Posts tagged Ravi Zacharias

Apologetic Wednesday: Hiding or Seeking

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God has called all Christians to be an Apologist. Obviously, there are differing degrees of this. Some devote much of their life to the study of various disciplines in order to defend the faith, equip others, and keep Christianity a strong presence in the marketplace. But, at the foundational level, every believer should be ready to give an answer for the hope that they cling to (I Peter 3:15).

A fundamental mistake that I see many apologists make is that they hide behind what they believe. Now, there is no doubt the Christian should become intimately acquainted with the many conflicting ideas of our times and where they stand as a Christian in the middle of an increasingly post Christian culture. The Christian should stand firm on what they believe to be true, but we must not use our beliefs as a means to foxhole ourselves from the world around us.

Beliefs are important, but so are relationships. There is a tension here. We must not remove this tension. We must make sure that we are standing on truth, speaking love, and becoming involved in the lives of other people. Sometimes, I think it is entirely easy to tell others what we believe without showing them the love and investing in their lives. People are more open to what we believe when they understand how those beliefs translate into life. If all the world sees is a group of people hiding behind what they believe without actively living what they believe and investing their lives into people, they will turn up their nose regardless of how sound the logic and persuasive the argument.

As believers, and apologists, we must promote truth, leverage good arguments, and challenge false ideas, but we must also live the truth that we are so knowledgeable about and invest in people, which is often a messy and challenging task.

We must speak the truth with love, that is, we provide persuasive arguments and let the love of Christ be made known through our words and actions. As Ravi Zacharias is fond of saying, “You don’t cut off a person’s nose and then give them a rose to smell.” Long before people will hear our reasons for believing, they must first see them!

Walk good. Love wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Losing the Wonder

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There is nothing more joyous to watch than a child experience things for the first time. Tonight, I was throwing a football to Hayden from across the room and he thought it to be magical. Never in his short 16 months of life has he experienced a ball hurling straight toward him. He continually squealed with delight.

It is like that with a lot of things. Yesterday, he figured out how to “fall down” and proceeded to do it over and over. Today, he had an ice cream cone all to himself for the first time. I am convinced that in that moment you would be hard pressed to convince him that there could be anything in life better than ice cream. The wonder of it all, the newness of creation, the unfamiliarity with disappointment all culminate into smile after smile plastered across his face.

Isn’t it interesting to watch how a child, filled with wonder, will engage in the same activity time after time without growing weary of it? Recently, I heard Ravi Zacharias speaking of his experience raising his three children. He spoke of the differences between reading a story to a three year old, a seven year old, and a ten year old. The three year old found mystery in the line, “And the boy walked up to the house.” It took more to engage the seven year old, but fascination ensued with, “And the boy walked up to the house and opened the door.” For the ten year old, this was old hat. It takes a little more to intrigue him. He was pulled into the story with, “The boy walked up to the house, opened the door, and a lion jumped out.” This is a simple example, but it captures the essence of how we operate.

The older we get, the less we see the wonder in life. We lose heart. We take life for granted. Excitement is traded for familiarity. Adventure falls by the way of what is safe. Busyness leaves little room for finding delight in the simple. Making money minimizes the importance of relationships.

I was reminded of how transient life is today, as a good friend of mine was in a serious accident. We have the tendency to think that time will march on with us in tow, along with those we love, but eventually we will no longer keep time with the parade. What a shame to find ourselves at the end of the parade no longer enjoying the wonderment of life. What a pity it would be to have forgotten how good life is and the joy to be found in the simple.

When was the last time we attempted to look at the world with a fresh set of eyes? When was the last time we laughed at the simple? How long has it been since we acted foolish, just for the fun of it? Has it been a while since we told those we care for how much we love them? Have we kissed our spouse long and hard lately just because we can? Have we found ourselves enraptured by sunsets that paint the sky in brilliant hues of orange or soft shades of periwinkle? How long since we spent hours just talking to the people we hold dear?

Life is fragile. We break so easily. Let’s not lose the wonder.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Marriage Monday: Bald, Fat, and Happy

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There is an old Arab proverb that essentially says marriage begins with a prince kissing an angel and ends with a bald headed man sitting across the table from a fat lady. One might interpret this proverb in one of two ways. For some, the man will be happier sitting across from a fat lady than kissing an angel. For others, it means that marriage begins with youth, glitz, and razzmatazz and ends with familiarity, blandness, and a longing for better years gone by.

So what is a defining feature of a marriage that enables contentment and lifelong romance? It is when a couple turns toward one another daily throughout the course of their lives. So often, Romance is painted in passionate colors by the likes of Cary Grant or Brad Pitt. Relational enchantment is often portrayed in a lavish manner that leaves your average couple feeling as if their relationship is romantically impoverished.

