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Why is More Important Than How June 27, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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Does the immensity of creation ever overwhelm you?  Does the fact that when you lay your hand on the cold hard surface of a table there is actually more space than matter in the table numb your mind?  When you’re sitting on a beach letting the sand run through your fingers have you ever reflected on the thought that there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on the earth?  Has the image of reality extending as deep through a microscope as it does through a telescope make you grasp for understanding when all you can possibly understand is that you can’t understand this immensity at all?

Science tries to explain it all.

Back in the 1890s Albert Abraham Michelson an American physicist known for his work on measuring the speed of light who received the Nobel Prize in Physics, becoming the first American to win the Nobel Prize in a science put it this way, “While it is never safe to affirm that the future of Physical Science has no marvels in store even more astonishing than those of the past, it seems probable that most of the grand underlying principles have been firmly established and that further advances are to be sought chiefly in the rigorous application of these principles to all the phenomena which come under our notice. It is here that the science of measurement shows its importance — where quantitative work is more to be desired than qualitative work. An eminent physicist remarked that the future truths of physical sciences are to be looked for in the sixth place of decimals.”

In other words the deepest thinkers came to the conclusion there was nothing new to be discovered in physics. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.

Since then the theories of Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics have shown us that we know a lot less than we thought we did.  I guess it took a genius like Einstein to discover that we aren’t as smart as we think we are.   And yet most of us who figured that out by about eighth grade continue to listen to these geniuses when they tell us they can figure out everything else.

And while science is pretty good at explaining the “how” of things they always leave out the “Why.”

They can tell us there was a BIG BANG (the “Let there be” experience for believers) they even try to tell us how there was BIG BANG, but they never even attempt to tell us why there was BIG BANG.

And to my mind and my heart the why is more important than the how.

Science is great at identifying things.  They are passable at explaining things.  Yet, when it comes to this ultimate question of why, science never utters a sound.

Look at life.  Scientists can identify it.  They can quantify it.  They have attempted to tell us how it became so diversified.  They now even say they can create it.  But they never tell us why there is life.

Have you ever wondered why?

Life is the essence of the universe.  Life is the ultimate goal and it’s the meaning of everything.

The Bible is the why book.  It is the operating manual for life.  It not only tells us how … God created everything.  It tells us why … as a dwelling place for the crown of His creation … humanity.

Why?

In the Old Testament God is specifically called the Father of the nation of Israel (Deut 32:6 ; Isa 63:16 ; 64:8 ; Jeremiah 3:4 Jeremiah 3:19 ; 31:9 ; Mal 1:6 ; 2:10) or the Father of certain individuals (2 Sam 7:14 ; 1 Chron 17:13 ; 22:10 ; 28:6 ; Psalm 68:5 ; 89:26) fifteen times. At times the father imagery is present although the term “Father” is not used (Exod 4:22-23 ; Deut 1:31 ; 8:5 ; 14:1 ; Psalm 103:13 ; Jer 3:22 ; 31:20 ; Hosea 11:1-4 ; Mal 3:17).

In the intertestamental literature the term is also used.  In the Apocrypha     (Wis 2:16; 14:3; Tob 13:4; Sir 23:1, 4; 51:10); and in the Pseudepigrapha (Jub 1:24; 19:29; 3 Macc 5:7; 6:8).

The teaching of the Fatherhood of God takes a decided turn with Jesus, for “Father” was His favorite term for addressing God. It appears on His lips some sixty-five times in the Synoptic Gospels and over one hundred times in John.

Because of Jesus’ use of this metaphor, it is not surprising that the rest of the New Testament also emphasizes the Fatherhood of God. In the Pauline letters God is described as “Father” over forty times. It occurs in blessings (Rom 1:7 ; 1 Cor 1:3), doxologies (Rom 15:6), thanksgivings ( 2 Cor 1:3 ; 1 Thess 1:2-3), prayers (Col 1:12), exhortations (Eph 5:20), and creeds (1 Cor 8:6 ; Eph 4:6). For Paul this fatherhood is based not so much on God’s role in creation but rather on the redemption and reconciliation he has made available in Jesus Christ. This is why Paul refers to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 15:6 ; 2 Cor 1:3 ; 11:31). It is through the work of Christ that God invites us to call him “Abba, Father.” It is through Christ that grace and peace have resulted and we have become God’s children (Rom 8:12-16 ; 1 Peter 1:3-4 ; 1 John 3:1).

