Sunday, February 24, 2008

Her Testimony - February 24, 2008

John 4:1-42

The woman at the well.

And a stranger there … thirsty and tired.

“May I have a drink of water?”
He’s a Jew and a rabbi – she can hear it in His accent, and see it in his clothing.
She’s a Samaritan.
He’s a man; she’s a woman!
There ought not to be any conversation whatsoever –
Social walls are high –
Religious barriers firm –
Never the twain shall meet.

It’s hot; it’s high-noon, the sun is blazing - she comes to the well alone … she’s too embarrassed to come in the cool of the morning when all the other women are there … she’s tired of the not-so-silent whispers; angry glances and huffy snorts.

She’s tired of everyone’s judgment, so she goes to the well alone … in the heat of the day.

What is Jesus doing there?

The text says that Jesus left Judea because of a mounting threat … word was out; folks were responding; a popularity greater than John’s.

The powerbrokers grow uneasy.

Jesus retreats to Galilee.

“But He had to go through Samaria” says the text.

No He didn’t.
He didn’t have to go through Samaria.
There are alternative routes.
He doesn’t have to go that way, or does He?

Does He know of the woman?
Does He see her in His mind’s eye?
Like he sees Nathaniel,
Sitting under the fig tree,
Before He and Nathaniel ever met?

Does He already know her heart like He knew the heart of Nicodemus?

That’s why Jesus HAD to go through Samaria … there was a lonely woman there in need of grace.
The Great God Almighty knows us through and through, from having watched our bones take shape in the quiet darkness of our mother’s womb … He knows every word before our tongue does … our days are listed and determined even before the first of them occur.

These are strange things … and the Psalmist cries out: “God, how hard it is to grasp these thoughts. How impossible to count them” (Psalm 139:16-18, Jerusalem Bible).

We want to be the measure of our own lives … there is something in us that resists a God who knows us through and through, a God who sees us before we see ourselves, who knows the contours of our soul better than we ever will.

How hard it is to grasp these thoughts!

Jesus sees the woman at the well long before He arrives there.

In the heat of the day … alone … ashamed … confused and frightened … desperate and trapped … no way out, no hope, no peace …

That’s why He had to go … just for her!

It says He was tired.

I like that … the Son of God, tired … tired for the journey.

It’s a lot of work being God;
It’s a lot of work to love this old world, to love us back to life … to find us where we are, because it’s not likely we’ll find God where God is … it’s God who makes the long journey … it’s God who does the heavy lifting …

God’s eye is on the sparrow, and that takes a lot of work … He’s counted the hairs on our head, and that takes a lot of energy (Matthew 10:29-30).

It’s a lot of work being God!
I wouldn’t want the job!

Jesus was alone at the well … the disciples had gone off to buy food – so typical of them.
While the disciples are off and doing, Jesus waits … some things are just between you and God … no one else; just you and God at our well …
We all have a well, don’t we … where we go alone … private memories; silent sorrows … and God is there, waiting for us!

As it comes about, Jesus uncovers her story … she has one version, but Jesus knows the rest … it’s been a hard life for her.

“You’re right,” she says … “I see that you’re a prophet.”

She stands her ground with Him … she doesn’t bolt and run; she doesn’t offer up excuses … she stands her ground.

Does she sense something good in this rabbi?
Something unusual?
Something gentle?
Something reassuring?

She stands her ground …

The disciples return and are surprised to find him talking to a woman … but no one asks “Why?”

They know better by now.

They know how easily Jesus brushes aside convention and tradition … how easily he turns accepted practice on its head … they were beginning to learn that love has no boundaries, and mercy has no rules!

The woman leaves her water jar down … I like that … her first purpose, to draw water, is no longer her first purpose … her first purpose now would only slow her down, weigh her down … it’s time for a new purpose.

She returns to the town that scorns her … to the people who disdain her …

She might have kept it all to herself … she might have picked up the water jar and said, “Thank you” and been on her way, but she sets aside her first purpose; she leaves the water jar – she returns to town with a different water … a water carried not in jars, but carried in her heart … the water of life; the living water called Christ!

The disciples fuss about food … “Here, eat something” they say to Jesus, but He brushes aside their concern.

“I have food you don’t know about – my food is to do the will of Him who sent me to complete His work.”

