“We Can’t Do It Alone”

"We Can't Do It Alone" on Amazon MusicBeginnings

Beginnings.

What do you say at beginnings?

  • At a birth?
  • At a wedding?
  • At the formation of a new congregation in the body of Christ?

Do you…

  • Ignore it and move on to the tactical needs of life?
  • Quickly recognize the occasion and move on?
  • Slow down and take the time to truly, fully recognize the importance of the beginning?

I’ll admit, with beginnings, I am more of the “ignore it” or “quickly recognize” it type of person…although I was smart enough not to do that with any of our births or Michelle and my wedding. 🙂 I am a “tactical” being, with my brain moving on to the next task that needs to be done, not reflecting on the thing that just happened.

But today is truly a momentous day!

Just think, if “there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (see Luke 15:10), then there has to be at least a bunch of smiles when the Lord’s adopted children form a new family for those repenting sinners to join.

And I wouldn’t be surprised…

If some of those angels are standing…or maybe even sitting…beside you.

So, let’s slow down together.

Let’s recognize the company we are in…and I’m not just talking about our brothers and sisters…and angels…but the Most High Himself.

And let’s recognize…ponder…and celebrate the formation of the Strasburg Church of Christ in its humble beginnings…The Pizza Shop in Strasburg, Colorado.

Humble indeed…but greatly appreciated of its Christian owners…and not as humble as the beginnings in a manger over 2,000 years ago that ultimately brought us here today.

Van Zant

You can imagine for a bit before this first service I pondered a bit myself.

What should I talk about? As your minister, what did I want you to hear most our first day with me in your pulpit?

It wasn’t until I heard a county-rock song that I was convinced I knew what I should preach about today. I never presume with the Lord…but it seemed that what we said the first day we met to form this congregation aligned so perfectly with what the Van Zant brothers sang.

[ These are quick sermon notes…not cleaned-up…and missing the “extras” that come out in the audio (which is available here). All quotes are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted. ]

Do you know who the Van Zant brothers are? Donnie Van Zant was a founding member of 38 Special and Johnny Van Zant is the current lead singer of Lynyrd Skynyrd. They are both younger siblings of Johnny Van Zant, the lead vocalist and a founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, who died with five others in a tragic airplane accident back in 1977.

It has been quite a few years since they started releasing music together, but I don’t recall noticing them until their latest album, “Red White and Blue (Live).” I preordered it on Amazon Music and the first night it was released I stayed up too late listening to it…with one thing especially standing out. After the song “Plain Jane” finished…when any other band and its producer would have wrapped up the track and gone on to the next one…I heard these words from Ronnie:

You know a lot of people don’t know this, but me and Johnny are true believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. Yeah. And we believe through praying hard, miracles can happen. So you just keep believing that people.

Wow!

The name “Jesus”…not used as an expletive…can be the death nell of a song…and not only did Ronnie unabashedly give a testimony…he called Jesus Lord…and he made sure that it wasn’t cut out of the final product.

Don’t worry…I am not about to do a talk about “Plain Jane”…but it was that album that got me buying some more Van Zant…and that song that first introduced me to their faith that is even more evident in the tune that is the basis of this very first sermon of the Strasburg Church of Christ…

“We Can’t Do It Alone”

And that song is “We Can’t Do It Alone.”

I suppose I could have called this talk “The Gospel According to Van Zant”…because “We Can’t Do It Alone” actually packs a lot of truth into 4 minutes and 20 seconds…even repeating the chorus and a bunch of stuff. 🙂

But that isn’t what I called my sermon, because I will want to ultimately have you focus on a a really, really important statement in it.

Before that, however, let’s see if you agree with me that there is a lot of truth in it. For instance, it starts off with:

I wear this cross ’cause I believe

He shed His precious blood so I’d be saved

And daddy had to gold one just like me

But when he died he wore it to his grave

Ignoring any possible disagreement on the value or propriety of wearing a cross, anything you can disagree with in those words? More importantly, does the Bible agree? Let’s look at a few verses and decide:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, (Ephesians 1:7).

And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot (1 Peter 1:17-19)

Did Jesus shed His precious blood so you would be saved?

YES!!!

So, so far so good…let’s continue with the tune…

He said, ‘Don’t you cry, son

‘Cause in the long run we’ll all be together again’

Too many of us have experienced this…and all of us can imagine the situation. Someone we love…a parent…a child…a friend…doesn’t have long to live. The thought of the impending loss it self can be overwhelming…

But, in the Van Zant brothers’ case, their dad had words of cheer. “Don’t you cry, son. ‘Cause in the long run we’ll all be together again.”

