Tag Archive | bible

Just Believe: What Do I Have To Do To Be A Christian?

believe

What do I have to do to be a Christian?

Just Believe

  • Just believe that Jesus died for ALL your sins (and mine).

  • Just believe without His death and resurrection for our sins you (and I) would go to hell.

  • Just believe, that’s it.

  • He does not require you to DO anything else.

 

In speaking with a friend today she brought up the topic of God punishing people for their sins. A friend of hers felt that an individual she knew died because God was punishing that person for sins in their life. Pretty much she was saying that that person could not have been a Christian because she did not DO something. In this case it was not stopping a particular activity she was doing.

The activity did not lead to her death; her death was actually caused by complication from a surgery that was totally unrelated to the activity in question. This beautiful, young, 21 year old woman died and my friend was terribly broken up about this young life. The comment she received was, “God was probably punishing her for a sin in her life.”

 

That’s not how God operates.

 

God expects us to believe. He does not expect me to be judge and jury over anyone else’s life; that’s His job not mine. He will convict me of sins in my life that he wants me to change.

If someone else asks me for guidance in an area in their lives I will offer advice.

 

 

believe

 

 

“1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Matthew 7:1-3 KJV

 

If  I judge others then that is the bar that is set in my own life. For example, if I tell another person that they should not swear. I have now set the bar that if I swear I am going to be judged by that same bar.

We must be careful that we don’t not expect others to DO something in addition to believing in order for them to be a Christian.

There is no requirement besides belief.

 

 

believe

 

 

“16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

BELIEVE; that is all that is required.

  • You don’t need to stop smoking to be a Christian.

  • You don’t need to stop drinking to be a Christian.

  • You don’t need to stop _________ (fill in the blank) to be a Christian.

You don’t NEED to DO anything except believe.

As Christians we must remember this. 

 

God, who knows a person better than we ever could, He will lead in that person’s life and direct them to His will in His time, NOT our time and NOT by our own “RULES” we make up.

Climbing off my soapbox…

 

 

 

Darwin – Origin of Species – Notes #1: Introduction

darwin bust

The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

Notes #1: Introduction

*For purpose of these posts please see my note at the end of this article. There you will also find the edition of the book I am reading. All quotes are from this work.

At the beginning of this work is a very interesting section titled, “Biographical Note, Charles Darwin, 1809-1852” followed by a brief “Contents: The Origin of Species” section which is an entire chapter by chapter book overview.

Now I know many people skip reading these introductional type sections, but I am not one of those people. There can be a wealth of information in these sections. I would suggest reading these sections in this work by Darwin as a background to the work itself.

I found reading this first section and learning a little about the life of Darwin very interesting. The fact that as a youth he “…to his schoolmates he boasted that he could produce variously colored flowers of the same plant by watering them with certain colored fluids.” was cool to think about.

Here is a young boy who preforming science experiments that we now think of as common place. Who of us hasn’t taken a stalk of celery and placed it in a glass of red colored water to watch the red food coloring travel up the veins of the celery? Or looked at the many different colored daisy’s at the grocery store or florist and been unsurprised by the perfect color match to a graduation dress.

We find this idea of coloring flowers normal, everyday type stuff. We think “Everyone should know that.” But during the time when Darwin was a young boy these ideas were new and he was one of the young people willing to test them out and try them.

Darwin’s dad was a doctor so it is no surprise that young Darwin was interested in the study of medicine and science in general. BUT he switched gears and studied to be a country clergyman at Cambridge for a while. Darwin’s love of science won out though and a professor of Botany named J. S. Henslow got Darwin a job as a naturalist on a government ship named the H. M. S. Beagle.

Darwin spent 1831 to 1836 on this ship. He traveled the “Southern waters” which included the Cape Verde Islands. I had to look this area up. It is the area west of northern Africa. Here is a map with notes I made from: Google Maps

darwins ship travels

During Darwin’s travels he “…made extensive examinations of coral reefs and noted the relations of animals on the mainland to those of the adjacent islands, as well as the relation of living animals to the fossil remains of the same species.”

My thoughts on this so far? Here is a very bright student. He starts out studying to be a doctor, then a clergyman, and then a person who studies nature on a ship. It seems at this point that he doesn’t know what he wants to do but Darwin describes that voyage on the ship as “by far the most important event in my life.”

This young man has studied science since a very young boy. He conducted lots of experiments. He has gone to school at Dr. Butler’s day school which used a classical curriculum, he has been to Edinburgh to study medicine, and to Cambridge to study for the clergy, and then on a 5 year ship ride. This young man has had a very exciting life even if you don’t look at all the studying he accomplished also. From the reading it seems as though Darwin had not that great an experience at his “elementary school”. The text states that he had an “undistinguished career” at that day school. Maybe he was too bright, who knows, but the text also states that Darwin had “singular interests”.

