Previous month:
June 2008
Next month:
August 2008

July 2008 entries

Waiting on the Reporter

I thought I would jot down a few thoughts while I am waiting. I am waiting on a reporter from the newspaper to do an interview. I am really uncomfortable about this. The article is going to be about a recent honor I received from my alma mater. If you are like me you don't like talking about yourself. If you really want to know what a person is like you need talk to someone who knows them. The Bible says, "Faithful are the words of a friend." Uh, oh? She's here. I'll be back in a minute.

I'm back. Thankfully that's over. I always feel unworthy when asked things like, "How many members did you start with and how many do you have now?" Or, "How many times have you had to build to handle all the people?" What about, "Why do you think you were given this award?" What do you say?, "Obviously you haven't heard my silver tongued soliloquies or you wouldn't have to ask." Even though I am careful to give God the credit for every good thing that has happened in my ministry I'm not sure reporters ever write that sort of thing down. So if you happen to read the article in the next week or so just take it with a grain of salt. The only thing you can be sure I said was that Jesus deserves all the credit. Oh, yeah, I might have said something about being handsome and looking young and fit for my age. I'm sure she was just too flustered to mention it herself.

Talk with you soon,

Pastor Ken      

Hobbling Home

Preparing Sunday morning's message I decided to return to a familiar story. I had used this story on several occasions since it first happened in 1992. I'm always afraid old stories won't have much impact on the listener, but Joel Osteen tells jokes I told in high school and it hasn't hurt him any.

The story is of Derek Redmond's attempt to qualify for the finals of the 400 meter race in the 1992 Summer Olympics. Derek was going to easily qualify for the finals as he effortlessly strode within 175 meters of the finish line. Suddenly, he hears a pop. It is his right hamstring. He pulls up lame as others pass him by. A medical crew arrives with a stretcher, but the runner turns them away. "I'm going to finish my race. Slowly he raises to his feet while 65,000 fans begin to stand with him and cheer. Derek makes it 50 additional meters when he realizes there is someone standing beside him. It is his father who has raced down the steps of the stadium to be with His son.

Jim Redmond put his arm around his son and said' "I'm here son. We'll finish together." With Derek now openly sobbing from pain and frustration they continue the race as the crowds cheered to the tops of their lungs. Just a couple of steps from the finish line the Father let's go of his son so he can cross the finish line by himself. As soon as Derek crossed the line his father threw his arms around his son again and declared, "I am the proudest father alive."

Have you ever felt like Derek Redmond? I have. Everything is going smoothly. I am sailing along ahead of the pack and wondering why they can't keep up. When I hear a pop. It is not my hamstring, but something else in my life has just broken. Suddenly, I am hobbling while others pass me by. I am still a ways from the finish line and now I wonder if I will ever make it. Even my sheer determination isn't enough to make it happen. Then He is there standing right beside me. He lifts me up and we begin to walk together. Without a word I know it is my heavenly Father. I become keenly aware that if this is how I had started the race, with my arm resting on His shoulder, I would have never fallen in the first place. Rather than punishing me for my mistake, my Father just walks beside me. He knows there will be plenty to criticize me, but there will be few who walk beside me when I am injured. Once I do cross the finish line, no matter how lame I am when I cross, I want to hear Him say, "I am the proudest Father alive!"

Leaning on Him,

Pastor Ken  

Who Were the Nephilim of Genesis 6?

Let's get back to some of the questions Christians have as they try to make sense of the opening chapters of the Bible. One highly debated subject is the identity of the Nephilim in Genesis 6. Some speak, or write, like they are certain to their identity. I disagree that anyone can know for certainty who these mysterious people are, but it is fascinating to study to try and narrow the possibilities.

Genesis 6 and Numbers 13 (pre-Flood and post-Flood) list the term “Nephilim” that has been the center of discussion for many years. At this point, the identity of the Nephilim and the sons of God is still being debated in Christian circles. There is a popular unbiblical view that the Nephilim are space aliens. Of course, most creationists rightly reject this particular view for multiple reasons.

Of the views with some biblical support, some believe that fallen angels bred with women and resulted in giants called Nephilim. Some believe the sons of God were the result of fallen angels who overtook ungodly men to breed with women. Since angels, whether fallen or in their original state, do not marry or give in marriage (Matthew 22:30), I assume they are genderless. Being genderless, I tend to believe they possessed humans and bred with women on the earth.  

Some believe they were the Sethites (descendants of Adam’s son Seth). There are some minor views as well, such as kings, rulers, or heads of leading family groups as being godly from Psalm 82. This view has many similarities to the Sethite view but eliminates many of Seth’s descendants and merely keeps with the leaders/kings (as well as some other leaders of other tribes) as godly. Another variation of the Sethite view is that these godly men had relations with ungodly women, and the offspring followed after other “gods” as opposed to God—and “fell away” in tremendous ways. This is called the “fallen men” view.

