My Person

Just wanted to share a pic of me with MY person.  😉  That’s right…my very own personal one hundred percent individually-for-Jonathan person  😉  Customized by God as my other, better, prettier half  😉

photo001

Last year in August I spoke at a homeschool/biblical discipleship conference by FORGE Ministries (Check out their latest conference, Love One Another: http://www.forgeministries.org/events/love-one-another/).  I had no idea when I accepted the invitation to speak at that conference that it would mark the beginning of a truly incredible process of becoming not-single  😉  At that conference in Kerrville, Tx I met the love of my life, Sarah, who was playing music and assisting with sound recordings as a volunteer staff member for the event.  I tried to speak with her once by “thanking” her for her service in playing the piano.  This conversation ended curtly with a “Sure, no problem.”  Undeterred and bold as a lion (yeah right) I determined to make another opportunity.  The snack room the next day afforded that opportunity while we sat near each other among a group of our friends and family, talking about everything from theology to nursing home ministries.

Shortly after the conference was over we both committed our hearts to the Lord, and prayed that His will would be done.  I moved to Austin for new job, and by God’s sovereign plan, ended up attending the church that Sarah and her family had helped found.

I approached her father in January, asking permission to build a relationship with him, in order to have an opportunity to win Sarah’s heart.  She, on the other hand, spoke with her parents about me and asked them to help her guard her heart, mind, and emotions so that she didn’t become attached without knowing my intentions.

I asked her to marry me on April 25th, 2015….and she said YES!!!  We are looking forward to our wedding next April and a full, complete, Christ-honoring, and crazy life thereafter!

Thank you for reading this monumental post in the To Live Is Christ blog!!!

Advertisements
Posted in Christian apologetics | Leave a comment

Questions, Answers, and My Friend Bob

I’ve had an ongoing (written) discussion with an individual (I’ll call him Bob) on the topic of the existence of heaven. Bob didn’t/doesn’t believe in the concept of a biblical heaven and had some objections which I thought were interesting enough to merit a formal blog post.

Before I do this, however, I would like to re-state my position on apologetical writing.  Throughout this blog I have tried to reinforce a particular idea but it bears repeating:  I believe that a viewpoint is neither Christian nor moral unless it can be supported, directly or indirectly, by the Word of God properly interpreted and properly applied.  You must use scriptureAt the same time,  my compelling reasons for writing, reading, and blogging on Christian apologetics are threefold:

  1. I am certain that the Christian faith is true.
  2. I am only a little less certain that the best thing I can possibly do for others is to persuade them of this truth, in which there is joy and peace and love incomparable in this world, and infinite and incomprehensible in the next.
  3. I am a little less certain, but still confident, that honest reasoning can lead any open-minded person to this very same conclusion.

I may seem to be contradicting myself here but I am not.  I do not believe that reason should usurp the primacy of faith, hope and love.  That is not where I ever want to go with this blog, or my own convictions.  I am watching myself and my writings carefully.  But I do strongly believe that when faith comes first, understanding follows, and is aided by faith’s tutelage.  In other words, I believe that faith and reason are allies, not enemies; friends, not foes.

Having said that, I present you with the three rather creative objections that Bob had to the existence of a heaven, and my replies to those objections.

Objection 1:  Heaven is obviously wishful thinking.  If there were no heaven, we would have to invent it.  It is a “necessary dream.”

Reply A:  The heaven of the Bible does not correspond to our dreams or wishful thinking.  It is selfless, self-forgetful love and saintliness, not the gratification of selfish desires; the death of egotism rather than its ratification; holiness rather than indulgence; adoration and self forgetful worship of God rather than worship of self.

Reply B:  Even if there is a correspondence between our innate wishes and the idea of heaven, that correspondence could equally well be explained by God’s having designed us for heaven rather than by our having designed heaven for ourselves.  The glove could have been made for the hand, or the hand could have been made for the glove.

Reply C:  The objector’s reasoning is fallacious.  It argues: If there were no heaven, we would have to believe in one (because we need and want it so much); and we do (have to) believe in one; therefore there is no heaven.  This is an example of the fallacy of affirming the consequent.  It is like arguing that if there were no earth, we would still have to believe in it (because it appears to our senses); and we do (have to) believe in it; therefore there is no earth.

Objection 2: Believing in heaven is escapist.

Reply A:  the most pointed answer to the charge of escapism is C.S. Lewis’s simple question: “Who talks the most against ‘escapism’?  Jailers.”  Think about it.

Reply B: Heaven is not escapist, because it is real.  The idea is “escapist” only if it is a lie.  To call the idea of heaven escapist is to presuppose atheism but not to have the clarity or courage to say so.  If heaven is real, it is escapist not to think about it.  It is realistic to do so.  The first question about any idea cannot be whether it is escapist but whether it is true.  Even if an idea is escapist, that does not make it false.  The idea that there is a tunnel under the prison is certainly an escapist idea, but that does not mean it is not true.  The label “escapist” is itself escapist; the labeler is trying to escape his primary obligation to prove the idea false.

Objection 3:  Heaven is a diversion.  Whether true or false, it distracts us from our present tasks.

Reply A:  Not if heaven is real.  If it is, and if it is our ultimate destination, then our present tasks more often distract us from our primary task.  That is why we have to be reminded to “strive first for the kingdom of God” (Mt 6:33) and not to have our minds “set on earthly things,” because “our citizenship [home] is in heaven” (Phil 3:19-20).

