An Absentee God

In this second-to-last part of our series, Reasons to Believe, we tackled what is perhaps the stiffest challenge to the Christian faith ever recorded: The problem of evil.  How do we who confess our belief in a God who is good account for all the evil in the world?  That’s perhaps a bigger question than we could answer over the course of a single sermon.  What we can do is talk about how to respond to those who are struggling with it personally.  That is exactly what we wrestled with in this message.  Keep reading to see what we discovered.

An Absentee God

I read a story a couple of weeks ago about a serial killer in Russia.  The man was convicted in 2015 and sentenced to life in prison for raping and murdering 22 women.  Recently he confessed to additional murders for which he had not been previously convicted.  Fifty-nine additional murders to be precise.  If you’re into math, that makes 81 people—mostly women—whom this monster raped, likely tortured, and murdered.  He was a police officer the whole time.  When he was off-duty, he would offer to give young women walking on the side of the road a lift home.  Over a span of more than twenty years, eighty-one times somebody’s daughter disappeared without any apparent trace.  Let’s just go ahead and ask the hard question: How, in a world presided over by a God whose goodness is affirmed over and over again by billions of His followers, is something like this allowed to go on for so long without recourse? Read the rest…

Morning Musings: Proverbs 24:13-14

“My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.  Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.”

When was the last time you enjoyed something good simply because it was good?  So often, if we allow ourselves to experience something good, it is as a stopping point on the way to something else.  The good thing is not the end, but rather part of the means.  This can be especially true for followers of Jesus.  To seek out the experience of something good for no other reason than that it is good feels too self-indulgent.  We are not worth such efforts.  It is selfish.  We don’t deserve such things. Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: 1 Corinthians 10:20

“No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God.  I do not want you to be participants with demons.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

Wait, I thought Paul’s conclusion was that eating the meat that came from a sacrifice at one of the local pagan temples was not morally problematic?  Now it’s demonic?  What??

We actually get more clarity on Paul’s final position a couple of verses from now and there is no contradiction.  I’ll deal with that in a subsequent post.  What is worth reflecting on here is not Paul’s main point, but some of the broader implications for what he has said.  Most notably, that the pagan sacrifices were demonic.   Read the rest…