FAQ . . . “1+1+1=1 – Take the Red Pill”

One of the most challenging ideas for intellects, philosophers, academics, scientists, and humans, in general, is how God can be three in one.  This is of course after many have such trouble getting their heads around a living and loving God in the first place.  We are indeed blessed and fortunate to have Pastor Brian deliver the weekend message unpacking the Holy Trinity.  His most excellent exposition is not to be missed and it is posted on our GateWay Church of Visalia website.  Pastor Brian’s words had me thinking about the Trinity but in my “rabbit trail” sort of way.  Here are my thoughts as they came while I lay in sleepless recovery from surgery.

I love cooking and exploring different menus and recipes so my mind leaped to the “holy trinity” of Cajun cuisine.  Onions, celery and green pepper will be found in many dishes from the Louisiana Bayou.  Soon I was driving my Chevy to the levy and pondering the “day the music died.”  In 1971 Don Mc Clean wrote in American Pie, his complex song on the downward direction of the American dream:  “And the three men I admire most The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. They caught the last train for the coast.  The day the music died.”  Mc Clean’s “trinity” was Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper – J.P. Richardson who perished in a light-plane crash and in his mind, American music would never be the same.  Finally, I came to rest on Carrie-Anne Moss’ character in the first Matrix film.  She was the ultra-tough, skilled and deep thinking warrior named Trinity in this dystopian tale of revolution in a world of fully controlled and manipulated beings.   I land here because, in one scene of the movie, the protagonist, Neo, portrayed by Keanu Reeves is asked to make the ultimate choice by Laurence Fishburne, Morpheus.  He says to Neo, “You take the blue pill, the story ends.  You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.  You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”  I invite you to read further and take my red pill and follow me down a different Holy Trinity path, a path of science, metaphor, spirituality, and relationship all involving water.

Water is an amazing substance.  Virtually everyone knows it is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom - H2O.  Water is the basic element of all living things on Earth and without it, there is no life.  The “holy grail” of space exploration is to find water on other planets or celestial objects away from Earth.  Approximately ¾ of our planet is covered with water and the heating and cooling of these global waters by the sun cycle govern life.  We all know as water is heated to boiling it becomes steam and when it is sufficiently cooled it turns to ice.  Most materials, be they solid, liquid or gas abide by the “rule” that as it is heated its size or volume expands and as it cools it contracts or shrinks.  That is why Consumers are told to buy gasoline when it is cooler or cold since the gasoline molecules are more tightly packed resulting in getting more energy into the same measured volume, thus, saving money.  Back to water; have you ever wondered why ice cubes float in your soda, ice tea or glass of water?

Water possesses a unique quality among all of the earth’s substances.  When the temperature of water is lowered toward its freezing point, the water molecules huddle closer together like any other substance.  The molecules of all substances are searching for the most efficient shape or best ways to pack closely together (shrinking) as the temperature approach its freezing point. But when water reaches 4 ̊Celsius or 39.2 ̊Fahrenheit, water starts to expand.  The “Mickey Mouse” molecular configuration of the hydrogen atoms ears and oxygen atom find their most efficient huddle in a manner that creates more space in between the molecules.  At 0 ̊ Celsius or 32 ̊ Fahrenheit water is approximately 4 % larger in volume as ice than as a liquid.  Therefore, the same amount of H2O is less dense as ice and floats on a denser material, water.  The implications of this are absolutely staggering for life as we experience it on Earth.

As the yearly sun cycle heats and cools the planet, we have our seasons, in particular, winter. (A scientific fact easily the subject of another post is that the duration and heat of the seasons are determined by the Earth’s distance from the sun and the shape and tilt of its orbit around the sun.)  During the cold of winter, our northern and southern regions of the earth and in our higher elevation spots get covered with snow and the waters in the streams, lakes, and oceans freeze over.  If water did not expand but continued to contract the resulting ice would not float but sink.  In the depths of the ocean or lakes, the water is the coldest and ice would melt at a much slower pace.  In fact, deep water is so cold ice would not melt and each subsequent winter would create more ice that would sink on top of what is already present.  Ice would drop the temperature of the water in the oceans and drop the global air temperatures and eventually Earth would be a big deep freeze.  Because water floats we have seasons and not solid "frozens."  This begs the question as we go deeper down that rabbit hole.  Why does water have this special property of expansion at freezing when just about everything else does not?  What about the orbit’s tilt, shape, and distance from the sun?  Could it be this is by special design, by a Creator and not by the chance collision of cosmic rocks?   Is this the fusion of science and faith?

