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Must See: I Can Only Imagine Film Release March 16

I rarely endorse things, but I wanted to make sure you were aware of the upcoming release of what I believe is a “must see” film, I Can Only Imagine.

Odds are you’ve heard the song many times. It is the only Christian single to ever reach 2x platinum for over 2 million digital downloads. It took Bart Millard ten minutes to write and nothing was changed from those original words. He wrote it as a tribute to his dad, who, in Bart’s words, was a “monster”.

But the movie really isn’t about the song. It’s there at the end, but it’s the deeply captivating story behind the song that takes you from hopelessness and tears of abuse to the joyful tears of redemption. That’s all I ‘m going to say except that you must see this film. I’ve seen it twice and I’m going again.

Gather your family and your friends and go experience it.  Get your neighbors together and go.

Everything about it is phenomenal.

It will put a lump in your throat, warmth in your heart and something wet in your eyes.

It will move you. 

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The Genesis Issue: the Role of Science

Thomas Kuhn, in his radical book, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” chronicles the rise and fall of what he calls “scientific paradigms” throughout the history of science. As each paradigm arose, it laid claim to how one thought of science and how one “did” science. It even crafted the definition.

While a paradigm reigned, it controlled the questions and answers—not through some sinister tyranny—but because it set the framework and boundaries, and one’s thinking just naturally stayed within that box. At some point, however, reality and pesky observations that didn’t “fit” the framework mounted up until the paradigm collapsed under their weight and a new one arose… a paradigm that drew a different box, attempting to minimize all the rogue data points. But, alas, over time, that paradigm began to be troubled by its own maverick observations, and, taking its place in the dustbin of scientific paradigm history, it, too, collapsed, giving way to the next. And so it has gone, up to the present.

Kuhn’s book, as you can imagine, didn’t set well with the scientific establishment, for it raised questions about whether or not the reigning paradigm really had a lock upon scientific truth as it loudly claimed and as every paradigm before it loudly claimed. One only has to remember the complex epicycles that were constructed when Ptolemy’s framework reigned to visualize how a paradigm struggles for years and years to hang on in the midst of increasingly troubling observations. I believe we are seeing history repeating itself today.

It is important to keep in mind, therefore, how fallible science really is, especially in a culture that carries an almost divine view of the current paradigm. This is, unfortunately, what many Christians have done when they put their faith in a paradigm that, in my opinion, will most likely soon collapse.

The current scientific paradigm can be roughly assumed to have arisen around the publishing of Einstein’s theory of relativity. But it wasn’t his theory that was the major change from Newton. It was the deep and total wedding of the new paradigm to the philosophy of naturalism. This is important to understand, for the paradigm was now bounded by that philosophy. No matter what the observations were, no matter what the evidence was, the paradigm must always point to natural causes. Indeed, you are not able to publish any research or textbook that points to anything but a natural cause. And because it has defined “science” this way, if you do research that does point to a supernatural cause, your work will be labeled “pseudoscience”.

This is the accusation leveled at those who support or are working in the “Intelligent Design” arena. When we did a Cross Examine show on Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, he talked about how he was denied tenure because he authored an Intelligent Design textbook “The Privileged Planet”. The book didn’t name “God” but it pointed to a “cause” that wasn’t random and mindless. Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” attempted to chronicle this almost militant position that the paradigm has fortified against those who dare point outside of the cosmic box of naturalism.

When a paradigm reins, those boundaries of thought and inquiry are found to be ubiquitous within the culture, extending to not just the centers of cultural power, like academia and the media, but to the common man. I have often, in discussion with people regarding the work of “creation” scientists been met with the response, “but that’s not science”. Of course it isn’t if you accept the current paradigm’s definition that all scientific inquiry and conclusions must be consistent with naturalism.

But it wasn’t always this way.

Consider several paradigms ago, during the days of Johannes Kepler:

“The chief aim of all investigations of the external world should be to discover the rational order and harmony which has been imposed on it by God.”

This was a paradigm, though inadequate in some of its conclusions, which allowed for scientific inquiry that could point to both natural and supernatural causes.

That would be labeled “pseudoscience” under the current paradigm.

Let me give a real life example as to how this works.

Dr. Francis Crick was the co-discoverer of DNA. When he realized what they were looking at—the immense complexity and exquisite order of something akin to millions and millions of lines of computer software code, fully debugged and elaborate beyond anything we could dream of creating—he was struck by the impossibility that it could have arisen even with the billions of years within the framework of the paradigm. But he was bounded and constricted by that paradigm to only point to natural causes. Therefore, instead of concluding the way Kepler would have concluded, Crick posited the theory of “Directed Panspermia”… the theory that life must have come from outer space.

