Tag Archives: faith

Skepticism and Me

I would have to call myself a skeptic at least on some level.  This is the way I have described myself for a while and its because I question everything.  I want to know the who, what, when, where and why of almost everything.  Basically, I want sources to back up claims of fact and claims of truth.  Does it make me guarded?  Yes.  Is that bad?  Well, it depends.

The following word picture describes this best I think.  It is not my own but it came from a lecture in a theology class I am taking.  

Think of having your property surrounded by fence both front and back.  There is one gate and it is usually closed with a guard standing there ready to defend against unauthorized entry.  A long line of people, beliefs, theories etc, are wanting in.  Indeed there are already some who are inside the fences.  The ones who are standing outside wanting in must be thoroughly evaluated for their worthiness to be allowed in.  Once proved worthy, the gate opens enough to let that one in and then promptly shuts to block the others out.  In some cases the ones that are inside must be kicked out and re-evaluated before being allowed back in.  

That is my process in a nutshell.  I am best served by not allowing the gates to be wide open (naivety) and by not allowing the gates to remain firmly shut forever (strictly dogmatic).  Instead, I must find that middle ground where every single thought, idea, claim, whatever wants in, must be examined.  My gate can be opened but whatever it is opened for and that which remains inside, must continue to pass the test.  As my instructor put it, “My beliefs are too important to give in so easily”.

This leads into one of the other books I am currently reading called The Skeptical Believer by Daniel Taylor.  In it he wrestles with what he calls his inner atheist, that doubting voice.  He calls himself not just a skeptic and not just a believer but instead a combination of the two.  He is a skeptical believer and I would say that I am as well.

The Theology Program that I am enrolled in and the books I am reading associated with this course of study is helping me come to terms with my doubt.  It has, to a certain degree, been a weight lifted knowing that doubt is alright so long as it is kept on a leash.  This course of study is already reshaping my mind, allowing for a more mature approach to scriptures and the beliefs that follow.  Though for a while I bought in to the idea that I should follow my heart, there is quite enough evidence from the world and in scripture that suggests the heart is a poor guide at best.  

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17-9, ESV)

I’ll end this with a few quotes from The Skeptical Beleiver:

“I am going to argue that doubt is entirely compatible with faith.  In fact, it is required.  If you doubt nothing, you are not exercising faith at all, because you think you have certainty.”

 

“To skepticism, I say ‘sometimes, but with reservations.'”

 

“Be as skeptical about skepticism as skepticism is about everything else”

And Finally:

“…take some comfort that the water walker and the doubter and the denier and the apostle and the martyr are all the same person.  Peter was both skeptic and saint–a combination that holds out hope for me.”

 

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Desperate

In my quest to become free from my addiction, this song has been one that I come back to constantly.  Especially when I am down and think I have fallen too far from grace.  I identify with this writer, a man who wants to be free but gives in to temptation at times.  The inner torment that occurs when he fails is what I go through on my worst days.  Nevertheless, my heart is desperate for His grace, for His strength and for the freedom that only comes through Him.

Enjoy (Artist: Lecrae)

Woke up this morning too depressed and shamed to leave my bed

Can’t stand to see my own reflection so I hang my head

Feel like a disappointment, like the scum of the earth

I’m so hurt I know You see I can’t cover my dirt

My soul’s dying, heart’s weak, I can’t even cry

I’m supposed to run to You but why, I’m such an evil guy

The sun’s shinin’ but for me it’s the darkest of days

Try to pretend it never happened but the guilt remains

I leave the house it feels like everybody knows I did it

Feels like they readin’ my mind and know the sin I committed

Through your blood I’m acquitted but my heart doesn’t get it

Oh God I’m desperate for help cause I’m grievin’ Your Spirit

I couldn’t sing in Sunday service, Lord I felt fake

And when they started communion I just made an escape

I’m in need of Your grace, feels like You hid Your face

Lead me back to cross and show me my sin’s erased

Chorus:  I’m so desperate

I can’t believe I sinned against You

Create in me a clean heart

I’m so sorry

It’s Your mercy

It’s what I need, it’s what I need

I’m waste deep in my pity, is Satan tryna trick me

And tell me You won’t forgive me, cause it’s startin’ to get me

Jesus help me quickly, I hate the wrong I’ve done

I know we all fall but I feel like the only one

Feels like I should be shunned, should I punish myself?

