The Storyteller – The Parables of Jesus #1: Guard Your Heart – #Sermon of the Week

THE STORYTELLER: THE PARABLES OF JESUS #1: GUARD YOUR HEART

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)

To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.

The Storyteller

INTRO TO TOPIC: QUOTE:

“Who was Jesus? He was a storyteller. He told stories. He was the world’s greatest storyteller. Ask him a question; he’d answer with a story. Give him a crowd of people listening intently; he told them stories. Give him an argument; he’d give you a story. Give him a real tricky, catchy question; he’d give you a real tricky, catchy story. Have you ever watched a 7-year-old listening- inhaling- a story? Eyes wide, mouth slung open, mind churning, he lives, accepts and believes. He is totally absorbed. This man-God Jesus. He was a good storyteller. He knew what he was doing.” (Lois Cheney, God Is No Fool).

THE BIG IDEA: Jesus is the World’s Greatest Storyteller. In His parables, we find wisdom for living our daily lives. In the parable of the farmer planting seeds, we learn the importance of guarding our hearts.

1.  INTRO TO JESUS THE MASTER STORYTELLER:

“Once again Jesus began teaching by the lakeshore. There was such a large crowd along the shore that he got into a boat and sat down and spoke from there. He began to teach the people by telling many stories (parables – NKJV) such as this one:” (Mark 4:1-2, NLT).

  • “I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old.” (Psalm 78:2, NKJV).
  • Parable Defined: a comparison of one thing with another; an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. One third of Jesus’ teachings are parables.
  • They often have an unexpected twist or surprise ending that catches the reader’s attention.
  • With the exception of one story in Luke, the characters in Jesus’ parables are unnamed.
  • A parable is like a movie that gives us insight into our lives. Look for application.

2.  JESUS TELLS HIS FIRST GREAT STORY:

“3 “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seed. 4 As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it. 5 Other seed fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The plant sprang up quickly, 6 but it soon wilted beneath the hot sun and died because the roots had no nourishment in the shallow soil. 7 Other seed fell among thorns that shot up and choked out the tender blades so that it produced no grain. 8 Still other seed fell on fertile soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted.” Then he said, 9 “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand!” (Mark 4:3-9, NLT).

  • Do you have ears to hear today? “Can you hear me now?” Are you listening?

3.  WHAT KIND OF HEART DO YOU HAVE?

“10 Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him, “What do your stories mean?” 11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secret about the Kingdom of God. But I am using these stories to conceal everything about it from outsiders, 12 so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: ‘They see what I do, but they don’t perceive its meaning. They hear my words, but they don’t understand. So they will not turn from their sins and be forgiven.’ ” 13 “But if you can’t understand this story, how will you understand all the others I am going to tell? 14 The farmer I talked about is the one who brings God’s message to others.” (Mark 4:10-14, NLT).

  • Pastors and teachers have a job to do: plant seeds of God’s Word in your hearts!
  • This morning we’re going to take a look at the soil of our hearts!

parable of the sower

A. THE HARD HEART:

“The seed that fell on the hard path represents those who hear the message, but then Satan comes at once and takes it away from them.” (Mark 4:15).

  • There is no soil – it is a hard path.
  • These are people whose hearts are hardened and the Word bounces off of them.
    • One of the things that hardens a heart is unconfessed sin. If you sin, confess it!
    • Another thing that hardens a heart is unforgiveness, bitterness and offenses.
    • Stop playing the blame game – take responsibility for your own sin and confess it!
  • Because it is so important to hear and do God’s Word, the devil will do whatever he can to steal the word from your heart. Don’t give him that opportunity!

B. THE SHALLOW HEART:

“The rocky soil represents those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But like young plants in such soil, their roots don’t go very deep. At first they get along fine, but they wilt as soon as they have problems or are persecuted because they believe the word.” (Mark 4:16-17).

  • There is only a little soil on the surface, but the roots can’t go deep.
  • These people will listen to the word and get excited about it… for a season.
  • Because their hearts are shallow, they fall away when problems or persecution comes.

C. THE CROWDED HEART:

“The thorny ground represents those who hear and accept the Good News, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for nice things, so no crop is produced.” (Mark 4:18-19).

