book to all Christians. The author stated that the book could also be read by non-Christians, but I'd recommend using the arguments in the book rather than handing the book them. Though "irrational" may be the correct logic terminology, most people reject the argument before they've had a chance to think it over when their not-clearly-thought-out position is proven logically unsound or invalid and promptly declared an irrational belief as Dr. Lisle sometimes did.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from the Introduction
It's a bold title: The Ultimate Proof of Creation. But is there such a thing? There are many books that contain seemingly powerful arguments for biblical creation. And yet not everyone is convinced by such arguments. Evolutionists have their responses to such arguments, just as creationists have their responses to evolutionary arguments. But is there an argument that is so powerful that no refutation is possible? Is there an ultimate proof of creation?

If by "ultimate proof" we mean an argument that will persuade everyone, then the answer has to be no. The reason is simple: persuasion is subjective. Sometimes people are not persuaded even by a very good argument. Conversely, people are (unfortunately) often persuaded by very bad arguments. Generally speaking, most people are simply not very rational; they are not good, clear thinkers. Of course, this does not mean that people are unintelligent. But most of us are not as rigorously objective as we would like to think. We often believe things for psychological reasons, rather than logical reasons. Many people refuse to accept a very good argument simply because they do not want to believe its conclusion. For these reasons and others, it is impossible to construct an argument that will always persuade everyone.

However, if by an "ultimate proof" we mean an argument that is conclusive--one for which no rational refutation is possible--then I am convinced the answer is yes. There is an ultimate proof of creation. There is an argument that demonstrates that the Christian worldview must be true, and thus biblical creation must be true as well since it is an integral part of the Christian worldview. There is indeed an argument for creation that is powerful, conclusive, and has no true rebuttal. As such, it is an irrefutable argument--an "ultimate proof" of the Christian worldview.

The proof itself is quite simple. It can be stated in a single sentence. It can even be stated in many different ways. It can be used to show the truth of biblical creation, the Bible in general, the existence of God, or any foundational aspect of Christianity.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Quotes: Growing in Faith

I've not read this book, but I like this quote. From Pleasures and Profit in Bible Study by Dwight L. Moody:

I prayed for Faith, and I thought that someday Faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But Faith did not come. One day I was reading the tenth chapter of Romans: "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" [verse 17]. I had closed my Bible, and prayed for Faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and Faith has been growing ever since.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Book Review: Dug Down Deep

book cover

Dug Down Deep:
Unearthing What I Believe
and Why It Matters
by Joshua Harris

Hardback: 253 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books
First Released: 2010

Author Website
Author on Twitter
Book on Publisher's Website

Source: Review copy from publisher.

Back Cover Description:
What will you build your life on?

With startling transparency, Joshua Harris shares how we can rediscover the relevance and power of Christian truth. This is book shows a young man who rose quickly to success in the Christian evangelical world before he realized his spirituality lacked a foundation—it rested more on tradition and morality than on an informed knowledge of God.

For the indifferent or spiritually numb, Harris's humorous and engaging reflections on Christian beliefs show that orthodoxy isn't just for scholars—it is for anyone who longs to know the living Jesus Christ. As Harris writes, "I've come to learn that theology matters. It matters not because we want to impress people, but because what we know about God shapes the way we think and live. Theology matters because if we get it wrong then our whole life will be wrong."

Whether you are just exploring Christianity or you are a veteran believer finding yourself overly familiar and cold-hearted, Dug Down Deep will help you rediscover the timeless truths of Scripture. As Harris challenges you to root your faith and feelings about God in the person, work, and words of Jesus, he answers questions such as:

*What is God like and how does he speak to me?
*What difference does it make that Jesus was both human and divine?
*How does Jesus's death on the cross pay for my sins?
*Who is the Holy Spirit and how does he work in my life?

With grace and wisdom, Harris will inspire you to revel in the truth that has captured his own mind and heart. He will ask you to dig deep into a faith so solid you can build your life on it. He will point you to something to believe in again.