Relating this to our family I would say it would be like someone 🙂 who constantly thinks about flying. A young boy who thought that he could actually physically fly. This young man has wanted to fly since he could talk. The day he found out that pilots got paid to fly he was the happiest boy alive, “They get paid to just fly?” This same young boy a year later played the goose in an on stage production. He puts his costume on and states quietly, “Now I have wings I really can fly.” This young boy regularly designs airplanes and builds them out of wood, k’nex, legos, paper, whatever. This boy will fly someday. He has a “singular interest” in flying.

Darwin’s dad saw this interest and switched his son from that day school to the Edinburgh school. This young boy was looked after and his love of science was nurtured. But to him that voyage on the ship where he could take the time to study nature for 5 years, that was what he felt was the most important event in his life. Can you see the excitement in his eyes as he says that? Can you sense the pure joy of a person who has found and been able to do what he enjoys?

If you would like to read more about the life timeline of Darwin here is a great site: Darwin Timeline

darwin site

From that site I learned that Darwin’s life was not as “great” as the book I am ready says or leaves out… I guess he went to one school before that day school but during that time his mother dies. Terrible just terrible. Take the time to read some of his life story at that link above. Very interesting. As I have told my children many times make sure you know who is writing what you are reading. The views of the writer come through in the writing even if they don’t mean them to. The edition I am reading finds it important to tell me that Darwin married his cousin (no note on how close a cousin) but does not tell me that he had 10 children or that his mama had died when he was young. Anyway, if you get a chance, take the time to read through the information at that site.

Did you know that Darwin wrote many others works? Most people figured he must have but don’t realize how many. That link above also lists these works with links to where you can read them.

Now back to the book…

Darwin lived in London after that voyage and wrote about his studies on that voyage. He got married and had lots of kids. During those years he became quite ill and moved to Down where “he lived in seclusion for the rest of his days”. He also had many friend who where scientists. While he lived in Down he spent 8 years working on his four volumes of the “classification of barnacles”. Wow, he sure was dedicated.

After that work studying a specific species he started the work of figuring out the “modification of species which he had been pondering for many years.” He continued to read other works from notable scientists. During his reading he decided he had figured something out and his scientific friends told him he should write it down. So he started to. But while he was doing this he got halfway through and found out that someone else had written an essay that stated the exact same thing Darwin was writing about.

What to do, what to do. He again talked with his scientist friends and they said to write a work that was a combination of both. But it seems like Darwin decided to write his own work anyway and there was a huge uproar because Darwin was saying it was his own idea and this other guy was saying that he came up with it first. On that first day the book Origins by Darwin was published “the entire first edition of 1,250 copies sold”. Pretty amazing.

During the next 40 years of his life he lived on a strict schedule. He was sick a lot and used this schedule to make sure that he had time for different things. He was only able to work on his scientific studies for about 4 hours a day. An interesting comment he made about how he used his time “‘a law ought to be passed’ against unhappy endings to novels.” He made time for reading other things besides scientific stuff.

He died in 1882 and is interred next to Sir Isaac Newton in Westminster Abbey.

Here is a picture of where he is interred: Darwin in Westminster Abbey

darwin grave

Next comes the table of contents which is rather interesting in that is gives a short synopsis of each chapter. Following the table of contents are a few more section before the meat of the book starts. Both of these sections are written by Darwin. This post is long enough so I will begin my next post with the next section titled: “An Historical Sketch: of the progress of opinion on the origin of species, previously to the publication of the first edition of this work”.

Thoughtful Questions:

1) What are your feelings on reading this work by Darwin?

2) Christians: Do you feel as a Christian it is wrong or evil to read this work? If so, think about why you would feel this way.

3) Do you have a better understanding who Darwin is as a person when he was writing this work? If so, what impresses you most?

4) What do you find most interesting in his life leading up to the writing of this work?

5) Based on what you know now, if you had lived the life that Darwin lived, do you feel you would have done the same things he has done? Why or why not? Try and use specific parts of his life as examples.

6) Take the time right now and write down what you believe the theory of evolution to be. Writing it now before we study this work will be useful when doing the readings. Lets see if what you think you “know” now lives up to what is really in this book.

I have answered all these questions myself.

