Friday, April 29, 2011

God Still Speaks

I read an article from the July 2010 issue of TIME magazine about the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). We have been listening for aliens now for over fifty years. Gregory and James Benford (twin brothers) are rethinking our technique for listening. They propose that perhaps we are listening for the wrong thing. The Benfords suggest that aliens are probably sending out powerful bursts of energy in our direction rather than a continuous broadcast which would use up phenomenal amounts of energy and we should be doing the same thing.

We’ve been listening now for fifty years, spending millions of dollars in our efforts, employing an untold number of scientists to listen for sounds from something or someone we have no proof exists. It’s fascinating to fantasize about the possibility of alien life. Millions have been entertained by such fabrications portrayed in the films E.T., Contact, and Star Wars.

Imagine the broiling outrage if NASA had announced that the Hubble Telescope was being rocketed into space on a great mission to look for God? Suppose millions of dollars were spent and an untold number of scientists were employed to listen for the voice of God during a fifty year NASA project that was to begin next Monday? There would be a huge backlash about the “idiots” who were spending our good money listening for sounds from a fantasy figure that does not exist. Others, myself included, would wonder why spend millions listening for a voice that millions hear clearly every day?

God has been speaking to men since the beginning. “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” (Gen. 3:8) Moses heard the voice of God in the burning bush. He recorded prophecies after hearing God’s voice that were fulfilled 3400 years later. Abraham was so familiar with the voice of God he was referred to as ‘God’s friend.’ A twelve year old boy named Samuel heard the soft whisper of God over and over. David heard the sweet voice of God as he composed and played music on the hillsides of Israel.

Many fail to hear because they are listening for the wrong thing. The assumption is that an all powerful God makes only all powerful noises. But God can miraculous reduce all of his glorious might into a soft whisper. He doesn’t always reveal himself in flashes of lightning and sounds of thunder. Elijah heard the great wind, he felt the earth shake and he witnessed the fire but God was in none of those. “And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:12)

It’s a trick that teachers use a lot. If the little tykes are being rowdy, raising your voice only adds to the tumult. Sometimes, when a soft voice is used the noise subsides in a collective attempt to hear what is about to be said. Perhaps God speaks to us in a whisper because he wants us to be quiet and listen. Isaiah seemed to capture this concept when he said, “You are a God that hides yourself.” (Isa. 45:15) If it seems God is hiding it’s because he wants us to look for him.

The skeptic will say, “I won’t play the fool and look for a god that does not exist.” Sadly, he may never find God because there are conditions that must first be met: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) The heart darkened by unbelief must be enlightened by the floodlight of faith and then that heart will not just find God, he will see God everywhere. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

Maybe you used to see God but not so much anymore. Maybe his voice was very familiar to you at one time but now it may be a voice seldom heard. It reminds me of an old man riding along in an old truck with an old wife. His wife was a little troubled that there had grown a distance between them. So, as the old truck rambled down a bumpy country road she finally got up the courage to ask him, “Leroy, we don’t seem to be as close as we used to be. Why, we used to sit next to each other in this old truck.” The old man furled his thick white brow and looked at his wife and snarled, “Well, I ain’t the one that moved.”
If God seems far off…he is not the one who moved.


Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Have You Heard Him Whisper?

I remember my parents listening to Bing Crosby sing "White Christmas" when I was a kid. I thought no one in the world had such a rich, baritone voice. Some of the greatest voices of all time belong to Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding. Some may even try to put Elvis on that list.

Ben Franklin wrote often about the great preacher, George Whitefield. Whitefield was a bit of a rebel in his day, choosing to preach in the open air rather than from an indoor pulpit. He would often position himself downwind so his voice would carry further. Up to 20,000 people would come to hear him preach and Ben Franklin observed that his voice could be heard up to a mile away. What a great voice!

If men can possess such voices, how great must be the voice of God? Have you ever heard him speak? The Psalmist describes his voice beautifully: "The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful. The voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon." (Psalm 29:3-4)

Have you heard the voice of the Lord lately? God doesn't often use a loud voice. God doesn't choose to compete with the noisy ambiance that surrounds us. The Lofty Almighty One would never stoop to compete for our attention. He does not fret when we ignore his voice. He is polite, he is patient and he generally speaks to us in whispers rather than shouts. If you seldom or never hear his voice it may be because you can't hear his soft whispers above the blare of the television, i-pods and the cell phones that continuously demand your attention.

Failure to hear the whispers of God in your life can leave a devastating affect. His whispers change lives. His whispers could change your destiny. If you are not attuned to the whispers of God you could miss his will. You could marry the wrong one. You could miss the right job. You could spend a good portion of your life on a rabbit trail God never intended you to be on.

After that wonderful revelation of God at Mount Carmel, Ahab came home and told Jezebel what happened. The wicked shrew was enraged. She sent a messenger to Elijah to inform him that he was as good as dead. Elijah fled to the mountains in fright. He came to Mount Sinai where he had an encounter with God.

This was the same mountain where God spoke to Moses and the people trembled at the voice and presence of God. Elijah began whining to God, "The people have rejected you. They have rebelled and point prophets to death and now I am the only man of God left and they are determined to kill me too." God told Elijah to climb the mountain and wait.

When trouble comes into our lives, when we are desperately in need of direction, when confusion seems to overcome us it is wise to climb the mountain and wait. " Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him." (Psalm 105:4)

Have you ever been frustrated trying to call someone and they just won't answer their phone. Caller id allows the receiver to identify the caller and a refusal to answer is sometimes taken as a personal affront. "I know they know it's me, why won't they talk to me?"

God had caller id before AT&T. He knows when we call upon him and he never ignores the voices of his own children.

Elijah climbed Mt. Sinai and waited for God to speak. "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came the fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave." (1 Kings 19:11-12)

God's voice whispered to Elijah, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

"Lord, I'm the last prophet standing."

God assured Elijah that there were 7,000 people in the northern kingdom who were still faithful to him.

One moment, perhaps when you least expect it, the voice of God will whisper to your heart. It may happen today, it may be while you are driving to work or while you are doing house work or mowing the lawn. But it's most likely to happen when you are quiet.
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Response To Christopher Hitchen's Letter To American Atheists

In a recent edition of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, Christopher Hitchens published a new Message to American Atheists. Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, is a self-described antitheist who has championed the New Atheism Movement. Hitchens expresses his opposition to all “Abrahamic” religions by declaring that the “real axis of evil is Judaism, Christianity and Islam”.

Mr. Hitchens had to postpone a book tour in June of 2010 to receive treatment for oesophageal cancer. He explained in his recent letter why he was a ‘no-show’ at a recent meeting of American Atheists. "Nothing would have kept me from joining you except the loss of my voice (at least my speaking voice) which in turn is due to a long argument I am currently having with the specter of death." We hope Mr. Hitchens the best in his battle with cancer. By his own words he admits that “no one ever wins” the argument with death.

Mr. Hitchens wanted to put to rest any rumors of a possible death-bed conversion. He stated that "redemption and supernatural deliverance appears even more hollow and artificial to me than it did before." Hitchens mocks those who believe in God and wrote to his fellow atheists that he was placing his trust in science and in his atheistic comrades.
It is perplexing to observe a man who has dedicated all of his life and energy to disprove the existence of God. If God does not exist and one is so thoroughly convinced of it, why does it matter that others might fantasize about a mythical being? If there is no God then the belief in God has no more significance than the belief in dinosaurs, or flying saucers, or the planet Pluto. Is not their belief in such things is harmless? Why do so many fear those who believe in God? Why try so hard to disprove them?