  • There is good soil, but there are also many weeds in this soil. The heart that can’t focus.
  • They will put the Word in their heart, but also weeds of worries, riches and pleasures:
    • Worry and Cares: distracted (checking Facebook 20 times in this service).
      • When did we become so important that people have to be able to reach us at any time? We have to know what’s going on with everyone always?
      • Cell phones are convenient, but we need to learn how to focus or we’re going to miss out on a lot of what God has for us (Joyce Meyer).
    • Riches: “the lure of wealth” – selfishness, greed, wanting more money.
    • Pleasures: “the desire for nice things” – distracted by entertainment, media, etc.

D. THE GOOD HEART:

“But the good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s message and produce a huge harvest — thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.” (Mark 4:20).

HOW CAN WE PREPARE OUR HEART TO BE A GOOD HEART?

  • Don’t be content with just a 30 or 60 fold harvest, go for 100!

A. PLOW UP THE HARD GROUND OF OUR HEARTS:

  • “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12, NLT).
  • We prepare our hearts by praying to the Lord and confessing our sin.
  • “Sin will keep you from the Bible, or the Bible will keep you from sin.”

B. PLANT THE SEEDS OF THE WORD IN OUR HEARTS:

  • “Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!” (Psalm 119:11, NKJV).
  • We plant the Word in our hearts by memorizing Bible verses.
  • This is one of the reasons why it’s good to take notes in church – to help you remember what you are learning! Don’t let the devil steal the Word…
  • “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17, NKJV).
  • God’s Word is a seed that develops your faith and trust in God.

C. PRACTICE WHAT WE LEARN:

  • “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8).
  • It’s not good enough to just be a hearing of the Word; we need to be a doer!

CHALLENGE:

  • Get God’s Word into your heart every day!
  • If you don’t plant the seeds of the Word, you won’t receive a fruitful harvest in your life.
  • Guard your heart from weeds: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23). (NLT = for it affects everything you do).
  • Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca
  • Pastor’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/

 

APPENDIX:

SEVEN MAIN CATEGORIES OF THE 15 LARGER PARABLES:

  • The Kingdom of God: Parable of the Sower, Mustard Seed, Hidden Treasure/Pearl of Great Price, Wheat and Weeds
  • God’s Love, Mercy and Forgiveness: Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Prodigal Son
  • Christian Love: Good Samaritan, Unmerciful Servant
  • Persistence in Prayer: Persistent Widow
  • Self-Righteousness and Humility: The Pharisee and Tax Collector
  • Stewardship: Parable of the Talents
  • Preparation for the Future: Parable of the Rich Fool, Wise and Foolish Bridesmaids, The Final Judgment
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The Weekend Funnies – Solving Your Ant Problem and The Colour of Summer

Today’s blog post will answer two deep and philosophical questions: One – how do you deal with an ant problem, and two – what is the colour of summer! (That’s color for my American friends south of the border – may God bless all of you as you are heading into your Fourth of July celebrations tomorrow!).

Calvin & Hobbes - discover yourself

Calvin & Hobbes - summer purple tongue

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2015 Bill Waterson.

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The Dominion of #Canada – We Stand on Guard for Thee – #CanadaDay

The Dominion of Canada – We Stand on Guard for Thee:

Canada Flag

“He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.” (Psalm 72:8).

 
O Canada. Our home and native land.
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free.
From far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee. 
 

This July 1st, we are celebrating the 148th birthday of our nation of Canada.

On July 1, 1867, Canada East, Canada West, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick came together under the terms of the British North America Act to become the Dominion of Canada. When our country was formed, it was named the Dominion of Canada, based on the above Scripture in Psalm 72:8.

“Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, then premier of NB, was one of the 33 Fathers of Confederation. He was a born-again Christian who started his day with prayer and a chapter of the Bible… When reading Psalm 72:8, the thought occurred to him, “What a splendid name to give Canada!” A letter signed by John A Macdonald explained to Queen Victoria that the name was a tribute to the principles they earnestly desired to uphold.” (Faytene Kryskow, Stand on Guard).

Canada was founded on the principles of the Word of God. It started out as a Christian nation, but we fallen so far from that glorious foundation. You have heard it said, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” What does that mean? Ever since God, the Bible, and prayer were removed from our schools, our nation has been plummeting into darkness. Rape, murder, child abuse, human trafficking, abortion, drug use, teen pregnancy and ever-increasing violent crimes are the results of removing the light of God’s Word from our schools and government. All because our nation as a whole has turned its back on God.

In our national anthem, we pray for Almighty God to keep our country glorious and free, and declare that we will stand on guard for Canada. Today, as we celebrate our nation’s birthday, whether it is with fireworks, or park celebrations, let us stand on guard for our nation. Let’s rise up and declare that we want God in Canada again.