Now, this obviously doesn’t solve the problem of how such deep complexity can arise by random processes just because you throw it off to another planet, but it fell within the paradigm’s code of conduct and so it was an acceptable theory.

Dr. George Wald provides another insight into the power of a paradigm’s covenant:

“Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing. I think a scientist has no choice but to approach the origin of life through a hypothesis of spontaneous generation… One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible.  Yet here we are, as a result. I believe in spontaneous generation.”

Here is the clearest picture of what happens when the evidence obviously points to a supernatural cause, yet the paradigm prohibits it. Wald admits that he has to believe in something “impossible” because he is not allowed to believe in a supernatural “possible”.

Yet this is the paradigm in which many Christians have put their faith. And they have put their faith in it so deeply that they hold its conclusions to be absolute and the Scriptures must therefore be bent to conform to it.

In the Truth Project, I laid out the relationship of scientific observation and God’s Word. I labeled the later “Primary Truth” (Special Revelation) and the former “Secondary Truth” (General Revelation). I did so because I believe that we are called to begin with the Word of God as inviolable and we interpret the world around us in that light. Yes, it is true that the Bible does not speak of the atomic weight of uranium nor the amount of gravitational force that one body imposes upon another. God has given us the ability and the privilege to discover Secondary Truth from our observations. But when those observations come into obvious conflict with His Word, we must stand on His Word first. Now, it is also true that the Scripture does speak in genres other than historical narrative on occasion and many have undertaken the attempt to treat Genesis in another genre in which it can be liquefied and molded into the paradigm’s conclusions. And, I would be the first to say that if Genesis were written in poetic or metaphoric form, I would be more than willing to consider the paradigm’s reasoning. But it clearly is not any genre but historical narrative and there is nothing in the text, nor the words of Jesus when referring to Genesis, nor God’s word to Moses and the children of Israel when He implemented the Sabbath for them, nor any other place in the Scripture where it points back to Genesis that would indicate the text is anything but historical narrative.

This is why we interviewed Dr. Steve Boyd, considered one of the world’s best Hebraists. He said that the genre of Genesis is unquestionably historical narrative and anyone who wants to interpret it in another genre is doing so because he is first being driven by a belief that is external to the text.

Finally, it seems to me that the current paradigm is becoming increasingly unstable. As we discover more and more exquisite complexity within the living cell—amazing tiny machines performing sophisticated and inter-related tasks—it is difficult to rationally hang on to the “random-mindless-natural-processes-did-this” explanation. The more we study the rocks and fossils, the more untenable is the old theory that the layers and fossils were formed slowly over long periods of time. I have long thought that if Genesis didn’t record a global flood, science would propose it. Radiometric dating is being questioned. Soft dinosaur tissue is again roaming the earth and stirring up trouble. The big bang is exploding. Observations are now leading many to think the earth is headed toward a cooling cycle. And who knows if coffee is good or bad or good or bad for you.

But beyond the evidential problems, the human soul can only take so much of a philosophy that declares there is nothing spiritual about this world and our existence… that we are merely cause and effect machines with no souls that survive death and no ultimate purpose or meaning to our lives—a philosophy that will increasingly move toward more and more suicide and more and more violence as we increasingly embrace the underlying cosmic “truth” of “the survival of the fittest”. It is this hunger for something “spiritual” in a paradigm of only matter and energy that is driving why we see such a flood of movies and media that are filled with vampires and zombies, super heroes and the paranormal, and, of course, “the Force be with you”.

The current paradigm will collapse; all we have to do is look at history to know it will. The question is, what will take its place? If nothing else changes, it could be some form of the paranormal or an alien-based framework that tries desperately to draw another box to minimize all the pesky outliers—outliers that will never be understood without committing oneself first to the plain truth that the real Creator gave to us a long time ago.

Please, don’t put your faith in a temporary paradigm that is bounded by naturalism and teetering under the weight of contrary evidence. Put your faith first in God’s Word and then interpret the world through His lens.

[PS… for those who do hold a different position in all of this, please accept my observations in the light of Christian love in which I intend for it to be read. Blessings to you.]