Is it possible that Mr. Hitchens is attempting to convince himself that God does not exist by convincing others? Every time he wins a convert to atheism he feels a little more assured that he is right. Is it possible that Mr. Hitchens has poured his life blood into the atheism movement because no matter how hard he tries, no matter how well he develops his arguments, there is something deep inside that counters what he believes? Is it possible that Mr. Hitchens is living out Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end”. We can run but we can't hide from the eternity God has weaved into the fabric of our being.

Mr. Hitchens blames most of the world’s problems on the ‘surrender of reason to absolutism.’ I know that the erasure of absolutes in one’s life frees the conscience to participate in certain sinful acts and habits. In a sense, it eliminates God so that you may be your own God. Belief in God can never be totally eliminated from the heart. The ‘eternity’ that God placed in the heart demands we believe. They who determine in their own minds what is right and wrong by trying to eliminate absolutes set themselves up as their own gods. In Hitchen's mind there are no absolutes but one. The one absolute that stands like a lonely tree in a barren field of unbelief is the absolute certainty that there are no absolutes. It is a contradictory absurdity that begs an answer from the New Atheist Movement.

I am reminded of the account of Esau and Jacob. Jacob was the weak, wimpy one who was very deceptive and sneaky. He connived a way to finagle the birthright away from Esau. Esau didn’t have any time for his weak, twin brother. He was a man’s man, a man of nature, a proud man fully capable of caring for himself. He looked at Jacob’s sensitivities as a weakness. He thought Jacob’s religion was a crutch for weaker men. Esau was so self-sufficient he felt no need for the birthright.

Malachi reminds us that God ‘loved Jacob’ but not Esau. Why did God have no feelings for Esau? Because God can do nothing with a man who thinks he has no need of God. A man who is so full of himself, who revels in his own pride and self-sufficiency is useless to God. Esau repudiated God and all those who stood for God. Esau’s sin was to declare God irrelevant. This reminds us of William Henley’s poem, “Invictus”.
“It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll.
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”

God can do nothing with a man who believes he is self-sufficient. God never forgave Esau for his arrogance. The Psalmist said, “The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."

God was able to use Jacob because he finally came to a point in his life (remember the wrestling match) where he realized his real place. Jacob humbled himself before God and named himself, “a deceiver, a conniver” and totally unworthy of the grace of God. Jacob was finally in a place where God could use him. God renamed him Israel, Prince of God.

Christians believe that atheism is very short term. Maybe there are no atheists in foxholes. Maybe there are no atheists on death beds. But we know for certain there are no atheists in eternity. We know that one day we will be bowing our knee to God and confessing his glory with our voices. We believe it because God told us, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11

Don’t be surprised. Mr. Hitchen's voice will be restored and you will see him bowing there also. In that day no one will question the existence of God but all will wonder why atheism ever existed.

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Burning Fire or Cold Ash?

We are not so much called to a particular place or task. We are called upon to commit ourselves to God. He then takes us where he wants us and uses us in the way he chooses. We are not indispensible to the mission. The mission will be completed with or without us.

We often look out upon the harvest field and we see a particular need. We then tend to sell ourselves to the need we are observing. But, there are billions of needs among billions of people in a million different places. We can’t be everywhere at once and we can’t serve in more than one place. Rather than commit ourselves to a place or a people shall we not commit ourselves to Christ and then trust him to direct our lives. It is a deception to believe that the needs far away are greater or more important than the needs nearby. A lost soul is utterly lost whether he is in the jungles of Africa or living in the house next door.

It seems we sometimes are tempted to compromise the sovereignty of God by relegating it to an inferior position behind our organizational efforts. As a high school teacher I can assure you that I would be deeply offended if I walked into my classroom every day and my students were clamoring to inform me of what plans they had for class that day. Organization and structure is a necessary part of any ministry but we must take care that is does not squeeze God out of the picture. Paul says that God has “…arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Cor. 12:18) Utter chaos would erupt if the body parts gave direction to the head but when the parts yield to the head a wonderful symphony of movement can be experienced. We are parts of the body, when we yield to Christ we become efficient kingdom builders.

God’s operational modus is much different than that of the secular world. We so readily adopt the secular idea of go, go and go. We preach consecration and commitment and we tie those ideas to frantic action. We have to do more, go further and be better. But God says for us to “Be still, and know that I am God.” Strength and efficiency are found in the quietness of God. The idea here is to calm down, put away frenzy and trust God to do what he will.

Moses was a man called and prepared by God to do a great and wonderful thing. He would deliver the people of Israel from slavery in the land of Egypt. Exodus chapter 2 tells the tragic story of how Moses got in the way of God’s plan for his life. He saw one of his fellows being mistreated by an Egyptian and he took care of business. He defended one of his own. His act could probably be justified to some degree, but his failure was he chose to do it his way instead of God’s way. Moses was well educated, he had lived among the Egyptian elite, he understood their culture, he was a fine, masculine specimen and extremely intelligent but in spite of all those things he was not yet ready to be used of God. So, God sent him away for forty years for further training.

We so often feel comfortable in our ability, but God is not looking so much for ability as he is availability. He wants a heart that will submit to his will, a heart wise enough and willing enough to get out of the way so God can do a great work. In order to get us to that place, God sometimes allows us to experience long periods of feeling useless. We may feel insignificant and unappreciated until we finally realize that God’s way works and our way doesn’t.

There must have come a time during those forty years of exile that Moses felt like he would never really amount to much or accomplish any great thing for God. But God has a habit of choosing “the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; … the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” (1 Corinthians 1:27) God didn’t call Moses out of exile until he was prepared. In Exodus 3 Moses saw a burning bush. He was fascinated by what he saw. I’m not so sure that instantaneous combustion was so unusual in the hot desert but what was so perplexing to Moses was the fact that the bush was not consumed. It just kept burning and burning.

Did Moses compare himself to the bush? Moses had a ‘crash and burn’ moment in his life and it cost him forty years. Did he look at the bush and say? “I wish I could have just kept on burning. Instead, I was consumed by the flame of my own passion and self assertiveness”. Did Moses look at the burning bush and say, “Lord, make me to burn continually for you. Don’t let me fail. Don’t let me falter but let me burn eternally in my passion and service for you.” John Wesley seemed to get the idea when he admonished his fellow clergy to “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”

God called to Moses by name, “Moses, Moses!” Why does God seem to choose some for greatness and others never are called? Was Billy Graham, Mother Theresa and D.L. Moody more special than others in the eyes of God? Do Charles Stanley, John MacArthur and John Piper have certain, peculiar traits that make them more special in the eyes of God? Of course not. They are affective in service because they made themselves available. Many others will live out their entire lives in mediocrity because they never inquired why God never called them by name. They were sent into the wilderness and their fire was never rekindled. They passed their days and years in a heap of cold ash.

How did God choose that particular bush? I don’t think it was difficult, I don’t think he spent a lot of time trying to make that decision. I think any old bush on the desert floor would suffice. You don’t need special talents, you don’t need a great education or a stellar record or even an especially winsome personality to do great things for God. You just need to be willing, to be available, and leave the rest up to him.


Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ten Questions For The Nazarene Church

Ten Questions for the Nazarene Church
By Kevin Probst

Dear Church of the Nazarene,

I love the Nazarene Church. My family and I attend a Nazarene Church in Columbus, Georgia. Nazarene churches in this area are very orthodox. But certain beliefs and certain people who promote non-biblical ideas have been permitted to infiltrate some areas of the Nazarene Church.
Some questions presented to fellow Nazarenes:

1. Are Nazarenes aware of and concerned about the loss of 10,000 Nazarenes over the last four years because of the emergent influence and mysticism in the church? (April 14, OneNewsNow)

2. Why did Northwestern Nazarene University participate in Brian McLaren’s “Allelon Ministry in a Postmodern Context Conference” several years ago?