Just happy talk, right? What does the Bible say? For that answer we’ll turn to one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture:

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

I know that is a long selection, but it’s impossible for me to want to give up a single syllable in it. 🙂 Like Van Zant…we do “not grieve as other do who have no hope.” We more than hope. We know that with their dad was right and, for us Christians…

“In the long run we’ll all be together again.”

Still looking good, eh? Van Zant not only claims to be Christian, they hold biblically sound beliefs.

At this point the song goes into the first chorus…but I want to temporarily skip that for a couple other portions of the song:

Now I see the world through my child’s eyes

And I wonder where it’s all gonna go

Things are hard, these are troubled times

You know the devil’s always tryin’ to steal your soul

When you hear the news…

When you see how much war and suffering is occurring…

When you see how much this country has changed in less than eight short years.

(And I don’t think for the better.)

Do you “wonder where it’s all gonna go”?

Do you pray that the Second Coming will come soon?

Things are hard. These are trouble times.

But those first three lines are not biblical statements. How about the last one…is the devil always trying to steal your soul?

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8)

Looks like Van Zant got that right too, eh? The devil is out to get you…whether you refer to it as stealing your soul or seeking to devour you.

Oh, and by the way…as you “wonder where it’s all gonna go”…you should take Peter’s previous two verses to heart:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7).

Cast those anxieties on God…because…and never, ever, ever lose sight of this…

He cares for you.

Money Verses

At this point in composing my sermon, I checked to see how many pages it was…and as much as I might have like to continue to do a “verse by verse” exegesis of the Van Zant song, I realized…even if you are sitting in one of the comfortable booths here at The Pizza Shop…I should especially be kind the first time I preached and not go on way too long. 🙂

So, let’s jump to the part of the song I want you to most focus on. The “money verses” that I felt were most important for this church family to hear and focus on:

Cause we’re all God’s children

Sinners tryin’ to make it to the light

There ain’t no easy livin’ so hold on to one another

We’re all sisters, we’re all brothers

Just tryin’ to find our way back home

And we can’t do it alone

And no one can be that strong

We can’t make it on our own

Oh, we can’t do it alone

To save time, can we go ahead and stipulate that “we’re all God’s children,” that we are “sinners tryin’ to make it to the light,” that “there ain’t no easy livin'” so we should “hold on to one another,” and that “we’re all sisters, we’re all brothers, just trying’ to find our way back home”?

If not, hit me up afterward and we’ll sit down together and confirm those. 🙂

What I want to focus on…

What I want to wrap up this sermon with…

Is Van Zants claim that we can’t do it alone. That claim is so important to them it’s what they titled their song.

But is it true?

Before we answer it…let’s stipulate one other thing. When it comes to eternity, we cannot do anything without Jesus.

But that isn’t Van Zant’s point. They are talking about us.

You. Me.

That we need each other. That “no one can be that strong.” That “we can’t make it on our own.” That “we can’t do it alone.”

To confirm or reject those statements, let’s first turn to John 13:34-35:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Are we disciples of Christ? [Yes]

How will “all people” know that? [If you have love one another.]

Let me ask you this…how many times have you heard people say, “That person shows their love for others by being a hermit hiding in a cave and avoiding everyone”?

Well, I suppose there are some people who are so perpetually miserable…it might be the loving thing for them to do for others. 🙂

But seriously…can you show love by being alone? [No.]

So, if we are truly Jesus’ disciples…”we can’t do it alone.”

Oh…and sneaking back to Van Zant’s song one more time, passing the half-century mark I can also agree with these words in it:

And the older I get, the more I see that

More love is always what we need

Of course, not the false love the world offers…which often is just erotic or with the false claim that love means you accept anything someone else does or believes…but a true, honest, godly love. We always need more of that…agreed?

Okay…back to whether or not we can do it alone. What does Hebrews 10:24-25 tell us?

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Although there is a lot more that can be taken out of those inspired words…let’s zoom in on “not neglecting to meet together.”

If we can do it “alone”…why would the writer of Hebrews make that statement? I’ll worship God my way at my home, you worship God you way at your home.

But no…we are told not to neglect meeting together. Why? For that, I’m going to quote from a sermon I did back at the Antrim Church of Christ that included the top ten reasons to go to church…this was “#5 — We need you…you ‘complete’ us”:

We are half way through the list…and to discover #5 we’ll need to read through the longest biblical selection in today’s sermon. Let’s turn together to 1 Corinthians 12:12-27:

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

#5 in our top ten reasons to attend church is “We need you…you ‘complete’ us.”