And then Jesus turns the conversation to the world around them … He always does that to us, you know … we’re fussing about the potluck, and He’s talking about the hungry multitudes … starving for hope and faith … fields ripe for harvest … “Look around you” says Jesus.

But I’d rather not look around me … I’d rather fuss about the potluck, wouldn’t you?

I’d rather devote my time to lesser things … like carpet color and where the chairs are … and who’s bringing the cookies.

Their conversation is interrupted by a large group of townsfolk … because of the woman’s testimony – she spoke up to the folks who wouldn’t take the time of day for her.

When she connected to Jesus, it all changed for her … she went back to that town, no longer ashamed.

Her head wasn’t hanging low this time … no sirree, Bob; not this time – she returned with head held high … and she told them everything.

Her testimony caught them, and they paid attention … this woman who said nothing to anyone for a long time now spoke of a prophet.

And folks believed.

They came to Jesus, and believed all the more when they heard Him!

What we have here is a classic story of God’s interface with human testimony … our words, vital to the work of God.

“Faith comes by hearing” writes Paul the Apostle … words open the door of the heart.

Peter writes to the church: “Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands of you an accounting for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

The woman at the well found hope … for the first time in along time; maybe the first time ever, she knew hope … the power of hope to overcome her sad life and find life anew … hope that there was a place for her in the Kingdom of God … hope that sins were really forgiven … hope that she could start all over again … hope that her muddled life wasn’t the last word … hope for tomorrow; hope for something more, something better, something brighter …

Christ ignited hope in her life … she returned to town with a story to tell … and folks believed because of her testimony!

The power of our witness … a few well-chosen words … to give an account of the hope that is in us …

The woman didn’t hit the road to Timbuktu … she didn’t cross seven seas to far away lands … she just went back to town.

We don’t have to go far to find folks who are eager to hear about Christ …

Folks are hungry for the gospel right here in Westchester, down the street and around the corner.
Folks are weary to the bone!
Folks are tired of all the blather, all the false hopes, the counterfeit gospels … the promises that never deliver … the self-help books that never make a difference … the gurus and therapists who offer advice by the ton, take your money, and turn you loose with just another burden to get your act together, a few more laws to obey, and a few more books to read.
People are tired.

I can’t think of a better time for the gospel … the fields are ripe for harvesting … God has done a great work … the Spirit is on the move … hearts are eager to hear about Christ.

Faith comes by hearing!

The woman at the well was startled by words … Jesus penetrated her heart with words.
With words, Jesus revealed the truth … with words, Jesus awakened her spirit to hope … with words, Jesus showed her the Kingdom of God; with words, Jesus pointed her in a new direction; with words, Jesus gave her an unexpected confidence.

With words …

With words, she returned to town … she left the jar behind, and carried words instead.

Faith comes by hearing!

We’ve all been accosted by “born again” types asking if we’re saved.

We’ve all had our doors knocked on; we’ve all had tracts stuffed in our hands.

The sawdust trail and the revival tent are not our cup of tea …

But we’re far too silent … the Evil One has sealed our lips … we’ve been taught a pernicious doctrine - that deeds speak louder than words.

No they don’t.

Deeds don’t speak at all … deeds are mute … a picture isn’t worth a thousand words … actions don’t speak louder than words.

Deeds are important; faith without works is dead, but works without words are meaningless … “faith comes by hearing, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

If some folks need to shut up … some folks need to speak up.

It’s time for quiet Presbyterians to speak up … to speak the word of Christ … because we have hope, don’t we?

We have salvation, do we not?
We have peace with God, do we not?
We have forgiveness, isn’t it so?

We have Christ within us … Christ we serve … Christ in the morning and Christ at night … Christ in our sorrows and Christ in our joys … Christ at the start of the journey, and Christ at the end of the road.

He’s the Alpha and the Omega.
The beginning and the end.
He is our all in all.

And it all came to us by words, didn’t it?

Preachers who preached.
Teachers who taught.
Books we read.
Parents who opened the Bible for us.
Hymns we sang and prayers recited.

Words …

In the beginning, words.
God said and it was.
Words brought creation into being.

In Samaria that day, it all began when Jesus said, “Give me a drink,” and talked to a woman everyone else shunned!