3. Why did NNU participate in participated in the "Renovare Spiritual Formation Conference" with Richard Foster several years ago?

4. Many Nazarenes are proud of perhaps the most famous Nazarene in America, James Dobson. Why did Focus on the Family feature Gary Thomas who is a proponent of contemplative prayer? Thomas encourages his readers to “choose a word ... as a focus for contemplative prayer. Repeat the word silently in your mind for a set amount of time (say, twenty minutes) until your heart seems to be repeating the word by itself, just as naturally and involuntarily as breathing" Jesus didn’t teach this eastern mysticism approach to prayer. Jesus said, when you pray say, “Our Father in heaven…”

5. Why is MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, KS, Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Mount Vernon, OH, and Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN promoting Contemplative Spirituality?

6. Why did the Nazarene Church promote and provide their pastors with a contemplative approach to spiritual practices by providing a seminar in a Catholic contemplative location called the San Pedro Center. Dr. Alden Sproull, the founder of Kairos: Center for Spiritual Formation, led the contemplative services schedule prior to the General Assembly in Orlando, Florida in 2009. Dr. Sproull’s website lists martial arts, yoga, and labyrinth walking among other contemplative practices.

7. What was Jay McDaniel promoting at NNU? A student asked McDaniel what Jesus meant when he said “I am the way, the truth and the light.” McDaniel answered that If Jesus was referring to himself he would have displayed an arrogance and egocentricity that would have been out of character. Jesus was simply pointing them in the right direction. See video of Jay McDaniel here: David Alexander, the president of the university later defended his decision to allow Jay McDaniel to come. McDaniel stated “it is the duty and responsibility of the university to make ourselves and our students aware of the world’s religions, sects and quests for God.” Perhaps this is true, but inviting a steady stream of heretical speakers (Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, etc) seems to be a little over the top.

8. Was Joe Staniforth removed from his position as missionary in the Nazarene Church because he took a stand against the infiltration of the emergent movement in the church or is there more to his story that we don’t know?

9. Why is there a group so concerned about the failure of the church to address the emergent movement that they have formed their own movement?

10. Again, let me reiterate, I love the Nazarene Church. There may be legitimate answers to the previous questions. If you have answers, please assist me in my search for truth.

Prayerfully Submitted,
Kevin P. Probst

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

The Atheist Professor - God vs. Science

The Atheist Professor
Popular Christian Legend

"LET ME EXPLAIN the problem science has with Jesus Christ." The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand. "You're a Christian, aren't you, son?" "Yes, sir." "So you believe in God?" "Absolutely." "Is God good?" "Sure! God's good." "Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?" "Yes." "Are you good or evil?" "The Bible says I'm evil."

The professor grins knowingly. "Ahh! THE BIBLE!" He considers for a moment. "Here's one for you. Let's say there's a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help them? Would you try?" "Yes sir, I would." "So you're good...!" "I wouldn't say that." "Why not say that? You would help a sick and maimed person if you could... in fact most of us would if we could...God doesn't." No answer.

"He doesn't, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?" No answer

The elderly man is sympathetic. "No, you can't, can you?" He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax. In philosophy, you have to go easy with the new ones. "Let's start again young fella. Is God good?" "Er... Yes." "Is Satan good?" "No." "Where does Satan come from?" The student falters. "From... God..."

"That's right. God made Satan, didn't he?" The elderly man runs his bony fingers through his thinning hair and turns to the smirking, student audience. "I think we're going to have a lot of fun this semester, ladies and gentlemen." He turns back to the Christian. "Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?" "Yes, sir." "Evil's everywhere, isn't it? Did God make everything?" "Yes." "Who created evil?" No answer

"Is there sickness in this world? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All the terrible things - do they exist in this world?" The student squirms on his feet. "Yes." "Who created them? " No answer The professor suddenly shouts at his student. "WHO CREATED THEM? TELL ME, PLEASE!" The professor closes in for the kill and climbs into the Christian's face. In a still small voice: "God created all evil, didn't He, son?" No answer

The student tries to hold the steady, experienced gaze and fails. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace the front of the classroom like an aging panther. The class is mesmerized. "Tell me," he continues, "How is it that this God is good if He created all evil throughout all time?" The professor swishes his arms around to encompass the wickedness of the world. "All the hatred, the brutality, all the pain, all the torture, all the death and ugliness and all the suffering created by this good God is all over the world, isn't it, young man?" No answer.

"Don't you see it all over the place? Huh? "Don't you?" The professor leans into the student's face again and whispers, "Is God good?" No answer. "Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?" The student's voice betrays him and cracks. "Yes, professor. I do." The old man shakes his head sadly. "Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen God?" "No, sir. I've never seen Him." "Then tell us if you've ever heard your Jesus?" "No, sir. I have not." "Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus... in fact, do you have any sensory perception of your God whatsoever?" No answer

"Answer me, please." "No, sir, I'm afraid I haven't." "You're AFRAID... you haven't ?" "No, sir." "Yet you still believe in him?" "...yes..." "That takes FAITH!" the professor smiles sagely at the underling. "According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son? Where is your God now?" The student doesn't answer. "Sit down, please." The Christian sits...Defeated.

Another Christian raises his hand. "Professor, may I address the class?" The professor turns and smiles. "Ah, another Christian in the vanguard! Come, come, young man. Speak some proper wisdom to the gathering." The Christian looks around the room. "Some interesting points you are making, sir. Now I've got a question for you. Is there such a thing as heat?" "Yes," the professor replies. "There's heat." "Is there such a thing as cold?" "Yes, son, there's cold too." "No, sir, there isn't." The professor's grin freezes. The room suddenly goes very cold.

The second Christian continues. "You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold, otherwise we would be able to go colder than 458. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it." Silence. A pin drops somewhere in the classroom.

"Is there such a thing as darkness, professor?" "That's a dumb question, son. What is night if it isn't darkness? What are you getting at...?" "So you say there is such a thing as darkness?" "Yes..." "You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something, it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker and give me a jar of it. Can you...give me a jar of darker darkness, professor?"

Despite himself, the professor smiles at the young effrontery before him. This will indeed be a good semester. "Would you mind telling us what your point is, young man?" "Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with and so your conclusion must be in error...." The professor goes toxic. "Flawed...? How dare you...!" "Sir, may I explain what I mean?" The class is all ears. "Explain... oh, explain..." The professor makes an admirable effort to regain control. Suddenly he is affability itself. He waves his hand to silence the class, for the student to continue.

"You are working on the premise of duality," the Christian explains. "That, for example, there is life and then there's death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science cannot even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism but has never seen, much less fully understood them. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, merely the absence of it."

The young man holds up a newspaper he takes from the desk of a neighbor who has been reading it. "Here is one of the most disgusting tabloids this country hosts, professor. Is there such a thing as immorality?" "Of course there is, now look..." "Wrong again, sir. You see, immorality is merely the absence of morality. Is there such a thing as injustice? No. Injustice is the absence of justice. Is there such a thing as evil?" The Christian pauses. "Isn't evil the absence of good?" The professor's face has turned an alarming color. He is so angry he is temporarily speechless.

The Christian continues. "If there is evil in the world, professor, and we all agree there is, then God, if he exists, must be accomplishing a work through the agency of evil. What is that work God is accomplishing? The Bible tells us it is to see if each one of us will, of our own free will, choose good over evil."