Yes, just like a disabled or blind or deaf person we will learn to compensate…the Body of Christ “does not consist of one member but of many” and “if one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

And…if one member stops attending…we all feel the vacuum…we are incomplete.

But so is the person who stays away…

Returning back to this sermon…

We can’t do it alone because we are dependent on each other. As Paul says, “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you.”

I need you.

You need me.

We need each other.

Every one of us needs every other one of us.

We can’t do it alone.

You may not think you add much value. Oh contraire.

The Son of God dying for you on the cross proves you are of immense value…and the Holy Spirit, through Paul, reminds us that “the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.”

Every one of you sitting before me is indispensable, regardless of what you think of yourself. I get to stand up here in this prime spot, but I am no more important than any one of you. I am but one member of this congregation…but one member of this body.

I need you. You need me. We need each other. Every one of us needs every other one of us.

We can’t do it alone.

Especially as we, like Van Zant, look around at today’s world and “wonder where it’s all gonna go.”

You may not have noticed…but two of the scriptures I’ve share have spoken of encouraging each other. I don’t know about you, but I can use your encouragement. Can you use mine? Can we use each others?

I need you. You need me. We need each other. Every one of us needs every other one of us.

We can’t do it alone.

Finally, as I have repeated elsewhere quite a few times, when we had our first gathering to form this church, the word that summarized what we wanted was…

Family.

And although it is still early, I have already started feeling that within our humble little congregation.

Family.

Let’s work together to make sure everyone who spends time with us feels that…more and more…

Family.

We are children of the Most High, adopted as brothers of sisters into the family of God…into the body of Christ. We were all chosen to be specific parts of that body: “If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”

I need you. You need me. We need each other. Every one of us needs every other one of us.

We can’t do it alone.

When you leave here today, if you remember one thing…remember that…

We can’t do it alone.

And that’s okay. 🙂

King Solomon Versus the Hair Band Poison

King Solomon:

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief (Ecclesiastes 1:18, New International Version).

Poison:

Yeah sometimes I wish I didn’t know now
The things I didn’t know then

Yes, the body of Christ is composed from every nation under the sun, and from folks who grew up with all kinds of different music. 🙂

Poison’s “Something to Believe In” (which includes the line at 4:59 in):

Failure to Communicate

Video snapshotWeeks ago I heard Guns N’ Roses’ “Civil War” again, which starts off with this famous quote from Cool Hand Luke:

What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.

In this Hollywood case, it is a tyranical, evil prison warden who is saying it to rationalize mistreating a prisoner (played by Paul Newman). However, I cannot help but think that, replacing an evil man with a good God, it can be used to illustrate some biblical truth.

  1. Between God and man, there is a failure to communicate
  2. The issue is on man’s side, not God’s, because…
  3. Some men you just can’t reach
  4. God ultimately gives men what they want
  5. God takes no pleasure in given men what they deserve

(Of course, in this case I am using “man” and “men” in its traditional form, representing humans regardless of gender.)

With the first one, I hope I don’t have to prove it. From the moment Eve first trusted the devil more than our Lord, that failure to communicate has been pretty obvious. As for the problem being on our side (versus God’s), here is an interesting example from just before the first Christian martyr, Stephen, gets stoned:

You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you (Acts 7:51, English Standard Version).

Throughout history, it hasn’t been for a lack of effort on our Lord’s part that men haven’t heard…it’s because we resist. Today, we have even less excuse, because the Ultimate form of communication came:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world (Hebrews 1:1-2).

Yet, there is still a failure to communicate. [Read more…]

Don’t Stop Looking at the Clouds

Closer view of light on fluffy clouds

There was a period in my adulthood where I stopped looking at the clouds. I do not know for sure, but I think it was the stress of a previous job that led to it. Of course, allowing it to do so was my choice, whether or not I realized it.

Life still has its stresses, sometimes as bad (if not worse) than that period. I refuse to stop looking at the clouds again.

God blessed me with these tonight…

Vew of light on fluffy clouds

Rainbows and Skittles

Rainbow in HonoluluWork has brought me to Honolulu multiple times this year, and I type this in a Hawaii Prince Hotel room.

You feel horrible for me, don’t you? 🙂

One thing I love about Hawaii is how often I see rainbows (thanks to sporadic rain showers). The photo in the top left of this article is from this morning, taken as I walked back from a quick swim at the Ala Moana Beach Park. Last week I posted the image directly below on Facebook and kidded that “driving to work in Hawaii is always rainbows and Skittles!”:

Rainbow on the way to work in Honolulu

And, as luck would have it, yesterday I could confirm the same going the other direction with, “It’s all rainbows and Skittles in Hawaii on the drive home too!”:

Rainbow in Honolulu during the drive home

But, none of the pictures I’ve shared so far were the first rainbow that stood out during my Hawaii visits in 2016. Instead, going to the local Costco to get a Hawaiian shirt (on the advice of locals), this greeted me in its parking lot:

Rainbow seen from Costco parking lot

Amazing, eh?!