Pay attention to the world around you … the fields are ripe for harvest … consider the hope you have within you … the Christ of your heart … be ready to say something:

As simple as:

I’m praying for you.
Wanna come to church with me this week? I’ll pick you up at 10:00.
Wanna read a book with me? John Ortberg’s books are a great read for people together.

And one day, you might find yourself being able to say the name of Jesus … stumbling and not too sure, but simply saying, “Jesus is my LORD and my Savior. May I tell you about Him?”

It’s a good thing to do.
It’s a Christian thing to do.
It’s certainly a Presbyterian thing to do.

They believed because of her testimony!


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Second Chance - February 17, 2008

Who doesn’t need a second chance?

Life is a journey …
A series of twists and turns …
A little of this and a little of that …
Going somewhere … and going nowhere at all.
Light and dark;
Hot and cold;
Fast and slow;
Moving and stopping …
Seeking and finding;
Wondering and wandering;
Asking and receiving;
Knock and the door opens …
And sometimes the doors close, right in our face …
The unexpected setback, the slowdown, the downturn, the upset and the setup …

Barry Bonds doesn’t hit a homerun at every bat …

Tiger Woods doesn’t make par every game …

Even the best bowlers throw a gutter ball now and then.

Who doesn’t need a second chance?

That’s what Jesus offers to Nicodemus … a second chance … a chance to start all over again … because Nicodemus was on a road leading to nowhere!

“What do you mean Jesus? What’s all this about?”

“I’m a member of the ruling class … I’m one of the teachers of Israel … I’m an important man … I say ‘jump,’ and folks say, ‘How high?’”

But why was Nicodemus paying a late-night visit to Jesus?

Under cover of darkness …
Nic at Night, if you will …
Not wanting his colleagues to know …

He addresses Jesus with respect … and says, “We know that you are a teacher who has come from God, because of the signs you do.”

“Houston, we have a problem!”

If you have your Bible open, just at the end of chapter 2, it says, “Many believed because they saw the signs.”

But Jesus didn’t trust them … “because he knew them” … fair weather faith, unpredictable and self-serving.

So here’s Nic at night - “We know,” he says.

What do they know?

We’ll soon find out, they know nothing!

Jesus doesn’t waste time … no invitation to have coffee next week and talk about it.
No “thank you” for the compliment …
Because Jesus knew that Nic at night was a spiritual mess in spite of his outward success … inside of Nic, it was “Nic at night” … Nic lived in a land of shadows and shades.

Who is Nicodemus?

He’s a leader, a man of influence and position … a teacher of Israel … to all outward appearances, he’s powerful and successful … but Jesus sees the empty heart.

Nic is searching … I doubt if Nic could have put his finger on it, but Nic knows something is missing … that much can be said for him, and that’s where Jesus goes.

Jesus doesn’t waste time with Nic … “You must be born again.”

Now that’s a phrase that’s been lifted out of context and turned into an evangelical war cry … “You must be born again.”

The “you” is plural – Marj from Texas might say, “Y’all” – “Y’all must be born again” referring to Nic and to all of Nic’s cohorts – the ruling elite of Jerusalem, the powerbrokers, the royalty and the hangers-on, on a collision course with Rome, heading for disaster “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, if only you had known.”
You’ve been on the wrong path Nic, and a mid-course correction won’t do … something a little more radical is needed … a fresh beginning, a second chance.

“But how can I do it?” asks Nic.

“Is it possible for a man to go back to his mother’s womb and start all over again?”

Jesus pushes hard: “You’re a teacher of Israel and you don’t understand spiritual rebirth? What’s up with you Nic. You ought to know this, but you don’t.”

Why is Jesus so tough on Nic?

Because Nic is a man who has spent a lifetime hiding from God, and hiding in one of the best places – hiding in religion!

Everyone who’s been religious for a long time needs to pay careful attention to this provocative story … the story of a religious man, well-respected and powerful … but Jesus sees the heart … Jesus sees a room without furniture, an empty spirit, a soul without a clue.

Religion is a good place to hide from God.

Have you ever thought about that?

Religion, a good place to hide from God.

Form without substance …
Creed without conviction …
The sounds of faith without the surrender of faith …

It easy for religious folk to fall into the trap that engulfed Nicodemus … it was a long time since his heart felt the love of God.

