It’s the Light, Not the Leap

“…that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on the power of God.”

“…faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

1 Corinthians 2:5, Hebrews 11:1

If I do say so myself, I wrote the most amazing sentence this past week in an email exchange with an extraordinarily bright, non-religious, long-time friend.

Let’s call him John, and his irenic response to that sentence inspired this column.

John had commented wryly but critically about a recent op-ed piece I had written, “On Facemasks … Who Are We?” It was an editorial about American character, COVID-19, and hiding the identity God gave to us behind a facemask.

John’s public observation contained what seemed to be ad hominem vitriol. I pushed back, but our ensuing non-public exchange was thought-provoking. He noted: “My lack of faith means I do take things more objectively, and though your words were almost poetic it might not resonate as deeply with me as it would with a Christian. …”

A nice compliment from a smart guy that revealed a common error about “faith.”

I responded, “Great note John. I deeply appreciate your sincerity. Don’t ever think lack of faith makes one more objective; it makes one (maybe not you) less able to embrace the existence of objective truth, which requires faith. …”

That was my “amazing sentence,” in case you couldn’t tell. I continued briefly about being 47 when I “got” Christ, what a deeply intellectual journey my faith-growth has been, and I noted John’s keen capacity to parse and understand virtually anything.

To that John replied, “I love how your journey has … led you into sureness that (in my wry and respectful observation) you can use a phrase like ‘embracing the existence of objective truth requires faith.’ I … understand that after you have crossed that faith bridge you are no longer tentative but living in a new certainty, such that a phrase that seems to be a contradiction in terms isn’t a contradiction at all.”

And there it is, this week’s column: objectivity vs. faith. John was gently, eruditely, and without condescension acknowledging that what is a contradiction to him, i.e., “objective truth which requires faith,” he understands is not a contradiction to me.

And that seeming contradiction, friends, is what limits the world. It also largely defines today’s truth-obviating post-modernism which positions “truth” as objectively incompatible with the inferior “faith” as objective proof of the reality of Jesus Christ.

John also cited the “metaphysics” required for me to take such a “leap of faith.”

It reminded me—and underscored—how western civilization overly-relies on the ancient Greek philosophical axiom that reality and objectivity are confined to that which can be seen (or discussed) and “proven.” I also think of Francis Bacon’s 17th century “scientific method” that adds “repeatability” to the proof of “scientific” reality. These worldly constructs exclude faith and combine to vacantly imply, “Faith isn’t objective.”

Really? Which is closer to objectivity: God the Creator of all things, His infinite love and eternal relationship, that He made humanity in His own image, and lights our lives with Christ, or the machinations, variations, limitations, and opinions of fallen men?

Life’s objective truth is not a leap of faith; it is a faithful walk in the light of Jesus.

Walters (rlwcom@aol.com) met John (smart even back then) in Little League. For more of Walters’ columns, see commonchristianity.blogspot.com. For his books, see www.lulu.com/spotlight/CommonChristianity.

Coronavirus: Unshakable Faith in a World That is Being Shaken

The following is a World Challenge podcast. It was originally published here.

We are living in shaky times. As a global pandemic of coronavirus makes its way around the globe, taking lives, crashing stock markets and threatening the livelihood of millions, people are afraid. How are you doing handling the fear. Or maybe put another way, how’s your faith holding up? In this special edition of the Gary Wilkerson podcast, Gary is joined by Keith Holloway, the Senior Director of Missions Development at World Challenge to talk about faith in a time of fear. We hope this podcast gives you hope and encouragement that even in desperate times like these, God is in control.

Notable Quotes from the Podcast

“…in the midst of all the shaking that’s going on in the world today, there is an unshakable foundation. There is an internal foundation of an unshakable faith, of an unshakable hope, of an unshakable resolve that I know my Redeemer lives and I know there’s joy unspeakable and full of glory.”

Gary Wilkerson

“I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me, and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

Martin Luther

“We are born again believers. We’re walking in the natural, but we’re also being led and guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit. So, it’s an awesome time for us to not feel diminished, but to actually feel prepared for this hour where we have an answer of the hope that lies within us…”

Keith Holloway

Bible Verses Mentioned in the Podcast

“When God spoke from Mount Sinai His voice shook the earth, but now He makes another promise: ‘Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.’ This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakable things will remain. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe.”