“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14). If we want to see God hear from Heaven, and forgive our sins, and heal our land, then we must humble ourselves, and pray, as students once did in public schools, “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.” We must seek God’s face, and be willing to turn from our wicked ways. We must declare by faith that Jesus is Lord over the Dominion of Canada, and raise up a standard of righteousness in our land.

QUOTE: “Every generation and every nation has had righteous radicals for God. These were mighty men and women who laid down their lives to see righteousness established in their generation, and, in their nation. Canada is no different. Our history is full of heroes of the faith who forged rough terrain, persevered long voyages, endured brutal persecution and overcame intense spiritual warfare for the sake of the Kingdom of God in this land. These ones sacrificed to see the gospel of Jesus Christ advanced and His name honoured at various stages of the nation’s growth… It’s (time) to (reclaim) the righteous foundations laid by generations past.” (Faytene Kryskow, Stand on Guard).

WHAT ARE THE RIGHTEOUS FOUNDATIONS OF CANADA?

1. OUR NAME“He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.” (Psalm 72:8).

“Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, then premier of NB, was one of the 33 Fathers of Confederation. He was a born-again Christian who started his day with prayer and a chapter of the Bible… When reading Psalm 72:8, the thought occurred to him, “What a splendid name to give Canada!” A letter signed by John A Macdonald explained to Queen Victoria that the name was a tribute to the principles they earnestly desired to uphold.” (Faytene Kryskow).

2. OUR FLAG:  The leaf “for the healing of the nations.” (Rev. 22:2).

Canada flag

3. OUR CREST:  The motto is in Latin a mari usque ad mare (From sea to sea).

Canada Crest

4. OUR FOUNDATION:

– John Cabot planted a Cross on Newfoundland’s shores in 1497 claiming it “For God and for England.”

– In 1533, Jacques Cartier sailed up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal. To commemorate the founding of this city, Cartier wrote in his diary, “We all kneeled down in the company of the Indians and with our hands raised toward heaven yielded our thanks to God.”

THE CRY:

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Origins #1: Creation Part #2

Origins #1: Creation Versus Evolution

Continued…

INTRO TO THE BOOK OF GENESIS:

The Book of Genesis – the first book of the Bible – was written by Moses. The title Genesis comes from the Greek word geneseos, which means birth, genealogy, or origin. It was written around 1440 BC, sometime after the Exodus from Egypt. “Genesis reveals that humans were divinely created, that they suffered a fall, and that God proceeded to provide redemption… The account then focuses upon the origin and growth of the nation of Israel which God chose to fulfill a key role in implementing His plan of redemption.”8

THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF CREATION:

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1).

The first four words in the Bible are foundational to what we believe: “In the beginning, GOD.” One of the arguments that evolutionists have against God is this: If God created the universe then who created God? Outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins made this point when he wrote, “Natural selection is a better alternative. Indeed, design is not a real alternative at all because it raises an even bigger problem than it solves: who designed the designer?”9 His argument is flawed because it reveals his lack of understanding of the basic nature of God – an eternal Being who has always existed. Nowhere in Scripture does the Bible try to prove the existence of God. There is perhaps no more definitive statement in all of literature: “In the beginning, God!”

But some people would say, “It doesn’t make sense to me, how could God have not had a beginning? How could He have existed forever? I don’t understand it!” That’s okay. We should not be surprised that in our finite, limited human minds we cannot fully grasp a One who is transcendent and infinite.

So what did God do in the beginning? He created the Heavens and the Earth. Not only is God eternal, He is also omnipotent – all powerful. He created everything in the universe that exists. “But, very significantly, the concept of the special creation of the universe of space and time itself is found nowhere in all religion or philosophy, ancient or modern, except here in Genesis 1:1.

“Appropriately, therefore, this verse records the creation of space (the heavens), of time (in the beginning), and of matter (the earth), the tri-universe, the space/time/matter continuum which constitutes our physical cosmos.”10

THE IMPORTANCE OF GENESIS:

Why is the Book of Genesis so important to us as believers? “In a very real sense, the book of Genesis is the most important book in the world; for it is the foundation upon which all the other sixty-five books of God’s written Word have been based… The greatest doctrine of all – the special creation of all things by the eternal, self-existent God – is revealed in the very first chapter of Genesis, the foundation of all foundations… It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the greatest attacks on the Bible have been directed against the integrity and authority of Genesis.”11

Where then do you think the idea of evolution came from? Second Corinthians 4:4 tells us, “Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don’t understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.” (nlt). Don’t be surprised therefore when you see the historical, archaeological, biological and scientific aspects of the Bible are being attacked. The enemy wants to destroy our faith in God’s Word.