Water is also a substance that can be found in what scientists term a “triple state.”  This is the point where the same molecular substance exists as liquid, solid and gas.  In a specific environment ice (solid state) floats on water (liquid state) in an environment of water vapor (the gas state).  This triple state is an earthly and tangible example of something that can exist as “three-in-one.”  Although infinitely simpler in construct than the Godly Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, water points again to a special design that gives us a glimpse into God.  This is the meeting of science, theology, and metaphor. 

It is of major consequence that Jesus says to the Samaritan woman and us in John 4:14, “but whoever drinks of the water I give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”  The woman asked for this “living water” and entered into a relationship of eternal life with Jesus beginning her new spiritual journey.  This is the meeting of science, metaphor, spirituality, and relationship.  Receiving this water brings us into a relationship with the Holy Trinity so each part of the Trinity can carry out its role in our lives and we can then respond in the manner in which we were so wonderfully created by the One who took the care and thought to make water the way it is.  The Holy Trinity is real as water.

Shalom

FAQ . . . “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

Sadly my post this week will have two parts.  It is so tragic that Pastor Ed’s sermon title for this past weekend begs the question in light of the horrible shooting in Las Vegas Sunday night.  What was Stephen Paddock thinking and feeling?  What led him to carry out such a heartless and cruel act?  Was there anything that could have been done to prevent this carnage or altered the course of life for Paddock?  In the days ahead many will face much anguish, self-doubt, fear and anger and the on-coming deluge of politically charged rhetoric.  For the family and friends of the 58 killed and over 500 injured, we pray for God’s mercy and comfort and strength for the day.   Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?  Please Lord, hear our prayer.

I am almost at a loss for words today.  As a crutch, I turn to a blog post written a while back about a high-profile shooting and repost a portion here.  The Bible states:  “Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don’t have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn’t yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.” (James 4:1-2 The Message Bible)  We have met the enemy and the enemy is us.  What was warring deep inside Paddock and causing such trouble that he was willing to kill?  What did he lack in life that could only be resolved in death?  Are there more Stephen Paddocks out there?  Sadly, yes there are.  What can be done?  Back to my previous posting.

It is now way past time to love our enemies.  Jesus stated:  “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”  As Christ-followers it is way past time to turn enemies into friends, to restore Godly family relationships.  Of many issues raised by this infamous case, racial hatred must be addressed.  Changing society and culture is seemingly out of reach for the individual Christ-follower but as a Christian community, it is time for us to shape the culture, one individual at a time, one family at a time, one church at a time.  In the next seven weeks begin a relationship with a person from a racial heritage different from your own (or in today’s context perhaps a person you see as isolated and alone).  Listen to their story and tell yours without judgment or defensiveness.  Extend grace and offer the blessing of friendship.  Expand this with your families.  Have this new friend in your mind, in your heart and in your prayers.  Then see what God can do.  Lord, have mercy on us.