The professor bridles. "As a philosophical scientist, I don't view this matter as having anything to do with any choice; as a realist, I absolutely do not recognize the concept of God or any other theological factor as being part of the world equation because God is not observable."

"I would have thought that the absence of God's moral code in this world is probably one of the most observable phenomena going," the Christian replies. "Newspapers make billions of dollars reporting it every week! Tell me, professor, Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?" "If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do." "Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?" The professor makes a sucking sound with his teeth and gives his student a silent, stony stare.

"Professor. Since no-one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a priest?" "I'll overlook your impudence in the light of our philosophical discussion. Now, have you quite finished?" the professor hisses. "So you don't accept God's moral code to do what is righteous?" "I believe in what is - that's science!"

"Ah! SCIENCE!" the student's face splits into a grin. "Sir, you rightly state that science is the study of observed phenomena. Science too is a premise which is flawed..." "SCIENCE IS FLAWED..?" the professor splutters. The class is in an uproar. The Christian remains standing until the commotion has subsided. "To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, may I give you an example of what I mean?" The professor wisely keeps silent.

The Christian looks around the room. "Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor's brain?" The class breaks out in laughter. The Christian points towards his elderly, crumbling tutor. "Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain...felt the professor's brain, touched or smelt the professor's brain?" No one appears to have done so.

The Christian shakes his head sadly. "It appears no-one here has had any sensory perception of the professor's brain whatsoever. Well, according to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science, the professor has no brain."

The class is in chaos. The Christian sits...because that is what a chair is for. An atheist has a reason, but no hope for his reason. A hypocrite has a hope, but no reason for his hope. A Christian has a reason for his hope and a hope for his reason; and, I might add: Life with Christ is an endless hope. Without Christ is a hopeless end.

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why Trying To Be A Christian Doesn't Work

Why Trying To Be A Christian Doesn’t Work.
By Kevin Probst

When I was a young buck I loved to play basketball. I breathed basketball. ‘Obsessed’ would not be a word too strong. Unfortunately, I was a short guy playing a tall man’s sport. At 5’9”, I was unable to achieve a lot of my goals. I was never the leading rebounder. I was never able to dunk the basketball and after severely injuring my left ankle at age 16 I was never able to grab the rim. It wasn’t because I didn’t try. I jumped and I jumped and I jumped. I told myself over and over just jump higher and you will finally do it. But no amount of effort could overcome the physical limitations that bound me.
I also learned the futility of self-effort in my spiritual life. A Christian is naturally filled with a desire to be Christ-like. But this Christ-like nature cannot be achieved through self-effort. It is especially troubling to watch young Christians who have not yet learned this valuable lesson. They are so sincere in their attempt to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Many fail to understanding the full plan of salvation of the human soul. Yes, he died and he arose so that we might have life. But there is more, He lives so that he might live through us. Our sanctification is a preparation of the soul so that not only might we have life, but that we might experience a more abundant life, indeed, the very life of Christ living through us.
Christ calls on us to live through him just as he lived through the Father when he took on human flesh. This may be difficult to absorb but read carefully the words of Jesus. “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (John 5:19) Jesus, in his humanity, never succumbed to the temptation to be self-sufficient. He leaned, not just heavily but entirely, on the Father for all that he said and did. Christ was the vessel containing the Living Water through which God carried himself to fallen man.
Jesus said, “For I sanctify myself that they too may be truly sanctified.” (John 17:19) This doesn’t refer to the cleansing of a sinful nature. Christ knew no sin. This means that he was consecrated to the will of his Father. He was totally and utterly dependent upon him. He is teaching us that we are too weak and frail to accomplish anything in our own effort. There is no hope whatsoever that we will ever be able to grab the rim unless he fills us with his strength, unless our feeble efforts are replaced by a trust in him to do something miraculous through us.
Jesus’ life and ministry would have been an utter failure had he tried to perform in his own strength. He always called upon the Father for wisdom, strength and stamina. He teaches us through his example that we are utterly helpless when we lean upon our own strength. Jesus chose beautiful prose to explain this, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Just as Christ needed the Father we need the Son. We are nothing. We are capable of nothing and we have no purpose without Christ. Christ alone provides meaning for our lives. What was the Father able to do through the Son? We have yet to see the infinite amount that he has done. What might the Son do through us? There is no limit if we would remove doubt and disobedience.
How might we experience this fullness of his indwelling? There is no need to get too complicated here. “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) It is this simple faith that pulls us up out of the muck of doubt. It is faith that gives us boldness when asked to perform a task we know would be impossible for us without the indwelling Christ. It is faith that brings light to our dark days. That restores sweetness to our lives when they are poisoned with bitterness.
Have you ever seen anyone suffer more than you thought a person could endure? Several examples come to mind. When I attended a Bible College in eastern Kentucky I was astonished at the spiritual depth of some of my elderly instructors. I wanted so much to experience the depth in Christ that they experienced. But I was astonished when I discovered what some of these Christian warriors had been through. Ms. Nettie Myers comes to mind. She was a young teacher there at the fledgling school in the beginning of the last century. A flash flood swept through the ‘hollow’ where she and her family lived. Thirty feet of water swept the whole family downstream. Her husband and all her sons perished and she alone survived. It was a tragedy many struggle to explain. But the miracle was yet to follow. Ms. Myers harbored no bitterness. She invited Christ to indwell within her and was thus enabled to live out a long and happy life saturated with the sweetness of Christ.
Have you come upon a problem in your life that seems to have no solution? Is there a situation that seems only to bring you misery? Is your life a darkness yearning for light, a bitterness yearning for sweetness?
I bought a Hyosung scooter a couple years ago because it gives me nearly 70 miles to a gallon. Imagine how foolish it would be were I to buy the scooter and push it everywhere I go. I could save a lot of gas money but the effort would kill me. When we as Christians have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, he imparts unto us his Spirit. In a sense, he puts within us an engine. How foolish we are when we spend our own effort in an attempt to achieve a certain level of Christianity. We will never reach our goal. The effort will destroy us. But, if we use the engine within, if we draw on the power of the Indwelling Spirit we will discover that we “can do all things through Christ which strengthens us.” (Philippians 4:13)

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Open Letter to Obama by Lou Pritchett, Proctor and Gamble

Who would have thought, and yet many are thinking it.

By Lou Pritchett, Procter & Gamble



Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America 's true living legends- an
Acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world's highest
Rated speakers. Successful corporate executives everywhere recognize
Him as the foremost leader in change management.. Lou changed the way
America does business by creating an audacious concept that came to
Be known as "partnering." Pritchett rose from soap salesman to
Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for Procter and
Gamble and over the course of 36 years, made corporate history.


Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike
Any of the others, you truly scare me.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive
Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no
Visible signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth
Growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus
Don't understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned
Yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to
Publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America '
Crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style
Country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system
With a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly
Capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose
That lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of
Living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics
Against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from
Challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider
Opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both
Omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything
You do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the
Limbaugh's, Hannitys, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing,
Conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will
Probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett

This letter was sent to the NY Times but they never acknowledged it.
Big surprise. Since it hit the Internet, however, it has had over
500,000 hits. Keep it going. All that is necessary for evil to succeed
Is that good men do nothing.. It's happening right now.*

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Terry Jones' Fifteen Minutes Of Fame

Terry Jones’ Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Andy Warhol is responsible for giving us the expression “fifteen minutes of fame”. It means that just about anyone can do something, somewhere, some way to earn the spotlight in the media for a short period of time. Terry Jones, the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida seems to have successfully captured his time with the media.
Terry Jones was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Most tourists who visit this city go looking for the birthplace of the successful radio personality, Rush Limbaugh. Jones was pastor of the Christian Community of Cologne in Germany until he was expelled from the church in 2008. Members complained that he was confusing himself with the real Messiah.
Jones moved to Florida where he now leads the Dove World Outreach Center. One might imagine some sort of mega-church complex because of all the publicity but in fact it has a congregation of less than sixty people. Like a school of piranhas, the media has been circling Pastor Jones and his church. Jones seems to be the kind that might measure his righteousness by vehemently offending those on the other side of the aisle. He is quick to identify anyone who is not a Christ follower as ‘the devil’. I guess he missed the memo regarding Soul Winning 101; ‘When attempting to when a soul for Christ it is not wise to refer to them as devils’.
If Jones operational mode is to be master of offensiveness, then he has successfully answered the question, “How might I offend the most people with the least effort?” That’s easy. Invite the media to witness the burning of the book that 1.3 billion people on earth consider most holy. By participating in this one simple act, Jones also did what no politician or president has been able to do in fifty years. He united a polarized culture of politicians on at least one issue. Liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans are clamoring to get on the band wagon criticizing the strange pastor from Florida. President Obama characterized Jones as a ‘bigot’. Sarah Palin called on him to “stand down”. Harry Reid hinted at hypocrisy revealed under the ‘guise of religion’.
The ploy for publicity included a trial of the Koran. This whole event borders on the bizarre. In the words of Jones himself, “The Koran was found guilty then there were four forms of punishment by which the people could choose. Those forms were burning, shredding, rounding and the Koran would face the firing squad.” Here is another memo for Pastor Jones, ‘guilt can only be demonstrated in the human soul that possesses the gift of free will. An object cannot experience guilt nor can it defend itself in a trial.’ His actions hint of insanity but he does remind us of something our government leaders seem determined to deny. Islam has a radical branch that is dangerous and life threatening.
The Coalition of Muslim Organizations accused Jones of being involved in a conspiracy to motivate moderate Muslims to violence. Others have actually suggested that he has been planted by the conservative movement to force President Obama’s hand when it comes to Islamic issues. This is certainly a stretch that gives Terry Jones way too much credit for cleverness. Jones is certainly being used, not so much by political groups in America as by radical extremists in the Middle East. They are using his actions as an excuse to participate in more carnage against Christians and westerners. Jones has positioned himself to be used as a scapegoat. His actions may be foolish and questionable, but he is not responsible for the deaths of dozens of westerners and Christians. Radical Muslims, who seethe in their hatred toward all things Christian, must take ownership for their own murderous acts.
Jones hatred of the Koran is explainable. He believes the teachings embodied in this book are responsible for the loss of nearly 3,000 lives in the attacks of 911. He believes the terrorists who beheaded Daniel Pearl were motivated by the anti-Christian verses of the Koran. Jones’ motivations may be simpler than that. It may be a ploy for fame or money. He may be a bona fide mental case. He might think himself as a type of Moses, a fiery prophet sent by God to wage war on evil. He may feel he is divinely called to be a great defender of God. Again, I am reminded of the words of Sarah Palin recently when she said, “I need NOW’s defense like a fish needs a bicycle.” A last memo to Terry Jones, ‘God doesn’t need men to defend him, he stands alone.”
The conclusion of the whole matter for those who are Christian must boil down to the Golden Rule. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” Christians are deeply offended when others burn the Bible, although burning a Bible will do nothing to stir up our political leaders. Burning the Koran is not wrong because it is immoral or illegal. It is wrong because it violates the essence of Christianity. Christians are not called upon to agitate our enemies, we are admonished to not “be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12)

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

When We Have Been Betrayed

When We Have Been Betrayed
By Kevin Probst

Ted Haggard recently visited a local church in our community. He confessed his failures and thanked God for second chances. Ted Haggard’s failure caused a great amount of confusion and disappointment, especially among younger Christians who looked up to him as a role model. Many turned away wondering, “If I can’t trust this man, a man who ministered the tens of thousands, a man who seemed to be so upright and committed to truth, then who can I trust?”
The betrayal of trust brings horrendous suffering to a loyal heart. The word betrayal is closely associated with the word, backstab. To be betrayed is to be blindsided, usually by someone you trusted and loved. The pain sometimes lasts an entire lifetime.
The bitterness of betrayal can cause hatred to take root in the soul. An unfamiliar word for many is misandry, it refers to a hatred for men. Susan Murphy-Milano (Defending our Lives)and K.J. Wilson (When Violence Begins) have written books that demonstrate a deep seeded hatred for men in general. They have advised women how to leave their husbands. They have taught women how to falsely accuse a man of rape or harassment and use false evidence to build a case. These feminazis certainly do not represent the mainstream feminist movement but they do represent a significant number of militant feminists who are willing to produce false accusations and twisted exaggerations to push their anti-male agenda.
I talked to a man recently whose marriage broke to pieces years ago. He confessed his role in the breakup but he repeated again and again that he was faithful to his wife while she pursued many men and finally even committed to a lesbian affair. There was no resolution for him. First of all, he hadn’t dealt with his own failures in the marriage. But he was also eaten up with bitterness and hurt because he had been blindsided by someone he loved dearly.
Misogyny is hatred or disrespect for women. Disrespect for women has become so common place in our society that the younger generation accepts it as the norm. It is always confusing and contradictory when powerful politicians who support radical feminism get a free pass when they have multiple affairs while the wife and children sit at home. Pornography has done more harm to the image of women than anything else in our culture yet more and more women are willing to participate is such demeaning activity. Ashley Judd called modern hip-hop the soundtrack to misogyny. Young men are being taught to define their manhood by how aggressive and abusive they are toward women. They are often encouraged and empowered by women who reveal they have serious self-esteem issues when they return over and over again to an abusive partner. Respect is an important issue for men. Love and respect can't stand alone, they need each other. The “B_ _ _ _” word is very prevalent in our culture today. It's a mystery why so many women tolerate and even embrace this disrespectful depiction by displaying it on their t-shirts and body tattoos.
There is much distrust for clergy. There is much distrust between the sexes. There is also much distrust for our government. A national telephone survey by Rasmussen indicated that only 13% believe Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Nearly 50% of respondents say Congress is doing a poor job. 40% of Americans strongly disapprove of the job President Obama is doing. Americans don’t trust their government or their president. Blogs, billboards and busses all carry unanswered questions about the president: Is he a Muslim? Is he a Christian? Does he hate America? Does he hate Israel? Does he have a legitimate birth certificate? Many Americans fear they are being betrayed by their government and their president.
Wives have been betrayed by husbands. Husbands have been betrayed by wives. Small children have suffered sexual abuse in the worst kind of betrayal by family members they genuinely trusted. Politicians betray their constituents. Pastors betray their congregants. Siblings betray each other in order to get more than their fair share of an inheritance from a dead parent. The suffering of betrayal is a cancer eating away at the social fabric of our culture.
So what do you do when you have suffered the pain of betrayal, when you’ve been stabbed in the back? When the love you have given so freely has been trampled and stomped on? There are no easy answers. Our human nature demands we seek vengeance and justice. Our court systems are overwhelmed by a backlog of lawsuits submitted by those who have been hurt by betrayal.
Ironically, the right thing to do is contrary to human nature. Jesus knew about betrayal. He was betrayed by those he loved most. He is still being betrayed and backstabbed by those he loves. Those of us who call ourselves 'Followers' should respond as he did, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)
God allows pain in our lives. It is the hammer and chisel that brings out of us a likeness for Christ. How we respond to the issue is often more important than the issue itself.
A man once asked an artist, “How do you make an elephant.” The artist replied, “It’s easy, you simply take a block of marble, a hammer and a chisel and you chip away everything that is not elephant.” Christ allows pain and difficulty in our lives to act as a hammer and chisel to chip away all the parts that are not like Christ.
Instead of responding with hatred and vengeance we must realize that vengeance belongs to God. One day he will exact justice for every situation. We must be patient and allow him to do his job and refrain from trying to help him. In the meantime we are to “do all we can to live peaceably with all men.” (Romans12:18)


Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dear America Taxpayer - Letter from Michelle Obama

A friend sent me this. I have no idea who is the original author:

Dear American Taxpayer

For only the second time in my adult life, I am not ashamed of my country. I want to thank the hard working American people for paying $242 thousand dollars for my vacation in Spain. My daughter Sasha, several long-time family friends, my personal staff and various guests had a wonderful time. Honestly, you just haven't lived until you have stayed in a $2,500.00 per night suite at a 5-Star luxury hotel. Thank you also for the use of Air Force 2 and the 70 Secret Service personnel who tagged along to be sure we were safe and cared for at all times.
Air Force 2 only used 47,500 gallons of jet fuel for this trip and carbon emissions were a mere 1,031 tons of CO2. These are only rough estimates, but they are close. That's quite a carbon footprint as my good friend Al Gore would say, so we must ask the American citizens to drive smaller, more fuel efficient cars and drive less too, so we can lessen our combined carbon footprint.
I know times are hard and millions of you are struggling to put food on the table and trying to make ends meet. I do appreciate your sacrifice and do hope you find work soon. I was really exhausted after Barack took our family on a luxury vacation in Maine a few weeks ago. I just had to get away for a few days!
Michelle Obama
P.S. Thank you as well for the $2 BILLION trip to India we recently went on.
Love ya, mean it.

P.S.S. We're having a great time in Hawaii

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reasons People Get Saved

Reasons People Get Saved
By Kevin Probst

It is disturbing that 70% of Americans believe there are many different ways to heaven. Oprah Winfrey reaches millions of viewers with her New Age message declaring there are many ways to heaven. President Obama also promotes this idea of inclusive salvation. But Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6) No one, absolutely no one. Not the Hindu, not the Buddhist, not the Muslim, not the Protestant, not the Catholic. No one can come to the father except by Jesus Christ.
Why do people get saved? People get saved because:
1. There really is a hell.
Many today would like to believe there are second chances. They want to believe that perhaps there is a purgatory somewhere and if you missed getting saved here perhaps you can get saved there. Many embrace the idea of reincarnation. They think you can live multiple lives which provide you with multiple opportunities to finally get it right. It’s a lie that will damn multitudes. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)
These words must be shared in a loving way because many are not so openly rebellious as they are simply ignorant. Many believe that God is so good and so loving and so full of kindness that he couldn’t bear to see anyone endure the suffering of hell. Every heresy contains some partial truth. God is love. He is kind and loving. But God is also just. He is righteous and holy. His holiness demands that he hate sin. Were he to go soft on sin his very nature would be compromised. There is a hell and it testifies to a holy God determined to destroy sin finally and eternally.
People get saved because:
2. Time is running out.
Many say, “I’ll get saved but I’ll do it later. I’ll choose my own time.” These are common words especially among the young. The truth is, we can’t choose the time of our own salvation. We can’t pick a day and an hour and say, “God, I’ll meet you then.” God is not subject to our time schedule.
Back in my college days I worked at Bristol Memorial Hospital in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia. The state line actually ran straight through the hospital. I was a young and enthusiastic Christian. I wanted to save the world. There was an old man on my floor who was expected to die any day. I entered his room one evening and asked him, “Sir, are you a Christian, do you know Jesus as your personal Savior?” It was as if I were looking into a demonic face as he looked me in the eye and growled, “Don’t you ever mention the name of Jesus to me again.” I watched as the last grains of sand emptied into this man’s hour glass. He died and went to hell without Christ the next day. How do I know he went to hell? Because I believe God’s word and it says that no man denies Christ and goes to heaven.
People get saved because they finally realize there is danger and death in delay.
It’s like a man standing on the railroad tracks. The train is hurling toward him at 100 miles per hour. He is deaf and blind and he doesn’t know how fast that train is coming. He stands on the track and he says, “I have time enough.” But his time has run out. I pray along with Isaiah, “Open the eyes of the blind and might the ears of the deaf be unstopped.” (Isaiah 35:5)
Many try to outsmart God. “I will enjoy my sin and then right before I die I’ll pray a prayer of repentance. I’ll have my cake and eat it too.” God is not mocked by our feeble and pretentious manipulations. Those who continually put off and say ‘no’ to a merciful God will one day find that their hearts have become so hardened they can no longer respond. “Today if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” (Hebrews 3:15) No man knows the last time he will hear the voice of God calling him.
We must not take childhood conversions lightly. 80% of those converted are converted in childhood. Why do so few older people become Christians? It’s because their hearts have become dangerously hardened.
People become Christians because:
3. Life is brief and uncertain.
The Psalmist says a man’s days are like grass, the wind blows and the grass is gone. James said life is like a mist, here one moment and gone the next.
Ask any older person and they will tell you that life is brief. The years fly by until they seem like months, the months seem like weeks and the weeks like days.
Life is not only brief, it is also forgettable. Do you know your grandfather, I hope so. Many don’t know their great-grandfather and most people can’t even name their great-great-grandfather. We will be completely forgotten a couple generations after we die.
The uncertainty of life hit home for the family of Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States. His son, Calvin Jr., went out to play tennis one day. He developed a blister on his heel and in a few hours’ time he was dead of blood poisoning. Death unexpectedly strikes the young as well as the aged.
One of my co-workers received good and bad news recently. The bad news was that he had cancer. The good news was that there was a cure available. There is bad news and good news regarding our God. The bad news is that he is just, righteous and holy and he will judge us for the sin we have not repented of. The good news is that he has provided a remedy for his own wrath. His son, Jesus Christ, died because he loved his father, because he loved us and because he hated sin. The only way for us to experience salvation is through the sacrifice of the precious Son of God.

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Reasons People Refuse Salvation