So what does it mean for a couple to turn toward one another? John Gottman describes it this way. “Romance is fueled by a far more humdrum approach to staying connected. It is kept alive each time you let your spouse know he or she is valued during the grind of everyday life…In a marriage people periodically make ‘bids’ for their partner’s attention, affection, humor, or support. People either turn toward one another after these bids or they turn away.”

Turning toward one another can look differently, but it involves the couple constantly orienting themselves toward one another. It might be grocery shopping together instead of simply letting your spouse do it alone. Perhaps it is a text in the middle of a hectic day. It is taking a few minutes to connect in the morning before rushing out the door. Sometimes it is paying attention to what gets your spouse excited, even though it might not interest you. These are the humdrum ways that romance is fueled on a daily basis.  It is turning toward your spouse when they make a bid for connection.

Turning toward your spouse also involves reconnecting when you would prefer not to emotionally. It is digging deep to connect, even when you don’t feel like doing so. Sometimes this is due to fatigue, busyness, or being focused on your task at the moment. Turning toward your spouse is a deliberate act at times, while sometimes it requires little thought.

During difficult times turning toward your spouse does not seem intuitive, but it is a requirement for a relationship to flourish. Listen to how Ravi Zacharias describes this idea of turning toward one’s partner when he talks about his wife, Margie. “Anytime there has been a disagreement or anytime there has been a point of tension of some sort, and the feelings want you to proudly turn away and not make it right because somehow you want to appear strong. I have watched her reach out, every time, and take my hand and put it all back in perspective. It is the love that is going to carry us through. Obedience precedes the emotion.” This is a perfect example of what it means to turn toward one another. During every day life, each partner seeks to reorient the relationship into a posture of facing one another. Sometimes it involves turning toward one another within humdrum daily interactions, and at other times it means forcing oneself to turn toward the other when the emotions say to do otherwise.

It is this idea of turning toward each other that makes an aging bald man and his aging fat wife happy. It is turning toward one another that keeps romance within a relationship. It is turning toward your spouse that keeps familiarity from turning into blandness.

Rejoice with the wife of your youth… And always be enraptured with her love.
-Proverbs 5:18-19

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

How do you “turn toward” your spouse? How do you stay connected?

When Nothing Is Sacred, All Is Consumed

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What is truth? This simple statement uttered by Pontius Pilate nearly two-thousand years ago has echoed through the ages. Some would say truth is unknowable, others, that it is relative. Still, many would say there is a singular unifying truth that must be true for everyone, after all, we can’t all be right. Recently I was having a discussion with an individual who told me, “Truth does not exist, we can’t be sure of anything.” I simply replied, “Is what you just said true?” To deny truth is to actually affirm it.

Stephen Colbert coined the term “truthiness” which has become the cultural mantra. He states,“It used to be that everyone was entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. But that isn’t the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. Truthiness is what I say is right and nothing else.” Truth has been mitigated to mere opinion. As Friedrich Nietzsche put it, “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

The problem is, two competing views of truth cannot coexist because they mutually exclude one another. We can have difference in opinion, I like chocolate while you like vanilla, but 2+2 is always four because it is fact. Certain actions cannot be both moral and immoral at the same time and in the same context. Competing worldviews cannot all be correct, there can only be one that is an accurate picture of reality. So when someone says to us “what is true for one person is not necessarily true for another” all we have to do is ask “is that true for you or is that true for everyone?” There is but one truth and we are all bound to it. There can only be one accurate reflection of reality. So what is truth? I believe Jesus answers that in John 14:6 when he asserts, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

So what are the consequences of promoting the idea that there are multiple forms of truth or that it is unknowable? If all is relative, how does this affect us in the every day world? If morality is an ever moving target, can anything be held sacred? Is there anything that is considered taboo? After all, what might come across as atrocious to you is perfectly within another’s moral framework.

Recently I was listening to Ravi Zacharias discuss the problems we are experiencing on Wall Street. He stated that in every Ivy League university economic professors argue that morality is relative. They teach that we all have different moral standards and that this is perfectly okay. Then we get angry at the students who digest these teachings and live as though morality is relative by shady business practices and under the table dealing. How can we assert that there is no truth, that morality is relevant and then be upset when people live out the workings of this worldview?

My what a slippery slope we are on. If there is no truth, if all is relative, how can anything be held sacred? How can life, race, religion, marriage, sex, family, or anything else, for that matter, not be ravaged by a worldview that states all truth us relative?

“When nothing is sacred, there’s nothing to lose, when nothing is sacred, all is consumed.” – Jon Foreman

Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed
Josh

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