Welcome to tomthinking.com Tuesday, September 25 2018 @ 01:53 AM UTC

I Know What You're Afraid Of And How To Overcome It

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I know what you are afraid of. I’ve been there myself. I understand what it means to have spiritual fear. Maybe you’e never heard it put that way before, but you know what those fears are. They range from simply sharing Jesus with a person you’ve just met to suffering for your faith. Living in the modern world, in a culture dominated by so-called modern sensibilities we sometimes define what is appropriate or prudent in our spiritual life by the circumstances around us and how we feel. If we feel nervous, or intimidated, or unsure of ourselves we shrink back from doing that which the Bible encourages us to do. Here, let me give you an example.
Sharing your faith with your family. Have you ever talked about Jesus with your parents or siblings? Who are you to tell your parents about their sin and need for Jesus? Has that ever run across your mind? Sure it has. What if it causes a tear or break in your relationship? I know you’ve thought of that too. Just how far do you have to go with your Christianity in order to be a real Christian anyway?

Why God Doesn't Speak

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There’s an important page in your Bible that, if you are like most people, goes completely unread. Chances are, you are like most Christians who rip past this page without a moment’s thought. In fact, in all of the Bible this page might be described by some as the most irrelevant, unnecessary, useless page between its soft leather covers. Virtually no one earmarks it, thumbnails it, highlights it, or contemplates what it represents in God’s grand scheme. Yet I’ve found this page to be one of the most important reminders to me that God is always sovereignly at work, performing his will in the world and in my life. Before I tell you where to find this page in your Bible, allow me to share a story.
Craig was an up and coming political star, somewhat controversial, but completely dedicated to his mission. He passionately wanted to represent righteousness in the political system but often found himself frustrated. We were on the phone one day, discussing his latest machinations with his political party and race for power when he pulled a big question out of his hat that was probably the most important question he’d ever asked me.
“Tom, why don’t I hear God speak?”

Experiencing God's Love Through Violence

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How much does God love you?
I was reading a passage from John 17 this morning that caused me to stop and wonder about the incredible love of God. In verses 22 and 23 Jesus is praying for our unity, saying “…that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
In case you missed it, Jesus said that God loves you and I to the same degree that he loves his own son. He loves you just as much as he loves Jesus.
This is a staggering thought. You and I are filled with sin—the thing that God hates the most. In our natural selves we rebel against God. Yet Jesus says that God loves us to no greater or less degree than he loves his own perfect, holy, sinless, eternal son. Yet here’s the kicker…
God’s love for his son did not prevent him from sending Jesus to the cross.

The Necessity of Sin and Guilt

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I first posted this article on October 23, 2008.

After writing my article, The Truth About Truth, I felt that something was missing. There were a small number people upset with the article, but as might be predicted, they were people who had trouble with the idea of absolute or objective truth. Since I’ve brought it up, let me touch on one aspect of objective truth verses subjective truth. I read a Buddhist blog entry this week where the writer protested the notion of “objective” truth. He reasoned that since all truth has to be perceived by someone, therefore no truth is truly objective. The writer asked, “How can one posit an objective absolute without a subjective perceiver?” I respect his point of view, understanding where it comes from, though I disagree with it for a very simple reason.

Reflections on the Superior Life of Jesus

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Consider some of the most respected figures in religious or political history. Moses is revered by the Jews as their lawgiver. Yet Moses was a murderer. Mohammad is honored by 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide as a prophet. Yet Mohammad may have been a pedophile, having sex with a child bride when she was just nine years of age. Buddha is revered by more than 300 million Buddhists. Yet Buddhism’s founder abandoned his family without warning to search for enlightenment. Karl Marx is revered by atheists and communists. Yet Marx’s philosophies led to the murder of more than 30 million people in the 20th century.
Every great religious or philosophical figure has some dark, stained past that even their so-called good deeds later in life can never erase. The same is even true in Christianity.
Christians regard Paul as the greatest Apostle, and most of the New Testament was authored by him. Yet Paul was a man of cruelty bent on murdering Christians before he became one himself. King David is revered by Jew and Christian alike for his tender heart to toward God and his unswerving devotion to righteousness. God called David a man after his own heart. Yet David was also an adulterer, a murderer, a man even the scriptures call, “a man of war [who has] shed blood”
Jesus Christ is altogether different, wholly remarkable, and completely superior to these men. Unlike these significant figures of history, Jesus Christ lived without sin.

Is God Brutal?

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Recently I watched the movie, Son Of God. Toward the end of the movie I was deeply moved by the long portrayal of Jesus’ suffering, from his beating, to carrying his cross, and finally the crucifixion. I’ve seen a good number of movies and plays about Jesus but I was never moved so emotionally by a portrayal of the crucifixion like I was watching Son Of God. Why is that?