Why People Don't Get Saved?
By Kevin Probst

There is an urban legend that has been floating about since the 1990’s. A group of scientists were drilling through the earth in Siberia. They drilled nine miles deep and dropped a microphone deep into the hole to listen for plate movements or vibrations in the earth. What they heard instead was the horror of people screaming in a fiery hell. When I found this on Youtube and listened to hell for the first time I asked myself… “If the microphone was close enough to hear the screams of hell why were the wires not melted?” It actually sounded more like the mall during Black Friday. (See Sounds of Hell at web address below.)
This is surely an urban legend and it likely has no truth in it. But here is real truth. There is a horrible, unspeakable, indescribable utterance that comes from the deepest pit of hell and I think if God would let people hear it their perceptions of God and hell might change. That horrible wailing belongs to Agrippa and he cries out… “Paul, you almost persuaded me to be a Christian. Almost! Almost! Almost!” That scream is repeated millions of times by millions of souls and it is the worm that never dies in the deepest realms of a real hell.
Why didn’t King Agrippa get saved when he had the chance?
1. Arrogance and Pride. I think Agrippa was condescending toward Paul. “Paul, do you not know who you talk to? I’m a king. I’m very powerful and extremely intelligent and sophisticated. Do you think that you can persuade me to be a Christian in such a short moment?”
Agrippa weighed the cost of becoming a Christian. “What will the people back in Rome think if I become a follower of this lowly Jesus? I would have to give up my sinful lifestyle. I would have to bow to another king and kings don’t bow.”
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
Pride was the first sin to disrupt the calm of God’s creation. It was pride that caused Adam and Eve to be expelled from the paradise of Eden. Pride lifts the heart of man and attempts to degrade God.
It was pride that caused Lucifer, the beautiful angel of light, to be expelled from heaven. “How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount…I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’” (Isa. 14:12-14)
People fail to become Christians because they are proud. Many are too proud to confess sin. Too proud to humble themselves and kneel before God. Perdition is populated by people who were pompously proud of their perversions.
2. Love of Sin. Agrippa contemplated becoming a Christian but he was unwilling to give up his sinful lifestyle. Agrippa was a pervert. He was having an incestuous relationship with his sister. Were he alive today he would likely be addicted to the perversions of sexual sin so prevalent on the internet. Unlike Agrippa, Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God rather than enjoy the passing pleasures of sin. (Hebrews 11:24)
Sin certainly brings pleasure. But only a fool would exchange a short season of pleasure for an eternity of torment.
If we could drop a microphone into hell we would hear Agrippa saying, “Why, why did I play the fool? I traded those few, fleeting moments of pleasure in exchange for an eternity of suffering. I have played the fool. I have played the fool.” Those who make no preparation for eternity play the fool.
3. Deception. “Take heed that no man deceive you.” (Matthew 24:4) Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven…many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘In never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
Many believe if they keep the law they are saved. The law doesn’t save us, the law condemns us. It is the spotlight that shines on our dark, sinful souls.
Many believe they will get to heaven because their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. Hell is full of good people. The idea that God is ‘okay’ with just a little sin is a great deception. God is holy. God is sinless. God hates one thing…God hates sin. Heaven will be a sinless place inhabited by a sinless God who will be worshipped by a sinless people. Don’t be deceived, God doesn’t smile or wink at any small amount of sin.
Many believe they are going to heaven because they grew up in a Christian home. They look at Christianity as something that can be inherited. Still others think they are going to heaven because they attend church on Sunday morning. Can you imagine one day standing before a holy and just God and trying to argue that one hour on Sunday morning must surely make you worthy of an eternity in heaven?
Agrippa, like most other people who fail to become followers of Christ, missed his opportunity because he was proud, he loved his sin and he was deceived.
Jesus was clear in his teaching. He is the only way to heaven. His words to Nicodemus were meant for all mankind, “You must be born again.” If we confess our sins with a sincere heart and turn from our wicked ways his justice guarantees salvation for us.

1. Sounds of Hell
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Sounds of Hell

Urban Legend? Scientists in Siberia claim to have lowered a microphone into a hole they drilled that is nine miles deep. They heard the horrible screams of hell. If they lowered a microphone that close to hell, why didn't the wires melt?

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Look at what your legislators are doing! No wonder they can't pass a budget!

House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, pictured standing, far right, speaks while colleagues Rep. Barbara Lambert, D-Milford and Rep. Jack F. Hennessy, D-Bridgeport, play solitaire Monday night as the House convened to vote on a new budget. (AP)

The guy sitting in the row in front of these two....he's on Facebook, and the guy behind Hennessy is checking out the baseball scores.

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

When Going To Church Becomes A Sinful Act

When Going To Church Becomes A Sinful Act
Ten reasons not to go to church
By Kevin Probst

There are good reasons and bad reasons for following Christ. Jesus indicated a very high price must be paid for those who would choose to be his followers. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” That statement was enough to turn away those who were half-hearted in their commitment.
The mother of a friend of ours recently died. Our friend felt the grief and sadness that comes with the death of a dear loved one. When we asked her about getting time off work to attend the funeral she was adamant that her boss “better not deprive me of time to go to my mother’s funeral.” We all agreed that her request for time off should be honored.
The story recorded by Luke in his ninth chapter may seem to portray Christ as a bit heartless unless a deeper study is applied to his words. Christ invited a man to follow him and the man offered up what seems to be a legitimate excuse. “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus replied, “Let the (spiritually) dead bury their own (physically) dead.” Actually, a burial may not have been imminent. The man’s father may have been terminally ill and his death may have been expected soon.
Was Jesus being unreasonable? Not if you look deeper into the meaning of his words. Jesus was saying to this man, “If you are going to use the illness or death of your father as an excuse to avoid making me Lord then it is unacceptable. There is no legitimate excuse for delaying or refusing the lordship of Jesus Christ.
Jesus refused to accept the burial of a loved one as an excuse for partial commitment. If Christ was so firm with this man about being totally committed I wonder how Christ reacts to those who offer excuses for deserting the assembling of ourselves together. Hebrews 10:25 admonishes us to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as is the habit of some…”
Refusing to worship together can be an act of selfishness. These are just some of the excuses that must be very disturbing to Christ:
1. I’m just too busy or too tired.
2. I’m entertaining guests this weekend.
3. I slept in.
4. I just couldn’t get the kids ready on time.
5. I can worship just as well by watching Joel Olsteen on T.V.
There are many more weak excuses we search for when we would rather choose to satisfy our own desires rather than commit ourselves to the Lordship of Christ.
On the other hand, attending church may also be an act of selfishness.
Many attend church for all the wrong reasons:
1. Some attend in hopes they might get on T.V.
2. Some attend to network with influential people in the community.
3. Some attend simply because the church runs a Christian school and it provides opportunities for them to be involved in that separate institution.
4. Some attend because the building is new and beautiful.
5. Some attend because that is where they married or where their parents attend.
6. Some attend because the church is tolerant of pre-marital sex or homosexuality.
7. Some attend because of geographical convenience.
8. Some attend because of the entertainment value of the services.
9. Some attend because the pastor is popular.
10. Some attend because anyone who is anyone attends this particular church.
Going to church can be wrong when we attend for selfish reasons. The right reasons for going to church include a desire to worship God, interact and receive encouragement from God’s children and participate or offer our talents to enhance the worship experience.
I’ve seen so many families hopping about from church to church because they are so dissatisfied. They want an athletic program for junior. They want arts and crafts for missy. Mom wants a yoga class and dad wants to play on the softball team. When we attend church to satisfy our own selfish wants instead of worshipping the true and living God then we are going for the wrong reason. In some cases going to church may be a selfish, sinful act.

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Almost Saved but Entirely Lost