Part 2 –  The beginning of wisdom is the fear (a deep, abiding respect and reverence) of the Lord. I believe wisdom will go a long way in helping us “get along” and not just get along but thrive.  Pastor Ed challenged us to take each day of October and read a chapter of Proverbs corresponding to the numerical day of the month.  Today is October 2 thus read chapter 2 and tomorrow, October 3, read chapter 3 and so on until the 31st.  This is a GREAT suggestion by Ed.  I know this process makes a huge difference in life and relationships as I personally have experienced the transformational power of the Holy Spirit using the words in Proverbs.  I have kept this devotional tool almost daily since 1973 at the suggestion of a spiritual mentor, Dr. Bruce Miller, at the University of Sothern California.  He is also the one who “turned” me on to the writings of Oswald Chambers and My Utmost for His Highest, another daily tool.  Over the years (and some things have taken years to sink in) I have learned and practiced many God breathed principles of living.  This has truly shaped my life for the better and I am sure countless many are thankful that Proverbs has done so as without it I could easily be the jerk that is in my human nature.  Many matters that govern and determine the course of relationships are found in Proverbs.  Following these principles and avoiding the negative patterns can lead one to succeed in life and love.  Gems such as:  before honor comes humility; always hold close truth and kindness; don’t hold back good from those to whom it is due when you have the power to do it; when there are many words transgressions are unavoidable but he who restrains his lips is wise; and so many more.  These days, I like the verse that reads, “A gray head is a crown of glory.”  Of course, there is a catch as it goes on to read, “(if) it is found in the way of righteousness.” (Oh, Lord, may I be a doer of Your Word, and thus live righteously.)  Chapter 3 reads to me like a loving and wise father writing a letter of advice to his son away at college for the first time or embarking on a new career.  There is so much contained in Proverbs.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?  I think we Christ-followers can by living out the words in Proverbs.

Shalom.

FAQ . . . “What The World Needs Now”

Pastor Ed sang parts of popular songs from several decades introducing the weekend sermon’s focus.  I think he should keep his day job (lol) which he does so well.  Lest you think me harsh, back in college I was working on my guitar skills and my roommate said very clearly, “Bill, just play, don’t sing!”  Another song featuring love was penned by Hal David and Burt Bacarach back in 1965 and first recorded by Jackie DeShannon.  The catchy tune opined:  “What the world needs now, is love sweet love, it’s the only thing there’s too little of . . . .”    The song goes on to tell the Lord we don’t need more mountains, oceans, cornfields but love for everyone.  I agree, we certainly do need love for everyone as it is so evident we are lacking in civility, respect, forbearance and loving kindness.  But even as I state the obvious what is not so apparent to many is we need God even more.

Loving others without reservation, condition, or fear and loving generously, hilariously and graciously requires resources not found in human nature.  Our basic humanness is self-directed at best and utterly selfish at worst.  Sociology, psychology, anthropology or any other “ology” reveals humans try hard to self-generate a loving, outward focused nature within us.  History, ancient and recent, shows us we can only generate such energy for tragically short lengths of time.  A change in heart or put another way, something has to come into us to be anything other than self-centered.  Much of what it means to love is outlined in the Sermon on the Mount.  Think in terms of forgiving your enemy or treating others as you would want to be treated while turning the other cheek after an emotional blow to the gut.  The difficulty is how to live this out.  Oswald Chambers make it very clear this is impossible for us humans:  “The Sermon on the Mount is not an ideal, it is a statement of what will happen inside me when Jesus Christ has altered my disposition and put in a disposition like His own.  Jesus Christ is the only One who can fulfill the Sermon on the Mount.”  If Jesus is the only One who can fulfill the Sermon on the Mount, I can only do so if I have His nature in me overriding my self-directed one.

What the world needs now – what Bill needs now is more of Jesus in me and to flow out of me.  I don’t need another mountaintop adventure, or a new experience in culinary delights, or an easy-going existence in the meadow of life, I need to unleash the nature and character that was placed in me by the Holy Spirit, made possible by the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and orchestrated and ordained by Father God.  How can we unleash this new nature?  Abide in Me says, Jesus Christ.

A few suggestions on how we can abide.  Be connected deeper to a local Christ-following body like GateWay.  Join and participate in a Connect Small Group.  Increase your gratitude for what God has done in your life by recounting those moments in personal worship and perhaps writing them down in a journal.  Fill your mind with God’s Word and pour your heart into another.  Begin and maintain a habit of daily personal devotional reading and study.  Using our GateWay Devotional – The Word For You Today is a great place to start.  Pray for others and with others for God’s touch in lives.  Make it a weekly goal to share God’s goodness in your life with a co-worker, fellow student, sports team member, or neighbor.  Read good Christian books and if you feel you are not a reader, get on Right Now Media and watch hundreds of great sermons, messages, and stories.  Each and every one of us at GateWay can access this “Netflix” of Christian material without charge to you.  Download the app and get the passcode from the church office and you are in.

