Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Best Way To Witness To An Atheist

I have a friend with the above bumper sticker plastered on her car window. She said she thought it would give her a witnessing opportunity. If I were an atheist I would be offended and not open at all to talking with her. Below I have listed an excerpt from a blog written by an atheist and then I listed my way to witness to an atheist. NOT WITH THIS BUMPER STICKER!
If we hijack this holiday and turn it into something positive for our movement it will be akin to turning lemons into lemonade. We should take this opportunity to make them eat their own words and gain a holiday out of it. Who doesn’t love holidays? I think many of my fellow atheists would agree with me when I say that I would rather be called a fool than a Christian. In the past, many great men were called fools for their ideas only to be vindicated and found correct later. If pirates can have their own holiday we should too. Join me and help remove one more dull witted tool from Christianity’s belt. As for the common refrain from Christians that atheists are fools, I believe that an interesting response is actually contained in their “holy” book: “Whoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:22).

What is the best way to witness to an atheist? Live Christianity, don't debate it.

The real power of Christ's light makes itself known when it shines forth in life's darkest hours. If we have been given adversity, we have also been given opportunity to witness.
It doesn't take much to be nice to nice people, nor generous when one has wealth. Show me a poor person who sacrifices his own necessities for the welfare of strangers. Show me a person who remains kind to people who mistreat them. Show me a person who passes up a chance to destroy their enemy. When a person does these things, they are not acting according to human nature, but against it. The most valued attributes of mankind do not come naturally to man.
No matter what our situation may be, there will always be a profound way to represent our Lord. Our best witness is a life lived for Christ!

Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world.... [15] it gives light to everyone in the house. [16] In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your GOOD DEEDS and praise your Father in heaven.
Be light, and the darkness is pushed back.
Be light before men, so they see your good deeds.
Your good works point others to God. Your good deeds can cause others to “praise your Father in heaven”.

Monday, March 23, 2009


Saturday I led a grief recovery support group at IBC. I covered the five stages of grief and provided bible verses. One point I always mention is to find a bible verse that comforts and memorize it.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God

Psalm 9:9
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Psalm 18:2
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 27:4-5
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 30:5
Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalm 34:18
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit

Psalm 37:39
The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble

Psalm 46:1-2
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

Psalm 48:14
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

Psalm 55:22
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;he will never let the righteous fall.

Psalm 71:20-21
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 138:7
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.

Nahum 1:7
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 11:25-30
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

John 14:27
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Monday, March 16, 2009

St. Patrick

St. Patrick was born in Britain around 385 A.D. When Patrick was 16, raiders captured him, and sold him into slavery in Ireland. He spent six years herding sheep and praying 100 times a day. In a dream, God told him to escape. He returned home, where he had another vision in which the Irish people begged him to return and minister to them: "We ask thee, boy, come and walk among us once more," he recalls in the Confession. He studied for the priesthood in France, then made his way back to Ireland to start his life as a missionary.

He spent his last 30 years there, baptizing pagans, ordaining priests, and founding churches. His persuasive powers were remarkable: Ireland fully converted to Christianity within 200 years and was the only country in Europe to Christianize peacefully. Patrick's Christian conversion ended slavery, human sacrifice, and most intertribal warfare in Ireland.

It is believed that he used the traditional Shamrock plant to explain the trinity. The three leaves represent the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit; all connected by the same stem.

What is most inspiring about St. Patrick? He returned to the country where he had been a child slave, in order to bring the message of Christ.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fear Not!

Do You Suffer From Paraskavedekatriaphobia?

Symptoms of paraskavedekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th, can vary from mild anxiety to serious panic attacks. This is why people who are afraid will change their daily schedule or even have a day off work. Some economists claim that fear of this day has a negative economic impact.

But how did Friday 13 get such a bad reputation?

There are many opinions on how Friday the 13th got such a bad reputation. Unlucky number 13 even has roots in the Bible. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus Christ was the 13th guest at the Last Supper. Also, in ancient Rome, there was a belief that witches gathered in groups of 12, as the 13th spot was reserved for the devil.

Many historians believe that Friday 13 got a bad reputation after the Templar Knight tragedy that began on that day in 1307. French King Philippe la Bel ordered hundreds of Templar Knights to be arrested for heresy. In the next seven years, many were tortured and killed, as well as imprisoned. The Templar Knights or 'Poor Knights of Christ' were a monastic order of knights founded in 1112 A.D. to protect the pilgrims along the path from Europe to the Holy Lands. Some fear of this day can be found in Norse mythology.

The command, “fear not” is the most repeated command in all of Scripture. Of everything commanded by God, the prophets, the apostles, angels, and others, “fear not” shows up more often than anything else. This tells us two very important things. First, the most common human condition is fear. And second, it is the emotion that is least warranted for a follower of Christ.
Even though fear is an emotion, we do not have to let it rule our minds.
As Christians, we have the mind of Christ.

Luke 12:7 (KJV) But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Rev 1:17 (KJV) And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.
And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me,
Fear not; I am the first and the last.

Joel 2:21 (KJV) Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Words & Speaking With Restraint

Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad Proverbs 12:25.

