The Question for Beauty is Not How But Why

These snowflake photos from photographer Alexey Kljatov are incredible. They instantly inspire awe in all of us, and for good reason. They also create questions.

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Photos like these spark a debate among those who believe in a Creator, and those who adhere to evolutionary theory. The “discussion” (which quickly digresses to an argument) is usually centered around explaining how these came to be.

But the question for these snowflakes with regard to their genesis is not “how” but “why’?

How the Oregon Shooting Relates to Sin

I was very disappointed, though not in the least surprised, to hear President Obama immediately characterize the recent shooting at an Oregon school as the result of mental illness.

image source: http://www.worldmag.com/media/images/content/sin0510.jpg

Even if that is the case, that is beside the point. Mental illness is a result of sin at its most primal level. Not all mentally ill people have their problems because of some sin in their life directly, please understand, but their human sin nature and sin’s presence in the world set the stage, so to speak. Sickness does not exist if sin does not exist. Pain does not exist if sin does not exist. Death does not exist if sin does not exist. Mental illness would not exist if sin did not exist.

In other words, our world is broken because of sin. 

It is a certainty that some people labeled as mentally ill after committing a crime are not ill at all. They are deranged and blinded by sin, not sick. They are irrational in their thoughts and conclusions because of lie after lie upon lie after lie that they have believed from the father of lies himself. And it leads them to action that to them may not seem sinful. But it is.

Satan is the great deceiver, and there is a “way that seems right to a man”. Just because someone believes they are doing good when they do evil does not make them mentally ill. It makes them a sinner. It makes them human.

The fact of the matter is that a mass murder is the result of sin in our world. It is not the result of guns, or philosophies, or weather, or anything else. It results from sin. The gospel is the only solution to sin, so it is the solution to this problem.

The shooting in Oregon provides an opportunity for churches to frame the discussion of evil in light of the redemptive, healing power of the gospel. No one else is looking to frame it that way, and it is up to churches to do so.

The gospel of Jesus solves this problem (and all others) in three ways:

1 – Christ and His gospel have the power to transform the life of anyone. This includes the Oregon shooter. Imagine if he had met Jesus.

2 – Christ and His gospel have the power to help mourning families heal. Particularly if the loved ones who died were believers, it gives hope that is eternal.

3 – Christ and His gospel have the power to help communities heal, especially as local churches rally around them, love them, and help them.

The solution is not gun control, depression counseling, or more armed guards.

The solution is Jesus. 

“Every Believer a Witness [Sermon]”
by Marc Buxton

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Pastor Marc Buxton
Midpoint Baptist Fellowship
Marikina City, Metro Manila

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“Eternity and the Human Soul [Sermon]”
by Marc Buxton

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Pastor Marc Buxton
Midpoint Baptist Fellowship
Marikina City, Metro Manila

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“God’s Complete Salvation [Sermon]”
by Marc Buxton

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Pastor Marc Buxton
Midpoint Baptist Fellowship
Marikina City, Metro Manila

 

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Counter-Culture: The New Reality for the American Church

America is no longer a Christian nation. I don’t mean that there are not plenty of Christians in America. What I mean is that our leaders and our neighbors are no longer basing their decisions on biblical truths. To deny that is to deny reality. The America with the Bible as her belt and the buckle in the South is no more. So what does this mean for our churches?

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The Focus of Our Witness

The apostles were tasked with selecting someone to replace Judas, who had betrayed Jesus and subsequently hanged himself. In their selection process we gain an insight into the reason for the selection: the need to have another witness among the people.

And this reason gives us an insight into the focus of their witnessing.

Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection. Acts 1:21-22

The apostles were not focused on the fact that Jesus was a great teacher, or that following Him meant a better lifestyle, or that He was a pretty nice guy. They were witnessing to the fact that Jesus is God, that He had risen from the dead, and that He had walked among them, alive, and ascended miraculously back into Heaven.

To them, the truth that Jesus is God the Savior was an overarching, all encompassing, wonderful, powerful truth.

May our witnessing have the same focus.