Do You Know Him Or Know Of Him?

Do You Know Him Or Know Of Him?

Tuesday Column: Dale Mail

blond man with goatee smiling at camera with blazer on
Dale Pollard


God speaks of Himself as simply “I Am.” This is one powerful statement depicts His infinite presence and His existence through every age. What does it mean to know Him? How do you know if you do? To know of Jesus is very different than knowing Him.

John is one of those books in the New Testament that will help us to become better aquainted with the Christ. John paints us a vivid picture of who He was and is on a deeper level than even the three previous books.

He’s the Bread of life, Light of the world, the Gate, Good Shepherd, Resurrection and Life, the Truth, and the Vine. All of these titles found within the book teach us a little more about the Savior of the world. There are seven “I Am” statements in John referring to Jesus and three hundred throughout the entire Bible. They begin in Genesis and end in Revelation, and in many books in-between. You just can’t read very far without discovering something very profound about it’s Writer.

He’s eternal. God’s desired response to this is simply for us to believe, respond, and live with our minds and hearts prepared to live with Him. When Jesus describes Himself as the “I Am” it makes the religious leaders want to kill Him in John 8. To know Jesus, to really know Him, is something that many people have not fully understood. Even as Jesus walked among us mortals and witnessed His miraculous power there were still several that didn’t realize what it meant to follow Him Luke 9:57-62.

While it’s true that everyone is made in the image of God, few reflect the Father’s image. Those that know Jesus introduce others to Him. With the knowledge that we are imperfect, let’s not forget that we also have the ability to have a relationship with Him. I am flawed and I am weak, but the Great I Am is interested in who I am.

By the grace of God, I am His child. He is the bread of life that sustains us, the light that guides us, the gate we’ll walk through, and the truth that will save us. It’s not how great I am, but how great the Great I Am is. Do you know Jesus?

Reality’s Architect

Reality’s Architect

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

We’re impressed by the intricacies of craftsmanship or artistry. A well-made instrument or diorama or painting can sell for thousands or more. Watching the process of those things coming to life leaves an even more profound impression of the talent required! I’ve lost track of time while watching hyper-realistic dioramas take shape (by other artists, not me). The sheer effort involved is incredible.
While those artists are very, very talented and impressive, they’re nothing compared to reality’s architect! Hours, weeks, or months are invested in breathtaking artwork, yet those pieces come from extant materials and are based on extant concepts. Humanity cannot create anything new.
It took God less than a week to fabricate an unfathomably large universe. We explore and investigate our world, only to be blown away by its complexities. Even the simplest life forms require highly intelligent minds and sophisticated equipment to understand. The more we discover, the more we understand how little we know.
For several years, science has been adopted by many as an explanation for reality. Besides the fact that science is merely our observations of what already exists, it still leaves plenty of questions unanswered.
For example, look into how many medications say something like (paraphrased, of course), “We don’t know how this works, but we think it…” We can perform complex surgeries using robots, but we can’t cure the common cold. We can explore our galaxy, but we’re not sure how exactly some antidepressants work to alleviate symptoms. Humanity has accomplished some amazing things, but even the most “basic” issues continue to evade our understanding.
Therefore, it isn’t entirely unreasonable to assume that something or someone intelligent was responsible for our incredible existence. Our greatest accomplishments pale in comparison to the magnitude of our universe. Every great piece of art has an artist behind it. Every piece of groundbreaking technology has a design team behind it. Our universe must have also had an immensely powerful, creative, compassionate designer.
Far from somehow disproving the existence of God, our greatest accomplishments merely highlight how powerful God really is. He gave us a beautiful world and way more than we need to survive. The sheer beauty of this planet alone should tell us that our God is a loving God.
“I look at the heavens you made with your hands. I see the moon and the stars you created and I wonder, ‘Why are people so important to you? Why do you even think about them? Why do you care so much about humans? Why do you even notice them?’ But you made them only a little lower than angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You put them in charge of everything you made. You put everything under their control…Lord our Lord, your name is the most wonderful name in all the earth” (Ps 8.3-9)!

Noting God’s Glory on a Cold Day 

Noting God’s Glory on a Cold Day 

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Biblical Bytes

81121814_2462862270639428_5746232403106463744_n

Brent Pollard

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” (Psalm 19.1 NASB1995)   

A cold wind bit my exposed skin as I walked to the mailbox. Three cats wove between legs desiring a petting. I wanted to hurry back to the house but feared inadvertently kicking one of the lovable, purring furballs. I carefully made my way from the shadow into the direct sunlight. I felt the warming rays of the sun on that same exposed skin. I closed my eyes but could still sense the bright light of that gaseous ball some 92 million miles away. As I coaxed the cats back up to the house, I contemplated our life-sustaining star.  

