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Faith

Defining Eternal Life

Why do videos go viral? Some capture a moment so spectacular that the craze is understandable – like Susan Boyle’s audition on Britain’s Got Talent. No one questions why the video has 240 million views. Other videos are harder to explain. Gangnam Style is the seventh most-watched YouTube video of all time. The song is catchy, but there are countless other catchy videos that struggle to get a million views, let alone the 3.6 billion Gangnam Style has. We could dissect videos and speculate what makes some viral and most not, but our conclusions would be vague at best.

I have the same question about why certain Bible verses and stories are popular and others aren’t. John 3:16 is famous for obvious reasons, but why are the stories of Jonah and Zacchaeus popular? I like these stories – especially Jonah – but I think other passages are more essential and deserve more attention, like this quote from Jesus:

Categories
Faith

First Principle of Problem Solving: God Has Proved His Love

When we answer a question, our answer cannot contradict what has already been proven to be true.

From now on, I will refer to this as the first principle of problem solving. We use this principle all the time, but I first became conscious of it in physics class. In class, when we solved a problem, we would write out equations derived from Newton’s Laws and then use the equations to get an answer. Once we solved the problem, we would check our answer against the equations. Since Newton’s Laws are true, if our answer wasn’t consistent with the equations, we challenged our answer, not the equations.

This same concept is important for our faith and for how we study the Bible. At the center of Christianity is Jesus’ death and resurrection; and if it all really happened, there are eternal implications that are far reaching. (This is not an apologetics blog, so my writing will assume that Jesus did indeed die and rise again.) I couldn’t possibly hope to address all of the them, so for now, let’s look at two of the most important implications:

Categories
Faith

Advent Devotional on Hope

This post is a devotional I wrote for an Advent guide my church just published. You can find the entire guide here.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. – Isaiah 9:2, 6-7

When Matthew quotes Isaiah in his Gospel, he is telling us Jesus is the fulfillment of this prophecy. This is why we celebrate Christmas. But to fully celebrate and rejoice in Christmas, we must imagine a world without Christmas—a world where God left us in our sin, a world without hope.