Pictures from Audrey’s night at the Reds game.

Our first grandchild, Audrey took the first pitch out at the red’s game on Friday night, September 16. the whole family enjoyed the evening.

 

 

 

 

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Can I know there is a God?

Let me say right up front, the Bible doesn’t attempt to prove the existence of God. It really doesn’t. There isn’t any place you can turn in the Bible and the writer says, “Let me convince you there is a God.” Instead, the Bible is written on an assumption. The assumption is that any intelligent person believes in the existence of God. In fact, it goes so far as to say, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” The premise of the Bible is that intelligent people believe in God and ignorant people don’t.

That certainly is different than the thinking of our day, isn’t it? Today we are told by multiple sources, media, movie stars, magazines, movies, that the intelligent people don’t believe in God and the less intelligent ones do. But the premise of the Bible is that real intelligence embraces God. But not everyone believes the Bible. So here are a couple reasons to believe in the existence of God.

1.     Reason Teaches the Existence of God.

I’m sure you are aware of the law of cause and effect. It simply states that back of every effect there must be a cause. The world and the universe are the effect. What is the cause?Chance? Nothing produced something or a mastermind.

Think about this chance thing. There are several chance theories floating around. One I read about in one of our son’s earth science textbook was the Dust Particle Theory. It simply stated that for millions and billions of years there were giant dust clouds out there in the universe floating around that over time solidified and produced the planets and stars that now exist.

Of course the most widely purported chance theory is the Big Bang Theory. Somewhere out in space, where no one knows, there was once a gigantic ball, how big no one know. All of a sudden it exploded, why no one knows and all the stars and planets that exist today are the result of that gigantic explosion. From the big bang everything has evolved to its current state of existence.

Though it is so widely taught, the big band theory has a number of problems. In fact, the big bang theory/evolution is actually a dead theory. The more scientific discovery we make the more science disproves its own theory. But we will never be told that for a couple reasons. Scientists will have to conclude one of two things, 1. We don’t know, 2. There had to have been a creator. And they will never do that.

Here’s just one problem with this theory. . Have you ever heard of the 2nd law of Thermodynamics? The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is a scientific theory and premise that all of science is built upon. It simply states that everything is in a downward trend. Everything is moving toward decreasing order and complexity. But not if the big bang theory happened. The exact opposite would have to be true. Everything had to start in the raw and move to the orderly and complex that we now know. And all of science knows that just isn’t true. That’s not how the universe operates. That’s not how all living things are moving and developing. So, does it come down to chance-nothing produced something or a mastermind?

I think reason teaches us that there had to have been a mastermind. In fact, the Bible says, “Every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.”

2.     Supreme Intelligence Demands Belief in God.

I just mentioned the order of the universe. Consider this written by Denver Sizemore. “The earth is said to weigh 6,570,000,000,000,000,000,000 (6 sextillion 570 quintillion) tons. It is 8000 miles in diameter and 25,000 miles in circumference. Yet the earth is more accurate in its movement than the finest and most delicate watch. In a year’s time it travels over 292,000,000 miles as it circles the sun. Yet it does not vary in the length of time it takes for each trip by as much as one second. If it were to vary a half second, it would make scientific headlines around the world. And it has done this for thousands of years.”

Take it out farther to something even larger, the universe. Do you have any idea how large the universe is? We learn from the astronomers that the Milky Way, the disc-like galaxy to which our sun belongs, has more than 200 billion stars in it. If you counted them, one every second, it would take over 2500 years to just count the stars in our galaxy.

These same scientists tell us, with their latest discovery, that there may be as many as 200 billion other galaxies in the universe the size of this one. Think about that now. 200 billion galaxies each with 200 billion stars–all originating from one huge ball?

We can pretty much reduce anything to a scale model in order to understand its size, except the universe. You see, if we reduced the earth to a one inch ball the nearest star to the earth, Alpha Centaury would have to be placed nearly 51,000 miles away.

Think of it this way. if a sheet of paper represented the distance to the sun, 93,000,000 miles, the distance to the nearest star would be a stack of paper 71 feet high. The distance to the other side of our galaxy would be a stack of paper 310 miles high, each piece representing 93,000,000 miles. And the distance to the other side of the known universe would be a stack of paper a third of the way to the sun, 31,000,000 miles high.

Now bring it down to something smaller, the human brain. It weighs about 3 pounds. It is said to be the most complex and orderly arrangement of matter in the entire universe. In every cubic inch of the human brain there is 100 million nerve cells connected by 10,000 miles of fiber like substance.

Take it even smaller, to the amazing complexity of DNA. It has been discovered that the DNA in a single cell, that you could balance on the point of a pin, stores enough info in code form to fill 1000 volumes each with 500 pages of very small, closely printed type. Where did such a complex structure come from?