A long time without joy …
Years without delight …
A dutiful man without devotion.
A religious man without a relationship to God!

“Nic, you’ve got to be born again.”

The Holy Spirit will help you Nic.
There’s no telling when, and no telling where, but the Holy Spirit will help you on a second chance.

The story ends abruptly … what happens to Nic?

Nic appears twice more in the story.
Chapter 7: Nic counsels caution when the ruling elite begin to formulate plans to arrest Jesus and put a stop to His preaching.
Chapter 19: after Jesus is crucified, Nic goes to Pilate with Joseph of Arimathea to claim the body and give it proper burial.

Does Nic connect all the dots?

Does he become a believer?

A follower of Jesus?

This we know for sure … God is the God of the Second Chance … the third, the fourth, the fifth … and as many as it takes. God never gives up on us.

God is a God of patience and unconditional love …

God seeks the lost and finds them …

God touches the eyes of the blind and they see.

Nic at night is on his way …

Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by a Woods on a Snowy Evening:”

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

It’s a long journey … what counts is that we don’t hide from God … we let God correct us, guide us, confront us and change us.

I think it’s tough for religious folk … we get into the habit, we turn it into routine, we go through the motions, we know the hymns, we say the creed backwards and forwards … we’ve been a church member our whole life … a Presbyterian forever; we’re on the cradle roll; we’re elders and deacons, Sunday school teachers and choir members … we’ve been there and done that ten thousand times.

All of us need to be born again! And again and again!

One of the saddest moments in the Bible … the Book of Revelation … Jesus addresses the seven churches, reviews their character, lifts up their victories and illumines their issues.

Of the church at Ephesus, Jesus sings their praise, and then says, “But this one thing I have against you. You’ve forgotten your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen. Repent, and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place” (2:1-7).

Faith no longer fresh and clean …

Like dried flowers … the color, the form, but no fragrance; brittle to the touch.

The other day, at Togos – under wraps a four-foot deli sandwich – I sat right next to it – bread, lettuce, luncheon meat, tomatoes and sweet peppers – it looked real, but hard as a rock; just a plastic mockup.

Every believer has to fight this battle from time-to-time.

God isn’t interested in our religion; God wants to have a relationship with us.

It’s not duty that counts, but devotion.

I kissed Donna the other morning and said, “Well, I did my duty.”

Two hours later I woke up with a knot on my head and a black eye.

The enemy of a living faith - religion … religion, cold and calculating … religion, dry and barren … we go through the motions, but the soul no longer sings; the name of Jesus no longer intrigues us; amazing grace is no longer a sweet sound to us.

But God gives a second chance!

I’ve needed that second chance a number of times.

Three times in my life I walked right out of the faith.
Questions overwhelmed my mind and my soul no longer believed.

Three times I entered the desert … I was still a pastor, still prayed and preached - I doubt if anyone could really see the wasteland of my soul.

Religion is a great cover.
Being a preacher one of the best covers …
I’ve know preachers who’ve gone through the motions for years without the love and grace of Christ … it’s a terrible place to be, and a terrible price is paid.

God gave me second chance, a third and fourth chance … lots of chances.

My specific recovery was simple: I closed my theology books and opened my Bible.
Without commentaries; without thought …
Just read it!
I needed to born again!
The simple things of faith, hope and love:
God is real.
God’s unconditional love gets us through those terrible times.
Grace is always amazing and always there …
Take our time; trust God … through the wilderness!

The Second Chance!

There are questions here for all of us – especially for those who’ve been Christians for a long time.

Have we turned this into routine?
Do we know the drill so well that we can throw our mind into neutral?
Are all the answers pat?
The fires of faith banked and burning low?

What’s the state of our faith today?

Now’s a good time to come to Jesus … nighttime, daytime, when we’re on top of our game, or slugging it out in the trenches …

Jesus will not waste our time … He’ll cut to the chase and get to the point …

Start over … that’s always possible … no matter what, no matter who, no matter where … the journey can always start anew … because God is God of the Second Chance.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Evolution - February 10, 2008

Genesis 1:1-8, 26-28; John 1:1-9; Hebrews 11:1-7

Ever since Darwin suggested that life evolves upward from simpler forms, faith and science have butted heads … and a lot of folks have made monkeys out of themselves.

That’s too bad.