As Americans, we live in a sanitized and antiseptic culture. Everything is clean, orderly, and has its place. Even our suffering. Most Americans don’t experience extreme brutality like Jesus experienced for us. And that got me thinking again about suffering.

How To Become A One Mina Man

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Hello. My name is Tom Terry. Perhaps you’ve heard of me. I’m that guy in Luke 19. You know, the servant who hid away the mina that his master entrusted him with—the one mina man. Okay, so I’m not “that” guy. But I’ve felt like it quite often and I’m sure that you have too. If you’re a Christian then you’ve probably had the experience of feeling like you are not doing enough to build the kingdom of God on earth. In some cases what we feel is true and in some cases it is false. We worry and say, “I could never do that.” Or, “I’m scared of doing that,” to whatever it is that we might be asked to do with church, a ministry, or missionary. In fact, of all of the excuses I’ve ever heard or said about not doing a particular thing the biggest one, and the biggest lie is, “I could never do that.”
Instead of venturing out to take a risk in our service to God we plant our butts firmly on the couch, TV remote in hand, and use our excuse to entertain ourselves believing that since we’re “already in” when it comes to Heaven, so we don’t have to do much more. But, oh my friend, how wrong we are.
So allow me to help you become all that you can be when it comes to being a failure in God’s kingdom. I can do this because I’ve been down that road more than once. In fact, I’m down the road too often, even now. I’m an expert in this and I want to help you become the one mina man you were meant to be. First, take a look at the story of the one mina man in Luke 19:12-27, then I’ll give you seven sure-fire ways you can also become a one mina man.

Should You Own One Of These? A Biblical Case for Private Weapon Ownership

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I'm going to attempt to present a biblical defense for weapon ownership. This article will not be an exhaustive look at the Bible and weapons. There are too many passages to address here. I would like to present a 30,000 foot view of the issue and try to draw a few conclusions.

This article does not present a legal or constitutional view on the right to gun ownership. If you want to pursue the historical or legal issues there are other outlets to do that. My concern is solely with what scripture seems to say or imply about weapons ownership, use, purpose, and consequences. And it is only from the scripture that I wish to make my arguments.

My approach is to ask the scripture what principles it provides about weapons. In any controversial topic there is always the temptation to search out scripture for support of your argument, rather than seeking what the text says and changing our views accordingly. As an example, when I first researched this subject in 1993 I was of the opinion that the scripture licensed killing an attacker who invades your home. But then, I discovered Mosaic Law that would seem to deny that idea. As I studied the passage I had to change my opinion to bring it in line with scripture. I’ll deal with this specific issue later. The purpose here is to note that though the scripture is ancient, it still contains relevant truth for modern issues—including the political right of bearing arms.

I’ll address the subject of weapons ownership in five areas:

The Great Creation Cop Out. What Passes For Evidence Among Creationists

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Let’s be honest for a moment and acknowledge something about creationism that we all know. To most unbelievers, creationists seem, not just ignorant, but downright silly. And while it may be easy to label a nonbeliever as having his heart and mind darkened by vain philosophy or a lack of knowledge about creationism, the reality is that for most of us, we’ve earned the reputation we have. 

There is one turn of phrase that creationists use that has often turned my stomach. Creationists who employ this phrase think they are being smart or saying something of profound faith. But the reality is that it’s a phrase that is nothing more than a cop out. It’s something we say when we don’t have an intelligent way of making our arguments. What is that phrase? Hold tight. You’re not going to like it, because you’ve used it. Everyone has used it. Even me. Here it is.


The Social Science of God's Love

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Here’s an interesting excerpt from an article pulled from LiveScience.com on the effects of religion on children, and by intimation, the home (all emphasis mine).
Kids with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children, according to a new study that is the first to look at the effects of religion on young child development.The conflict that arises when parents regularly argue over their faith at home, however, has the opposite effect.
John Bartkowski, a Mississippi State University sociologist and his colleagues asked the parents and teachers of more than 16,000 kids, most of them first-graders, to rate how much self control they believed the kids had, how often they exhibited poor or unhappy behavior and how well they respected and worked with their peers.
The researchers compared these scores to how frequently the children’s parents said they attended worship services, talked about religion with their child and argued about religion in the home.
The kids whose parents regularly attended religious services—especially when both parents did so frequently—and talked with their kids about religion were rated by both parents and teachers as having better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents.
But when parents argued frequently about religion, the children were more likely to have problems. “Religion can hurt if faith is a source of conflict or tension in the family,” Bartkowski noted.
Why so good?