So how does this make sense in the face of tragedy even to those who believe this worldview? How does it bring hope to despair and meaning even to hardship?
1. In a Christian worldview, God is creator and therefore he is the authority over all his creation. He sets the rules for his creation. He sets both natural law i.e. gravity which cannot be broken, and he sets moral laws which can and have been broken. The reason we even know right and wrong and that murder is evil is because God created life, gave it value and gave us moral law. Non-Christian worldviews cannot adequately account for these facts.
The reason we know what happened in Parkland or in Texas was a tragedy is because precious life was taken and the Evolutionary answers of survival of the fittest doesn’t add up! In the depths of our soul, in our emotions and conscience, we know it was horrific evil because we know what good and evil are thanks to God
2. In a Christian worldview, God has not left his creation to suffer under evil indefinitely. At great cost to himself, he sent his only son, Jesus, who is God as well, to suffer and die in order to conquer evil and provide salvation from evil. Jesus entered into our suffering. He himself was tragically murdered. However, His death and resurrection from the grave prevents evil from ever conquering good completely. In a Christian worldview, God always overrules evil with good even though for the moment, as with Jesus’ death, evil may seem to win.
3. In a Christian worldview, there is hope because of salvation in Jesus Christ. He conquered death, rose again from the grave and now provides eternal life and the forgiveness of sins. Not only is evil like that in Texas overcome, but our own sinful heart can be forgiven and our relationship with God can be restored. We personally can have victory over evil and sin in our own life. We do not have to be captive to our own sinful condition. In fact, the Bible declares that If the young man who did this evil in Florida repents and turns to Christ for forgiveness and salvation, his eternal future will still be good. He will still go to Heaven not because his evil is overlooked by God, but because Jesus Christ was punished on the cross in his place. Of course he will and should be punished here and now for his horrible deeds.
4. In a Christian worldview, we have the hope of eternal life. For those who have accepted God’s gift of salvation which is free to us but came at great cost to him, it is not death to die. Yes, that is right, it is not death to die. When God speaks of death in the Bible, he speaks of eternal death which is separation from God in Hell for those who reject Jesus’ gift and do not believe in him. For those who do accept his gift of salvation such as those at the First Baptist Church, death is not eternal. It is a passage way to eternal life. The Bible says that for those who have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ to be absent from this earthly body is to be instantly present with the Lord in Heaven.
5. In a Christian worldview, evil such as we saw in these situations is punished. Perhaps the killer supposed in his worldview that his ticket to freedom from the carnage he had caused by his evil actions was to kill himself thus ending life and entering a state of non-existence. No jail, no remorse, no guilt, no dread, he felt as many who commit such atrocities do, that killing themselves was the end. However, in a Christian worldview, the man who killed himself in the Texas shooting went to Hell. He will stand before God in the final judgement for his sin as we all will someday and then he will be condemned to eternal death in the Lake of Fire. There is no hope for him, no second chance. His fate is sealed. His worldview was horribly wrong in so many ways and at so many levels. Worldviews do have consequences. In the case of the situation in Florida, the young man will be punished and if he does not repent toward God will also spend eternity in Hell.
What is your worldview? What are it’s consequences for your future? How do you process events such as these terrible tragedies? Do you believe that the universe happened from a “Big Bang?” Do you believe in the evolutionary process, the survival of the fittest, that life is random, futile, and meaningful only for the strong who survive? Do you believe that good and evil are simply cultural norms? Do you believe there are no moral absolutes based on a moral absolute being who is designer, creator and ultimate authority, GOD? May we ask you to consider the Christian worldview. Use the resources below to learn more and consider God.
For those who have a Christian worldview, do not be discouraged even in the face of hard questions. God is in control. He does overcome evil with good. We are part of his plan in doing so. Share God’s good news contained in the Christian worldview with others. Share God’s love by reaching out to others and loving them. Pray for God’s help and strength for those touched by this and other effects of man’s sin, and look up for the Lord can come at any time.
Do you have questions? Would you like to talk about your spiritual life and relationship with God? Contact us using the information below or visit us for a service soon.
Click here for other helpful articles that can help answer questions about God, the universe, his relationship to you and more.
Check out these other helpful articles below on our website for more information about God.
Daily Devotion for Today
On Wednesday, February 14, seventeen faculty, staff and students were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL. It is the second-deadliest shooting at a U.S. public school. On November 5, 2017, at approximately 11:30 am a man walked in to the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX and killed or wounded at least 46 people.
Many questions arise in the aftermath of tragedies like these or in our own personal lives. In the early hours and days, the questions are often answerable. How many died? Who was the killer? What did the authorities do in response? What was the killer’s motive? However, these questions quickly give way to the deeper questions that seem to be unanswerable. We all wrestle with questions like these about tragedies.
Although many of these types of questions are and will remain unanswered in detail, there are answers in the bigger sense. Though we may not understand the specifics of why this tragedy, why these particular people, or why this small church, we can understand from the Bible who God is, why evil exists and how God has victory over it. Those answers come from what we call a Christian worldview.
We all have some sort of worldview if we realize it or not, and it matters!
A worldview is best described as the glasses through which we see and interpret all that is happening around us in the world. It attempts to tell an overarching story, to explain the universe in both grand and detailed ways. The story attempts to bring clarity and understanding to every part of existence.
Without a worldview of some kind, life has no meaning. There is no understanding of what is happening around us. Without meaning, living has no real purpose. Without purpose, there is no hope and reason to live.
We all seek to understand the world around us, especially in the midst of confusion, pain and tragic situations. From scientific questions to questions of good and evil, and why there is suffering we wonder why. We seek guidance for decisions and meaning to life’s trials. We seek true beauty in art and wonder at the hate we see between human beings. These answers and more can be found through the glasses of our worldview.