Abide in Me if you want to love like The Rock(star) Jesus.  This is an intentional act and you must make the choice.  No one can do this for you but it is more encouraging when we do this together.  Find a friend and take the first step.  Don’t have a friend then consider joining a Connect Small Group.

Shalom.

FAQ . . . “Unforgiving; Unforgetting; Unhappy”

Forgiving and forgetting are so simple to say and in concept so simply correct but in life so complex and often times so difficult to carry out.  Even the Disciples asked Jesus how many times they had to forgive a person of transgressing against them.  Examples of unforgiving and unforgetting abound in our world.  From the pages of history, global politics, national headlines to the “war” between the sexes, exes, and those with whom we have some nexus, we all struggle with giving forgiveness when injured and moving forward in wholeness.   Forgiveness is the transcendent quality of our faith and is at its core.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son .  .  .  .” 

Forgiveness is one of the pillars of good relationships and without it any relationship will be unstable at best.   I know of no person or relationship that is perfect, without defect or occasional dysfunction.  We all mess up, act unbecomingly and badly.  My mirror attests that this is no lie.  Therefore, in order for relationships to thrive, forgiving and forgetting, are essential.  From the tiniest transgression to the apparent deal breaker God instructs us to forgive.  We all have experienced and witness people deteriorate because of long held unforgiveness.  Even in the short term, holding such feeling makes us unhappy.  I have been at times miserable because I have harbored an unforgiving nature towards my wife or my boss.  One of the ironic twists is many times the person not forgiven is oblivious and feels no ill effect and we stew in misery.  So how do we forgive and forget?

I believe this is key; the foundation and incentive to forgive lays with God’s treatment of you and me.  Using Psalms 103 Pastor Ed excellently presented a glimpse into how extensive God’s love translates into forgiveness.  It seems a universal phenomenon that people react magnanimously when they remember they have been treated kindly and graciously; so too with forgiveness.  Remembering brings about a change in heart.  Deeply remembering the grace and mercy of God brings our hearts to a tender and grateful place.  It is from these depths of mercy that the forgiving spirit springs forth.

I have been told, “You don’t know what I have been through.  After this, how do I forgive and forget?”  You have heard this or said these words yourselves.  The spiritual stuff stated above is fine but how does it work in real life?  As Christ-followers, first, you must remember this, God forgave you and He asks that we “pay it forward” and forgive.  Second, forgiving someone is an act of will and not an emotion.  It is an intentional act.  Strong emotions will be encountered but this is still a matter of choice.  God will honor your choice in obedience to Him.  Third, forgetting is very emotional and a huge step in faith; Faith to allow God to heal your broken heart, mind and soul because it is so emotional.  I hold this perspective; it is better when considering the forgetting aspect of forgiveness, to view this as getting to the place where the offense has no more power over you.  It doesn’t mean we have our memory erased but it does mean when it does come to mind, the sting and agony, are dim. 

When you forgive out of obedience and faith, God shows up.  Pastor Ed referenced Joseph.  If there was a man who had reason to not forgive and forget, it was Joseph.  Joseph stated in Genesis 41:51, “God has made me forget all my trouble . . . .”  How did God do that for Joseph?  Honestly I do not know and I do not know how He will show up in your lives when you choose to forgive.  I do know He is a personal and loving God having compassion on His children.  Pray and ask.   As a child of God, He will respond in ways that are best suited for you.  I have seen God use His own Words in the Bible to impact and impress.  Sometimes I have seen the contrite and humble approach of the “other person” help but sometimes this never happens and you are left with resolution all on you.  I have seen God use the passage of time to heal but more often I have seen Him use the loving-kindness and support of faithful friends and family.  I have seen God use the guidance of a counselor or therapist.  I have seen God use our own GateWay Church in amazing ways.  I have seen a heart attack bring two estranged hearts together.  I have seen God use the birth of a child to transform relationships.  However He chooses to work, His blessing are new every morning; great is His faithfulness.  

Is it time for you to make the choice to forgive someone then patiently allow God to bring healing? If you are having a hard time making a decision, let us at GateWay help.

Shalom.