[Previously: The Genesis Issue: Four Views and The Genesis Issue: the Dichotomy]

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The Genesis Issue: the Dichotomy

Yesterday, we laid out the four basic views on Genesis and origins. Today, we want to deal with the “dichotomies” that exist between these positions, and specifically, the one we dealt with in the film, “Is Genesis History?” The word “dichotomy” simply means “contrast” or “division” and where we drew that line raised some controversy and consternation.

Recall that these four positions are primarily characterized by how they view current scientific claims and how they treat the text in Genesis, specifically Genesis 1-11.

If you look at the picture, I have drawn a white dotted line that marks the first obvious division, or “dichotomy”, in the four views. This division has to do with the belief in the existence of God. The Secular Evolution position does not acknowledge His existence; the other three positions do. Now, this does not necessarily mean that someone who holds the Secular Evolution position doesn’t believe in the existence of God, it just means that when it comes to speaking, writing, teaching, researching or talking about origins, they don’t acknowledge Him.  If the point of the film had been to deal with the question of God’s existence, then we would have drawn the line between positions one and two and that would have been the focus of my questions to the scientists.

The second obvious division is represented by the black dotted line. It sets the demarcation between the belief in evolution or creation. Just the labels used for each position make drawing this line quite easy. It is important to note that the first two views are committed to evolutionary theory first when it comes to their position on Genesis. The Secular Evolution perspective disregards the text as either irrelevant to the discussion of origins or labels it as myth. The Deistic Evolution perspective, in most cases, embraces the Bible, yet it, too, is committed to evolution theory first. This necessitates interpreting Genesis in a genre in which the text can be “liquefied” so as to be easily reconciled with Evolutionary conclusions and timelines.

We need to stop here, because this is a critical point that must be understood. Liquefying a text means one declares it to be a flexible genre such as myth, poem or metaphor, where the interpretation of the words and text are left primarily up to the reader. I remember attending a “Folk Literature” class in college and was astounded at how “liquid” the professor encouraged us to make the works we were reading. I thought the story was about a boy and his dog, but she taught us to read into it whatever we wanted. The same happens to Scripture when we change the genre from historical narrative, where words have a fixed meaning, into metaphor, where the words are pliable and can be squeezed into most anything. This linguistic “switch” provides the mechanism for someone to look at words such as God creating Adam and Eve on Day six, which appear to be historical statements, but declare them instead to be metaphor and then interpret the passage to mean something radically different: that the progression of evolution reached a point where a hominid group had advanced enough to be metaphorically labeled “Adam and Eve”. This is the power that is granted to the reader when the text is moved from historical narrative to a genre of liquidity. It also allows one to still claim to “hold to the Bible” though in reality they have molded the Biblical text to match the scientific claims that they believe should be held to first.

However, this was not the dichotomy that we dealt with in the film. If it had been, I would have been asking questions focused upon evolution versus creation only.

This brings us to the final “division”, which is the large yellow line in the picture. It sets the “dichotomy” between the first three positions and the fourth position, Historical Creation.

This was the dichotomy that we dealt with in the film and it is here that the controversy and consternation arose.

The Deep Time Creationists didn’t like being lumped in with the first two positions (I don’t blame them) and so they accused us of creating a “false dichotomy”. Now I will agree that the line between positions two and three, evolution and creation, is a whole lot thicker than the line between three and four. But, the dichotomy between Historic Creationists and the other three views does exist and it is not insignificant.

Let’s look at it.

The Historical Creation view reads the Genesis text as a literal, historical narrative. This leads to a position that God created everything in the way it is laid out in the text: creation in the span of six days, a literal Adam and Eve, a literal Fall, a global flood, a Tower of Babel, etc. The Historical Creation view begins with the text first and attempts to understand the world around us in light of that text rather than beginning with a scientific claim and trying to mold the text to fit that claim.

Those who hold to the Deep Time Creation view, however, come to the text with a belief that the scientific claim of Deep Time is absolute and therefore the text has to be interpreted to fit that claim. In this, they come to the text in the same way the first two positions do. Now, granted, the Deep Time Creationists that I know (and love) hold to a literal Adam and Eve, a literal Fall, etc. But everything in the text where a historical reading would be incompatible with the view of Deep Time is then reinterpreted to fit that timeline. The “evening and morning”, for example, are not a literal evening and morning, but millions or billions of years. The order of creation is not literal, but more symbolic or metaphorical, liquefied to match the evolutionary timeline. If you look at the timeline laid out by Hugh Ross, the most prominent Deep Time Creationist author, the creative acts of God are approximately every 20 million years and there is a different order than the text presents. The two events in Genesis that come in most conflict with Deep Time are the creation of the stars and the Noahic Flood. Therefore, the flood has to be interpreted as either a local flood or symbolic of God’s judgment and the stars, planets and elements came about not by God speaking them into existence, but after billions of years of cosmic evolution.