Hebrews 12:26-28, NLT

“The Lord reigns; Let the earth rejoice;”

Psalm 91:1a, NIV

Resources Mentioned in the Podcast 

About Keith Holloway

Keith Holloway is the Senior Director of Missions Development at World Challenge. Keith is a CHE trainer, facilitator, and a member of the Global CHE Network’s Representative Council. He and his wife Maureen live in Colorado Springs; they have six grown children and seven grandchildren. 

About Gary Wilkerson

Gary Wilkerson is the President of World Challenge, an international mission organization that was founded by his father, David Wilkerson. He is also the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church, which he launched in 2009 with a handful of people. He has traveled nationally and internationally at conferences and conducted mission ventures such as church planting, starting orphanages, clinics, feeding programs among the poorest of the poor and the most unreached people of the earth. Gary and his wife Kelly have four children and live in Colorado Springs, CO.

I Know What Faith Is

The following is a letter from Hazel Moyers, a believer born in Southern Missouri in 1909:

“I have studied and have had a great time this morning with my Lord here at Paradise Valley. I know wonderful peace because of Him. 

This spring I planted a small garden and have enjoyed many good meals from it. 

I know what the life in the tiny seed will bring forth. 

I know what faith is. 

I have received many uplifting calls, many beautiful letters from my precious earthly family Father God has blessed me with—I know what love is. 

I have stood & talked to the Martins and other birds as they would chatter back to me in their lovely singing.

Hazel Moyers, 1982

Weathering the Storms of Fear

Steve is still battling health issues as a result of fungal pneumonia last fall. Yesterday we found ourselves back in the doctor’s office, getting results from tests and bloodwork completed last week.

We were hoping for, “You are great! Let’s get you off this medicine and on to living your life as usual.” Instead, we got, “Let’s keep you on the medicine another six months before we do another CT. We’ll do more blood work in June to check all your levels. Right now, your lungs are stable.”

Stable. That’s good, right?

Our minds were spinning.  This season of prolonged illness has left us both tired on all fronts; mentally, physically, emotionally, even spiritually. We would love nothing better than to lift a prayer heavenward, and pouf… instant healing.  

I have seen and believe God to be Healer. I have also seen God use times of sickness to take an individual beyond physical healing. He goes deep into the heart of man for transformation. This was one of those times, and I knew it.

As we left the doctor’s office, we made light of the news we had been given. We stopped to grab some lunch, laughing at trivial things. On the outside, we looked normal. But I knew on the inside there was a storm of questions brewing that would surface as the day went on.

The storm of questions hit late that evening. How is the prolonged use of this medicine going to impact his overall health? What are the side effects? How do we strengthen his immune system? If his immune system is compromised, then what do we do to protect him against Coronavirus (yes, it just hit our town)? How do we keep ourselves encouraged in the faith and not driven by fear?

We sat holding each other tightly. Tears ran down our cheeks. At that moment, there was no trying to “fix each other.” We gave each other permission to process through the pain. So, we wept. And through our sobbing, we gave voice to our fears.

I am not sure how long we sat crumpled on the floor holding each other. What I do know is that mingled in with that voice of fear was a whisper of hope. Earlier that day I read Hebrews 10:23. The words latched on to my heart and followed me throughout the day. Now, they were competing for the attention of my heart.
 

So now we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us,
 knowing that God always keeps His promises!

Hebrews 10:23, TPT

Regardless of the storms we face, when the clouds roll in it is easy to forget that just beyond those black clouds, the sun still shines. This whisper from Hebrews was a reminder that the Son was still shining. He had not left us. Though the clouds of uncertainty hung over us, His promise to complete the work He had started in us remained.

We fell into bed, worn but with a renewed sense that we were not alone.

Just like the wind moves the storm clouds along, God’s Spirit blew through the night as we slept, moving fear out of the way. This morning we woke with a renewed sense of hope. God gave us a verse that we are holding on to today.

But in the day that I’m afraid,
I lay all my fears before you and trust in you
With all my heart.