Ending thoughts:

Now, as a creationist I do not believe that the theory of evolution, as many state it, is factual. I also do not believe that all the information I have heard about Darwin’s theory of evolution is factual either. So I will enjoy reading about the life and studies of Darwin’s work as a textbook, as a work of a man who is excited to show what he has found out, as a work to be read not hidden or thought of as evil by some Christians. I have always wanted to know what this book says and that is why I am reading it. I want to know what it is I am against. I do not believe in evolution as others have told me. But I want to read for myself and say, “Yes, I know what evolution and I do not believe in it,” and really know what I am talking about. Not just regurgitate what others have told me that Darwin says. This is not a search to check on my beliefs, this is just me reading a book. I am and will always be a Christian who is a Creationist who believes that God created all things by just saying the words. Amen

* As a Bible believing creationist I am in the process of reading through Charles Darwin’s work “The Origin of Species”. I will be making notes here as I read through. These notes are just thoughts I have when I am reading. They are to help me remember and understand as I am reading. But they are also written as a review and summary of my thoughts in case my children ever  decide to read it they will know what their mama thought while reading each chapter.  I believe I am reading this work as a textbook and so will also include thoughtful questions for myself and others at the end of each section. When speaking with my children about my ideas they agreed that others may find this information useful so I am writing them here on my blog.

EDITION: Darwin, Charles.  “The Origin of Species.” The Great Books, Volume 40, 1952: pages v-252. Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. and The University of Chicago

Feel free to post any useful thoughts. Please be careful to be kind in your words. This is not a debate. These are just my words to my children that I am sharing with you.

Sword Drills – Bible

bible

What is a sword drill?

  • Collect a group of kids or adults
  • They all need Bibles
  • Have them all start with their Bibles closed between their hands
  • Call out a verse and repeat it
  • Say “Go”
  • The first one to look it up and read it wins
  • It is that simple

Why use sword drills?

Sword drills are great to help children and adults learn where a book of the Bible is in that big book of God’s word. Practicing sword drills is fun and a treat when used to help and not criticize those who are slower.

How to use sword drills.

  • Have a bigger kid pair up with a younger child to help them get to the verse first
  • You know your kids… challenge your two best students to a sword drill and have the winner get a prize
  • For younger children I sometimes just call out a book of the Bible not  a verse
  • When a child is just learning the books of the New Testament for example I will only call out New Testament book for him

Do sword drills work to help in memorizing addresses of scripture?

Yes, we have found that it is a useful tool to reinforce their knowledge of where in the Bible a verse is. Every once in a while a child will say to me, “I remember looking that one up in the race.”

Want some already made up sword drills to try?

BibleHelps.net  has lots of great sword drill pdf’s to try. Here is one.

 

Now… Leave a comment about how you teach your kids to find Bible verses fast. I’d love  to hear from you.

GO!

Good & Evil Graphic Novel: Bible Comic Book

g & e

What is the Good and Evil graphic novel?

My kids love this book. This is a work by the artist Danny Bulanadi who is the famous Marvel Comic artist and words are by Michael Pearl. This is a chronological walk through the Bible  from Genesis through Revelation using a full-color graphic novel design. This award winning book uses key events from the Bible throughout the pages. The stories come alive as your read them. It is truly amazing. I am not even a graphic novel type of person and I enjoy this book very much.

Specifics:

  • 330 pages
  • full color illustrations
  • each page is footnoted with the Bible references (You can use the Bible references to locate where in the Bible the event is recorded.)
  • standard comic book size, but thicker
  • it weighs about 3lbs
  • chronologically goes through the Bible

When I first heard they had made the Bible into a comic book I thought it was a sacrilege. How could the Bible be a graphic novel? But the results are amazing.

g & e 10

What are they doing with these books?

This book has been translated into 44 languages and is in the process of being translated into 37 more languages. Their goal is to translate it into 100 languages. This book is a ministry tool for spreading the word of God.

We have a case of these in Spanish, well we had a case of these in Spanish, we only have about 8 of them left now. They are a wonderful gift to give. It’s like giving a Bible but cooler looking. If that makes sense.

How to use these in prison ministry.

Sometimes it is difficult to get Bibles into a prison library. At least we have found that to be the case. But I know from personal experience that they will willingly take these graphic novels into their libraries.

Isn’t that an amazing idea for a ministry opportunity? Getting the word of God into the prisons.

g 7 e page

How did we do it?

I contacted the chaplain of a local prison and got the details of where and how to send these books to their library. We ordered a case of the Good and Evil to be delivered directly to the prison. It had to be delivered directly from the publisher or the prison library would not accept it. There could not be a ‘middle man’ that potentially added something to the box.

We have done this once and now there is a case of these in a local prison. Our hope is many men have been able to read and enjoy the teachings from these 26 books.

There are different rules for each prison so if you are interested in doing this sort of ministry contact your local prison chaplain then contact us for a case discount 🙂

Another way we have used these in prison ministry…

As distributors for No Greater Joy we were given the opportunity to mail these books individually to prisons who specifically asked for them. The company sent us a list of addresses of prisoner who had asked for their own copy of Good and Evil. We followed the directions for mailing to a prisoner in that specific prison. We did this with our second case of 26 Good and Evil books.