“Always rainbows and skittles” probably seems a little childish or naive, but it hit me this morning that life is full of rainbows, if only we keep our eyes open for them. To and from work I can focus on the horrible traffic lights and people driving erratically, or…

Ditto with life. With 24 hour cable news, social media, and other forms of information overload we can be engulfed by negative news and miss the fact that no matter how dark the world is…

God’s rainbows break through.

Yes, I am being euphemistic here. 🙂

We’ve done a lot to darken the world, but evil never completely overcomes good. For me, the most sure rainbows are children. Their laughs are infective and their smiles are balm for my soul. However, life’s rainbows aren’t just children, and if I were to start listing all of them this post would become ridiculously long.

Stop staring at the ground in front of you or at the troubles around you and always watch for rainbows. When you see one, be sure to tell someone else! I did that this morning with an older couple and you should have seen the smiles on their face when they stopped, looked behind, and saw it.

Smiles that were another rainbow for me.

P.S. The Lord has also blessed me by having a home where rainbows frequent the horizon:

Rainbow seen from backyard

 

Video of the Week

The video of the week this time is for Father’s Day 2016…my good friend David Britt singing “A Father’s Prayer”:

And yes, I know I don’t do a video a week. 🙂

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

“The Great Question” About Our Faith

Andrew Klavan begins his “The Great Question” with…

Islamism is the great evil of our age, and the great question of our age is whether this foulness is the natural child of Islam itself or a cancer on its body.

Given the continual, regular atrocities done in the name of Islam (but that we are always told have nothing to do with the “religion of peace”)…

Islamic symbolThis seems an especially apropos query.

Are the terrorist acts of self-proclaimed Muslims an evil aberration or a natural extension of Islam and its holy book? Were the millions purged in Russia and China in the 20th century a natural child of communism? Is the corruption and complete breakdown of the economy in Venezuala (and resulting chaos) a natural result of socialism?

Was the Inquisition a natural extension of Christianity? How about other evil done in the name of Christ the last 2,000 years?

A very wise man said, “We become like the god we worship.”

And everybody worships a god, whether they realize it or not. I’ll unhesitatingly choose Jesus over Allah, Lenin (or Stalin), Mao, or Chavez (or his weaker replacement Maduro). There is no foulness in Christ nor in the pure faith He founded with His blood on the cross.

Can you say the same of ______? When its followers “become like the god [they] worship,” is the result more love and life or more corruption and carnage?

Another “question of our age” I suppose…

Orlando (Jesus Wept)

Jesus wept.

The shortest verse in the Bible (John 11:35) seems especially apropos given the carnage in Orlando. Those two words remind us that the sinless Son of God deeply cares about the pain we feel. In context, Christ knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, yet…

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled (John 11:33, English Standard Version).

And…

Woman weepingJesus wept.

There are friends…brothers…sisters…mothers…fathers…children…

Weeping in Orlando.

Jesus weeps with them.

So should we.

Avoid politics. Avoid finger pointing. Avoid judging.

There is plenty of time in the future to do all that where appropriate.

For now, we should just have the heart of Christ…

And weep…

While looking forward to the day when God…

…will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:4).

Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

God’s Love Causes Goodness

Another great quote from C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain:

But God’s love, far from being caused by the goodness in an object, causes all the goodness an object has, loving it first into existence and then into real, though derivative, loveability. God is Goodness. He can give good, but cannot need or get it.

Disbelief Versus Unbelief

Skeptical womanYesterday I ran into a link to an article I think every Christian, especially budding theologians, should read:

“Learning skepticism, an essential skill for citizenship in 21st century America”

Contrary to what some might argue, doctrine is important. For instance, Jesus is the Son of God; if you do not believe that, you are not a Christian and are not saved. However, I would posit that, by sheer volume, most Christian doctrine is neither as clear nor as important as “Jesus is the Son of God.” That is not the same as saying it is unimportant (although some of it isn’t), but doctrines to place in your “castle keep,” that are a “hill to die on,” etcetera are few compared to the total.

