All posts by Rocky

What is Your Worldview?

In my last post I gave a couple of illustrations designed to help us understand that we, who believe in the inerrancy of God’s Word, The Holy Bible, see all of existence through a different worldview than do people without such faith in God’s Word. I want to take that a step further before launching into evidences of Biblical truth.

When you power up your computer, it boots into the operating system chosen by its operator and/or the builder of the computer, which tells it how it will do its work, either MacOS, Windows, Linux or one of several specialized operating systems. The operating system tells the computer how it sees, analyses and works with data to do much the same work as all other computers.

At the risk of dehumanizing humans or dignifying computers beyond their inanimate state, we humans do much the same. It is important, I suppose, to point out that this comparison does have its limitations. A computer cannot determine or reason or draw conclusions, but merely crunches data as far as its operating system and programs allow it to. We also tend to work within the parameters that have been fed into us, not by computer code, but by teachers, mentors, parents, etc. Through all of that, we develop our own worldview. In the case of existence and the meaning of life, this includes determining who or what – if anything – designed this whole universe and why.

It is important to realize that the world around us is what it is, the data that we see and hear as we learn and grow is the same data that everyone has access to. It’s how we interpret what we observe that makes the difference. Realize that if there is an error in a computer program, it will give the operator the wrong answers. Similarly, if your worldview is skewed, you will see the world from that skewed perspective.

In Defense of ‘in the beginning god…’

While on deployment as a Samaritan’s Purse Volunteer to a rebuild team after Hurricane Harvey in Texas, we were being hosted by the Grace Baptist Church of Brazoria, the church of Pastor Mark Brumbelow. If you have been around the Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child program, you’ve heard of Pastor Mark – a unique pastor, to be sure. We had the privilege of hearing Pastor Mark preach God’s Word. His Wednesday evening sermon was short and to the point. Please allow me to paraphrase his sermon, because I could never hope to do justice to his down-to-earth cowboy-style preaching. It went something like this:

“There was a man, who’s name was Darwin. And Darwin wrote this book about what he was supposin’ was natural selection. In this book, he was supposin’ that man came from apes, which he was supposin’ came from some other animals. Now, he was supposin’ that all animals came from this ooze that he was supposin’ was left over from the beginnings of the Earth, which he was supposin’ happened all by itself.

Now, there’s this other book called The Bible, which is the Word of God. And the very first words in The Bible are, “In the beginning, God…” And if you were to suppose that “In the beginning, God…,” then your supposin’ is all done. Because, the Word of God goes on to say that God created all things. And, that settles that.”

The point is that those who do not hold to the inerrancy of the Bible – as the very Word of God – see the world and all that is in it much differently than those of us who do – they take in all the same sights and sounds, view everything that is in this big beautiful world and do not see the One who created it. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)  

Let me make that point another way. I invited an archeologist, an expert on researching new finds in the Middle-East, to speak at our church many years ago. He was with the US Army Corps of Engineers and was in town for official business. In our spare time, I had a chance to talk with him about his research in the Middle-East, and was fascinated by what he had to say. So, he accepted my rather impromptu invitation to speak at our church. He made one incredible point that I have never forgotten. He said that Middle-East archaeologists carry the Bible whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, any other religious persuasion (or none), because it’s never wrong. They have learned that if the Bible says some there is a city somewhere, and they have not found it, it is not because the Bible is wrong, simply that they haven’t looked hard enough, yet.

What is so incredible about that statement is that it fits the way we determine truth from evidence. If something is accurate and true historically, culturally, and other verifiable ways, it stands to reason that it is accurate in its meaning, too – in the case of the Bible, that means spiritually. For instance, Bible-believers have been mocked for ages because we believe the Biblical account that says ‘there were giants in the land’ (Genesis 6:4). And then…archaeologists started uncovering evidence and bones of people 17 to 30 feet tall. There WERE giants in the land, and if Biblical experts had written off the Biblical accounts of giants simply because science had no proof that such beings ever existed, then they would have destroyed their own credibility when the evidence finally did surface.