FAQ . . . “Run Over By Grace ”

The longer my spiritual journey with Christ, the more I travel down the road named the essential nature of grace.  I am convinced on a human level and especially on the spiritual level, the absence of grace leads to death.  Every meaningful relationship requires grace.  As Pastor Ed mentioned the painted rock defined grace as “the face love wears when it meets imperfection.”  I experience imperfection all around me, especially when I look in the mirror.  We all need grace as no one is perfect for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. 

Understanding grace and its impacts seem to be so difficult for humankind.  The current human climate of our nation post-election is more than sufficient proof.  We are all steeped in what I label as the “Exchange Theory” of human interaction whether it is economics, politics, human relationships and even the salvation offered by God.  Everything is based on exchanging something of value for another item of value and without this transfer, nothing is accomplished.  This quid pro quo or “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” environment may make sense for financial matters but can be quite hostile in relationships.  Most of us have grown up in relationships that operate with exchange theory and have passed the same down through our children.  Scenarios such as you like me and I will like you; be nice to me and I will be nice to you; if you obey me I will give you a reward, or if you love me you will do what I say are common. Such conditioning of our love and affection leads to self-doubt, insecurity, co-dependency, bullying, and many emotionally charged illnesses and add to that, the inability to give or receive grace freely.  I find that any relationship is doomed to misery or death without grace and its sibling, mercy.

My sister’s birthday is this week.  I am the elder brother and back when we were children, I was not a good big brother.  I was mean at times, selfish often, teased her regularly and on occasion struck a single blow to her thigh to end an argument.  It wasn’t with all my might but with enough force and located on a specific spot that the talking stopped immediately.  Yet, as a child, she still wanted to be connected with me and treated me kindly.  This continued through junior high and high school.  If you are wondering, by then, I stopped giving out the “Charlie horse” blow.  I saw things in a different light once I received Jesus in college and her in high school.  When she received Christ she ran up to me and gave me the biggest hug.  It was very special.  Not too long ago out of the blue she purchased a car for me when I first became a pastor on staff at GateWay.  She said she wanted to support my ministry.  It wasn’t like she had a large cache of cash.  She made payments monthly from her paycheck as a high school counselor.  This certainly was undeserved and uncalled for; a tangible example of giving and receiving grace.  She has continued to be gracious, generous and merciful as she has all the reasons to mete out punishment on me.  And not by coincidence but by divine guidance, my sister’s name is Grace.   

What if we all lived daily giving and receiving grace and mercy?  How different would our life, our families, our workplaces, our community, our nation and our world be?  I think it is past time we Christ-followers take up the challenge of giving grace and mercy daily and in concrete ways.

Shalom.

FAQ . . . “Sinful Living”

I was on the treadmill again at the gym with ESPN on the screen watching and listening to a variation on former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the National Anthem.  The debate in front of me focused on the Cleveland Police Association’s response to several members of the Cleveland Browns kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner in a recent pre-season game.  The response was the refusal of Cleveland police officers holding the flag during the national anthem at the first game of the season.  The claim is it would be hypocrisy to hold the flag when the Cleveland Browns condone the disrespect of the flag by its players.  ESPN’s Steven A and Max K spoke of the players’ and Kaepernick’s Constitutional right of free speech.  Then Coach Herm Edwards was given the mic and his words struck home.  He said in essence “protesting the flag is wrong; it’s not the flag; the flag didn’t do wrong.  Name names and make your protest there.”  

Pastor Ed named names this past weekend expounding on the FAQ Why Is Sin Such A Big Deal.  I think we have all heard it said, “Deep down everyone is good” or “we are born good; it’s how we are raised, and our environment that determines if we remain good or turn bad; or “you just have to believe in yourself.”  Layer on extrapolations from the Theory of Evolution such as “Education is the key – the more educated we are the better we are.”  These and many other variations have been with us since the beginning of civilization.  The result is not pretty.  We are left with a lot of moralizing, political correctness and ineptness, and plenty of hypocritical intolerance.  (Witness the diatribes heaped on Tim Tebow a few years ago when he kneeled in the end zone after a touchdown to honor Jesus and the current glowing support of Kaepernick taking a knee.)  The evidence is mounting that whether you voted for Trump or Clinton, are liberal or conservative, or prefer ketchup to Sriracha, humankind still struggles and struggles after two millennia since the birth of Christ.  We have not evolved; we have regressed in many ways.  Its name is sin.  Matthew 15:19 says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.”  Romans 3:23 records “For all have sinned and fallen short . . . .”  We have a heart issue; not simply a lack of education or voting wrongly.   