Dug Down Deep was God-focused, Scripture-based, and contained truths that can change your life. It's a book about the character of God and how a correct view of God will change how we live--it will bring that peace we're all longing for, the sense of profound wonder and awe toward God that we know we should have, and more.

So, yes, this is a book on theology, but, to use Joshua Harris' own words,

...Theology matters....because what we know about God shapes the way we think and live. What you believe about God's nature—what he is like, what he wants from you, and whether or not you will answer to him—affects every part of your life. Theology matters, because if we get it wrong, then our whole life will be wrong.

...We're either building our lives on the reality of what God is truly like and what he's about, or we're basing our lives on our own imagination and misconceptions.

We're all theologians. The question is whether what we know about God is true.

Joshua Harris made the theological ideas easy to understand. He interspersed his personal experiences--how a correct understanding of a theological concept made a difference in his life--with various theological topics. He didn't exhaustively cover every theological idea, but he did cover the most important points and gave titles of books you can read for further study.

I liked chapters 3-7 best. I had some questions about how he described "remaining sin" and the "not yet" idea in chapter 8; I wasn't sure if it was a case of poor word choice or if he meant to convey something I didn't entirely agree with.

Overall, Dug Down Deep was an excellent, interesting, and easy-to-understand book. I'd highly recommend it, especially to those who wouldn't normally pick up a theology book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from middle of Chapter One
When we talk about knowledge of God, we're talking about theology. Simply put, theology is the study of the nature of God—who he is and how he thinks and acts. But theology isn't high on many people's list of daily concerns.

My friend Curtis says that most people today think only of themselves. He calls this "me-ology." I guess that's true. I know it was true of me and still can be. It's a lot easier to be an expert on what I think and feel and want than to give myself to knowing an invisible, universe-creating God.

Others view theology as something only scholars or pastors should worry about. I used to think that way. I viewed theology as an excuse for all the intellectual types in the world to add homework to Christianity.

But I've learned that this isn't the case. Theology isn't for a certain group of people. In fact, it's impossible for anyone to escape theology. It's everywhere. All of us are constantly "doing" theology. In other words, all of us have some idea or opinion about what God is like. Oprah does theology. The person who says, "I can't believe in a God who sends people to hell" is doing theology.

We all have some level of knowledge. This knowledge can be much or little, informed or uninformed, true or false, but we all have some concept of God (even if it's that he doesn't exist). And we all base our lives on what we think God is like.

So when I was spinning around like Michael Jackson at youth group, I was a theologian. Even though I wasn't paying attention in church. Even though I wasn't very concerned with Jesus or pleasing him. Even though I was more preoccupied with my girlfriend and with being popular. Granted I was a really bad theologian—my thoughts about God were unclear and often ignorant. But I had a concept of God that directed how I lived.

I've come to learn that theology matters. And it matters not because we want a good grade on a test but because what we know about God shapes the way we think and live. What you believe about God's nature—what he is like, what he wants from you, and whether or not you will answer to him—affects every part of your life.

Theology matters, because if we get it wrong, then our whole life will be wrong.


I know the idea of "studying" God often rubs people the wrong way. It sounds cold and theoretical, as if God were a frog carcass to dissect in a lab or a set of ideas that we memorize like math proofs.

But studying God doesn't have to be like that. You can study him the way you study a sunset that leaves you speechless. You can study him the way a man studies the wife he passionately loves. Does anyone fault him for noting her every like and dislike? Is it clinical for him to desire to know the thoughts and longings of her heart? Or to want to hear her speak?

Knowledge doesn't have to be dry and lifeless. And when you think about it, exactly what is our alternative? Ignorance? Falsehood?

We're either building our lives on the reality of what God is truly like and what he's about, or we're basing our lives on our own imagination and misconceptions.

We're all theologians. The question is whether what we know about God is true.

Read chapter one.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Quote: Great Faith

From Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie (p. 19):

We, too, can learn obedience from what we suffer. Our suffering does not have to be wasted pain. It can take us closer to the heartbeat of God as we pursue obedience in the hard places of life.

As we stop fighting and start welcoming his Holy Spirit....we begin to enjoy an inner strength and rest, a firm confidence that whatever God asks us to endure is purposeful....