DAY ONE OF CREATION:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:1-5).

Our English word God comes from a Hebrew word, Elohim, which is a plural word. This reminds us that God is a triune being: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the historic Christian creeds, we declare that: “We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth. We believe in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord. And we believe in the Holy Spirit.” This is such a foundational statement that explains what we believe about the nature of God.

We see in the first verse of Genesis chapter one that God created time, space and matter. Now in verse three, the Lord declares, “Let there be light!” I love Henry Morris’ explanation of what took place in this supernatural event: “The result is light, the energizing of the vast cosmos through the marvelous electro-magnetic force system which maintains all structures and processes in matter. These varied energies include not only visible light, but also all short-wave radiations (ultra-violet; x-rays, etc.) and the long-wave radiations (infra-red, radio waves, etc.) as well as heat, sound, electricity, magnetism, molecular interactions, etc. “Light,” the most basic form of energy is mentioned specifically, but its existence necessarily implies the activation of all forms of electromagnetic energies.”13

DAY TWO – ATMOSPHERE:

“Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.” (Genesis 1:6-8).

When the Bible says that God created the firmament called heaven here, he is referring to the sky, or the atmosphere. There are three heavens mentioned in the Bible. Jeremiah 4:25b describes the first heaven as the earth’s atmosphere (the sky) or the realm of the birds: “And all the birds of the heavens had fled.” Isaiah 34:4 describes the second heaven as the starry heavens or the realm of space: “All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved.” And Second Corinthians 12:2-4 describes the third heaven as the throne of God, the place where God dwells: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven…caught up to paradise.” In this Genesis account, Moses is talking about God’s creation of the atmosphere around the earth on day two.

DAY THREE – THE PLANT KINGDOM:

“Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day.” (Genesis 1:9-13).

On the third day, God commanded the Earth to bring forth the plant kingdom. Here we see an important creation principle: “the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind.” This principle teaches us that a kind will always produce the same kind. If you have an apple tree, and you plant the seed of one of the apples from that tree, it will produce an apple tree. Cats will always give birth to cats – they will never give birth to dogs. It’s surprising how the evolutionists deny this basic principle of genetics. They teach us that human beings and chimps descended from a common ancestor, but this is a genetic impossibility. The DNA molecule carries genetic information in all living systems, and is one of the more recent discoveries in science that has confirmed what the Bible has taught all along – that a kind will always produce the same kind, according to the information in its genetic code.

To say that one kind can never produce another kind does not mean that we don’t allow for small scale variations within a species. You can see all kinds of variations within the dog family, from the golden retriever or the Dalmatian, to the pit-bull or theChihuahua, yet these are all dogs. The problem that science has withDarwin’s theory of evolution is the idea that new information can be added to the genetic code to produce a different or more complex animal. It’s true that sometimes there are mutations and defects that cause information to be lost from the genetic code, but there has never been a reported case of new information being added to our DNA. There are so many scientific processes and principles that support the Bible’s account of creation.

“DNA is an incredibly detailed language, revealing vast amounts of information encoded in each and every living cell – design which could not have arisen by purely naturalistic means. In every other area of our world, we recognize that information requires intelligence and design requires a designer. With our present-day knowledge of DNA, this presents a formidable challenge to Darwinian evolution.”13

DAY FOUR – THE SUN, MOON AND STARS:

“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.” (Genesis 1:14-19).

On the fourth day of creation, God set the sun, moon and the stars in their place.

DAY FIVE – BIRDS AND SEA CREATURES:

“Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” (Genesis 1:20-23).

On the fifth day of creation, God created all of the birds and sea creatures.

DAY SIX – LAND ANIMALS:

“Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:24-25).

In a parallel passage in the next chapter, Moses writes: “Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2:19). That tells us that on this sixth day of Creation, God created all of the land animals – including the dinosaurs! In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were walking around with lions and tigers and bears (oh my!), but they were also living alongside of all sorts of dinosaurs as well. If you have a hard time believing that statement, then it is most likely because you have been indoctrinated by the evolutionary lie that mankind and dinosaurs were separated by 65 million years. We will take a look at dinosaurs and their place in Biblical history in the third part of this Origins series, “Dinosaurs in the Bible.”