This is not to say that God is male.  He is spirit and as such is neither male nor female.  It is not to denigrate motherhood.  For who among us would desire to live in a world without a mother’s love.  When God is referred as a father, this is simply the use of a metaphor in which he is likened to a kind and loving father.  And if we were to tip our hat to the political correctness of the day by avoiding the metaphor of father as a description and designation for God we would lose sight of the fact that Jesus chose this as His metaphor to address God and that He taught this as the metaphor by which His disciples should address God.

It also loses sight of the continuity established by the use of this metaphor with those who have called God “Father” over the centuries. These include the disciples; the earliest congregations (Rom 8:15 ; Gal 4:6); the earliest church councils (“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth “); and Christian churches all over the globe who over the centuries have prayed together “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.”

Because of God’s Fatherhood the heart of the Eternal Father longed for children.  This is why He created Adam and Eve and gave them the power to go forth and multiply.  Unfortunately they sinned and fell short of the glory of God.  There was no way back.  They had surrendered their place as God’s companion, the gardener of Eden to Satan and were cast out.

But God in His infinite mercy and love made a way back.

He sent Jesus to live a sinless life and then die as the sacrifice, the payment for all our sins so that all who have faith in Him can be counted as righteous and thus re-united with God.

It’s all summed up in this; if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

We are born lost and rejected, children of sin and children of the devil.  If we turn away from the world and accept Jesus as our Savior we are born again and we become children of God in Christ.

This is the why.  All of creation is for one reason and that is to bring children to God and fulfill the Father’s love that is His heart.

So science may try to tell us how but you see the why is more important than the how.

A short story to highlight the what, the where, and the how:

A scientist says to God, “You’re not so much we have figured out how to make life in our laboratories.”

God says, “Oh, you have.”

The scientist, swelling with pride then says, “Come on let’s have a contest and see who can make life the quickest and the best.”

God smiles and says, “All right.”

God reaches down and picks up a hand full of dirt and starts molding it gently.

The scientist adds some chemicals to a couple of test tubes and starts mixing them back and forth.

God looks over at the scientist and says, “Hey!  Get your own dirt.”

From atom to Adam God has done it all.  So if you find yourself hung up in the how just remember the why is more important than the how.  And if you find yourself questioning God just remember, “He’s the Father that’s why.”

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

What Easter Means to Me March 28, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion.
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I look at my life before Christ and I am struck by the fact that it doesn’t seem like my life.  I was born again on Palm Sunday in 1980.  I was thirty years old.  That has been thirty-eight years ago.  When I was first saved I mourned for all the years I had spent wasting my life trying to do it on my own.  I remember praying and asking God to give me as many years to serve Him as I had wasted denying Him.  Now, that is just one of the answered prayers in my life.

From the first day I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior I have done have never denied Him and standing on the faith He has given me I never will.  Have I always served Him?  Yes.  Have I always served Him well?  He will be the judge.  Have I ever fallen short of what He would have me be?  Yes, constantly, consistently, and often consciously.  Just as the greatest sinner and the greatest saint I will stand or fall based on His grace.

In my years before Him I lived my life into a dead-end of self-seeking, selfishness, and self-loathing.  Though I denied He even existed He reached out to me.  Though I took His name in vane he loved me.  Though I followed hedonism into every type of sin He washed me as clean as a new born baby, as clean as a new blanket of snow.

Jesus delivered me from alcoholism, from drug addiction, from hatred, from envy, and shame.  He gave me a new life complete with a new wife, a son, a healthy mind, a healthy body, and a new name.

What He has done for me He will do for you.  He loves you as much as He has ever loved anyone.  Your name is written on His hand and no one not sin, not hatred, not failure, and not the devil can snatch you out of His hand.

Trust in Him.  Reach out to Him and He will reach out to you.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Being God He did not grasp at that but instead emptied Himself and became a man.  Living a perfect life He was sacrificed for the children of Adam paying the price for every sin and opening the way through faith to become the children of God.  For if we will confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord an believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead we will be saved.