These interpretations are not driven by the text, but rather by the belief that the scientific claims are absolute regarding Deep Time. The text is therefore secondary to that claim and must be interpreted in such a way as to match it. I can guarantee that if science posited Near Time, no one would be arguing that the text demands millions and billions of years. The contrast here with the Historical Creation position is not insignificant and I do not believe it was a “false dichotomy”.

Now, I understand their frustration and can even sympathize with the argument that we didn’t take the time to deal with the differences between these various positions. That may be a valid complaint. However, the film was not intended to be a tutorial on the four positions. Its purpose was to give evidence for the position that holds to the historicity of Genesis and therefore to show the scientific support for a Near Time perspective of the universe and life and the historical reading of the text. And, in all fairness, we were so pressed with time constraints that we not only had to cut the time down for the scientists and the evidence that eventually made the film, but we had to leave out incredible interviews such as Dr. Larry Vardimer on the ice age as we stood beneath the glaciers of Mt. Shukstan or Dr. Stuart Burgess filmed in the swamp at Reelfoot Lake or Dr. Joe DeWeese in the cancer research lab at Lipscomb University.

The purpose of the film was to deal with the historicity of Genesis and over and over again we made the point that the issue was “time”… “deep time” versus “near time”, for this was, in essence, the basis for a very different view of history. It would have been impossible for anyone to miss this point. Therefore, the line of dichotomy in the film was drawn between positions three and four. Again, it is not surprising that we have been criticized by Deep Time Creationists for lumping them in with those in position one and two. But I am convinced that no matter what “contrast” we had used, no matter where we had drawn the line of dichotomy, there would have been complaints by the Deep Time Creationists because of who they had been “lumped” with. They clearly don’t want to be lumped with evolutionists and they clearly don’t want to be lumped with “young-earthers”. :) I understand that completely. But they do share the “deep time” and evolutionary timeline of the first two positions and therefore they are forced to interpret Genesis in such a way that is incompatible with its historical narrative. My Deep Time friends don’t like that statement, but it is true. The flood isn’t really global, but local in order to preserve the deep time in the rocks. The “days” aren’t really days and the order of the created events are rearranged to match the evolutionary timeline.

When God called forth Israel as a nation, He gave them the 7-day week as a structure for their life, to work six days, as He had done, and then rest on the 7th. These are the words of God spoken to Moses:

So the sons of Israel shall observe the Sabbath, to celebrate the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed. Exodus 31:16-17

It is hard for me to even imagine how this could be any clearer. I cannot imagine the creation of God spanning billions of years and then have Him so clearly state that He created it all in six days and in a particular order if He really didn’t do that. I cannot imagine that the creation involved millions of years of death with creatures of great violence tearing each other apart, most becoming extinct, before Adam comes on the scene. This is far from the historical narrative. And it doesn’t match what I understand God will do in the future when the lion will lie down with the lamb.

This is why there is a historical dichotomy line that runs between the Historic Creationist position and the other three positions. And it is this dichotomy that was being addressed in the film. It isn’t a false dichotomy. There is a great “contrast” between the historical narrative laid down in Genesis and the histories of the other three views.

This line of course, merely divides the positions we hold and it should not be used as a line to divide us as followers of Christ. I want to again express my deepest respect and admiration for my Deep Time Creationist friends and organizations like the Discovery Institute who have been invaluable in the cause for Intelligent Design. We are all enriched by that work. Though we have different positions, it is important that we show the world that we are united in Christ.

It should be clear, however, that in all of this, the weight of the claims of science is significant. It causes many to believe it has the correct interpretation of the evidence and should therefore be held as primary truth and the Scripture secondary. Next time, we will examine the current role and philosophy of science and how it impacts each of these positions.