What we need most is not to hear God say yes to our requests. What we need is to be filled with such deep confidence in the character of our Father that when he says no, we know he is doing what is right and good for us. What we need most is the faith to trust him.

Some claim that strong faith is defined by throwing our energies into begging God for a miracle that will take away our suffering and then believing without doubting that he will do it. But faith is not measured by our ability to manipulate God to get what we want; it is measured by our willingness to submit to what he wants.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review: Pure Pleasure

book cover

Pure Pleasure:
Why Do Christians Feel So Bad about Feeling Good?
by Gary L. Thomas

Trade Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
First Released: 2009

Source: Review copy from publisher.

Back Cover Description:
Discover the power of guilt-free pleasure.

Pleasure is a good thing. It’s a powerful force that feeds your relationships, helps protect your spiritual integrity, and brings delight to our heavenly Father. Pleasure isn’t something Christians should fear, shun, or disparage; it’s something we should learn to cultivate in our lives.

Acclaimed spiritual growth author Gary Thomas will guide you into this way of life, which is foundational to a healthy relationship with God, with your loved ones, and with the world. He’ll show you that, for the redeemed, pleasure can be a powerful and holy force for good, leading to increased worship, spiritual strength, and renewed relationships.

In this invigorating and liberating book, Gary Thomas will energize, inspire, equip, and challenge you to experience life as God meant it to be: overflowing with pleasure.

If you feel guilty about enjoying the blessings God has given you, doing something nice for yourself, or taking a day off when there's so much need out there, then this is the book for you. But it's also for those who realize they're being tempted by pleasures that are condemned in the Bible. It shows how appropriate pleasure done in the God-ordained context will help prevent a Christian from being tempted by inappropriate behavior.

Chapter one gave the premise of the book. Chapters two through five explained exactly what he meant when he said Christians should enjoy themselves and why he thought God wanted us to enjoy life. Chapters six through fourteen dug deeper into how appropriate enjoyment of pleasure would play out in a Christian's life, and he included examples from his life.

The book was Bible-based, and he quoted Scripture to support his main points. I agreed with the points he made. However, especially in the first chapters, his tone came across as defensive--as if he assumed all of his readers would attack his premise and he wanted to reassure and calm them down before moving on. So some parts were repetitious, like he wanted to make really, really sure we didn't misunderstand what he was saying. I think I would have been more deeply engaged by chapters two through five if he'd presented his case more succinctly.

In any case, the rest of the book was excellent. The entire book was easy to understand and made good points. I'd recommend it to anyone who "feels bad about feeling good" or otherwise wonders if they really have a Biblical view of pleasure.

I really liked the example he gave in chapter one, quoted below, so I highly recommend taking the time to read it.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
“Got . . . to get . . . some water!”

Houston sweltered in clammy humidity while the summer sun baked the streets with 95-degree heat. It was smack-dab in the middle of the afternoon, and every sane person sat cool and refreshed inside an air-conditioned house. Some no doubt felt startled by an eminently foolish, middle-aged, fluorescent-white man from the Pacific Northwest, melting in his running shoes as he trekked through the suburbs.

I had been invited by two churches to visit Texas. Since I was to preach on Sunday morning and then lead a staff retreat that evening, any run had to be shoehorned in on Sunday afternoon between the two morning sermons and the evening session.

Because of the heat, I planned to run just six miles. I took no water with me, but hey, the entire run would take less than fifty minutes; I figured, how thirsty could I get?

In less than fifteen minutes, I found out. Imagine chewing on hot sand for ten minutes, spitting it out, and then letting someone blow the air of a hair dryer directly down your throat for another five.

That’s what it felt like.

Unfortunately, I still had another half hour to go.

Thirty minutes into my run, I felt like a ninety-year-old man. When a discarded, half-consumed bottle of Diet Coke lying in a ditch started to look inviting, I knew I was in trouble.

Finally, I saw a woman walking in front of her house, a house that--glory, hallelujah!--had a hose rolled up in front of it. I walked up to her and through a parched throat croaked out, “Excuse me; would you mind if I take a quick drink from your hose?”