There is a great deal of confusion over the word Nephilim. No one today really knows what it means. It is related to the verb series “to fall” (naphal) in Hebrew, which is why some direct this to fallen angels or more appropriately, their offspring. However, this also gives support to the view that men had fallen away from God, which seems to me to be the more likely answer.

Personally, I enjoy studying the more mysterious aspects of our beginnings. The Nephilim have always fascinated me for that reason. If you have thoughts about the identity of these "giants" of the Old Testament, or any other unsolved mystery in the Bible, shoot me an email and it may become the topic of a future blog.

Pastor Ken 

Complexity Points to Creator

Flagellum Well, I've done it again. Just as I try to give the benefit of the doubt to some of my liberal seminary profs for questioning literal six day creationism, I read the facts. I was continuing my deeper investigation in all things prehistoric when I ran across an article about the original outboard motor. No, it was not an Evinrude or a Mercury. It wasn't even listed in the first Sears and Roebuck catalog as a Kenmore outboard. This microscopic engine is called a flagellum. It seems this unseen electric trolling motor is attached to individual cells. I am "copy and pasting" the article by Dr. Dudley Eirich in its entirety. I'll be back in a moment for closing remarks:

As a microbiologist, the bacterial flagellum has always fascinated me.

The flagellum is a corkscrew-shaped, hair-like appendage attached to the cell surface, which acts like a propeller, allowing the bacterium to swim. The most interesting aspect of the flagellum is that it is attached to—and rotated by—a tiny, electrical motor made of different kinds of protein.

Like an electrical motor, the flagellum contains a rod (drive shaft), a hook (universal joint), L and P rings (bushings/bearings), S and M rings (rotor), and a C ring and stud (stator). The flagellar filament (propeller) is attached to the flagellar motor via the hook. To function completely, the flagellum requires over 40 different proteins. The electrical power for driving the motor is supplied by the voltage difference developed across the cell (plasma) membrane.

In 1996, Dr. Michael J. Behe, a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University (and an evolutionist), published a challenging book to classical Darwinian evolution entitled “Darwin’s Black Box.” In this book he uses the flagellum to introduce the concept of “irreducible complexity.” If a structure is so complex that all of its parts must initially be present in a suitably functioning manner, it is said to be irreducibly complex. All the parts of a bacterial flagellum must have been present from the start in order to function at all.

According to evolutionary theory, any component which doesn’t offer an advantage to an organism, i.e. doesn’t function, will be lost or discarded. How such a structure could have evolved in a gradual, step-by-step process as required by classical Darwinian evolution is an insurmountable obstacle to evolutionists. How a flagellum is used, however, adds an additional level of complexity to the picture.

Some bacteria have a single flagellum located at the end of a rod-shaped cell. To move in an opposite direction, a bacterium simply changes the direction of rotation of the flagellum. Other bacteria have a flagellum at both ends of the cell and use one flagellum for going in one direction and the other for going in the opposite direction. A third group of bacteria has many flagella surrounding the cell. These flagella wrap themselves together in a helical bundle at one end of the cell and rotate in unison to move the cell in one direction. If the cell wants to change direction, the flagella unwrap themselves, move to the opposite end of the cell, reform the bundle, and again rotate in a coordinated fashion.

The structural complexity and finely tuned coordination of the bacterial flagellum attests to the work of a master engineer who designed and created the flagellum to function in a wonderfully intricate manner.

Wow! What an incredibly complex machine working in a world only seen under the lens of a microscope. If God put that much design into a world that for generations went unseen, how can we question the divine origin of all the beauty we can see? Let me leave you with the credentials of the man who wrote the article above. He is a great example how God invites us to look deeply into His world to find Him.

Dr. Dudley Eirichis a microbiologist who does not apologize for his belief in the literal Genesis account of Creation. A former theistic evolutionist, Dr. Eirich in 1983 became convinced of the fallacy of the evolutionary theory. He is an avid reader of AiG’s Creation magazine and Technical Journal.The following brief article by Dr. Eirich provides ample evidence that the incredible complexity of the flagellum in cells provides overwhelming evidence of a Master Designer.   

Author Writes "Bloody" Stories from a Different Perspective

I will get back to my pondering on creation and science in a short while. However, in my reading I came across an amazing testimony from someone that will surprise you. While reading through a section of Preaching magazine I came across this small article.

"Anne Rice made her name writing very popular books about vampires and other occult themes. Some of them were made into movies. Recently some of her fans were shocked that she had returned to the Catholic faith of her childhood. This has prompted her to write books about the life of Jesus.

On Rice's web site she says, "After years of pondering and searching the great gift of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior came back to me on a December afternoon; and I went home to the church of my childhood; becoming a member and supporter of it with my whole soul." She also reports that while sitting in church she became convicted she needed to use her talent as a storyteller for Jesus. As a result of studying the Bible for these books she said, "I am a believer in every word of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John."

Imagine the readers Anne Rice can reach that you and I cannot. Join with me that this author's faith and influence grows as she writes her "bloody" stories from a different perspective.