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The Genesis Issue: Four Views

[The response to the “Is Genesis History?” film has been quite phenomenal, ranking No. 1 at the box office on the day of its release and was Fathom’s second highest grossing event of 2017. Because of this, it will be re-released in theaters on February 22. Therefore, I thought it would be of some value to talk about some of the issues that it raises. We will do this in a series of smaller chunks leading up to the release so that we don’t burn your eyes out. :) ]

When one comes to the “issues” surrounding science and the Bible, they almost always focus upon the different ways that one looks at the book of Genesis. Some ignore it as insignificant to the scientific discussion. Others feel it should be read and interpreted in the light of the conclusions of science. Another segment believes it is to be read as historical narrative and should therefore inform scientific inquiry as a valid witness to what really happened. Hence the title of the film: “Is Genesis History?”

As weak as it is to “classify” and “stereotype” people’s beliefs, it is of some value to recognize that there are fundamentally four competing views concerning the record of Genesis and therefore “origins”, for Genesis 1-11 deals primarily with the “beginning” of almost everything. Consider the list. Genesis makes claims for the beginning of all of these:

  • the origin of the universe and light,
  • the origin of the stars and their order,
  • the origin of the earth and seas and sea life,
  • the origin of plant and animal life,
  • the origin of human life and imago dei,
  • the origin of male and female, marriage and sexual order,
  • the origin of sin and death, evil and violence,
  • the origin of current geological structures and fossils,
  • and the origin of languages and major people groups.

With such ubiquitous claims regarding the origin of everything, one's view of Genesis is quite important.

The four competing views are, in their traditional labels: atheistic and theistic evolution, old earth and young earth creation. I think those titles are not completely accurate or descriptive, so I will take the liberty to rename them as follows:

1. Secular (Atheistic) Evolution – deep time, evolution through natural processes, both atheistic and agnostic (secular) view

2. Deistic (Theistic) Evolution – deep time, evolution through natural processes, God exists and may have kick-started the evolutionary process

3. Deep Time (Old Earth) Creation – deep time, cosmic evolution, but life arose through the periodic creative acts of God along the standard evolutionary timeline

4. Historic (Young Earth) Creation – near time, God created everything according to the literal, historical Genesis account in six “evening and morning” days, resting from that work on the seventh

It is true that there are nuances and variations within each of these positions and even continuums that exist between them (i.e. the Gap Theory), but most people fall clearly into one of these four. With that caveat, let’s look more closely at each:

Secular Evolution – deep time, evolution through natural processes, atheistic or agnostic view.

This is obviously the most prominent position in our culture. It is the view presented in academia, media, museums, and our national parks, etc. This position is entirely naturalistic, believing that everything in the universe, including life forms, have come about as the result of slow evolutionary processes under no guidance, no intelligence, no purposive forces. Only naturalistic causes and effects are allowed to be considered within this perspective. Deep time is absolutely necessary to maintain the evolutionary position. This view rejects any divine or historical aspect of Genesis.

Deistic Evolution – deep time, evolution through natural processes, God exists and may have kick-started the evolutionary process.

This is the growing position represented primarily by BioLogos, where both evolution and the existence of God is embraced. God’s role in all of this is vague or unknown. I have often asked this question of my theistic evolutionist friends: “What is it that you find lacking in evolution theory for which you believe God must fill the gaps?” The answer has been consistent: “Why do you think that I find anything lacking in evolution?” This often leads one to wonder what the “theistic” part plays in this position and various answers are given, from none to getting life started to “guiding evolution in the background”. That is why I believe it is better labeled, as “Deistic Evolution” for God’s role is primarily one of creating the evolutionary process, winding it up and then letting it go. I'm not saying that the people in this group are "Deists" but that the view is deistic. This group accepts Genesis, but starts first with the conclusions of science and therefore must read the text in a different genre, usually myth or metaphor. This has deep implications. Accepting deep time and evolution is increasingly leading to the textual view that Adam and Eve are non-literal, most likely a "hominid group of about 10,000) that evolved to a state where the Genesis myth metaphorically labeled them as a man and woman. This is closely followed by a “spiritualization” of the fall and viewing the additional accounts in Genesis, like the Noahic Flood and the Tower of Babel, as more pieces in the Genesis metaphor and not to be read literally.

Deep Time Creation – deep time, cosmic evolution, but life arose through the periodic creative acts of God along the standard evolutionary timeline.