“Not at all,” she said, so I turned on the hose, let it run for a moment, and opened my mouth to receive--the most plastic-tasting, mineral-encrusted water you can imagine.

Think about it--the water in that hose had boiled inside a rubber tube for days. The bacteria were probably multiplying by the millisecond--no doubt falling over themselves in their rush to reproduce. As that water coursed down my throat, a small voice in the back of my mind said, “You’re so going to pay for this. Three hours from now, you’re going to wish you were dead.”

But I didn’t care. Fifty degrees past thirsty, I wanted immediate satisfaction. I would willingly risk any number of gastric nightmares just to wet my throat. So I kept drinking.

I finally made it back to my car, immediately drove to a local drugstore, and proceeded to buy an armload of icy beverages. And then I smiled as I realized I had the perfect opening for my next book.

When Thirsty Trumps Trustworthy
When I drank from that hose, I knew I was flirting with disaster--but I didn’t care. My intense thirst made me willing to risk long-term suffering for short-term satisfaction. Every scientist in the country could have lined up back to back and used charts, Power-Point presentations, anecdotes, personal testimonies, and research tested data to demonstrate the foolishness of drinking that water, but I still might have put that hose to my lips and sucked down the liquid relief. I felt that thirsty. My urgent need trumped any other immediate concern.

My physical condition mirrored what many people face--spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. And spiritually thirsty people will put a lot of poison in their mouths, just to stop the thirst.

Nonbelievers are supernaturally thirsty because they do not know God, whom they were created to enjoy. Many believers are thirsty because they do not know how to enjoy God and the life he has given them. Some in the church feel suspicious, at best, of pleasure. We consider pleasure a synonym for sin. If it feels good, we think, it must be the devil’s handmaiden. So we set up our lives on duty, responsibility, and obligation--good things all--with little true pleasure to season our days. Over time, these lives that are devoid of holy and good pleasure become extremely “thirsty,” and we begin gravitating toward a release that is not holy or good or honoring to God--pleasures that war against our souls instead of building us up.

Read the read of chapter one.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Quotes: Jesus Reaches Out to Us

From Hearing Jesus Speak into Your Sorrow by Nancy Guthrie (p. 35-36):

As we see Jesus reaching out to touch the leper, we recognize that no matter how infected and offensive we are because of the sin in our lives, nothing we are--within or without--can ever cause Jesus to withdraw from us or refuse to touch us. He is filled with compassion over how sin has hurt us and infected our lives with misery. So he reaches out to touch us in our utter guilt and helplessness, taking upon himself our sin-sickness and imparting to us his health and wholeness.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Book Review: Every Thought Captive

book cover

Every Thought Captive:
Battling the Toxic Beliefs That Separate Us
from the Life We Crave
by Jerusha Clark

Trade Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: TH1NK Books
First Released: 2006

Source: Review copy from publisher (NavPress).

Back Cover Description:
What's on your mind today?

Your significant other, or your lack thereof? The flippant comment someone made? Your image in the mirror? Are you wondering what tomorrow will look like or why yesterday turned out the way it did?

As thoughts like these float through our minds, we often allow ourselves to believe poisonous lies that hijack our minds and separate us from the life Jesus died to give us.

Christ declares, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32). Being set free and grabbing hold of the life we crave starts with taking our minds captive to what is true.

In Every Thought Captive, Jerusha Clark explores the deepest recesses of the feminine mind and examines the sources of our insecurities, unholy desires, and anxieties. Drawing from her own experience and those of other women, Clark shares insights from God's Word that provide a road map to victory over toxic beliefs.

Every Thought Captive is an excellent book for women who have self-worth issues, who have trouble with worry/anxiety, forgiveness, envy, lust, eating habits or body issues, depression, those who crave acceptance from others, and those who get trapped into extreme business or fall into apathy. The author covers problems, some common to everyone, but from a distinctly female perspective.