But, what do we do about that? Of what value is such information? Well, what I’ve been trying to do today is demonstrate that people who believe in the Bible, and people who don’t, interpret data from a completely different worldview. I hope to share some things with you over the next weeks that will support the Biblical worldview in ways that will help you have confidence in, and be able to defend that worldview.

Rocky’s Ramblings Christian Discipleship Course

GREETINGS! Welcome to my ministry website, where I hope your desire is to learn more about what it means to be a Christian. Whether you are a new Christian, have been a Christian for some time, or someone thinking about God’s invitation to accept Jesus Christ, the daily lessons of this course will give you a firm understanding of Christianity.


YOU ARE WELCOME TO DOWNLOAD AND STUDY THE COURSE FREE OF CHARGE or use it to teach your own discipleship class (more on that below). My most recent update was to add an appendix of all of the Bible references complete with the passages from NASB, and I fixed a few hyperlink errors. So, if you’ve been here before, and it has been a while since you downloaded a copy, you may want to download a new copy.

Let’s get started! Choose one of the following large green buttons to download a copy of the course and save it where you can access it daily.

The first is labeled INTERNET PDF. It is formatted to run on a smartphone, tablet or computer, and will allow you to click on links that will take you directly to Bible passages, articles, and such.

The second is labeled PRINTABLE COPY. If you do not have a smartphone or tablet that you can access daily, the printable copy has been formatted to print on standard letter-size paper (8.5″ x 11″). Let me warn you ahead of time that if you print it all at once, it will print out on 203 pages, so printing double-sided will save you a lot of paper. Of course, you will not have direct internet access to the linked items. So, you will need to have a Bible at your side.

OUR PRIMARY TEXT: You will see in the introduction to the course that it is based on The Christian Life New Testament with Master Outlines & Study Notes (ISBN 9780840721785) available from a number of retail outlets. Use the button below to find one for yourself.

LANGUAGE TRANSLATOR: I have written this in English. But, through the wonders of the internet, you can put it through this translator to translate it into your language. Just download whichever copy fits your needs and then come back to this translator:

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TEACHING YOUR OWN SESSION:

I have a discussion guide for you should you desire to use this course to teach your own discipleship class – which I highly recommend as part of our Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)

Let me suggest that you keep it simple. Direct your group to this website so that they can download the course. Then, encourage them to go through the lessons, one each day, and get the group together once a week to discuss the 7 lessons of the previous week (perhaps over coffee and dessert). As your students get through the first two sections of the course, start encouraging them to get out and share what they are learning through their own personal evangelism. That’s the key that unlocks the door to the multiplication that Jesus taught His disciples! If you have any questions, suggestions, or want to discuss moving forward, please contact me at RockysRamblings@gmail.com. I would also love to hear your success stories and the creative ways that you are using this course.

How great a gift is the privilege of grandparenting

Going through my morning Bible Studies and/or daily devotionals has taken on new significance as I look for things to share with you here on Rocky’s Ramblings. Sometimes I share things I have written, or synthesized from what others have written. And sometimes I share something that someone else has written or presented. This is the second time this week that I have shared an article from CrossWalk.com, which I have found to be a great collection of inspirational and uplifting articles.

Today’s share is one that I hope grandparents and grandchildren alike will enjoy reading. And, I hope that parents will recognize their own parents in what the author has to say. I love being a grandparent! We are not as fortunate as this contributing author in that our grandchildren live 1,000 miles and 2,500 miles away, which makes getting together much more difficult. But, it makes the chances we do get all the sweeter!

10 of the Greatest Things About Being a Grandparent, by By Lori Hatcher, CrossWalk.com contributor

Response-Ability

We heat our house partially with wood, which I love for a number of reasons.  It gives me a good excuse to be out in our 30-acre wood, getting Rocky Balboa style exercise and fresh air while thinning out trees, opening the canopy to sunlight, allowing bushes to flourish, drawing in birds and animals – and saving a little money on utilities as the end result – really feeling like I’m caring for our forest.  