Well, the late Francis Crick, who passed away a few years ago, the discoverer of DNA, realized the impossibility of such complexity arising on earth by chance. So he theorized that DNA had somehow been transported to earth from somewhere else in the universe—aliens brought it here.

That, of course just moves the explanation back a step. How did it get someplace else? The real question is how could something as complex as DNA develop by chance anywhere in the universe?

When I listen to the scientific explanations of the origin of the universe I am reminded of the words of George Orwell who once said, “It’s so stupid only an intellectual could believe it.”

The most intelligent, defensible answer is God. Yes, you can know there is a God.

The Connection Challenge

Most people like to feel connected with other people. We even pride ourselves in being connected. We have countless means and devices that keep us connected including email, facebook, the phone, snail mail and face to face communication.

Here’s the strange paradox. We have more ways than ever to connect but have never been less connected. I mean really connected. We have more devices and fewer devotions. We have more friends and fewer friendships. We have more connection points and fewer real connections. We have more links to other people than ever but more loneliness than ever. And yet we go out of our way to stay connected, in spite of its inability to really connect us.   

I submit to you that God’s plan of connectedness is the church. I wonder what would happen if we were as concerned and committed to being connected with Jesus and his church, his body, as we are when it comes to other people. Church life takes on its greatest meaning and value to us when we are connected. Connectedness is what it’s all about. By ourselves we can do nothing. God never intended for us to be isolated islands.

One of the pictures of the church we are introduced to in the Bible is that the church is a body. And all the parts of the body are connected and functioning and are important.

 “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ. God made our bodies with many parts and He put each part just where He wants it. What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” … “Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.” (1 Cor. 12: 12; 18-21; 27)

I want to invite you to examine and be totally honest about your degree of connectedness and at the same time identify the next step you can take to get more connected with the Body of Christ.

Here are some key ways to connect.

Connected people…

ARE CONSISTENT IN WORSHIP.

 “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.” (Heb. 10:25)

Connected people attend at least 3 out of 4 weeks each month.

 FORMALLY IDENTIFY WITH THE CHURCH.

The difference between an attender and a member is like the difference between living together and getting married, commitment. Members are committed. They can be counted on. They want to be used by God to make a difference through the church. They refuse to be spectators. Church was never intended to be a spectator sport. Connected people identify with the church and get in the game.

“Christ loved the church and gave His life for it.” (Eph 5:25)

1 Peter 2:21 “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.”

HAVE MULTIPLE MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS IN THE CHURCH.

The Bible says, “Care for one another, Bear one another’s burdens, Encourage and build up one another, Forgive one another, Serve one another in love, Submit to one another.”

Studies show that each person needs to develop at least 7 meaningful relationships within the church family in order to get connected and stay connected.

ARE INVOLVED IN A SMALL GROUP.

A small group is a safe place to be real and work through life struggles with people who genuinely care about you. It is a place to also explore the truths and principles of the Bible in a practical and personal way in an environment of encouragement and support. Small group involvement is so vital to getting connected.

“Every day…in people’s homes they continued teaching the people and telling the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” Acts 5:42 NCV

EXPERIENCE A GROWING ADVENTURE WITH GOD AND KNOW IT.

The things that once consumed them and defined them become less important. It becomes less and less about possessions, pleasure, power, prestige, popularity and pleasing people and more and more about pursuing Gods purpose and pleasing Him.

“We make it our goal to please Him.” 2 Cor. 5:9.

“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Pet 3:18.

ARE INVOLVED IN SOME KIND OF MEANINGFUL SERVICE THROUGH THE CHURCH.

Christians are gifted by God with special capacities or abilities. For what purpose? To impress others with our remarkable abilities? No! To make lots of money? No! Then what for? To serve others and to serve God by serving others.

“A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church.”  1 Cor. 12.  “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others. 1 Pet 4:10

 SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Satan, your spiritual enemy wants you be financially irresponsible. In fact, he wants you to serve money.  He wants you to worship money.  He wants you to be under money’s power.  He wants you to be a slave to money.

For most of you, the desire for pleasure, the desire to have more, and mostly the desire for money and what money can buy, will be the number one competitor for your heart. 

Don’t miss that.  The Bible says, “You cannot serve both God and money.”  “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”  “Many people, in the pursuit of more money, they’ve wandered away from the faith, and they’ve pierced themselves with many, many griefs.”  

Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

SEEK TO REACH OUT TO OTHERS.

They have found the pearl of great price. They have unearthed the hidden treasure. They have won the big one. They have found what they have always needed. Somehow God provide a way for them to find Him and His family and a church that exists to please Him in all things and now they can’t keep it to them self. They must tell someone.  