Almost Saved but Entirely Lost
By Kevin Probst

The story of Paul’s defense before King Agrippa II is found in Acts 26. Paul turned his apology into an opportunity to preach the gospel to a group of elites who were very skeptical. King Agrippa II uttered some of the most sorrowful words in scripture as he responded to Paul’s discourse.
King Agrippa II belonged to an exceedingly sinful family. The Herod family tree was infested with Satanic influence. King Agrippa II’s great grandfather was Herod the Great who killed a great number of babies in his failed attempt to kill baby Jesus. King Agrippa II’s father was Agrippa I who beheaded the apostle James and tried to kill Peter. Agrippa I stirred the wrath of God in Acts 12 because he allowed himself to be exalted as an equal with God. An angel struck him down, probably with a heart attack. He was infested with worms and he died suddenly. Adultery and incest rotted away at the family tree. Agrippa II’s uncle, Herod Antipas, divorced his wife to marry the former wife of his brother. This Uncle Herod was responsible for the beheading of John the Baptist. Now, Paul finds himself standing before the seventh and last of the Herod kings, King Herod Agrippa II.
Paul was accused of apostasy. The Jewish people accused him of opposing the law, the temple and even the great Caesar. Paul was guilty of none of these charges and demanded he be tried in Rome as a Roman citizen. King Agrippa and his sister Bernice were in Caesarea to visit Festus, the new governor. King Agrippa had no children of his own and he was in an incestuous relationship with his sister, Bernice, at this time. Festus asked King Agrippa II what charges he should send on to Rome against Paul. King Agrippa asked that Paul be brought to him.
Paul was said to be a small, bald man with thick eye brows and knobbly knees, stood humbly and full of grace before kings and governors. He began boldly to declare Christ.
Paul told Agrippa that he was a proud follower of this same Jesus who had been tortured, died and rose again. He pointed to his resurrection as proof that he was the Messiah. Paul was saying, “I am not an apostate Jew. I am a Christian. I am not against the law. The law is fulfilled in Christ.” He revealed his experience along the road to Damascus. “I was blinded but now I see more clearly than ever before.”
Paul then looked directly into the eyes of the king. King Agrippa, you are an expert on Jewish affairs, you know the law. You know the story of Jesus and you are aware of his death and resurrection. “Will you agree with me and testify to Festus that the things I say are true?”
Agrippa’s sad and disturbing reply has echoed down through the ages. Books have been written about it. Sermons have been preached about it. Songs have been sung about it. Almost persuaded. King Agrippa said to Paul, “Almost you persuade me to be a Christian.”
Rev. Brundage once said, “He who is almost persuaded is almost saved, and to be almost saved is to be entirely lost.” There is no record that Agrippa ever repented of his horrendous sin. We cannot be absolutely certain but we can be fairly certain that Agrippa is living an eternity in hell. Every moment of his eternal existence Agrippa remembers his words to Paul, “You nearly convinced me to be a Christian.”
Why did Agrippa not get saved? Why do people turn away from the multitude of opportunities they have to give their lives to Christ? Why do they refuse the marvelous gift provided by the sacrifice of Christ?
There is what I believe to be an urban legend that has been floating about since the 1990’s. A group of scientists were drilling through the earth in Siberia. They drilled nine miles deep and dropped a microphone deep into the hole to listen for plate movements or vibrations of the earth. What they heard instead was the horror of people screaming in a fiery hell. When I Youtubed this on my computer and listened to hell for the first time I asked myself…”If the microphone was close enough to hear the screams of hell why were the wires not melted?” It actually sounded more like the mall on Black Friday.
That is an urban legend and it likely has no truth in it. This is real truth. There is a horrible, unspeakable, indescribable utterance that comes from the deepest pit of hell and I think if God would let people hear it they might change their minds about being a Christian. That horrible wailing belongs to Agrippa and he cries out, “Paul, you almost persuaded me to be a Christian. Almost! Almost! Almost!” That scream is repeated millions of times by millions of souls and it is the worm that never dies in the depths of a real hell.
Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Your Future in 15 Seconds

The Future Isn't Looking So Bright

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What Happens To Us When We Die?

What Happens To Us When We Die?
By Kevin Probst

It is very sad to witness the loss of innocence. Adam and Eve were perfect beings living perfect lives in a perfect paradise. Then the Liar entered the garden and convinced Eve that if she sinned she would not surely die. But God had said, "If you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall surely die." (Gen. 2:16, 17) It turns out God was right and Satan was wrong because Gen. 5:5 declares that "…the days of Adam were nine hundred and thirty years and then he died."
Their return to dust may actually be considered a blessing. Had Adam and Eve lived forever then sin would have existed in their hearts forever. Christ paid the penalty of death so that our sins might be forgiven but we all must suffer the ultimate consequence of sin. “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) God used death as an instrument to destroy sin in the unrepentant hearts of mankind when he flooded the earth and destroyed all but the faithful eight.
All men are destined to die. (Hebrews 9:27) Death has been a great mystery down through the ages. We know so little about it because our sources are so limited. Many live with thanatophobia, the fear of death. They fear the unknown. They fear their destiny. They fear the powerful spirits who dwell on the other side.
There are two basic theories as to what happens to us after we die. Many believe that we are mortal beings with mortal spirits. Our spirits are put to rest after we die in what is referred to as "soul sleep." Those who believe in the mortality of the soul don't believe that men just have a soul so much as they believe that men are souls. Proponents of this belief would argue that we are not immortal, but rather we are striving to "put on immortality." (1 Cor. 15:53-54) David spoke of the "sleep of death" in Psalms 13:3. Jesus referred to the death of Lazarus as a sleep. (John 11:11-13) Stephen, the first martyr, finally succumbed to death by stoning. The Bible says he "fell asleep." (Acts 7:60) Finally, when Christ returns he promises a resurrection for believers. "The dead in Christ shall rise…so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Leonardo Da Vinci may have been expressing this idea of soul sleep when he said, “As well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well lived brings happy death.”
The grave danger for those who believe in soul sleep is that so many modern mediums attempt to awaken those spirits and communicate with them. This is strongly forbidden in God’s Word. There were to be no necromancers (those who communicate with the dead) among God’s people. This was an abomination to God. (Deuteronomy 18) These communications are forbidden because Satan is a great deceiver and he does surely use these attempts to deceive those who are foolish enough to dabble in areas that can bring great danger into their lives. There lies between the living and the dead a great gulf that has been fixed so that we cannot go to them nor can they come to us. (Luke 16)
The majority of believers embrace the belief that the soul is immortal. Paul said that he would rather be "Absent from the body and present with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8) The assumption is that Paul would instantly enter the presence of the Lord at death and he would experience no period of "soul sleep".
On the darkest of days the Son of God hung on a splintered cross and turned to the penitent thief hanging next to him and said, "…today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43). But in the previous verse the thief said to Christ, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Is he not referring here to the Second Coming of Christ or is he expecting to be taken to heaven. Would the thief have enough theological understanding to even realize what he was saying?
Some think it is a punctuation problem. If the comma in Luke 23:43 is placed after 'today' it reads like this. "Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise". If we move the comma so it is positioned before today it reads like this, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise." Scriptures weren't divided into verses until long after the original scriptures were written. It was at this time that much of the punctuation was added.
The research of Dr. Sam Parnia of New York City's Weill Cornell Center seems to indicate that perhaps the soul is immortal and does not sleep. After examining 1,500 survivors of cardiac arrest, Parnia observed that when blood flow is cut off, brain activity begins to cease within 10 seconds. Many people have been resuscitated after experiencing more than an hour of no heart activity. Up to 20% of these people claim to have experienced consciousness. They claim to have been hovering over the doctors, observing and hearing all that goes on in the struggle to save their lives. (1)
God gifted man with time so that we might organize our lives and form necessary life patterns. Man needs time but God does not. Surely, a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day to God. (2 Peter 3:8) Those who die today and those who died 1,000 years ago will all arrive at judgment simultaneously because time is no longer relevant when we live in eternity. It is very difficult to wrap the human mind around the fact that everything that is going to happen has already happened in the mind of an eternal, omniscient God. When time is removed from the formula either theory might be true, the soul might be suspended until the resurrection or the soul might go directly to heaven. To a God who lives in timelessness the whole argument must seem nonsensical.
We will all look into the faces of loved ones who will pass on before us. Whether they go directly to a heaven or a hell or whether they enter a sleep to await the resurrection seems irrelevant in view of the fact that all will one day stand before the Judge of the Universe. They will then be rewarded with life eternal or punished with everlasting torment. "…man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." (Hebrews 9:27) What is important is not how long it takes, it's where we arrive.

1. What Happens When We Die? By M.J. Stephey, TIME Magazine, Sept. 18, 2008


Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.