She shared stories of women who struggle with or have struggled with these issues. She then identified the root of the problem and shed the light of Biblical truth on the various lies women may believe who have this problem. Not every problem--or every lie listed under each problem--will apply to every woman. She deliberately gave a wide list to try to help the reader recognize if they have the problem and to apply the truth that specifically addresses the lie they believe. The author was never condemning in tone--many of these problems were lies she believed and the rest were lies her close friends have struggled with.

I really liked how she focused on using the truths from the Bible, replacing the lies believed with the truth that frees. If you think you (or, in the case of men, your wife or daughter) may have a problem with one of the issues listed above, especially body issues ("I hate my body"), then I'd highly recommend this excellent, easy to understand book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Forward by Beth Redman
Over the last decade I’ve come across many young women desperate to live their lives for Jesus yet slowed down on their journey by negative thought patterns. Despite their best efforts, these women just can’t seem to break free. It’s tragic to see women so full of potential and purpose enslaved by lies from the Enemy about who they are and who they can be in Christ. Thankfully I’ve also seen the other side: many, many women who in spite of deep-seated insecurity, difficult upbringings, or even abusive pasts have managed to overcome these toxic thoughts and find their way to freedom. And every time the antidote has been the same: truth.

I myself can testify to this. After being brought up on an emotional diet of verbal abuse and physical bullying, I soon started to feel the effects. By my teenage years I was totally off course, believing lies about myself and living out of them. But the grace of God found me, and the truth of Jesus set me free from this pattern. Years later I’m living, feeding, and depending on the very same truth every day. The truth of Jesus alone has the power to mend and to heal, to release and to restore, to encourage and to empower. Without it, we are thrown about in a stormy ocean full of deception and discouragement. With it, we stand with our feet on firm ground — the solid rock of Jesus Christ, the unchanging and unfailing One.

This is the powerful and inspiring theme running through Every Thought Captive. With helpful insights and honest testimony, Jerusha Clark invites us to dwell on truth. She beckons us away from the perils of perfectionism, points out the dangers of living in insecurity, and highlights the paralyzing effect of fear on our spiritual walks. Along the way, she encourages us into a truth-inspired journey in which we dream and laugh and adventure with our God. But as Jerusha herself points out, this is no self-help book with a twelve-step formula guaranteed to bring you healing. Instead, her aim is to saturate you in the life-giving revelation of the Bible, the only power that can enable you to stop believing lies and move forward in truth. As she writes, “Though my words may fail you, God’s Word will not.”

The truth of Jesus transforms us. Let Jerusha and her wonderful words help you battle any toxic beliefs that keep you from the life you desire in God — and plug you into His wonderful and powerful truth.

Read chapter one.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Book Quotes: Fear Can Lead to Sin

From Fearless by Max Lucado (page 34-35):

To sin is to disregard God, ignore his teachings, deny his blessings. Sin is “God-less” living, centering life on the center letter of the word sIn. The sinner’s life is me-focused, not God-focused. Wasn’t this the choice of Adam and Eve?

….Adam and Eve were given a choice, and each day they chose to trust God. But then came the serpent, sowing seeds of doubt and offering a sweeter deal. “Has God indeed said…,” he questioned (Gen. 3:1). “You will be like God,” he offered (Gen. 3:5).

Just like that, Eve was afraid. Some say she was pride filled, defiant, disobedient…but wasn’t she first afraid? Afraid that God was holding out, that she was missing out? Afraid Eden wasn’t enough? Afraid God wasn’t enough? Afraid God couldn’t deliver?

….Eve quit trusting God and took matters—and the fruit—into her own hands….(Gen. 3:8-10).

Fear, mismanaged, leads to sin. Sin leads to hiding. Since we’ve all sinned, we all hide, not in bushes, but in eighty-hour workweeks, temper tantrums, and religious busyness. We avoid contact with God.

Book Discussion for Believing God

Believing God cover

If you're reading our Jan/Feb book, Believing God by Beth Moore, this is where you can make comments on the book, ask questions, or answer questions that I post here.

Click on the title of this post to see the discussion.

If you're not familiar with blogger, you can then leave a comment by:

1) Scrolling down to the bottom of the discussion (preferably after reading the discussion ;) ).

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