GOD’S GREATEST MASTERPIECE:

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so.” Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:26-31).

On day six, we see the creation of God’s greatest masterpiece – human beings. When you see the glory of God displayed in a starry sky at night, or a colorful sunset, as beautiful and majestic as these things are, they were not the apex of God’s creation. When God created the light, He said, “It is good.” When He created the sun, moon and the stars, He said, “It is good.” When He created the plants and birds and fishes, He said, “It is good.” But on day six, when He created mankind, He said, “It is very good!”

You are not an accident. You are not descended from the common ancestor of a chimpanzee. You have been created in the image of a God who loves you and has an amazing plan for your life. The Bible says, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — and how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:13-14, nlt).

Why is what we believe about our origins so important? Because if evolution is true, then we are just a great big cosmic accident, evolved animals with no greater purpose beyond the survival of the fittest, we live until we die, and then we are no more. But if the Biblical account of creation is true, then you are God’s masterpiece. You have dignity, worth and value. You are special, important and significant, and God cares so very much for you. You have a destiny – not just here on the Earth, but your highest goal is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever in the everlasting joy, peace and bless of the paradise called Heaven. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

RESOURCES: For those who want to learn more about evidences for God and creation.

  • God’s Not Dead by Rice Broocks                                          (www.godsnotdead.org)
  • The New Answers Book by Ken Ham                                  (www.answersingenesis.org)
  • Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis                                          (www.cslewis.com)
  • Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell     (www.josh.org)
  • The Defender’s Study Bible by Henry Morris                     (www.icr.org)
  • The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel                                 (www.leestrobel.com)
  • God’s Not Dead Sermon Series Outline Study Guide
  • The Beausejour Pulpit by Chris Jordan (3 chapters on origins)

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

  • 8. L. Thomas Holdcroft. Pentateuch. CeeTeC Publishing. 1996.
  • 8. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, pages 146-147. Mariner Books. 2008.
  • 9. Henry Morris, The Defender’s Study Bible. World Publishing. 1995.
  • 10. Henry Morris, ibid.
  • 11. Henry Morris, ibid.
  • 12. Ray Comfort, from the introduction to The 150th Anniversary Edition of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species. Bridge Logos. 2009.

Pastor Chris Jordan

This is a sample chapter from The Beausejour Pulpit.

Contact the author of this blog for your free copy of this e-book.

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The Top 10 Posts on the New Life Blog – #Trending – #FourBloodMoons

I was checking my stats today and was surprised my Four Blood Moons post (written just a little over a year ago) just passed 10,000 views. This was only my second post to ever pass that milestone – my highest viewed post ever was the one I wrote about Amanda Todd and Bullying in October 2012 and that one has seen over 75,000 views.

And so, I thought it would be fun to share with you today my top 10 (top 12 actually) highest viewed posts on the New Life blog. Let me know what ones you like the best, and what you would like to see me write more about…

10000 hits

 

 

 

 

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Origins #1: Creation Versus Evolution

BOOKLET - Origins #1 CoverOrigins #1: Creation Versus Evolution

By Chris Jordan

Is there more scientific evidence that supports the Biblical account of creation or the theory of evolution? The Origins series considers this question and more. 

It was September 1990, and I had just graduated from high school. I was at an all-nighter drive-in with some of my friends. It was early in the morning, hours before the sun came up when I turned to one of my friends and said, “There has to be more to life than this!” We were living the so-called good life – going to bars, getting drunk, dating girls, and partying – but there was still something missing. There was an emptiness inside of me. That weekend was a catalyst that sent me on a journey to discover how to find lasting satisfaction and fulfillment in life.

Do you ever wonder where we came from? How did we get here? What is our purpose on Planet Earth? What is the meaning of life? What is our destiny? These are some of the questions that we are going to consider in this ‘Origins’ series.

CREATION VERSUS EVOLUTION:

There are two main beliefs about our origins. One is atheistic evolution, and the other is the Biblical account of creation.