This position holds that God has been the creative force in bringing about life in its basic forms as we know it today. Deep time and the evolutionary timeline are assumed to be true and it therefore normally holds to a “cosmic evolution” regarding star, sun, planet, earth and elemental development. God periodically intervenes with creation acts (i.e. every 20 millions years per Hugh Ross) and the rise of life and its various forms through God’s creative work is matched to the standard deep time framework, including man, who arose millions of years ago. Because of this, and by necessity, the Genesis account is viewed as a combination of historical and metaphor or allegory, where the order is held loosely (the sun and stars evolved earlier, marine life earlier, etc.) and the “evening and morning, day ____” phrases are not literal, but symbolic, meaning instead vast periods of time.

This position includes many who are involved in the critical and excellent work of “Intelligent Design”, which is held by both Deep Time and Historic Creation positions, arguing that the presence of complex design in the universe points to the need of an “intelligent designer”. Some Deep Time Creationists hold this position without elaborating on Who that designer might be, while others openly state that the designer is the God of Genesis. Accepting deep time, which primarily comes from the rocks, necessitates that this position view the flood as not literal nor global, but a local flood, in order to maintain the deep time in the rocks.

Historic Creation - near time, God created everything according to the literal, historical Genesis account in six “evening and morning” days, resting from that work on the seventh.

This position holds that the universe and the earth were created and completed in the literal timeframe and order given (i.e. one literal week) in Genesis. It also accepts the literal understanding of a global flood in which “all the mountains of the earth were covered” and “all the animals that had the breath of life” were destroyed. As such, it concludes that the heavens and the earth are measured in thousands of years, not billions.

Now, I can almost guarantee that there will be some who will read this high-level classification and complain that their particular position is somewhat different than I have characterized. I accept your complaint! :) I believe, however, that if you study the primary authors and formal positions of these views, that these summations accurately portray what they believe and their approach to the Genesis text and the claims of science.

Next time, we will examine more deeply the contrast among these views and the line or "dichotomy" that we addressed in the film.

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Bonaire and the Donkey of the Lord

I’ve run off to the somewhat desolate island of Bonaire. Doing some scuba diving and snorkeling. Enjoying time with new friends and old. But I’m here primarily to contemplate and wrestle.

One of the difficult passages in the Scripture is the story of Balaam. For many, it seems that God gave Balaam permission to go to King Balak when he had been summoned. But when Balaam headed out, an angel of the Lord stood in the path with a sword to strike him down because God was angry that he was going. The angel was invisible to Balaam, but not to his donkey. The donkey shied away off of the path and Balaam got angry and struck him. On the way again, the angel then stood in a narrow passageway and the donkey smashed Balaam’s foot up against the wall. The donkey received another blow. After a third time, Balaam was incensed with the donkey and struck him with his staff. The Lord then opened the donkey’s mouth and he told Balaam about the angel with a sword that had Balaam’s name on it. Balaam’s eyes were opened and he realized the donkey has spared his life.

Someday I will write about this event to seek a little clarity in what was going on.

But for now, it is sufficient to note that sometimes when impediments or obstacles arise in our life, it isn’t always clear if it is the enemy, the normal rocks and weeds of a fallen world, or the Lord’s donkey.

I think most of the time it is clear.

I remember the travails of getting the family to church on Sunday morning or the huge obstacles and waves that seemed to continually crash up against us in preparing the Truth Project. When we filmed “Who Is Jesus?” we lost all of my audio and it had to be redone with ADR… a grueling process. In most of those cases it was clear that we were dealing with the curse of the Fall or the enemy. But sometimes something hits you out of the blue with such force that you just don’t know if it might be the Lord.

It is in those moments that we are driven to do what the Lord modeled for us: go off to a quiet place and pray.

So here I am in Bonaire… a rocky, desert-like island contemplating where to go from here. What is abundantly clear from these contemplations is the Lord’s call to do “the Engagement”. I am increasingly assured of the urgency of its teaching. And, I am assured, after seven days, that He is going to open the last big door and we will be on the final leg.

My encouragement to you is that you turn to Him often and quickly. It is easy to scoff at Balaam who was angry because the events in his life were not going according to his script and yet fail to see our own reflection. When this happens it is even easier to lash out at those around you, even those, like Balaam’s donkey, who had been graciously carrying Balaam around for most of his life.

Find a “Bonaire” where you can withdraw. Pray diligently. Seek His face. God does not hide His will from His children. But He reveals it through His ordained means of faith, which include prayer, the Word and Godly counsel.

Don’t despise the Lord’s donkey, for when he smashes your foot against the wall or lies down underneath you, there is a divine reason for it. Don't kick him.

Soli Deo Gloria!

P.S. Coincidentally, Bonaire is know for its wild donkeys that roam the island.


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