And salvation is not just pie in the sky.  It is not just a far off reward for a life of toil and pain.  Salvation is a right now new life, a life where we will never be alone for He will send His Spirit to live within us.

Don’t let anything hold you back when Jesus wants to hold you up.

This is what Easter means to me life from death and life evermore.  An old song sums it up rather well:

Living he Loved Me
Dying he saved me
Buried He carried my
My sins far away
Rising he justified me
Freed me forever
One day he’s coming back Glorious day

Have a blessed Easter.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

My Witness April 12, 2017

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion.
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When I was young I was not a nice fellow.  Snakes would cross the street when I sauntered down the sidewalk.  My all consuming passion was getting enough alcohol and drugs to help me forget something I couldn’t remember.  Playing music and living in a 24/7 party atmosphere was all I cared about.  Other people were collateral damage on my way to a buzz.  I had the name of my guitar tattooed on my arm so women would know where my loyalties lay.

Spiritually I was dead inside.  I called myself an atheist and I was faithful to my boast.  Anyone who spoke to me of any religion was automatically consigned by me to irrelevance.  The closest thing I had to an actual conviction was a strident attachment to militant apathy.  I didn’t care about anything and I couldn’t stand anyone who did.

That was my life until I was thirty.  Then God spoke to me.  God touched me.  God changed me.  God gave me a new life.  I was born again.

Today I can remember what I did in my former life but I can no longer relate to it.  It as if my life before God was a movie I have seen.  I can recall the important scenes and the important characters but I feel a complete detachment to being one of the actors in the plot.

God gave me a wife who is the love of my life.  He gave me a son who is my heir and friend.  He gave me a daughter-in-love who is the daughter I always wanted to have.  He has given me two grandchildren who are the joy of my life as a seasoned citizen.  He has allowed me to see miracles, plant churches, be a pastor, found ministries that fed and clothed thousands, watch people accept Him, watch people grow in Him, and hold the hands of people who went to join Him.

I was born again on Palm Sunday in 1980 so I just had my 37th birthday as a child of God.  I give Him the glory for my life.  I give Him the honor that is His due.  I cannot even give a fraction of the love He has shown.  He is my source, my summit, and my all.

As we approach the celebration of His rising from the dead I am reminded of the fact that it is faith that saves us and that not of our self for even the faith is a gift.  I look about at all the traditions and customs we have developed in more than two thousand years and I smile.  I pray that everyone who calls on His name has a blessed and joyous Resurrection Day.  Enjoy the season as best meets the requirements of your faith.

Let us all recall that if we confess Jesus as Lord and if we believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead we shall be saved.

That is the truth, the truth upon which all of reality rests.  That is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, all the rest is window dressing.  Just as one enjoys Italian food and another enjoys Chinese yet all food is good to those who like it.  So too, our traditions and customs if they do not detract from the truth of by who and how we are saved are all good.

Have a wonderful time with family and friends, coreligionists and those C&E Christians who make it standing room only at so many normally empty churches at this time of year.  Love them all and let God sort them out.  Just remember, the biggest surprise when we get to heave in not who is there but that we are for it is not by works but by faith that we are saved.  The greatest saint and the worst sinner both need the Lord’s grace to enter in.

There is no sin so great that it cannot be forgiven if we lay it at the cross.  He knows us better than we can ever know ourselves and he forgives us.  Don’t labor under a load you were never meant to carry any further than the cross.  Give it all to Him and he will give you rest.

I praise Him for saving me.  I Praise Him for giving me life.  I ask Him to open doors for me to serve Him.  And when I am gone there is but one eulogy I wish anyone to hear, “God got the glory!”

Yours in Him,

Robert

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

What is Christmas? December 22, 2014

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Uncategorized.
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Yoko Ono and John Lennon, a Buddhist and a who-knows-what Maharishi chasing pop singer who said the “Beatles are bigger than Jesus,” wrote a Christmas song.  It’s a classic.  We hear it every year.  If you really listen to the lyrics it is about a world where everyone gets along, there is no fear, and “war is over, if you want it, war is over now.”  Everyone thinks the title to this much beloved and much played song is “So This Is Christmas.”  Those are really just the first words and part of the refrain.   The title is actually “Happy Christmas (war Is Over),” so it should surprise no one that it wasn’t written as a Christmas song. Instead it was written as an anti-Vietnam War song disguised as a Christmas song. Yet, it’s a classic.  We hear it every year.