By the term atheistic evolution, I mean to combine together three separate yet related beliefs – that of atheism, biological evolution, and the Big Bang Theory. Atheism is simply the belief that there is no God. The Big Bang Theory is the belief that life began billions of years ago by a cosmic accident. This idea believes that a big explosion “led to the formation of the universe, according to the prevailing cosmological theory of the universe’s early development.”1

Evolution is the belief that “all life on Earth shares a common ancestor, just as you and your cousins share a common grandmother. Through the process of descent with modification, the common ancestor of life on Earth gave rise to the fantastic diversity that we see documented in the fossil record and around us today. Evolution means that we’re all distant cousins: humans and oak trees, hummingbirds and whales.”2

This fantastic theory was “first proposed in the nineteenth century by Charles Darwin, according to which the Earth’s species have changed and diversified through time under the influence of natural selection. Life on Earth is thought to have evolved in three stages. First came chemical evolution, in which organic molecules were formed. This was followed by the development of single cells capable of reproducing themselves. This stage led to the development of complex organisms capable of sexual reproduction.”3

The Biblical account of creation on the other hand teaches that we’re not here by chance, and we’re not just some cosmic freak accident. Rather, we are the special and unique creation of a God who made us in His own image, loves us, and has a wonderful plan for our lives. The Bible says, “Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the wonderful kindness he has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son.” (Ephesians 1:4-6, nlt).

What are the ramifications of these two different belief systems?

If we believe in the theory of evolution, then we are only complex animals with no ultimate purpose or meaning in life. If Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species is correct, that we are just the chance product of natural selection, then we are only slightly more evolved then our near-relative the chimpanzee. If we’re just animals, then it doesn’t matter how we live. If there is no God, then there is no absolute truth, no definitive right or wrong. If that’s what we believe about our past and where we came from, then how does it affect our future? When we die, our final destiny is to become worm-food, rotting in the grave.

However, if we believe in the Biblical account of creation, then we’re not here by accident. If God created this universe, and He created us in His image, then we have intrinsic value and worth. We are special and important. How then does this truth speak to our future? When we die, we have the hope of life after death. Our final destiny is to live forever with God in the paradise of Heaven.

WHAT DOES SCIENCE SAY?

Which of these two positions is more valid from a scientific perspective? Science is defined as: “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.”4 Based on this definition, evolution is not science – it is merely a theory, a belief, a guess. There is nothing scientific about either evolution or the big bang. There is no way to go back to the beginning of time to do any kinds of tests or make any observations on what took place there. No one was around to witness The Big Bang taking place, and no experiments have ever been done that have created life from non-living materials. It is a physical impossibility to create life from non-life!

Doctor Ken Ham, President and CEO of Answers in Genesis, illustrates this well in The New Answers Book: “Consider swatting a mosquito. Then think about this question: Why did the mosquito die? You see, the squashed mosquito has all the chemicals for life that an evolutionist could ever hope for in some primordial soup. Yet we know that nothing is going to evolve from this mosquito “soup.” So why did the mosquito die? Because by squashing it, you disorganized it. Once the “machinery” of the mosquito has been destroyed, the organism can no longer exist. At a cellular level, literally thousands of “machines” need to exist before life ever becomes possible. This means that evolution from chemicals is impossible.”5

It is clearly evident, based on the definition of science, that evolution is nothing more than an unsubstantiated theory. Some people would then say, “If evolution isn’t science, because no one was there to observe it, then creation cannot be considered science because no one was there to see it take place!” The one main difference between these two belief systems is this: The evolutionists are limited by science – what they can see and encounter in the physical realm. However, if there is a God, and creation is true, then we have something the evolutionists don’t have: The Bible. The Word of God is a first-hand account of Someone who was there in the beginning, and is therefore an accurate record of the origins of life.

It is so important for us as Christians to understand what the Bible says about creation. This is especially true for parents with children in school who are going to be taught the lie of evolution. The Bible says, “Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15). So many believers don’t take the time to learn the truth of God’s Word so that they can give an intelligent answer for their belief in the Biblical account of creation. Some people erroneously think that as Christians, we have to take it on blind faith that God exists. I don’t believe that our faith is totally blind faith. We are living in a universe that is so complex, ordered and designed, that creation itself testifies to the fact that there is a Creator.

CHAOS NEVER PRODUCES ORDER:

How logical is it to believe in The Big Bang? This theory teaches us that billions of years ago there was a giant chaotic explosion that created order. In the history of the world, chaos has never been observed to produce order. This isn’t science! The probability of life arising from non-life, or order arising from chaos is like this: Imagine that you were to walk into your local Canadian Tire store – and let’s assume that within the store there is every part that you would need to build a car – an engine, wheels, a windshield, etc. Now imagine that you were to take a bomb into that store and blow it up. When the dust settles, what would be the chances of finding a fully functioning automobile? “All the parts just randomly came together and created this car, and it’s running, and painted, too!” Of course we laugh at that idea because we know it is a physical impossibility. And yet, these so-called smart evolutionists are telling us that this is how life began? It’s impossible – chaos never produces order!