I also collect odd-ball tree stumps, gnarly roots, vine twisted trunks and branches, beaver-gnawed sections of tree, etc.  I keep the tree in the picture below next to our wood-burning stove. I was looking at it one morning as I was stoking the fire, remembering when I cut that tree down.  It was a tree growing along our 600 foot driveway which I keep manicured – I call it Rocky’s Parkway.  I needed to remove this tree to open up around a Dogwood Tree that I wanted to highlight.  I remember that there was nothing unusual about the tree as I looked at it.  But, after I cut it down, I dug around the base to cut it off below ground level.  Because it was on a rather steep slope, it had about 12 inches of leaves piled up around the base.  This is what I found buried in the leaves; it tells the tale of a difficult start in life.  Something had caused this tree, as a sapling, to twist and turn to get up to the sky.  Once it grew out of that difficult path, it straightened up and grew just fine.  

As I looked at this stump that morning, I was reminded of a philosophy that I really believe, called Response-Ability, which says that no matter how you were raised, no matter how difficult your youth, you reach a point in your adulthood when you need to recognize that you have the responsibility and the ability to respond to the world around you in a healthy way, not as your troubled youth might dictate – hence the double entendre in the name ‘Response-Ability’.  Getting there may require help and mentoring from others. But, this tree demonstrates that it is possible. It symbolizes the philosophy of Response-Ability perfectly.

We all come from unique upbringing, some tragic, no doubt. And, it’s easy to develop the attitude that the difficulties we have had to endure somehow give us a pass – an excuse – for how we live as adults. Nothing could be further from the truth. What we’ve gone through can stand as a testimony to help the next generation, but, only by growing beyond our difficult pasts to our own moment of Response-Ability.

Once you have victory over your past, you will have a unique testimony which only God can reveal to you.  Ask Him about it; ask Him to help you be a better person for having gone through what you have, and ask him how you can use your testimony in your personal ministry to people who need to hear just what you can share, just as we see in Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” What you’ve been through will give you a compassion for others going through the same thing when God brings you together.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Introduction to Biblical Apologetics…Shared Unapologetically

That title may seem like a conflict in terminology. But, given that ‘Apologetics’ is defined as ‘making a defense’, it makes more sense that we who believe what the Bible says would share it without apology. But, there is a huge gap in today’s world between sharing and defending our faith.

We need to start by looking at some research done by the Barna Group and Answers in Genesis, the folks who gave us The Creation Museum and The Ark Adventure. By the way, if you have not been to either or both of these Christian sites, you really must. If you care at all about defending our faith in today’s world, it is a trip worth your time, energy and money – and it’s not that expensive. So, go! Take your kids, take your church youth group, take your church’s young parents group, take your church’s Sunday School teachers.

Back to the research project, in which the Barna Group found that 70% of the children of church-going families are leaving the church as soon as they are out on their own.  Yes!  Read that sentence again. SEVENTY PERCENT of children brought up in the church are leaving as soon as they can make those decisions for themselves. So, Answers to Genesis surveyed this group of young adults to find out why. They received a smattering of reasons, but THE most prevalent was that they did not believe the Bible stories they were taught in Sunday School – they did not want to perpetuate the stories that even their teachers didn’t believe. To put an exclamation on that statement, young adults who had been brought up in Sunday School left the church at a higher percentage that those who were just taken to church. (Already Gone by Ken Ham, Britt Beemer, and Todd Hillard – Answers in Genesis)

What that tells us is that it is not enough to simply share Bible stories with our youth. We have to tell them these stories are TRUE and that WE believe they are TRUE. Furthermore, we need to teach that there evidence – real scientific evidence – of these truths. Let me give you a scenario to demonstrate. Let’s say that little Johnny goes to Sunday School and learns about Noah’s Ark. The teacher uses a picture of cute little arks bobbing on the water with cartoon animals sticking their heads out of the windows (we’ve all seen it), and maybe a cute little song about the animals coming 2 by 2.

The next day, Johnny goes to school and shares what he learned with his friends on the playground. Along comes Billy, the playground bully, who teases Johnny for believing such a nonsense story. What does Johnny do? NOTHING! Because nobody told Johnny that the story was true, or even that his teacher believes it to be true. Nobody gave Johnny any clue that there was any real evidence that it is true. We might as well be teaching our children with Aesop’s Fables!