When teaching about the power of spoken words Jesus said,
I tell you, on the day of judgement men will have to give account for every idle (inoperative, nonworking) word they speak. For by your words you will be justified and acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned and sentenced.
Matthew 12:36-37 - Amplified Bible

As believers we can accomplish so much with the words of our mouths. For this reason, we are held responsible for our words - all of them!

WORDS and Speaking With Restraint

Verses are from Proverbs (NASB)
He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding (17:27).

A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind (18:2).
He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles (21:23).

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him (29:20).

He who gives an answer before he hears, It is folly and shame to him (18:13).

The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge

A fool’s vexation is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor (12:16).

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly (15:1-2).

He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding (17:27).

A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back (29:11).

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things (15:28).

The words of your mouth are constantly bringing things into being in your life and constantly determining the direction your life goes in.

Let your tongue become an instrument of righteousness. Let your tongue become a promoter of health and life. Let your mouth bring out of your heart good things into the Earth!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lent, in some Christian denominations, is the forty-day-long liturgical season of fasting and prayer before Easter. The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the desert, where according to the Bible he endured temptation by Satan. Different churches calculate the forty days differently.
The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer—through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial—for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In Western Christianity, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Holy Saturday. The six Sundays in Lent are not counted among the forty days because each Sunday represents a "mini-Easter", a celebration of Jesus' victory over sin and death.
The number forty has many Biblical references: the forty days Moses spent on Mount Sinai with God (Exodus 24:18); the forty days and nights Elijah spent walking to Mount Horeb (1 Kings 19:8); God made it rain for forty days and forty nights in the days of Noah (Genesis 7:4); the Hebrew people wandered forty years traveling to the Promised Land (Numbers 14:33); Jonah in his prophecy of judgment gave the city of Nineveh forty days in which to repent (Jonah 3:4).
Jesus retreated into the desert, where he fasted for forty days, and was tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-2, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-2). Jesus overcame all three of Satan's temptations by citing scripture to the devil, at which point the devil left him, angels ministered to Jesus, and he began his ministry. Jesus further said that his disciples should fast "when the bridegroom shall be taken from them" (Matthew 9:15), a reference to his Passion. Since, presumably, the Apostles fasted as they mourned the death of Jesus, Christians have traditionally fasted during the annual commemoration of his burial.
It is the traditional belief that Jesus lay for forty hours in the tomb which led to the forty hours of total fast that preceded the Easter celebration in the early Church (the biblical reference to 'three days in the tomb' is understood as spanning three days, from Friday afternoon to early Sunday morning, rather than three 24 hour periods of time). One of the most important ceremonies at Easter was the baptism of the initiates on Easter Eve. The fast was initially undertaken by the catechumens to prepare them for the reception of this sacrament. Later, the period of fasting from Good Friday until Easter Day was extended to six days, to correspond with the six weeks of training, necessary to give the final instruction to those converts who were to be baptized.
Converts to Christianity followed a strict catechumenate or period of instruction and discipline prior to baptism. In Jerusalem near the close of the fourth century, classes were held throughout Lent for three hours each day. With the legalization of Christianity (by the Edict of Milan) and its later imposition as the state religion of the Roman Empire, its character was endangered by the great influx of new members. In response, the Lenten fast and practices of self-renunciation were required annually of all Christians, both to show solidarity with the catechumens, and for their own spiritual benefit. The less zealous converts were thus brought more securely into the Christian fold.
In the English language, Lent was formerly referred to by the Latin term quadragesima (translation of the original Greek tessarakoste, the "fortieth day" before Easter). In the late Middle Ages, as sermons began to be given in the vernacular instead of Latin, the English word lent was adopted. This word initially simply meant spring and derives from the Germanic root for long because in the spring the days visibly lengthen.
There are traditionally forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigour during Lent are prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbour). Today, some people give up a vice of theirs, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations.
Fasting during Lent was more severe in ancient times than today. Socrates Scholasticus reports that in some places, all animal products were strictly forbidden, while others will permit fish, others permit fish and fowl, others prohibit fruit and eggs, and still others eat only bread. In some places, believers abstained from food for an entire day; others took only one meal each day, while others abstained from all food until 3 o'clock. In most places, however, the practice was to abstain from eating until the evening, when a small meal without meat or alcohol was eaten.
Many modern Protestants consider the observation of Lent to be a choice, rather than an obligation. They may decide to give up a favorite food or drink (e.g. chocolate, alcohol) or activity (e.g., going to the movies, playing video games, etc.) for Lent, or they may instead take on a Lenten discipline such as devotions, volunteering for charity work, and so on.
Bible Study

Look at the following Bible passages which refer to the three traditional Lenten disciplines

Fasting: Isaiah 58; Matthew 6 verses 16-18

Prayer: Matthew 6 verses 5-15, Philippians 4 verses 4-7

Giving: Matthew 6 verses 1-6; 2 Corinthians 9 verses 6-14

• How do you feel about the idea of spiritual discipline?
• Share in the group any experiences you have had of being helped by the spiritual disciplines.
• Is the practice of spiritual disciplines liberating or legalistic?
• How do you think fasting, prayer and giving might help you to get closer to God this Lent?
• Rather than giving up something, how about doing something new this Lent?