WHERE THERE’S DESIGN, THERE MUST BE A DESIGNER:

British Christian apologist and philosopher William Paley put forth an excellent teleological argument for the existence of God in 1802. (A teleological argument, or argument from design, is an argument on the existence of God based on perceived evidence of order, purpose, design, or direction in nature. The word “teleological” is derived from the Greek word telos, meaning “end” or “purpose”).6 In his book, Natural Theology, he expounded on his watchmaker argument, which went something like this:

If you were walking through a forest, and were to bang your foot against a boulder, and were asked how the stone came to be there; you might answer that it had always been there. However, if you were to find a watch lying on the boulder, and someone asked how the watch happened to be there, what would your answer be? Would you jump to the conclusion that all of the complex parts in that watch floated together to form the watch by accident? Of course not. When you look at the complexity and design of the watch, no thinking person would come to the conclusion that it was formed by chance. The logical answer would be that where there is a watch, there must of necessity be a watchmaker. You wouldn’t know by looking at the watch who had made it, but logic would dictate that someone had to put the watch together. The same principle applies to the complex, ordered universe that we are living in. Even if you don’t accept the Bible as the Word of God, and you don’t believe in Christianity, any logical, reasonable person examining the evidence would have to conclude that, because of the design, there had to be a designer.

“The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.” (Psalm 19:1). When you look at the sky and you see a colorful sunset, or an amazing starry sky, or you walk through nature and admire its beauty, all of creation testifies to the fact that there is a God. This is no cosmic accident.

This is what the Bible means when it says, “From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20, nlt). God has placed within every human being the knowledge of Himself. Deep within our hearts, we know that there is a God. However, the Bible tells us what happens to people who choose to reject that knowledge of God: “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead.” (Romans 1:21-22, nlt). The Psalmist King David was right when he wrote, “Only fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their actions are evil; no one does good!” (Psalm 14:1, nlt).

WHERE IS THE MISSING LINK?

One of the tough questions that supporters of evolution cannot answer is this: where is the missing link – the transitional fossil forms between species? Charles Darwin himself said, “Why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined? … As by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?”7 If evolution is true, that we started out with a simple life form that slowly and gradually evolved into different and more complex life forms, then where are all of the transitional forms? Where is the missing link? If human beings and chimps evolved from a common ancestor, then why don’t we find a half-man, half-monkey in the fossil record?

In his introduction to the 150th anniversary edition of Darwin’s The Origin of Species, Ray Comfort notes, “Darwin acknowledged that the absence of intermediates put his theory in doubt, but he attributed their lack to the scarcity of fossils at that time – and he had faith that they would eventually be found. However, nearly 150 years later, the situation has not improved much. After scientists have searched diligently for a century and a half for evidence, we now have over 100 million fossils catalogued in the world’s museums, covering 250,000 different species, which should be sufficient to give an accurate picture of our past.”8 Where is the proof or evidence for evolution? There is none. Therefore, let us turn to the only true and reliable account of our origins, as recorded in the infallible Word of God.

Continued…

  1. The Big Bang, http://www.wikipedia.org. Accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
  2. “Understanding Evolution: An Introduction to Evolution.” http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/0_0_0/evo_02.
  3. “evolution.” The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005.
  4. “science.” Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. Accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
  5. Ken Ham, The New Answers Book. New Leaf Press.
  6. Teleological Argument, http://www.wikipedia.org. Accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
  7. Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species.
  8. Ray Comfort, from the introduction to The 150th Anniversary Edition of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species. Bridge Logos. 2009.

Continued tomorrow…

This is a sample chapter from The Beausejour Pulpit.

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The Bible and The Big Bang Theory – #Sermon of the Week

THE BIBLE AND THE BIG BANG THEORY

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)

To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.

The Bible and The Big Bang Theory

INTRO TO TOPIC: Discuss the popularity of The Big Bang Theory and Jurassic World.

  • There are many atheists who are speaking out against the Bible and Christianity:
  • Charles Darwin came up with the radical theory of evolution through natural selection in 1859. He proposed that all of life arose from a common ancestor.
  • German philosopher Fredrick Nietzsche said “God is dead” in the 1800’s. He wasn’t saying that God had actually died, but hat the idea of God was now dead.
  • Popular contemporary atheism books written to destroy faith in God: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens and The End of Faith by Sam Harris.
  • These skeptics say, “There is no evidence for God’s existence and faith is blind.”
  • As a result, 3 out of 4 young people will abandon their faith after high school.