What if we teach these stories as if they are true – because they ARE – and tell our children about the evidence that’s out there. Now, little children may be too young to understand all the science behind that truth. But, we can at least teach them that if there were no world-wide flood, we would not find fish fossils on top of mountains! Then, we can teach them more about the science as they progress to the point that they are ready for that.

We need to teach people at all ages how to defend our faith. Gone are the days when the Bible is just accepted as the ultimate authority. Here’s another example; this one for adults. We live in a day when even most Christians don’t really believe the Biblical account of creation. Face it; it’s true. Most people – even most CHRISTIANS – believe that evolution is real science and that the Bible simply short-cuts the story to 6 days. So, if evolution is true, we’ve had literally eons of animals being born and dying, each generation getting more complex until, voilà, we have man in some primitive form.  OK, here’s a question for you to ask people who believe that: If evolution is true, and eons of generations of animals have come and gone to get us where we are today, then why did Jesus have to die on a cross? Think about that for a minute. Why did Jesus die? To pay our ‘wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23a). Why? Because death was the penalty for sin, for the original sin of Adam and Eve. If there had already been eons of death on earth, then death did not come as a penalty of sin and we have no ‘wages of sin’ to pay. So, Jesus would not have had to die to pay that price for us to save us from our sin.

That is the way we have to teach our Bible classes in a day when everyone questions everything, and there are so many voices competing for our minds and souls.

Protecting Children

I want to tell you a story from when I first became a daddy. Our son was perfect, and my wife and I were thrilled at such a gift! We loved him so much and vowed before God to love him, to protect him and to bring him up in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – as I believe all good Christian parents should do.

When he was old enough to start adventuring about on two feet, I set out to ‘baby proof’ the house. I put the little two-prong protectors in all of the outlets, I put the cabinet drawer and door locks in, I put the little corner protectors on all of the end tables so that he wouldn’t fall and get hurt by the sharp corners – all the things they tell you to do to ‘baby-proof’ a house with a new toddler. When I was done, I turned to my wife and said, “There, our son is safe in this house!” Does that sound familiar to any other daddies out there?

That very same day, I sat down in a rec-room chair and Joshua, still a little unsteady on his feet, toddled over to be picked up. As he approached, he tripped on my big foot and fell into the end table and blood went everywhere! He had split his eyebrow, not on the corner of the table, but on the edge. That was our second trip to the ER with him (the first is a story for another time).

I asked God why He allowed our son to fall and cut himself? The answer I got was that I had determined to make my son’s world safe of my own ability. Of course, the reality was that I could never fully protect him – it was foolish to think that I could.

Our children are never completely safe as long as they are in this world. But, it is incumbent upon us, as parents, to turn our children over to God’s loving protection. Certainly, we should do what is prudent as parents to keep our children safe – but realizing that of our own power, we can never protect our children the way He can. Our son still carries the scar of that moment in his eyebrow, a constant reminder to me to turn my burdens over to God, “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22a). “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

The same is true of us as adults. We will never live in a completely safe world. But, if we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ and ask Him to be our Lord and Savior, then we will be His children. He will give us the keys to His Kingdom and give us the authority to bind Satan’s demons and loose God’s angels to protect us (Matthew 16:19). As believers, we will also be able to claim the principles of Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Will that protect us from all harm? No! But it will give us the assurance that no matter what we go through, it will be for His glory, and will ultimately be turned to good for us as well as for His Kingdom.

The first step is to recognize our sinful nature and recognize that we need to repent of that, and turn to Jesus Christ. If you have never done that, I urge you to go to PeaceWithGod.net and do it now. Become a child of God today and rely on His unlimited resources, instead your limited resources, to keep you safe from the wiles of the devil. If you would like to discuss that, contact me here RockysRamblings@gmail.com, I’d love to talk with you, pray with you, answer your questions, or help you settle into life as a new Child of God!

Who Am I To Judge Another When I Myself Walk Imperfectly

A follower of Rocky’s Ramblings asked me to share some thoughts on this topic some time back, and I thought it was particularly appropriate to our current national situation, so I’m re-sharing. At the outset, we need to recognize that this theme actually contains two statements: ‘who am I to judge’ and ‘I walk imperfectly. I’m going to separate the two and then pull them back together at the end.