Which leads to the article:

Regretfully, the term “skeptic” today is being used by many who adopt that label for themselves in a misleading way. To many, it is falsely equated with the term “rationalist.” The dictionary meaning of the term indicates that a skeptic is one who raises doubts. Thus the word is meant to reflect nonbelief rather than disbelief. But when we look at those who trumpet that they are skeptics towards claims of anomalies, we find disbelievers and debunkers rather than those who express uncertainty or doubt. The public “skeptics” of today present us with answers rather than questions.

It is important to distinguish between disbelief and nonbelief– between believing a sentence is false and merely not believing it true. Disbelief is a case of belief; to believe a sentence false is to believe the negation of the sentence true.

With everything in life, especially that which we cannot confirm with our five senses, we should be skeptical. As the article notes, however, skepticism is not the same as disbelief; it is nonbelief. An atheist should be skeptical of the claims of Christianity, because they are incredible! Having said that, and continuing with Marcello Truzzi’s post, they also would be wise to consider these words from James H. Hyslop: [Read more…]

“Be Nice”

"Be nice. Jesus said so."Augie and I were out getting mom birthday cards and gifts…and at the Hallmark Store I couldn’t help but purchase what is pictured here.

Now, Michelle liked it so much that instead of it ending up in my office, it’s in her hutch. 🙂

But, how biblically correct is it?

Well, I suppose it all depends on how you define “nice.” Searching for “Jesus ‘be nice'” on Google, the top three hits were:

Two vote down and one votes up, but says it is not enough…

My Mac’s dictionary’s first definition of nice is: [Read more…]

LGBT and the Church

Jesus loves you blocksA friend of mine on Facebook linked to this article:

“Homosexuality: We Need A Posture Shift”

You should read the whole thing to ensure you aren’t basing your opinion on my post, but it starts off with:

Jesus’ radical love toward the marginalized and outcast is shocking. Not just that he loved, but how he loved them. Jesus rarely started a relationship with the law, and he never offered his “stance” on political issues. He usually began the relationship with love and always showed acceptance, especially with those rejected by the religious elite. And this has massive Jesus-shaped implications for how Christians have (mis-)treated the unchurched LGBT community.

From there it uses a centurion and a tax collector (Matthew) as examples of how we should treat LGBT people. He wraps up with:

Religious people always got upset whenever Jesus befriended people who they thought were terrible sinners. If you’re a Christian who is trying hard to love LGBT people, and if this ticks off a lot of religious people, perhaps even those really close to you, then take comfort. You’re in good company. Jesus knows exactly how you feel.

After reading his article, what are your thoughts? These were mine (which I added as a comment): [Read more…]

“Nonsense Remains Nonsense Even When We Talk it About God”

The Problem of Pain book coverI started C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain today on a flight to Honolulu. Now, before you get envious, it is for work. However, I sill stipulate that there are far worse places and things to do for work. 🙂

In either case, it is yet another thought-provoking work by him, and I am sure it will generate a good number of posts here on Traditores…this being the first. Getting on with that…

How many of you have ever heard someone ask, “Can God create a rock so large He cannot lift it?”

To them, hopefully with kindness in your heart and voice, you can respond:

[God’s] Omnipotence means the power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to him, but not nonsense. There is no limit to His power. If you chose to say “God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,” you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words “God can.” It remains true that all things are possible with God: the intrinsic impossibilities are not things but non-entities. It is no more possible for God than the weakest of His creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because His power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.

It is easy to see how this quote from chapter two applies to the rock question, but we humans fall afoul of this far more often than we realize; whether as believers building a self-contradictory systematic theology, or non-believers rationalizing our rejection of the Divine through an intrinsically impossible standard for an acceptable God.

Nonsense remains nonsense.

May These Sad Words Never Be Said of You

Wooden cross in hand with BibleAs I continue through a very painful part of Scripture (where we generally hear about how unfaithful the kings of Israel and Judah were), I ran into something I hope will never be said of you (or me):

[Jehoram] was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one’s regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings (2 Chronicles 21:20, English Standard Version, emphasis mine).

May your time on this world cause the opposite reaction, and may you and your loved ones meet together again with Jesus in eternity.

I Am Ordinary


Ordinary.

I’ll never walk with God like Enoch.
I’ll never be as righteous as Noah.
I’ll never match the meekness of Moses.
I’ll never show the fearlessness of Daniel.
I’ll never develop a heart like David.
I’ll never attain the wisdom of Solomon.
I’ll never have a voice in the widnerness like John.
I’ll never turn back as whole-heartedly as Peter.
I’ll never teach theology like Paul.
I’ll never know love like John.

Until.

The cry of command.
The voice of an archangel.
The sound of the trumpet of God.

Then.

I’ll be quite extraordinary.