KEY TEXT: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense (answer) to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15, NKJV).

  • I want people to know that real faith isn’t blind – it’s based on evidence!

I.  A RESPONSE TO SKEPTICS FAVOURITE INSULTS:

  • Believing in God is like believing in a fairy tale. It’s like believing in the tooth fairy or “The Flying Spaghetti Monster.”
    • Response: There are no good reasons to believe in the tooth fairy or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. There are good reasons to believe in God!
  • The Bible is full of contradictions.
    • Nothing comes close to the Bible in terms of its historical accuracy!
  • The miracles in the Bible couldn’t have happened.
    • Because God is a creator, He can violate the laws of nature.
  • God is not loving because He allows evil, or not all-powerful because He can’t stop it.
    • “The existence of evil is not evidence of God’s absence in the universe but evidence of His absence from our lives.” (Rice Broocks).

THE BIG IDEA: Our universe shows evidence of intelligent design. There is plenty of reasonable and scientific evidence to believe in God.

II.  CREATION VERSUS EVOLUTION: The two different beliefs about our origins:

  • Note – it’s not a divide between science and religion. It’s between the theory of evolution and the Biblical account of creation. What are these two different beliefs?

1.  EVOLUTION AND THE BIG BANG THEORY:

  • The Big Bang Theory is the belief that life began billions of years ago by a cosmic accident. This idea believes that a big explosion “led to the formation of the universe, according to the prevailing cosmological theory of the universe’s early development.” (The Big Bang, http://www.wikipedia.org).
  • Evolution is the belief that “all life on Earth shares a common ancestor, just as you and your cousins share a common grandmother… Evolution means that we’re all distant cousins: humans and oak trees, hummingbirds and whales.” “Understanding Evolution: An Introduction to Evolution.” (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary).
    • If evolution is true: We are only complex animals with no ultimate purpose or meaning in life. Our final destiny is to become worm-food, rotting in the grave.

2.  THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF CREATION:

  • “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.” (Genesis 1:1).
  • “The opening statement in the Bible, recorded over thirty-five hundred years ago, makes a scientifically accurate claim that there was a beginning to everything. Cosmologists (physicists who study the structure and origins of the universe) came to agree that there was an initial moment where everything, including space and time, came into being.” (Rice Broocks, God’s Not Dead).
    • If creation is true: We are a special unique creation of God and life has great purpose: “God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26). Our final destiny is to live forever with God in Heaven!

III.  WHAT DOES SCIENCE SAY?

  • Which position is more valid from a scientific perspective?
  • Science is defined as: “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.”
  • Based on this definition, evolution is not science – it is a guess.
  • There is no evidence for evolution. No transitional fossil forms between species.
  • QUOTE: “Why, if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined? … As by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?” (Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species).

IV.  A LOOK AT INTELLIGENT DESIGN:

  • THE WATCHMAKER ARGUMENT: William Paley’s example of the watchmaker.
  • ILLUSTRATION: Bomb in Canadian Tire. CHAOS never produces order or life!
  • “The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.” (Psalm 19:1).
  • “From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made. They can clearly see his invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.” (Romans 1:20, NLT).
  • What does this mean? Where’s there’s a design, there’s a Designer.
  • QUOTE: “DNA is an incredibly detailed language, revealing vast amounts of information encoded in each and every living cell – design which could not have arisen by purely naturalistic means. In every other area of our world, we recognize that information requires intelligence and design requires a designer. With our present-day knowledge of DNA, this presents a formidable challenge to Darwinian evolution.” (Ray Comfort, from the introduction to Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species).
  • Darwin’s idea of natural selection is scientifically impossible. Animals may experience adaptations or variations, there is never any new information added – no new DNA.

CLOSING TEXT:

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139:14-15, NKJV).

BIBLIOGRAPHY AND RESOURCES:

  • God’s Not Dead by Rice Broocks                                          (www.godsnotdead.org)
  • The New Answers Book by Ken Ham                                  (www.answersingenesis.org)
  • Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis                                          (www.cslewis.com)
  • Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell     (www.josh.org)
  • The Defender’s Study Bible by Henry Morris                     (www.icr.org)
  • The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel                                 (www.leestrobel.com)
  • God’s Not Dead Sermon Series Outline Study Guide
  • The Beausejour Pulpit by Chris Jordan (3 chapters on origins)

Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca

Pastor’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/

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