How is it that we happened to find ourselves in the “sweet spot” in our proximity from this sphere of hot plasma? Were we any closer, the conditions on earth might prove too hot to support life. Were we any further away, the conditions on earth might prove too cold to support life. If you do any searching into this happenstance, you will encounter the expression “Goldilocks zone.” You may recall Robert Southey’s story of the titular Goldilocks who decided to make herself at home in the house of three bears. She tried the food, chairs, and beds of the absented creatures, finding the baby bear’s things to be “just right.” 

Somehow we found ourselves on a planet in that spot, which is just right. Atheists say that this is the result of chance. I was reading a site contributed to by those departing the Christian faith as they discussed this very topic. The original poster to the forum said that this habitable zone’s existence was a remaining hurdle for him in his desire to cast off the reality of God. Commentors threw out what I would consider a straw man argument, stating that life is possible elsewhere; it is just that evolution would produce a different result. Thus, some other lifeforms would be having this same discussion about how their planet was in the “right spot.”  

Of course, that does nothing to explain how we found ourselves in just that right spot. It was an explosion from nothing (i.e., Big Bang) that scattered the known universe’s material. Gravity also resulted from this explosion somehow. This gravity enabled the cosmic debris to coalesce into the Earth, Sun, and all the tiny dots of sparkling light observable in the night sky. Yet, despite its chaotic beginning, the earth was situated at the proper distance from the sun to allow life to get sloshed together inside primordial oceans.  

Those simple lifeforms, defying every observation today that things go from a state of order to disorder, managed to grow more complex over eons of time. Yes, there were untold dead ends in which mutation brought about disastrous results. But finally, homo sapiens (“wise man”) emerged at the animal kingdom’s apex, the hairless primate, to ponder his existence. With his technology, he created machines that enabled him to communicate over much distance instantly about how the Goldilocks zone is just the illusion of an Intelligent Creator.   

Call me crazy, but I think it takes more faith to believe that pure chance put us into the sun’s sweet spot. It is much easier for me to accept an Omnipotent God created us and placed us inside the Goldilocks zone He made. Thus, the perfect proximity from our star declared God’s glory to me! As such, as I felt the sun’s warmth on a cold day, rather than think of it merely as a hot ball of gas heating me, I could imagine those sun’s rays were the arms of my Heavenly Father holding me in His loving care.   

 

INTELLIGENT DESIGN

INTELLIGENT DESIGN

Neal Pollard

A child was sent to school one day,
By parents walking the narrow way,
The child learned many a concrete rule,
On Math and English in that school.
The history class did pretty well,
Spelling and language arts were swell,
But right before lunch, to science class,
Biology lessons one needed to pass.
Talk was made of ironclad “fact,”
“Evolution!” Of course.  The talk was packed
With tales of geology billions of years old,
And transformations a wonder to behold.
Every smart person, any rational mind
Accepts this “fact,” oh who’d be so blind,
So Neanderthalish to speak of design—
Intelligent purpose, such talk unbenign!
‘Tis a danger, the courts should never allow
A nod up to heaven or a teacher to bow
To the concept of design purposefully forged
Such poisonous food for a young mind to be gorged.
What’s next? Talk of accountability?
A Creator in heaven? Judgment? Eternity?
Outrageous that Bible thumpers insist
To include in school teaching such mythical mist.
Let’s stick to the concrete, from our father of faith
Brother Darwin’s didactics, so sacred and safe.
“Amen!” to Precambrian. Naturalism? “Preach on!”
Such humanistic glory, let God talk be gone!
We got here by purposeless, meaningless oops,
Universal precision via primordial soups.
So close up your Bible, turn off your mind,
Away with your dangerous, intelligent design.
Content yourself wholly with invertebrate grandmothers,
And bask in the beauty of babboonish brothers.
Any questions, young minds?  No?  Class is dismissed!
Go out into a world of designless abyss.

Ignore clues from systems both solar and lunar,
Or circular or vascular, far better the sooner,
The opposite of intelligent? Slow-minded and shallow
Of design? Confusion, a mess, a fog, or fallow.
How many a little mind, trusting and bright?
Are being led blindly minus logical light?
By teaching unintelligent, but doubtless by design,
To eternal unreadiness via moral decline?

