Saturday, February 20, 2010

Of Black Diamonds, Bunny Hills, and a Hindering Fear

"There is no neutral ground: every square inch, every split second is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan." -C.S. Lewis.

That was my favorite quote presented at the Worldview conference I've attended this weekend. It's been hectic, since my dad, my brother Alex, and I have been going constantly back and forth from our house to a church in a neighboring city to listen to all the messages given by the speakers for Worldview Academy, the organization that headed up the conference, but it's been SO worth it. The conference began Friday night at 7:00 p.m. and went until 9:30, when we were dismissed to go home and sleep and ready ourselves for the next day of numerous conferences. I awoke early, my clock reading 7:05, since we didn't have to leave until 8:15. Curling up on a comfortable couch, I delved into Happenstance Found by P.W. Catanese when, suddenly, fifteen minutes later my dad charged down the stairs, exclaimed that we only had 20 minutes before the conferences started, meaning we had that much time to shower, dress, and complete the 15 minute drive to Nowthen, where the conferences were held. Slapping the book shut, I dashed back upstairs, vigorously shook my brother awake, and then showered and brushed my teeth probably the fastest I have ever done so in my life. Ten minutes later, we were all in my dad's Chrysler Cirrus racing into a McDonald's drive through and ordering breakfast, not having time to eat at home. *grimaces* I shouldn't have gotten a McGriddle. I should've known it would unsettle my stomach. McDonalds food always does- besides Snack Wraps and McDouble's, that is. :D Thankfully, we arrived in Nowthen at the church just in time for the first conference of the day, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But my most favorite were the 2nd and 4th sermons that day. First I'll summarize the second:

Christianity vs. Evolution
Yeah, an EXTREMELY debated and controversial subject. At the sermon, I was immensely enlightened. Christians and Atheists have debated over the origins of the universe for years, but it all comes down to two options: Will you cast your trust in the words of man or the words of God?
A well-known evolutionist wrote: "Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus' earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god (not capitalized because of the scientist's views). Take away the meaning of his death. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing!" -Richard Bozarth.
Here are numerous things that evolutionist's believe. In life there is:

  • no God
  • no absolutes
  • no after-life
  • no angels or demons
  • no purpose/meaning
  • no miracles
  • no souls
  • no conscience
  • no mind or thought
  • no freewill or dignity

Yep, evolutionist believe it all. The one I found most surprise (more like shocking) was that they believed we have "no freewill". WHAT?!?! No freewill? So we're mindless robots, machines that don't have the abilities to make our own choices and decisions? Well, according to evolutionists, that's totally what we are. An Atheist taught a class on writing poems at a college (or school, can quite recall). But there was a problem- people have no freewill how can they make poems? We can't create anything either, since we have no mind of thought (instead, they believe we only have brains-not minds or thoughts-that respond to outside stimuli). So, the evolutionists took the next logical step by solving the problem by saying we just already have the poems "within" us. We don't "create" poems, we "have" the poems." So we have beautiful, mellifluous poems within our souls (oh, scratch that, evolutionists don't believe in souls) our brains I mean, that are just... there. We don't create them, conjure them, they're there. Okay then... *raises eyebrow skeptically* But the terrible thing is, most Christians do nothing to combat Atheists/Evolutionist's views. For some reason, there's something that holds us back, keeps us from defending our faith. What is it? Well, we all know, cause we all experience it. Fear. Fear of man rather than fear of God. During the conference, the speakers spoke about the students they taught at a campus in Texas, and how, every Wednesday, they just sent them off to neighboring cities and college campuses to evangelize and question others about their beliefs. As I listened, my heart was clutched callously by the cold hand of fear. Imagine just going out and speaking God's word to others. Telling others about Him. It's such a coveted thing, but people are hindered by the powerful impediment of fear. I am, and I felt ashamed, because in doing so, I obey our culture's message. Our culture says: Keep your faith in your church and homes- DON'T BRING IT OUT OF THOSE BOUNDARIES!!! DON'T SPREAD IT!!! KEEP YOUR FAITH TO YOURSELF!!! And that's what I do... I don't go out and tell others. I just keep it personal. I don't share the love that Jesus' gives. Why? Fear. Hindering, obstructing, impeding FEAR. And I'm ashamed of that. It's something that I have to get rid of in my life. But there's also another factor. What do you tell non-believers? Well, that leads me to the 4th conference.

