What If God Answered?

In this third part of our series, Grace in Hard Times, we finally get a look at what God had to say to Job and his friends after all their questions and assumptions about who He is and how He works.  The result feels hard at first until you look a bit closer.  What we learn is that God’s job in running the whole universe is a lot bigger than we think and that if we’ll let Him do it, He’ll do it well.  Keep reading to see how this unfolds.  Up next: A look at how we can keep the rhythm of our lives adjusted to the right beat.

 

What If God Answered?

Do you remember the worst lecture you ever got from your parents?  While I confess that I fall to it way more often than I should with my boys, my folks either weren’t much for lecturing or else I’ve forgotten all of them (which really isn’t very comforting news for all the wisdom parents depart to their children through the vehicle of a lecture…).  Still, though, there are times when as parents we need to impart a great deal of important information to our children in a rapid-fire fashion.  And, coincidentally or not, these times often happen in conjunction with something they’ve done that wasn’t perhaps totally on the up-and-up and when we are in a state of mild to extreme anger.  Now, if that happens to come across as a lecture, is that our fault?  Well…probably…but that much is not where I want to go this morning. I’ll come back to this idea in a second. Read the rest…

What to Do When the Wheels Fall Off

Evil is present everywhere in our world.  We can’t escape it.  We can only try and deal with the aftermath.  This fact has long seemed deeply at odds with the idea of a good and loving God.  The problem of evil is one of the thorniest challenges that has long seemed a roadblock to the Christian faith.  In this new series, Grace in Hard Times, with the help of the book of Job, we are going to examine through the context of this epic story one powerful answer to the problem.  In this first part of the conversation, we start with a bit of perspective.

 

What to Do When the Wheels Fall Off

A few years ago the news came out that Elizabeth Elliot had passed away at age 88.  Elliot had been serving the Lord in various capacities for nearly her entire life.  What she is perhaps best known for, though, is having been married for a short time to Jim Elliot.  Jim was every bit as dedicated a servant of the Lord as Elizabeth was, but his story did not end in the same way hers did.  In 1955, Jim and four other missionaries, including Nate Saint, were attempting to make contact with the Huaorani tribe deep in the jungles of Ecuador.  After making several initial peace offerings by lowering gifts in a bucket from their plane, the pair finally decided it was time to make personal contact with the tribe.  On the morning of January 3, 1956, they landed and met with some of the tribe members for the first time.  They were received with excitement and it was looking like things were going to go smoothly.  This road for the advance of the Gospel was appearing most promising.  But just five days later everything fell apart.  When the tribe warriors came out of the woods that morning to the Amazonian beach the missionaries were using as a landing strip and campsite, they did not come for peace.  They came to shut down this outsider intrusion into their private lives.  Nate, Jim, and the three other men with them were murdered in cold blood, speared to death by the Huaorani warriors.  They each left behind a wife and a total of 10 kids among them.  These five men had committed their lives to serving Jesus and advancing the Gospel regardless of the costs.  They were selflessly committed to this goal and yet this was their end. Read the rest…

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…