Dichotomy (dīˈkätəmē)

A division or contrast between two things which are represented as being entirely different.  I guess that’s the way I feel right now.  On the one hand, I’m entirely excited at the very real prospect of receiving the grades for my Baby Bar exam TOMORROW.  I can hardly wait!  I don’t know exactly what the result will be, but I’m content to lay it in the Lord’s hands and not worry.  After two week-long seminars, and three weeks of 14 hours-per-day consecutive cramming sessions with a couple of my classmates, I AM READY to be done with this!!!

On the other hand, I am blogging from the ICU waiting room of the Kingwood hospital.  My grandmother on my Dad’s side has been steadily decreasing in health over the last few years with Parkinson’s disease.  Recently she develop some other complications (such as pneumonia) which have moved her in and out of the hospital for the last few months.  She’s back in now, and in very poor condition.  She was placed on a ventilator to assist with breathing 8 days ago, and since her living will said she did not want to live on life support, the doctors are preparing to remove it today.  Hard as it is to say, they do not expect her to be able to continue without it.  I would be grateful for your prayers particularly for my Grandpa, because he is taking all of this fairly hard.  Grandma has been a firm believer in Jesus Christ for many years and her life reflected it, but this doesn’t make it any easier for him.

Thus I find myself between two contrasts, one which would be considered happy in the eyes of the world, and one, losing a loved one, which would be considered sad.

However, this is in the eyes of the WORLD.  As I sit here and contemplate, I can’t help but wonder if it could almost be the other way around.  From a Christian’s perspective there is no greater joy than to enter the presence of the Lord our God.  It is the great hope for which true Christians are able to look forward to at the end of our physical lives.  Grandma’s passing could actually be the joyful end of the dichotomy.  For me, it is a reminder of the joyful news of the gospel of Christ, the amazing true hope which we can have through His blood, and temporary character of all earthly possessions and credentials.

 

 

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Breakfast lover’s delight

I don’t normally post twice in a week but today is special.  Katie and Bethany made a really great breakfast this morning.  As an entrepreneur, visions of opening a restaurant and hiring them as chief chefs wafted through my mind.  Perhaps I’ll try to float that idea later.  My plate is a little full right now (no pun intended :)).

Anyway, check out this super-duper healthy breakfast I enjoyed: Sweet potato muffins and Spinach Bake.

Yes, I took this photo.  No, it's not out of the Betty Crocker cookbook.

Yes, I took this photo. No, it’s not out of the Betty Crocker cookbook.

The muffins were really tasty, but the spinach bake (which included bits of sausage, eggs, etc.) was heavenly (and I’m not really even a big breakfast person).  For a genuine Texas breakfast experience, I recommend this unbeatable combination.

Disclaimer: The Jonathan Covey Stamp of Approval is not a warranty of fitness for a particular purpose.

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The Design Argument

This sort of argument is of wide and perennial appeal.  Almost everyone admits that reflection on the order and beauty of nature touches something very deep within us.  But was the order of nature intelligently designed?  For theists the answer would be yes.  The argument for design is an attempt to justify that answer – or even more accurately stated – to show that the theist’s answer is the most reasonable one.  The following shows the central tenets of the design argument:

1. The universe displays an incredible and almost incomprehensible amount of intelligibility, both within our own observations and how the elements of the universe relate to other elements outside of themselves.  For example the different systems in our body work together to accomplish the same worthy end, and it is the norm in nature for things to work this way.

2. Either this intelligible order is the product of chance or of intelligent design.

3. Not chance.

4. Therefore the universe is the product of intelligent design.

5. Design comes only from a mind, a designer.

6. Therefore the universe is the product of an intelligent Designer.

The first premise is certainly true – even those resistant to the argument admit it.  The person who did not would have to be almost pathetically obtuse.  A single protein molecule is a thing of immensely impressive order; much more so a single cell; and incredibly much more so an organ like the eye.  So the first premise stands.

If all this order is not in some way the product of intelligent design – then what?  Obviously it “just happened.”  Things just fell out that way “by chance.”  Alternatively, if all this order is not the result of some blindless force, then it has resulted from some kind of purpose.  That purpose can only be intelligent design.  So the second premise stands.

It is of course, the third premise that is crucial.  Ultimately nonbelievers tell us, it is indeed by chance and not by design that the universe of our experience exists the way it does.  They want theists to demonstrate why it could not exist by chance alone.  But this seems a bit backward.  It is surely up to nonbelievers to produce a credible alternative to design.  And “chance” is simply not credible for we can understand chance only against a background of order.  To say that something happened “by chance” is to say that it did not turn out as we expected.  But expectation is impossible without order.  If you take away order and speak of chance alone as a kind of ultimate source, you have taken away the only background that allows us to speak meaningfully of chance at all.  Therefore it is highly reasonable to assume the third premise and the conclusion.

A Designer does indeed exist and His name is God.

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Atheism Part II Introduction

“To be an atheist requires an indefinitely greater measure of faith than to receive all the great truths which atheism would deny.” -Joseph Addison

Atheists claim that there is no God.  They contend that there is no God in the world (as pantheism claims) and there is no God beyond the world (as deism claims).  Furthermore, there is no God who is actually both in the world and beyond the world as theism claims.  There is no God of any kind, anywhere.

Since I’m primarily concerned in this series with the question of whether there is a God and, if so, what kind of God He is, we will consider the major arguments for the existence of God, and the major arguments put forth by leading proponents of atheism to bolster their theory that there is no God at all.  I will warn you up front: If you’re an atheist you won’t like what I have to say.  The evidence for the existence of God is overwhelming.  At the end you may have to say what Mr. Addison is essentially saying in the leading quote: It takes more faith to be an atheist.

