Saturday, September 28, 2013

99 Reasons for Faith - #95: My Experience of Church

The apostle Paul, in speaking about a Sunday church gathering, says this: "But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you." 
1 Corinthians 14: 24-25 (ESV)

One of the reasons for faith is the experience of God speaking directly to us through what we hear on Sunday. It could be the sermon, it could be a prophetic message someone shares, thinking it might be from God, or it could be just someone's own story, but time and time again I see God speak to people in such a profound and personal way that they feel that someone must have been spying on them or something. 

When you have that experience in church  it makes you feel very vulnerable but also very loved by God. That is when we say, "surely God is in this place!" That is when we experience another reason for faith.

I hope this experience is yours this Sunday!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

99 Reasons for Faith - #96: The Stories of Jesus

There is something very compelling in the stories about Jesus. He is so wise, so compassionate, so insightful and so life changing in what we read about him in the gospels.

Our church has been going through the Gospel of Mark and in Mark 4:35-5:43 we are seeing all these qualities as he demonstrates his mastery over disaster, demons, disease and death. You can read for yourself here:

There is no heroic figure quite like Jesus and I find the gospel stories compelling reasons for faith. How about you?

Monday, September 16, 2013

99 Reasons for Faith - #97: Our dog, Daisy

Yep, that's what I said, our dog, Daisy. 

We had to put Daisy to sleep this past Saturday. On Sunday, Peg and I and our four adult children gathered around her grave to give thanks to God for our beloved friend.

She had been getting progressively worse from an abdominal tumor and then suffered a serious stroke on Saturday. She basked in all the attention she received as we consoled her in her suffering. She went peacefully while we petted her, kissed her and told her she was the best dog ever.

She had been with us since a puppy. After moving four times in two years we had prayed for a dog to enjoy and mark the start of a new season of finally settling down in one place we could call home. We couldn't afford much but we received a gift from a friend and met someone who had a litter of champion Golden pups for sale. We met Daisy and immediately fell in love with our new family member. We believe God arranged to give us Daisy as a gift. 

I have to believe God arranged to give mankind dogs as a gift. Who would think an otherwise wild animal could ever be such a part of the family? How good for our hearts to have a furry friend that is always happy to see us, always eager to spend time with us, always there to console, ever loyal and protective. Dogs are a gift from God and evidence of His existence and goodness.

And Daisy was the best dog we ever had. We thanked God for this as we stood around her grave on Sunday. We will miss her much but always remember her as God's good gift to us.

So, reason #97: Our dog, Daisy.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

99 Reasons for Faith - #98: Because I need an answer for the problem ofdeath.

Death just doesn't sit well with me, probably not with you either. It is just clearly wrong, contrary to the miracle of life and the beauty of those made in God's image. There simply has to be something more than our 70 year span. Death just doesn't fit. 

Faith in something bigger than the material world starts to give an explanation for the perplexing problem of death. Faith in Jesus who said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live," completes the explanation.

So, reason #98: Because I need an answer for the problem of death.

Friday, September 13, 2013

99 Reasons for Faith - #99: Because I find life very empty without God.

I have been thinking for a while to post on the various reasons for faith. This has been prompted by realizing that many people think that faith is unreasonable or that their reasoning process is not about faith. While I believe that faith is more then mere reason it is very tied to reason.  Faith in something that is true should demonstrate many reasonable evidences and foundations. Reason itself must begin with faith because it is based on numerous presuppositions that are ultimately taken on faith because they can not be proven beyond any possible doubt. I hope that all makes sense. As we go I will have more opportunity to talk about this very important topic of reasons for faith.

I will go from number 99 down to 1 generally increasing in importance of the reason. For today, reason #99, Because I find life very empty without God.

This may seem like an entirely subjective reason for faith in God, but it isn't. Certainly it is very subjective, but it is also very reasonable and logical. The reasons I feel life is empty without God have to to with the emptiness of pretty much every thought process and experience without some solid ground to stand upon. Everything from astrophysics to eating ice cream is much more reasonable and enjoyable when there is an infinite, perfect and glorious eternal being surrounding it and adding meaning and purpose, relationship and reason to it. Without such a being I find everything ultimately meaningless, fleeting and empty.

So, reason #99: Because I find life very empty without God.