"Those who wish to succeed must ask the right preliminary questions" -Aristotle. And that's totally true. We must ask the right questions to unbelievers, and the speakers at the conference gave advice on how to question them- the four killer questions:

  • What do you mean by (blank)?
  • How do you know that to be true?
  • What difference does that make?
  • What if you are wrong about (blank)?

For example, you engage an Atheist in conversation: (this is the conversation which was played on video at the conference)

Christian: "What do you believe happens once you die?"

Atheist: "I die- the end. Everything just ends there."

Christian: "How do you know?"

Atheist: "Because that's what science says."

Christian: "But what if you're wrong?"

See? The Atheist is stuck. Now he has to think. What if he's wrong? What if you don't just die? The speakers explained that often, that's the best you can do when talking to an evolutionists: make him/her think.

Everyone has faith. Evolutionists have EXTREME faith. They must have exceeding faith to convince themselves that all the beauty and ingenuity in the designs of this earth were created by chance. That we, extraordinarily complex beings, are all simply mistakes. Imagine you're walking on a beach, and you find a computer chip in the sand. Nobody in their right mind would believe it was just created by chance. A computer chip is a complex device! Everybody would agree to that. Then what about our brains? Why are they proclaimed by evolutionists to be created "by chance" if they are so much more complex than any insignificant computer chip! It makes utterly and completely no sense!

There is no neutral ground: every square inch, every split second is claimed by God and counterclaimed by Satan - C. S. Lewis.

I know I already typed that quote at the beginning of this post, but it's important. Evolution and Christianity aren't compatible. Christianity fights, still fights, and will fight science... - Richard Bozarth. They're two different beliefs. Belief in man... and belief in God. As Christians, we must be have a firm Christian faith and worldview, and this these conferences really showed me how ignorant I am. Right now, if I were to be confronted with a knowledgeable atheist, I would probably be defeated in a debate. 1 Peter 3:15: "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer- I might not always be prepared to give an answer, which is why it's so important to construct a solid Christian worldview. I can't let my faith be shaken by all the people who speak out against it and challenge it. I have to be able to defend it.

One of the most memorable moments at the conference was when one of the speakers got up and spoke about a passive faith and an active faith by comparing it to the ranks of ski hills. If you're a passive Christian all your life and always stay on the bunny hills and green circles... what kind of life for Christ is that? But if you really starting thinking and acting like an active Christian, your life will be like a black diamond- but that's where you'll truly be alive. That's where the joy comes: from actively serving God. And at the end of your run, there'll be such great satisfaction and the joy as your ski instructor (God) congratulates you. But if you always stay on those uneventful green circles...

All in all, this Worldview conference was one of my favorite conferences ever. The speakers there had the skill of even the speakers at the FLY convention, which, if you've been following my blog for a while, you've seen me post about. My faith has also been encouraged from it, and I'm going to start praying that I can break through the fear that I of sharing their faith so I can lead a black diamond life. Because seriously... who wants to sit around on the bunny hill?


Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan's, author of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, new novel! AHHH!!!

I'm EXHILARATED!!! Thank you SO much Glow Fish for posting about the book! If you've read the Percy Jackson series, you should understand my excitement. Rick Riordan is phenomenal. Even if I've sounded pretty derogatory about the new Lightning Thief film, my scorn was only, I repeat, ONLY directed at the movie, not the series. The series is incredible. Rick Riordan is totally as good (possibly better) than John Flanagan, Wayne Thomas Batson, and, yes, it's true, J. K. Rowling. His writing is so fresh, realish, and modern. He doesn't even use that big of a vocabulary in his works, but still, that's part of the reason I like his books so much. They're so easy, enjoyable, and enticing to read, and I literally cannot wait for this new series he's begun to exhibit to come out! According to the Red Pyramid website (which you can access HERE), the new novel comes out 5/4/2010. On the website, you can read the first chapter of the book also, so yeah. :D

Also, has anyone read the Books of Umber by P. W. Catanese? I'm starting the first book in the series, Happenstance Found, tonight, and I was wondering if anyone could give me their thoughts on it...



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Corrupt Country

Yep, that's America. As I was checking my e-mail inbox, I descried this e-mail from a Christian website called Citizen'sLink that periodically updates me on happenings throughout the U.S. Here's what the update stated:
"President Obama's proposed budget would allocate $410 million for programs overseen by his new 'safe school czar,' gay activist Kevin Jennings. That's an increase of $45 million.
Family advocates are concerned, because Jennings used the so-called 'school climate' phrase as a tool to promote homosexuality in schools as the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.
Candi Cushman, education analyst with Focus on the Family Action, said parents should be concerned with how Jennings might spend the money."