Psalm 56:3

My friends, whatever storm you may be facing regardless of how big or small it seems, grab hold of God’s promises. Open up His Word or turn to your Bible app and listen. Ask God to give you a promise to cling to today. Don’t be afraid to wait in the silence for His gentle whisper. He wants us to rely on His goodness and grace. Let His promises be the anchor that tethers you to the hope found in His faithfulness.

Until next time, let’s find hope in the journey.
Evelyn

P.S. If you have a promise that you are clinging to at this time in your life, I would love to share that with me. Just send me a quick reply via email. Let’s keep encouraging one another to stand strong in our faith.


Hi There! My name is Evelyn. I am a lover of all things family, faith and Fall. So grateful that you found your way here. The chaos of life can leave us feeling a bit worn around the edges. Sometimes a little ray of hope is all we need to provide courage for the next step in our journey. So come on in, take a deep breath. My prayer is that in this space, you will be able to grab hold of hope. For more of my blogs, visit my website Hope for the Journey.

Summit Forum with Michele Bachmann

​Join us for the March Summit Forum, live from the set of the Summit Adult Conference, featuring former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Together we’ll discuss “Faith, Politics, & Public Service.”

If you have questions you’d like to ask (before or during the webinar), ask them on social media using ‪#‎SummitForum‬ or email them to alumni@summit.org.

Since the forum will be recorded, if you can’t watch it live, be sure to catch the recording on our website, summit.org/alumni!

Reserve your spot today!

Note: This event will take place at 4:30PM EST, which is 2:30PM MST.

Discuss Faith, Politics, and Public Service with Michele Bachmann

Wednesday, March 9

Join us for the March Summit Forum, live from the set of the Summit Adult Conference, featuring former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. Together we’ll discuss “Faith, Politics, & Public Service.”

If you have questions you’d like to ask (before or during the webinar), ask them on social media using ‪#‎SummitForum‬ or email them to alumni@summit.org.

Since the forum will be recorded, if you can’t watch it live, be sure to catch the recording on our website, summit.org/alumni!

Reserve your spot today!

Note: This event will take place at 4:30PM EST, which is 2:30PM MST.

Why Are Teens Leaving the Church?

100715-why-teens-are-leaving-the-churchThe following article was written by Miss Azari Trevillion, a 14-year-old student from Indianapolis. She was inspired to write on this topic after reading the latest issue of CG Productions magazine, which encourages Christians to use their talents and abilities to build up the church.

It’s been estimated that up to 70% of young adults stop attending church as they grow up. What is causing this change? The foundation for their faith is crumbling. Parents are not forcing their teens to attend church as much as they once did. Going to church has become more of a social issue than an act of obedience to God. Teens are seeing church as a waste of time and not as a place of prayer and forgiveness.

One of the main reasons teens today are not attending church is because of the age difference between them and the rest of the church. The highest population in the church is made up people 30 to 64 years old. Most churches don’t have a teen program or plan events that directly involve teens, so teens are being pulled away from the church and into the streets. The age difference is so high that teens are seeing the church as a place for older people and not for them. Because the church sermon usually doesn’t seem to have anything to do with teens and what they are experiencing in life, they just don’t go. It doesn’t seem to matter.

The second main reason teens are leaving the church is technology. Nowadays, social media overpowers teen lives and going to church is just something you do when you get older. Getting involved with the church can be seen as embarrassing for kids 14-18. Even for the teens that go to church, all they do is sleep and get on their phones. Parents are not reprimanding their teens; instead, they just let them do whatever they want. Most teens say it’s too hard to get up at 7AM on a Sunday since they have had to get up earlier than that throughout the week. Teens just don’t care about church and think it’s just wasting their time to sit and listen to someone speak about the Word of God for two hours.

A few ways for teens could get more involved with the church would be for more parents to be stricter with their kids about getting up and listening during church. Another way is to do more teen-friendly things at the church, like having cookouts for teens only or making one day out of the week for teens to come in to talk about the Bible from their prospective instead of having to just sit and listen. Teens need to be more involved with the church and not so worried about their “social statuses” when going. One teen in the church is one more teen off of the street.