Contrary to the notion that we are born good, our hearts reveal major self-centeredness leading to actions that harm others for self-gain.  This holds true in economics, politics and in relationships.  If we want better human outcomes then we need better hearts.  History has shown evolutionary theory as the answer to better hearts is a bad myth at best.  So what can truly change hearts?  The answer is the redemptive blood of Jesus Christ.  History has shown that where hearts have been changed by Jesus, hospitals, orphanages, universities, social change and human compassion have bloomed.  Let’s name names; John Newton, slave ship Captain to abolitionist who witnessed slavery abolished in England and wrote Amazing Grace.  Mother Theresa touches the untouchable in Calcutta.  C.S. Lewis leaves atheism in exchange for a life of faith in Christ and influences millions and generations through writing.  A self-centered, arrogant, skeptical university student bargains with Jesus and begins a journey of spiritual discovery closing his professional life writing a blog for his church home.  

Shalom.

FAQ . . . “Truth Living”

Sadness to gladness as this weekend marked the start of the new sermon series Frequently Asked Questions about doctrinal matters.  In his excellent first message, Pastor Ed, addressed a long standing question asked by non-believers, skeptics, the curious and believers who wonder, “Is the Bible Completely True?”  Instead of adding to the abundance of data to support the reliability of the Bible as first intended, I now plunge down this tangent:  If the Bible and its principles, commands and guidance are true, then what are you going to do with the truth?  In a dramatic movie about a military tribunal, Tom Cruise portrayed a military lawyer who demanded to know the truth.  Jack Nicholson’s character, a crusty and well-seasoned general, shouted back, “You can’t handle the truth.”  Truth be told, I never saw the movie, I just remember this particular scene from the trailer.

A rich young ruler came up to Jesus one day and wanted to know how to obtain eternal life.  He had kept many important rules so he thought.  To his chagrin, Jesus told him to do one more thing – sell all he owned, give the proceeds to the poor and come follow Me.  The young man walked away.  We live in a world where many people want life to the fullest.  Young and old pursue wealth, professional success and respect, longevity and beauty, a fulfilling relationship with love at its core, and some just want sex.  I venture to guess, many have tried “religion” and some have tried Jesus in this pursuit but in the end, they walked away.   The reasons may be many but allow me to propound this one – they could not handle the truth.

The truth demands that you do something with it.  Either you accept and live it or you deny and avoid it maybe even denying that it is truth.   Jesus saw the truth of the rich young ruler’s heart and whatever it was; Jesus saw it was keeping him from a personal relationship with Jesus.  The young man was unwilling to let go and accept the truth.  I think on a deeply interior level the “World” knows the truth of the Bible but will not let go of its own self-seeking view of life.  Whether one is an intellectual, leftist, conservative, liberal, Christian, scientific, patriot, or whatever label is attached, acknowledging Jesus and the Bible means something has to be done in response.  In the face of overwhelming evidence (Ed merely scratched the surface in his sermon) many people have walked away.  They don’t want to change their behavior and thinking to align themselves rightly with the truth of God.

How do we change the “World?”  How do we turn people around?  How do we convince those who are genuinely seeking answers?  Legislating the truth is ineffective.  Protests by Christians are simply protests largely ignored.  I have seen from time to time the expression that our “life may be the only ‘Bible’ a person reads.”  This notion fits my bias in thinking.  The way we go about this is one life at a time, face to face, person to person.  Living out the truth of the Bible in daily life, in our relationships, in the workplace, in the casual encounters in our community speak volumes of truth.  A redeemed life well lived speaks to hearts longing for the truth.  If we Christ-followers do not live out the truth of the Bible, indicating we don’t believe it either, who in the World would bother.  As Pastor Ed stated, one form of external evidence sustaining the reliability of the Bible is transformation.  Do we have lives that are transformed by God’s redemption? 

Shalom.