According to the update, Keven Jennings, the new 'safe school czar' (who is a gay activist and founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), is now a powerful influence in America's public schools. *shakes head in disgust* This is pretty sad. This year I'm studying American history, and this country was so... promising. But now I'm not so sure. I mean, look at the update- homosexuality used to be nonexistent. It was something that was completely avoided back then in the past. But now? Now people are promoting it in schools. And there's still worse. Where Christianity used to be the most prominent faith in this country, now it's "Evolution" and other fallacious theories. Also, there are all these reports of Christian youth losing their faith as they grow older and are subjected to our sinful society.

In the last two months, I've been reading all about the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Now as I reflect, I'm wondering: was that all for nothing? Did America's men fight and give their lives for freedom and unity, when in the end, they were only saving a nation which was doomed to become like this? A country supporting all these ungodly things? Abortion, atheism, homosexuality, gay marriages, and so forth. I'm just so glad I'm homeschooled so I'm not buffeted in public school with teachings that promote them. I'm not trying to say public schools bad. It's good to be out in the real world sometimes, just as long as you're faith stands firm. Things are harder for adolescents now faith-wise. This country's Christian youth are surrounded by ungodly, immoral influences. It's everywhere. In the shows we watch, the things we hear- In Percy Jackson, much of the story line was changed to show in the movie immodesty and immoral things. For those who've seen the move but not read the book, one of the most prominent cases of this was when Grover is forced to stay in the Underworld while Percy, Annabeth, and Percy's mom return to Earth-nope. It was Percy's mom who said she'd stay in the Underworld. They just made it in the movie so Grover stayed so they could get the Grover and Persephone (who's already married to Hades) thing going.
I've also been watching American Idol for the past couple months, and this year, during the beginning auditions, the show has been featuring numerous gross, ungodly auditions instead of skipping over them. What's with that? Does American Idol think America is so corrupt that it enjoys that stuff? Apparently.
It's a terrible transformation in our country. It was gradual and subtle at first, but now, the sin and immorality that has engulfed this nation is evident and enormous. It's disheartening to think of the glorious beginning of America and to now examine what it has become.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief

For President's Day, my mom took my brother Alex and I to The Lightning Thief, knowing how much we enjoyed the books. And, after watching it, I'd give it three stars. This movie was an example of books superiority to movies. It didn't entice me like the books did- didn't live up to my expectations. The movies excluded numerous main characters whom I thoroughly enjoyed in the book, and what's more, they completed contorted the plot! I don't want to say anything, as it will spoil the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it, but the ending combats were COMPLETELY fabricated by the producer. It didn't follow along the lines of the novel at all! Also, the movie included a little too much inappropriateness when it came to the way the people in the film were dressed, which was a constant, disturbing element in the movie. The last thing that disappointed me greatly was how fast-paced the move was. I mean, there was barely ever a time when the characters just... talked. They were always on the run- fighting, fleeing, ect.

I won't be a total pessimist. There were really cool factors in the move too, including sweet skirmishing scenes and awesome special effects. Another thing that was cool, which is totally irrelevant to the film, is that the guy who played Percy looked sooo awesome, fitting the way I pictured him in the novels perfectly. But the person who played Annabeth... ugh. She was nothing like the Annabeth I knew in the books. Her features, her portrayal- ARGH! But Grover was another story. He rocked, and I'm so glad he was played by an African American! The actor was really funny and cool. :D
So yeah, 3 Stars, is my rating.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Can't Get Over "Tonight" and "Ranger's Apprentice"

Finally! Tobymac, just yesterday, came out with a new cd: Tonight!

I don't know about you, but Tobymac is one of my favorite artists. His music is just so... well... it gets you going. It's invigorating, reviving, ect. One of my fave songs on the album is Get Back Up, which, if my Mixpod is working, you're listening to right now. :D

Also, I just got Erak's Ransom from the library! AHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've been waiting for a whole THREE DAYS to get it! THREEE HUUUUGE DAAAYS!!! Okay, I know I'm being overly dramatic but seriously, these books are the real deal. I can't get them off my mind their so good!