Query: How would you respond to Bob?

Posted in Christian apologetics | 2 Comments

Musings on pain and patience

My Bible time the past couple of weeks has been in the book of Job.  I’ve read through this wonderful book many times in my life, but this particular read-through I’ve taken more time to meditate and soak in the richness tucked in its chapters and it has been sweet in many ways.  I just wanted to muse.

I appreciate Job so much because it builds a picture of God’s faithfulness during difficult times.  We do, to be sure, often bring difficult times upon ourselves.  If we run a red light, we’ll get a ticket.  If we fudge on our taxes and get caught, we’ll be audited and fined.  If we neglect our teeth for years, we’ll get cavities and gingivitis and need root canals.  These times are brought on by our own carelessness.  However, there are times when pain kicks the door down in our lives unexpectedly and seemingly undeservedly, and we find ourselves face down in the mud with no clue as to why.  This is when Job’s story is so important to read.  The ability to see God’s faithfulness in the past has helped me wait patiently on God in present difficulties, knowing that He is faithful.  I like how Brennan Manning addresses this issue of trust:

Unwavering trust is a rare and precious thing because it often demands a degree of courage that borders on the heroic.  When the shadow of Jesus’ cross falls across our lives in the form of failure, rejection, abandonment, betrayal, unemployment, loneliness, depression, the loss of a loved one; when we are deaf to everything but the shriek of our own pain;  when the world around us suddenly seems a hostile, menacing place – at those times we may cry out in anguish, “How could a loving God permit this to happen?”  At such moments the seeds of distrust are sown.  It requires heroic courage to trust in the love of God no matter what happens to us.  (Ruthless Trust [New York: HarperCollins, 2000], 3-4)

Times of intense pain remove all superficial attitudes.  When I am experiencing intensely painful circumstances I am the Real Me.  To love God even when you can’t explain what’s happening to you and think He’s being unfair is pure love.  You can’t fake it.  I’m so grateful God gave us the example of Job!

Posted in Christian apologetics | Leave a comment

Stand with Rand!

Filibustering the nomination of John Brennan for director of the CIA is Rand Paul.

smith-rand

We’re at seven eleven hours and counting already, with the Kentucky Senator betraying no signs of slowing down.

Stand with Rand everyone!

Posted in Christian apologetics | 1 Comment

That’s How We Do It, People

It is entirely possible that some of my friends will think that I’m just trying to portray an ultra-Texan image within this post – but I am not.  The fact is, I’ve been extremely busy as of late, and have not had much time to do anything except work and law school.  Yesterday, however, Katie and Micah and I impulsively decided to take a little time off from studying and just do what every Texan (surely) does for fun: go to the shooting range (one of our fields).

Actually Katie’s been wanting to learn how to shoot for awhile, and Micah is just graduating to the stage of early manhood where he is becoming capable of handling firearms in a safe and responsible manner.  I’ve been planning to teach Katie for some time, and it turned out to be a good opportunity for Micah to take a few turns as well.

DSC_0023rev

DSC_0065

I can say without reservation that Katie is a complete natural with a handgun.  She was very comfortable with my Springfield .40 and turned out to be a very accurate shot at 9 yards.

DSC_0018

Micah’s accuracy was also very decent at about 8 yards.  He impressed me with his comfortable stance and steady finger.  He took his time and squeezed off shots in a very methodical way.  Each shot was spaced almost exactly the same length of time apart.

DSC_0086Most of all it was just a fun, memory-making time.  We enjoyed one another’s company, and got to spend a little brother-sister time, while doing something we all enjoyed.  Some of my non-Texas friends have already laughed when I told them about this form of relaxing.  They weren’t being mean, just thought it was funny that this is what we were actually considering a recreational activity.

DSC_0110Despite the amused reactions I received from friends though, it doesn’t bother me.  At least not in the personal sense.  I AM a little saddened that folks don’t take our Second Amendment rights as seriously as I think they should… but that’s another story.  I had planned to write a full report on the Washington D.C. trip which I took in January, however, I am going to have to modify that plan because of job-related privacy requirements.  I WILL show some pictures.  That I promise.  Until then…

soli Deo gloria!

 

 

Posted in Christian apologetics | Leave a comment

A Lawyer’s Greeting

To All My Democrat Friends:

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an  environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress,  non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice  holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with  respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of  others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions  at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally  accepted calendar year 2013, but not without due respect for the  calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society  have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western  Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed,  color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of  the wishee.

To My Republican Friends:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

*Please note:  I didn’t write this, I just re-posted it.  Please blame the anonymous and brilliant author behind this if you’re upset.  🙂

 

 

 

 

Posted in Christian apologetics | 4 Comments

I laughed…I cried…it moved me, Bob.

If you don’t know where this movie quote came from you’re not missing anything.  It’s not important.  What IS important is that I was greeted this morning by the following be-yoo-tiful words:

IMG_00001Yes, by God’s grace I have passed the Baby Bar Exam!  I cannot stop singing the words to “To God Be the Glory” today.  I literally cried.  I cannot express to my Lord and my Savior how grateful I am for this blessing.   Praise the Lord!

Posted in Christian apologetics | 6 Comments