We were not allowed to add any of our own contact information to the mailings so we never heard from the prisoners again. It is our hope that those books have blessed the prisoners that received them.

good-and-evil-case

Where can you get your own copy of Good and Evil?

It is available through Amazon as a book, on the kindle (affiliate links) and also through the publisher No Greater Joy. Our family is a Master Distributor for the No Greater Joy company and we can sell these to you at a discount if you are interested in buying at least 2 cases to distribute yourself or to have shipped directly to a prison.

Looks like you can also read the entire book for free online here.

What should you do now?

Buy at least one copy for your family. Read it for yourself and decide if this would be a good ministry tool for your family to use.

If you decide it is, then buy them in bulk and share them with your relatives, friends, strangers, neighbors, and prisoners. See if you can open the eyes of the lost with this book.

Happy ministry!

Scripture Memory and Children

scripture memory

Our family finds scripture memory very important. But we also have a terrible time remembering to practice. Thinking this may go back to our family not having a real schedule (see this post: Schedules or NOT).

My children know lots of scriptures and can recite many Biblical things like:

  • The 10 Commandments
  • The Lords Prayer
  • The Books of the Bible
  • The Fruits of the Spirit
  • The 23rd Psalm

They can usually tell if a scripture is in the Bible if you quote it. But they most likely can’t give you the “street address”, like Luke 10:24. There are some verses they can to that for, like Luke 10:24, for example. They have heard Ray Comfort say this verse so many times on the “Hells’ Best Kept Secret” cd. When I first heard this title I though that there was no way that was ever getting heard by my children. But, I was wrong, it is an amazing message of salvation and how we can witness to others.

What we have found with our children is that what they here again and again they remember. If my children listen to a certain song again and again they will memorize not only the words, but the tone of voice, and the tune of the song. So, we have chosen to have them listen to a lot of scripture.

Some tapes and cd’s we have used over the years are:

  • Go To The Ant by Judy Rogers (you can listen to some of the songs here)
  • The Donut Man (you can listen to some of his songs here)
  • Change My Heart Oh God
  • Songs from the Beginners Bible (you can listen to some of the songs here, an affiliate link)
  • There are so many more

Other ways we have tried:

Over the years we have used many different ways to hide the scriptures in our children’s hearts.  But music seems to be a very easy way for my children to memorize anything.

How does your family accomplish scripture memory?

Gospel Tracts and How We Use Them

They are a fun easy way to share the gospel with others. Here is Living Waters explaining way better than me.

 

What are our favorite tracts?

  • My favorite for leaving places “The Wallet Tract”:
Links to Where to Buy These Wallet Tracks

This Image links to where to you can buy these Wallet Tracts

 

  • Gallops favorite and Living Waters best seller “The Million Dollar Bill Tract”:
Links to Where you Can Buy the Million Dollar Bill Tract

This Image links to where you can buy the Million Dollar Bill Tract

 

How do we use them?

We started by just leaving them at the grocery store on the shelves. This changed as we got cooler tracts like the wallet tract. We would take that wallet tract and leave it at the large hospital nearby. We would shove it down in the back of the seat cushion where it joined the back of the seat. We would leave a portion of it showing so people would be attracted by it. That was a fun one to leave. We would head back later and feel satisfied that it was gone.

You can just hand them out. We do not usually do that. Except the million dollar tract. That is a perfect one to hand to the cashier or as a tip at a restaurant (with a real money also, waitresses work hard). People get a kick out of it and it takes them by surprise. End it by saying, “it’s a gospel tract”. It works really well. We have even used them at the full service gas station and the toll booth.

A couple years ago we entered into the local parade and handed out over 200 tracts to people watching the parade. The marching was long but it sure was worth it. Here is a picture of us. We decorated the van and dressed alike. It was a lot of fun and people seemed to like it. Boy have the kids gotten big since then.

family 2011 van 2011

What tracts do we have here right now?

Here is a picture of the tracts we currently have at our house. We have many and like to have a selection on hand either in my purse or in the car to hand out or leave places. It is good to try and have your tract match your audience. Organizing the tracts for this picture was a great oppurtinuty for me to look and see what I had 🙂 I do have a second favorite tract. It would be my most favorite except I find it a real hard one to just hand out. There is no real “lead in” line for it. It is the “ 101 of the World’s Funniest One Liners” tract (that link goes to were you can buy it). The one below in the picture at the top left corner with the key on it is one I created myself.

tractstracts (1)tracts (2)

Where to buy tracts?

We buy most of our through Living Waters Ministry. They are inexpensive and funny. Give them a try. We are not affiliated with them in anyway and do not make any money off of this information. Just sharing what we do.

Happy Witnessing!