Alright, I have to go watch American Idol. It's group performance night. *rubs hands together in anticipation* I can't wait to see these groups fail! jk. But this week in Hollywood is usually the most intense so I can't miss it. *grins*


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Back from SidexSide

The title's not exactly true. There were two groups of kids at the retreat: Kids in SidexSide made up of people 7th grade and older. And kids in "Snodaze" for people 7th grade and younger. To my surprise, my youth leader decided that all 180's 7th graders were going to go to Snodaze, so that's where I was placed. At first, I was dismayed. I mean... I kind of wanted to go to SidexSide because I figured the sermons and music would be more... Well... "Olderish" I guess. And I have to admit, the music in Snodaze was a bit childish. We sang songs I sung in third grade at my church for pity's sake, but, the sermons were excellent. Snodaze's preacher, Todd Erickson, was really good. The theme of the weekend was "Fearless." Pretty much being able to proclaim and speak out fearlessly about God and not being hindered by fear. In the first sermon we learned about Slavish and Childlike Fear. As it says in Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge- What is that fear?
Slavish Fear results when we fear the punishment of God. We do everything out of fear of wrath and not out of devotion to Him.
Childlike Fear results when we love and want to please God so much, that we're desperate to follow God's will and our fearful of doing anything not according to God's plan because we're so anxious to follow him.
A verse that goes with this is 1 John 4:18, which over the course of the weekend, has become one of my fave verses: There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
So it says: "There is no fear in love." And then it reinforces this statement in the following sentences of the verse. If we're fearing God's plan and will for us, our relationship with Him isn't right. "The one who fears (slavish fear) is not made perfect in love."
That's something I struggle with. I mean, what if God wants me to go and be a missionary in Iran or something? I'd be extremely fearful, but I would do it, but, to be honest, I don't know if it would be out of Slavish Fear or Childlike Fear. *sighs* It's something I have to work on.

The next sermon focused on Childlike Faith. In Mark 10:14, it says: When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children."
What's so amazing about those children? They wholeheartedly and easily rely, trust, and have faith. For example, if my Dad were to tell my little brother Caleb to jump four feet down off my top bunk, and that he'd catch him, he'd trust him in a heartbeat. No hesitation. They're so trusting that doubt or indecision never even crosses their mind. That's Childlike Faith. Whatever God says to do, we do it, casting complete, unwavering faith in him. Childlike Faith is to trust that whatever He desires for you to do, you do it, trusting him just like a believing, relying child. What exactly is faith? Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Does faith save you? This morning, I brushed my teeth, having faith completely that water would spew out of the faucet and out onto my toothbrush. Obviously, it did. No, faith alone isn't enough. But faith in Jesus is a whole different story. The story of Shadrach, Meshac, and Abednego is an extraordinary example of faith in Jesus, a superb display of Childlike faith.

After these two, there were three more sermons. One focusing on God's constant companionship with us and his omnipresence, the next on Ephesians 6:10-20 about the full of armor of God, and the last one on our Hope given to us from Jesus by his resurrection. Without that act, our faith would be futile. If His death on the cross had been the end... Well. There would be no "hope". One of the questions asked in the sermon was: What is your hope? It's not like a "I hope so!" hope, it's a firm, certain hope. If we cast our faith on people, we'll be disappointed cause we all mess up. But in God our Hope is as solid as a rock. We'll still be confronted and persecuted on this earth, but every time we fall, we'll fall on a Hope as a powerful and substantial as that.

Aside from all the sermons, I had a LOT of time to just hang out with my friends around the campus. With Caleb from Ballin' With God and Joey (my cousin), I played basketball practically non-stop. I even gave up tubing off this massive tubing hill to do it. It was pretty much an obsession during my time there. *grins* I also bought and ate junk food (much to my mom's dismay) including a Twix bar (best candy bar in the world; anyone who disagrees... well... you're missing out :D), a Mountain Dew, and peanut butter M&M's. Not much but immensely filling. Oh, and I forgot to mention, every night the people in my dorm and I had these awesome devo periods and on Saturday night, Jimmy, my youth group leader, put me in charge. I felt pretty good about that knowing Jimmy trusted me enough to lead it so yeah, it was really cool. :D

*goes back and looks over what he's written* Wow, I wonder if this is the longest post I've ever made... *laughs* I know, compared to most people's longest, this entry is mini, but to me: it's a record.
Alright, well I better close this post before it gets too long.


Friday, February 5, 2010


Alex and Hannah have both already posted about this so I'll make this entry brief. At 5:00, my youth group, 180, is taking a bus to Wisconsin to massive retreat center for youth. We'll get back Sunday afternoon (thankfully before the start of the Superbowl *grins*) so this an adios for the weekend. :D