The first part of that statement sounds like the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.”  At first glance, Jesus seems to be admonishing us to go about living our lives, turning a blind eye to the spiritual needs of others.  After all, would that not require that we judge them as needing spiritual help?  Is Jesus absolving us of any responsibility for lives falling apart around us – to ‘live and let live’ lest we be guilty of judging?  To answer that question, we must understand that ‘to live and let live’, is more accurately ‘to live and let die’…the very opposite of our Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).  Yes, Jesus does tell us here to ‘not judge’.  But, He was not telling us to simply allow immeasurable mayhem and false teaching to go unchecked – in the spiritual or political realm, in our churches or families.  Clearly, Jesus has a deeper message about judging, which requires that we dig deeper to find it.    

Jesus continues in the very next verse with, “For in the way (emphasis added) you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2)  Drop down a few verses to Matthew 7:6, and see that Jesus, in the same lesson, admonishes us not to give what is holy to dogs and not to throw pearls before swine.  I don’t think he’s talking about tossing valuable jewelry to the family pets or livestock.  So, clearly, we must be able to discern (make a judgment call) as to what or who He is calling dogs and the swine.  Hop on over to John 7:24, also the words of Jesus, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”  So, Jesus teaches us to ‘judge not’ AND to ‘judge rightly’.  So, it is clearly not as simple as saying that we should never make ‘judgments.’ There are good Biblical reasons to use good discernment – to make judgment calls -at some level.

The second part of that theme, ‘…when I myself walk imperfectly’, sounds a lot like Matthew 7:4, again, the words of Jesus Christ, “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?” At first glimpse it seems to agree with the ‘judge not’ doctrine that we just tagged as wrongly applied. But, here’s a quandry: if we are not to judge, and we are to live and let live (die), then what allows us to judge ourselves as walking imperfectly? What does that even mean? But, that’s a much bigger question, and one for another day.

Let’s go back to Matthew 7:4 and look to the very next verse, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”  Should we NOT help our brother with the speck in his eye?  Notice that Jesus says, FIRST take the log out of your own eye, THEN you can see to take the speck from your brother’s eye.  What Jesus was actually telling us all through Matthew 7:1-8 is that we SHOULD be working toward helping our brother with their spiritual needs.  But, that begins by cleaning up our own lives, lest we deal with our brother’s as hypocrites.

As Christians, we are to live our lives in accordance to what we say we believe.  In fact, Peter admonishes us by referring back to Leviticus, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:14-16) If we are not striving to do so, we are rightly indicted of hypocrisy when trying to ‘remove the speck’ from our brother’s eye and to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with nonbelievers.  From this perspective, we should take this theme as a challenge to live our lives so that we have proper standing to say, as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”

by Rocky Rockwell, RockysRamblings.com

Choosing a Church…to leave?

As I go through my morning communications, I look for meaningful articles, videos and sermons to enrich my spiritual life, and to give me wisdom worth sharing. I have decided to do that right here on my own website, rather than continue dancing with the devil on social media. What a perfect day to do that, a divine appointment, as I came across an article on Crosswalk.com that is one of the best, most succinct, summaries I’ve found on the warning that Apostle John shares with us in Revelation 2 & 3 about churches to avoid.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge advocate of church, attending church, getting involved in church, and otherwise heeding the admonition in Hebrews 10:25, “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

Here is the article; may God use it to stir your heart to embrace your church, or seek a new church that you can embrace.

10 Churches You Might Want to Avoid, by Jennifer Heeren, CrossWalk.com contributor

What If He Meant What He Said?

I was recently asked to fill the pulpit and lead online Bible studies on the Wednesdays on either side of that Sunday, while our local pastor and his wife took a well-deserved vacation. I chose my Title from a relatively new song by Mark Lowry that fit well with what I believe God has been helping me understand as I search for ways to share His Gospel in ways that help people see what Jesus meant when He told us that we need to be born-again, that He would give us life more abundantly, and what He expects of His followers.

Preceding Wednesday Bible Study: The Abundant Life Part 1

Sunday Sermon: What If Jesus Meant What He Said

Following Wednesday Bible Study: The Abundant Life Part 2