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White Unto Harvest Update

Yes, I recognize that “it’s about time” that I actually made this post on White Unto Harvest.  Go ahead.  Say it.  I’ve been tardy (breathes sigh of relief at confession).  I don’t know why this one has been so hard in coming together…but I digress.

Let me try to re-start on a more positive note: North Carolina is beautiful this time of year!  Many native Carolinians told us that fall is the most beautiful time of the year in the Tar Heel State (Note: nickname stems from North Carolina’s long history as a producer of naval supplies such as tar, pitch, rosin, and turpentine).

As we drove through the mountain roads toward our destination of Asheville, we were constantly amazed the fall colors that we barely get to see in Texas.  The cameras were going almost non-stop.  Believe me when I say it was breathtaking.

Our trusty DSLRs were working overtime as we approached Asheville and I’m glad that there is such a thing as a 16 gigabyte sd card because I’m pretty sure that anything less would have left us memory-less in a matter of hours.

Just one more…

But enough about North Carolina, this is really a conference update.

As many of you know already, the conference took place at the Ridgecrest campus, which is just outside of Asheville.  The campus itself is very nice with lodging facilities, meetings rooms and auditoriums.

This conference was probably different from any I’ve ever been to before inasmuch as it dealt with SO MANY great topics instead of focusing on just a few.  It was also unique for me personally as I started out tired (coming directly off of 27 consecutive all-day study sessions) and ended the week energized, excited, and with a greater desire to spread the gospel.

This was an evangelism conference which  dealt with many, many facets of the Great Commission.  There were so many good speakers and topics!

Scott Brown, the Director of the NCFIC, moderated the conference as well as brought several of the keynote addresses.  I love how practical his messages often seem to my life.

Paul Washer was also very good in all three of his keynote messages.  The first message, entitled “The Power of God” was a particularly timely reminder of the saving power of Christ’s blood, and the duty that each Christian has to further the advance of the gospel of Christ.

Joel Beeke was excellent on Family Worship.  Basically he had four points on this topic:

1.  We must be convicted to do family worship.  Our own efforts and our own willful attempts to do family worship without the absolute conviction that it is a necessary part of growth in Christ will fail.

2. Aim for brevity.

3.  Plan each aspect of family worship.  Don’t just think that a plan will fall together.  Things don’t fall together, they fall apart.

4. Begin and end with prayer

Doug Phillips was also very good and exhibited his trademark energy and enthusiasm on a wide variety of Great Commission topics.  However, the message that most convicted me actually happened to be one that I wouldn’t necessarily have expected.  On the second day of the conference I randomly went to a session by Jeff Pollard called “All things to All Men”, taken from I Corinthians 9:22.  He was talking about self-denial and how we manifest love for other believers in Christ (or as he called them, “God’s people”) by denying ourselves the things that we might otherwise have a right to do or possess.

He asked two questions which I jotted down as I was listening:

1. Are you denying your God-given rights so that others may come to a saving knowledge of Christ?

2. Is your idea of God-given flexibility making the people you minister to become transformed into the image of Christ?

I’m still asking myself these questions nearly three weeks after the conference is over because I don’t want to continue to live in “situation normal” when my duty as a Christian is to expand more and more of my life into the reaching the lost.

At the risk of sounding simplistic, I believe that Christians in America are leading lives of apathy that almost totally precludes any self-denial for Christ’s sake.  This is, in fact, exactly where Satan wants us.  Mr. Pollard’s message was a refreshing and convicting step back to the basics for me because it helped me realize areas in my own life that I could potentially fall into this trap.  I pray that it spoke to the rest of the people listening as strongly as it did to me.

All in all, the conference was a great blessing.  We were also greatly encouraged by seeing many, many of our friends at Ridgecrest and fellowshipping over meals and in between speaking sessions.  It was encouraging to know that there are so many great families seeking the same things we are seeking and following the same path we are taking.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.  I Cor. 9:24

Smile!

Some people look great in braces. Just accept it.

Yep, she’s from Texas

I couldn’t resist this last one…we just looked so…so serious.  🙂

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Brief Update

Hello Everyone,

I just wanted to take a brief moment to say that I haven’t forgotten about my promised post on the NCFIC White Unto Harvest conference.  Despite being off of school for a couple of months I’ve been pretty busy lately.  For the last two days David and I have been (and currently still are) in Houston at our first employee review with Congressman-Elect Stockman and the rest of his staff.  When I get home tomorrow I will begin to put the finishing touches on a long overdue update.  I also have several predetermined issues which I want to write upon.  Therefore…Coming Soon On To Live Is Christ:

1. White Unto Harvest Update

2. My thoughts on evangelism and modern American Culture

3. Part II of Refuting Atheism and the Existence of God

4. An entrepreneurship idea

5. To Vote Or Not To Vote: A discussion on the quandary in which many Christians find themselves during the political election cycle.

I also plan to start a new series in January or February specifically with young men in mind on Preparation for Godly Marriages.  More details to come on this at a later date.  As  a well-known radio host would say, “Quick break – right back – we’ll continue.”

-Jonathan

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On a Movie

I have a “real” post in the works right now but I wanted to quickly share something that I discovered just recently and got pretty excited about: Last Ounce of Courage.  If you haven’t seen it, you should.

This is the story of a grieving father inspired by his grandson to take a stand for faith and freedom against a tide of apathy and vanishing liberty.  It’s highly patriotic, very emotional, and downright inspirational.

I won’t ruin the storyline for you, but I wanted to express my excitement for this movie.  It gives me hope that a few moral filmmakers are still be be found in what is becoming a career synonymous with moral decrepitude.

Caveats are probably in order for a few semi-unusual moments in the film where the theology of the movie might be somewhat questionable, but overall, a really great film.

See it and be inspired!

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