This brings me to the question, “What is Christmas”?  I believe it is such a personal thing it can truly only be answered as “What is Christmas to me”?

Is it an arbitrary date instituted by the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor).  The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336AD during the reign of Constantine.  In 350 AD Pope Julius I declared December 25 the official date and in 529 AD Emperor Justinian declared Christmas a civic holiday.

There is no Biblical evidence to support the date.  Bible History tells us, “Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not given, not even the time of year. The biblical reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night when they hear the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8) might suggest the spring lambing season; in the cold month of December, on the other hand, sheep might well have been corralled.”

We know it isn’t just a date.  So what is Christmas?

Is it a baptized celebration of the winter solstice? Is it a cultural holiday to celebrate love and family?  Is it all about Frosty and Rudolph and George Bailey?  No, I don’t believe that this is the answer to the question “What is Christmas?” and I know it isn’t the answer to the question, “What is Christmas to me”?

What is Christmas?

Culturally Christmas is more than the sum of all its parts.  It is the public declaration that we are a Christian culture founded upon faith in His declaration, “I am” when he was asked “Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”  It is a public declaration that we as a people dedicate ourselves to living as Christ taught us we should no matter how imperfectly we do so.

What is Christmas to me?

It is a time to celebrate the love that Christ has birthed in my heart for friends and family.  It is a time to cherish the traditions which have become Holy through usage and dear through memory.  Above all it is a time to affirm in my heart that Jesus is the only name under heaven by which men must be saved and that Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior.

Christmas is a time to give gifts in memory of the greatest gift of all: Christ the friend of sinners given to a world that did not know Him when He arrived, does not honor Him now, and will not be prepared when He comes again.

The greatest gift I could ever give I give to you. The Bible is the unadulterated Word of God and it does not leave us any doubt about how to be saved.  In the Bible is something called by many the Romans Road.  I followed it years ago, and it changed me forever and gave me a new life.  I pray that it will do the same thing for you.

The Romans Road lays out the plan of salvation through a series of Bible verses from the book of Romans . When arranged in order, these verses form an easy, systematic way of explaining the message of salvation. There are many different versions of Romans Road with slight variations in Scriptures, but the basic message and method is the same. Many evangelical missionaries, evangelists, and lay people memorize and use Romans Road when sharing the good news.

Romans Road Clearly Defines:

  1. Who needs
  2. Why we need salvation.
  3. How God provides salvation.
  4. How we receive salvation.
  5. The results of salvation.

Romans Road to Salvation

Everyone needs salvation because we have all sinned.
Romans 3:10-12, and 23
As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.” … For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (NLT)

The price (or consequence) of sin is death.
Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT)

Jesus Christ died for our sins. He paid the price for our death.
Romans 5:8
But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (NLT)

We receive salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9-10, and 13
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved … For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (NLT)

Salvation through Jesus Christ brings us into a relationship of peace with God.
Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (NLT)

Romans 8:1
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. (NLT)

Romans 8:38-39
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT)

Responding to Romans Road

If you believe Romans Road leads to the path of truth, you can respond by receiving God’s free gift of salvation today. Here’s how to take a personal journey down Romans Road:

  • Admit you are a sinner.
  • Understand, that as a sinner, you deserve death.
  • Believe Jesus Christ died on the cross to save you from sin and death.
  • Repent by turning from your old life of sin to a new life in Christ.
  • Receive, through faith in Jesus Christ, his free gift of salvation.

So this is Christmas: The birth of Jesus Christ the Son of God, God Himself clothed in flesh, the incarnate creator of the universe here to open the way for his creation to be reunited with Him. This makes possible our new birth as a child of God.  It’s open to all.  It’s free.  It is yours for the taking, and you can unwrap this present any day of any year.

Merry Christmas.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2014 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

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