It’s an unnecessary conflict!

There is but one world, and one God, and one truth …

Truth in different forms … like colored lights on a Christmas Tree, or flowers in a garden … or like hands and feet, eyes and noses – a million varieties – but the green light isn’t better than the red; the tulip isn’t inferior to the rose … and the hand cannot say to the foot, “I have no need of you.”

Scientific truth … observation and experiment, verification and repeatability … I can prove to you that hot water burns the hand.

Stick your hand beneath a spigot of hot water and we’ll find out that hot water burns the hand … we can verify it; we can repeat the experiment.

But lots of things can’t be proved in a scientific way.

Can I prove to you that my father lived?

I could show you pictures, birth certificate, social security documents, and you could dismiss it all as an elaborate fabrication, or some kind of mistake.

Can I prove that Aristotle lived, or Plato?

There’s no verifiability for history … no repeating the lives of anyone …

History doesn’t yield to scientific examination.

Nor can I prove to you that I love my children …

Or they love me.

I know they love me, and I know that they know I love them, too.

And I know that whatever it is I feel for them, it’s love, deep and abiding love!

Yet such things are beyond the range of scientific tests … brain scans and other physiological measurements might scientifically indicate increased activity in the pleasure centers of the brain when I’m with my children – but what is love, and how can I prove it?

Nor can I prove to you that this world was created by a loving God. I confess and believe in a Creator, the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, but I can’t prove the Creator’s existence; neither can I prove the hand of God in every ocean wave nor the love of God in a sunrise over the mountains!

Nor can anyone prove otherwise.
“Proof” for or against God doesn’t exist in the realm of scientific verifiability!

In recent years, however, some Christians have sought to establish a scientific basis for creation … called intelligent design or creationism.

Big money has been dumped into this project …

A multi-million dollar creation museum in Petersburg, Ky..

A lot of effort to establish a “creation science” that supports a literal reading of Genesis 1 & 2.

Law suits challenging text books.
Creationism folks elected to local school boards, forcing schools to teach creationism along side of evolution.

This is way beyond the boundary of faith … making faith say something that faith never intended to say … to force Genesis into a literal reading never intended by the poets who wrote it.

But if some Christians are way over the top, some scientists have gone over the top, as well.

Some have made a case against God …

Some say: “The universe has no meaning beyond itself. Human beings are a protoplasmic accident. That we’re here at all means nothing, and though we choose to love or hate, our choices mean nothing in any ultimate or moral sense.”

When scientists says such things, they’re no longer scientists … they’re human beings expressing a point of view – they’re making faith-statements.

To believe there is no God is not a fact of science, but a faith-statement of the heart.

A faith statement no different than my faith statement: I believe in God … God the Father Almighty creator of the heavens and the earth …

That’s a faith-statement.

If someone says: “I don’t believe in god,” that’s a faith-statement, too!

No one can prove their faith!
No one can prove there is a god, nor can anyone prove there isn’t!

Faith and science have natural boundaries beyond which they cannot pass … faith isn’t science, and science isn’t faith!

So, an impasse, if you will …

But such an impasse needn’t lead to conflict.

Let it be a delightful impasse …

Like two dance partners … each different, each with their own intelligence and passion … like waltz partners … the quick-changing lead of the waltz, “he goes, she goes” …

Science and faith … faith and science … mind and heart; heart and mind … “He goes; she goes.”

This weekend is Evolution Weekend …
Scientists and people of faith …
More than 750 congregations around the world celebrating the cooperation of science and faith …
Celebrating the waltz – two clever, determined, dance partners, dancing together … “he goes; she goes.”

And the dance is beautiful!

If I want to know how the universe came into being, I’ll read a science textbook.

If I want to know why I’m alive, what I should do when I get up in the morning, I’ll read the Bible.

Science tells me what.
Faith tells me why.
And I need both!

There is no conflict …

During my college days, I had the pleasure of some remarkable Bible teachers … one of whom introduced me to the term “theistic evolution.”

God-driven evolution …

Evolution the means; God the energy!

Theistic Evolution.

No conflict here.

No battle.

No need for Christians to huddle behind the walls of the church.
No need to be afraid of science … no need to manufacture pseudo-science.

The Bible says it well:

“By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command” (Hebrews 11:3).