I know it’s dumb cause by Your death all my sin has been dealt

But my sin has been felt, I didn’t want to do it

But what I want to do I don’t, I swear I’m goin’ through it

Try to open up my Bible, I need to read Your pages

I need You Lord, but my guilt has got me feelin’ so faithless

Help me see where grace is, take me back to the basics

Help me find my joy in You and not people and places

My sin is ever before me, I turned my back on You

Oh Father break and restore me to bring me back to You

My sin is ever before me, I turned my back on You

God break and restore me to bring me back to You

Chorus:  I’m so desperate

I can’t believe I sinned against You

Create in me a clean heart

I’m so sorry

It’s Your mercy

It’s what I need, it’s what I need

Have mercy on me God, according to Your steady love

Wipe away my transgressions and wash me in Your blood

Create in me a clean heart, renew a right spirit

Don’t hide Your face from me, God, Your presence, keep me near it

I’m waitin’ patient on You Lord, I know You hear my cry

Restore Your joy in me, for You alone I live and die

It’s You I glorify cause You don’t want my sacrifice

You want me broken and contrite, trustin’ in the Christ

I confess to You my sin and You show me mercy

I turn away from it demonstratin’ that You are worthy

Over lust, over pride, over all sin

Is my affection for Jesus who died for all them

I was lost now I’m found, I was tossed to the ground

My sin weighed on me heavy but I’m no longer bound

As sure as Christ wears the crown, I know that grace will abound

And even when I feel lost I know in You I am found


Hamstring Stretches and the Faith

Today while at physical therapy I was thinking about how last year I could stretch my hamstring much better than I can today. It is now much tighter because I have neglected it.  It is that way with our spiritual life.  Our spiritual walk is perpetual and requires our constant attention.  When we neglect it, we can only get back what we lost by giving it the attention it deserves.

The Bible says in Hebrews 2:1:

“We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”

And in Hebrews 10:38 it says:

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”


Becoming a Leader

I was Listening to a sermon from Pastor Craig Groeschel today and it caused me to reflect on where I am in my spiritual walk. You see, I constantly worry about what others may be thinking about me. One of the things that Groeschel drove in during the sermon was that I cannot be a leader anywhere if I am too focused on what others think about me.  Why?  Because instead of being a leader, I am following others by seeking approval from them. I am following their lead. I am charting a course based on what I perceive they think about who I am.

Paster Groeschel asked

“Whats the problem” with worrying about what others think?

His answer:

“Pleasing people is idolatry.  In fact, becoming obsessed over what people think about you is the quickest way to forget what God thinks about you.”

Here is what the Bible says in Proverbs 29:25 about it:

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

So how is this relevant to my own spiritual walk and leadership in the church?  I need to speak of what I feel called to do and what I have been running from because of fear.  I am called to write.  I am called to speak and I am called to lead men.  But I don’t do this because of fear.  Fear of not being good enough.  Fear of being judged because I’m not “christian enough” to have any authority among men.  The scripture that speaks to me loudest on what my calling is can be found  in Judges 6:14:

“The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have … Am I not sending you?’” (emphasis added)

He does not say to “go and prepare yourself”.  No, he is saying Go now in the strength you have and I will be with you.  I should have been teaching long ago, but feel tremendously under qualified to do so.  My purpose is to lead and to do this means putting my faith in God.  It means trusting that He has already equipped me with more than enough to do the job.  In fact, in closing I will repeat what Pastor Groeschel said over and over in this sermon series:

“It is less about you than you think”

It is about who God is in my life and how I submit to Him and allow him to do good work through me.

Link to the message referred to in this post:

Altar Ego Part 1


My Life is Yours to Take

Satan has made me feel this way.

He’s taken my joy and gave me pain.

He’s given me all this guilt and shame.

But God I’m hear to say to you today,

That no longer will I hang my head so low.

He’s delivered his last and final blow.

I will get down on my knees today and say

Lord I give you my life….its yours to take.