“Ýou are my witnesses.” Acts1:8

Three questions;

          1.     What is your current level of connectedness?

         2.    What is the next step you need to take to get more connected?

         3.     When will you take that step?

 

You and Your Job

Since it is Labor Day week, can I share an insight into your work setting? Every job comes with crappy circumstances and people. No job is without it’s own unique set of problems. However, those problems and people and pressures you deal with at work are not there by accident. They are there to accomplish God’s purpose in your life. And that purpose is character development. God uses the people, problems and pressures of your job to change your character.

I doubt if you have ever faced a challenge as big as this one. This is what was written on an actual accident claim form turned in by a brick layer to the Republic Insurance Company: 

“Dear sir, I am a brick layer by trade and on the day of my accident I was working alone on the roof of a new six story building.  When I completed my work I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of bricks left over.  Rather than carry these 500 pounds of brick down by hand I decided to lower them in a barrel over the side by using a pulley which was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.  After loading the barrel full of bricks I went down to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure slow decent of the pounds of bricks. 

You will note in block 11 of the accident reporting form that I weigh 135 pounds.  Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope.  Needless to say I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building.  In the vicinity of the third floor I met the barrel coming down.  This explains my fractured skull and broken collar bone. 

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers on my right hand were two knuckles deep in the pulley.  Fortunately, by this time I had regained my presence of mind, was able to hold tightly onto the rope in spite of my pain.  At approximately the same time however the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. 

Devoid of the weight of the bricks the barrel now weighed approximately fifty pounds.  I refer you again to my weight in block number 11.  As you might imagine I began a rapid decent down the side of the building.  In the vicinity of the third floor I met the barrel coming up.  This accounts for the two fractured ankles and lacerations of my legs and lower body. 

The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of bricks. Fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.  I’m sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks in pain and unable to stand watching the empty barrel six stories above me I again lost my presence of mind and I let go of the rope.  Thank you, Joe B. Sheraton.”                                          

Did you have anything that traumatic happen to you at work this week? I hope not.  The fact is we all have unique problems in our unique jobs.  God wants to use those problems in your life to help you build character.

 Romans 5:3 reminds us, “When we run into problems and trials they help us learn to endure.  And endurance develops strength of character and helps us to trust God more and more each time.” 

God is far more interested in your character than He is in your comfort.  He’s far more interested in perfecting you than He is in pampering you.  God’s goal in life is not to make you comfortable.  God’s goal in life is to make you grow up.  He uses those people, problems and pressures at your workplace to teach you character. 

Whenever you have problems at work, you need to ask not “Why?  Why is this happening to me?” but “What?  What do You want me to learn from this, God?  What’s the character problem You want me to work on through this difficulty?  What value, what attitude, what action, what responsibility?  What character issue is in my life that You have so allowed this problem to work on me?”  Because while you’re working on your job, God’s working on you.

The most important thing you bring home from your job is not your paycheck. It is you.

 

 

Urgent Prayer Needed For Pathways

Pathways Christian Church launches September 18 on the north end of Cincinnati, Oh. Pathways is a multi-ethnic, multi-racial church plant. It is one of those rare efforts to cross barriers in the name of Christ and plant a church that, from the very beginning, refuses to recognize dividing barriers.

You know and I know that such a plant will be a high priority target for the Devil and his demons. He wants to keep us divided, segregated and friendly at best. The last thing he wants is to have a successful multi-ethnic, multi-racial church plant that is not only successful in reaching the lost and serving the community but also becomes a witness to others that such a church plant can really work. He will do everything in his power to disrupt and even destroy the effort.

Can I enlist you to spend some time each day, leading up to the launch, praying for Pathways and its leadership team? Would you then continue praying leading out of the launch into the rest of September and October?

Darrell Davis is the lead guy. Our son Matthew is the Worship Arts Director. His wife Jess is also on staff as Administrative Assistant and Worship Leader.

The seed for church planting was actually planted in the heart of Matthew at New Venture. He moved, kicking and screaming, I must say, from Ohio to Virginia the month before we launched in 04. It was either go live with us or go to jail.

From day one he began playing with our worship band and the passion for worship leading and church planting was sparked. Seven years later, after a year at Cincinnati Christian University, an internship at Lifesprings Christian Church under Dick Alexander and  Tim Neuenschwander, and four years of worship leading in the established church he is stepping out into the adventure of his life.

So, can I invite and implore you to pray daily for Matthew and Jess and the entire leadership team of Pathways Christian Church as they ramp it up for launch day on September 18. If you are willing to pray for them could I get you to just email or respond to this plea and let me know? How many of you will join the prayer force for the launch of Pathways? Thanks so much

Check out Pathways at cincypathways.com.