By faith we believe what science can never prove or disprove.
By faith we believe these things!
Good faith is reasonable, thoughtful and coherent, but faith can’t be proven like I can prove hot water burns the hand.

So where so we go from here?

I have some concerns.

If a child is exposed to nothing but scientific materialism, and if some teachers happen to be angry atheists, it’s possible that a young student would acquire certain ideas:
- Life has no inherent meaning other than what I give to it.
- Death is the final fact.
- The universe is eternal, just a series of expansions and contractions – without purpose, without destiny, without moral underpinning or divine reference point.
- Morality is a human invention.
- Life belongs to survivors.
- And only the fittest survive.

That’s called nihilism … nothing-ism …
All that exists is me and you and the material world, and look out if you get in my way.

Some Christians have responded with home schooling …

I recently saw the documentary, “Jesus Camp,” and it’s frightening how some Christians manipulate the minds of their children with trumped up claims and fearful preaching.

But they have a point …

I know that some school districts are doing well when it comes to matters of faith and science …

But it’s been tough in America the last 40 years.
Religion has been leached out of our textbooks … as if one could teach history without reference to religion, or teach about the Pilgrims as if they were only political refugees rather than a religious community.

I remember when the Shah of Iran fell, 1979, displaced by radical Islamic rule.
Everyone was caught by surprise.
But one wise diplomat offered sage insight: “We were caught by surprise because we don’t have the tools any longer to understand the roll of religion in history.”

To remove religion from history is dishonest … about as dishonest as a homeschool parent filtering out science and telling the child that the world was created in six 24-hour days.

I was privileged to attend a Christian high school in Grand Rapids, Michigan … a school without scientific or faith prejudice … teachers who simply and easily taught the glory of God in everything … from a small stone in the ocean to a butterfly’s wing, from a majestic mountains to a child’s small hand … from the intricacies of molecular structure to a novel by Upton Sinclair … the glory of God everywhere.

Some months ago, George Burr said at staff meeting, “It’s my job to find God in the music.”

Because God is there in the music …
And we can find God in the music, too.

We have to redouble our efforts in the church, and we have to reinvent our public school curricula – there are some excellent curricula, and we can do a better job on all fronts to help our schools deal with religion, because religion is a huge part of the human story.

But let’s not rely on our schools for the moral and spiritual orientation of our children.
Most vitally, in the home – to give our children the eyes of faith … to see the world as God’s world … “this is my Father’s world” is one of the great confessions of faith … a confession of comfort and hope.

To give our children the heart of a poet … to see beyond the mere outlines of the material world … to see in all molecules and binary systems the intricacy of God’s love.

To hear Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, to see a sunset glimmering on the waves … to see the hand of God!

To live with one another well, to see one another as children of God.

And that makes us “our brother’s keeper,” and life is filled with meaning … eternal meaning – life filled with grace, filled with the glory of God … and death doesn’t have the last word … because Christ is risen from the dead.

One of my favorite poets, W.H. Auden, wrote to a seven-year old boy on his birthday:

So I wish you first a
Sense of theatre: only
Those who love illusion
And know it will go far:
Otherwise we spend our
Lives in a confusion
Of what we say and do with
Who we really are.
“Many Happy Returns”

A sense of theater … a poet’s heart … the eyes of faith … if all we see is what we can see, we’re blind … if all we know is what we know then we know nothing.

I choose to live by faith!

I wouldn’t have it any other way … and I’m no dummy, and I’m not na├»ve.

It’s all about love and kindness, grace and mercy … it’s all about God, in and through the material universe … God’s love in all things: our joys, our tears … our victories, our tragedies … a great and loving God moving this universe along its appointed course, getting us to the right place.

I choose to live by faith … it makes sense to me.
Faith isn’t stupid or weak … to the contrary, faith opens doors and stimulates the mind … faith can go places no other human faculty can venture … when the road comes to end, faith travels on … when we can no longer see with our physical eyes, the eyes of faith have it … when the heart stops beating, the heartbeat of faith remains forever strong!

I live by faith.

But I also choose to honor the thousands of scientists who labor in laboratories and teach in universities, striving to understand the material world – how it works, and how it came to be.

There is no conflict between faith and science.

No greater joy when these two realities shake hands and embrace … and the dance begins.

Both - servants of the Most High God! Amen!