505532328_e707b390ee_o_d

See The Living God (Poem)

See The Living God (Poem)

Neal Pollard

I cannot stop staring at the mountains and the skies

The beauty is so breathless, an endless feast for my eyes

I cannot look at all this and give credit to luck or chance

I’m a victor of the Creator, not a victim of circumstance.

The heavens preach this sermon, Our God He loves and lives

All nature shares the message, what joy and hope it gives

He’s up in heaven waiting until the day He’ll bring us home

For now He’s left us evidence, and we pray, “Lord Jesus, come.”

I cannot stop looking into my little baby’s eyes

I see his parents’ imprint when he laughs and when he cries

In awe my tears are welling as his face shows eternity

This little one God’s endless power shows to all who clearly see

You cannot look at people and fail to see the living God

Our design says a designer, to say “no God” is to play the fraud

He’s patiently waiting for more people to come to Him and live

What will you do with this moment?  Give what you have to give.

I cannot stop reading this Book that explains it all

My cause, my purpose, my destiny, His plan, His way, His call

It has proven to be perfect, it’s been tried and tried again.

It says there is an answer to my problem it calls sin.

The Bible shares the mind of God, it helps us find the way

It helps us understand His heart, and how to live today

It pierces our hearts so we’ll make room to put His will inside

How great our God to show us the path where we can walk at His side

A TRUTH IN THE MIDST OF TRANSIENCE (poem)

A TRUTH IN THE MIDST OF TRANSIENCE (poem)

Neal Pollard

Waters vast and oceans deep create a marvel and wonder
By its volume and power but also the creatures that you’ll find thereunder.
The stars and planets, galaxies, the universe, the vastness of outer space
The finest particles and smallest molecules, the most infinitesimal place.
The power of the greatest man who rules upon the land
The lowliest person who grovels around unseen and far from grand.
The outward beauty and loveliness of the Lord’s most fair person
The inward workings and intricate details of us all makes this so very certain.
To look upon the mountains high, whether green or rocky or tall
To investigate the tiniest plant and the creatures so delicate and small
Look afar or microscopically, dig and search, uncover
Test it, taste it, see it, smell it, here’s what you’ll discover
Locked within our DNA or viewed from light years away
You see the same truth, over and over, a fact that’s here to stay.
We are the evidence of a Being whose power and knowledge are unending
Who makes what is made extraordinary, through His infinite nature expending
But making what’s made and doing what’s done, His resources are not depleted
Because He is God, He’s never without. He never needs completed.
He’s worthy and mighty, He’s wonderful and true, the God we worship and serve
He’s faithful and ingenious, active and gracious, from perfection He cannot swerve
As you walk through the day and make observations, what you see or happens to you.
Whatever may change, crumble, fall, or fade away, God will still be faithful and true.

                             Endothelial cells viewed under a microscope

GOD OF THE MARIANA TRENCH

GOD OF THE MARIANA TRENCH

Neal Pollard

Film director, James Cameron, has helped put the Mariana Trench in the news with his recent seven mile plunge to the bottom of the deepest point on earth.  This trench, located in the western Pacific Ocean off the Philippines, has a water pressure of eight tons per square inch–1000 times greater than atmospheric pressure at sea level.  Cameron is only the third person to reach the bottom of the trench (called the “Challenger Deep”), and he did so 52 years after two men did so in a U.S. Navy submersible called the Trieste.  While he has reported that there were no signs of life, that it was a “barren, desolate lunar plain” (AP, 3/26/12), God has placed amazing, other-worldly-looking creatures miles deep in the oceans of the earth.  Cameron’s is almost certainly the first of many more trips to the “Challenger Deep.”  Who knows?  Maybe future voyages will reveal crush depth-defying vertebrates and other scientific improbabilities (much information from http://deepseachallenge.com).

It is amazing that man has discovered the ability and technology God has made available to accomplish a feat like this.  It is also amazing to think that God created areas on this earth, like other parts of the Mariana Trench, filled with exotic, often colorful sea life that He knew it would take thousands of years for man to discover.  Yet, He did that.  It is further proof of His existence and insight into what kind of God He is, a God of such intricate designing and endless power.

It is also a testimony to the omnipresence of God.  How great if Cameron would have quoted David’s words as he sat upon the floor of “Challenger Deep”: “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me” (Ps. 139:7-10).

Jaroslav Vazda wrote a beautiful song, “God of The Sparrow.” It is a song praising God’s power and implicitly reminding us of the awe we owe Him.  How wonderful to know that the God of the Mariana Trench is the God we can approach and the God with whom we can have relationship!