God has provided an undistorted worldview through his word, the Bible, by communicating basic truths that are fundamental to every aspect of our life. This worldview brings clarity, purpose, and guidance for all of life.
Although there are many many worldviews that people follow, there are only two basic worldviews, a true one and a false one. The true one has only one definition. The false one takes on many forms. Let’s look at these two worldviews.
Firstly, let’s look at a non-biblical and false worldview summary. Remember, there are many versions of this, but they all include the same fundamental points.
Secondly, let’s look at a Christian worldview. You can watch this short video summary of a Christian worldview and then we’ll give you some reasons why this view works and makes sense even in the face of tragedy to the very people who hold this worldview.
Authors wish to remain anonymous - Used with permission
Often during times of heart-rending events that involve mass casualties and national grief, our leaders will say that “our thoughts and prayers are with those who were touched by the tragedy.” Perhaps you are wondering how to pray. You can pray for the people touched by this terrible school shooting in Florida based on the following ideas presented in Psalms 25 and Lamentations 3
If you are wondering how God could let something like this happen, click the link at the bottom to see our article that was posted after the church shooting in Texas.
In the meantime, when thinking of the families and friends of those dear people in Florida, pray:
Take some time to read through Psalms 25 and Lamentations 3 and let these passages help guide you as you seek to pray for those who are suffering and hurting in unimaginable ways. Pray for America as a nation as well. Tragedies such as this raise many deep and difficult questions about God, his love, his control and his goodness. While no human can answer all these questions, we believe the Bible has answers for the problems of evil and suffering. We would be glad to talk further with you or have you join us for a service soon. We all wrestle with these issues and we would be happy to point you to the truths we have learned in years of studying God’s word the Bible. In the meantime, take some time today to pray for these hurting people and our nation.
Authors wish to remain anonymous - Used with permission
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Dear Grace Baptist Church Family,
Do you know what it means to have a “winsome” attitude or a “winsome” spirit?
A person who has this kind of attitude is attractive to others. Others find that they enjoy being around this kind of person. They are drawn to people like this.
There are many characteristics of a “winsome” person, not the least of which is that they enthusiastically believe in what they are talking about.
I have met many people like this over the years as I am sure that you have. I met a restaurant business owner recently who had that kind of attitude. She spoke to us about her business and her food and her employees. She believed in them. She believed in her service. She was totally sold on everything about her restaurant. And she was thoughtful and gracious about everyone she spoke of. By the time she was finished I wanted to eat there every day! [Not really because I love Vickie’s cooking.]. But I did leave her with the thought that I wish we all had the same enthusiasm and passion for the church as she did for her restaurant.
That is where I realized that we have the opportunity to share our belief in Jesus Christ with a winsome spirit. We can tell others in a gracious way how much He means to us. We can tell them what He has done for us. We can invite them to our church. We can lovingly share with others the hope that we have within us.
And we should.
Not all of us have the same outgoing demeanor as others. But we can all have a heart of love for others and a passion for Christ that in one way or another shows a compassion for those around us who need Christ.
Let me encourage you to take the opportunity to share Christ with someone. And as you have the chance, look for the many, many ways that you can show a winsome spirit and invite others to come to our church. We have a wonderful church family and I believe that there are many who need what we have to offer because of what Christ has done for us.
We can all be “winsome”—even me…and you.
I look forward to worshiping the Lord together with you this Sunday. Please be in prayer for our church and the services.
Also, there will be a prayer time every Sunday at 9:15am in Classroom #3. Please join us for any part of the time that you can.
In case you missed it, there was snow this morning!! I did a quick video so that I had proof that it happened…it might be the only time that it happens!
That is not my topic for today but it is current news. However, we need to move on. But if you have coffee or hot chocolate and a few minutes I have an article that I will print below for you to read.
Every day I read numerous articles and selections as I am sure you do. =The article below fits with an area that I mentioned to you a few weeks ago. As you might recall I encouraged you to pray for our church as we meet for worship on Sundays. I hope that will become a regular practice for you if it is not already. However, there is another angle to consider. What if you are bored with church? Or maybe there is another term that fits—almost any term will do. Anything less than being excited to be in God’s house worshipping the true and living God together with our brothers and sisters in Christ fits this category. And it can and does happen to all of us at some time I would think.
So, here is an article that delves into that subject with some very good responses to what might go on in our hearts. I hope you will be challenged by this as much as I have been. It will take just a short time to read but is well worth it.
When Your Church Disappoints
Reposted from www.sharperiron.org
by Eric Davis
Let’s face it. Church is not always as exciting as we would like. Sometimes it’s boring and disappointing. It’s possible that there are good reasons for that. But it’s possible that there are not.
Being bored is not the worst thing that can happen to us in our churches. In fact, it may be the best thing since it can present opportunity for personal change. Though not always, our personal boredom can often be symptomatic of a needed soul adjustment.
Consider a few shifts before submitting to disappointment’s demands:
Turn complaining about your church into praying for your church.
If there’s one thing we know about complaining, it is fundamentally (whether intentional or not) a disapproving commentary on the perfect sovereignty of the One running things. God decreed everything about which we complain. He reigns. So, it’s possible that our complaints are really sovereignty-protests.
Even so, there are likely things about your church which need improvement or attention. Prayer harnesses your observations and makes them productive work-horses for your church instead of finicky commentators about your church.
A productive alternative to complaining about your church is praying for it.
Turn worrying about your church’s imperfection into trusting God’s perfection.
Worrying about our church often is symptomatic of a trust sickness. God is in competent control of our churches. Christ is not wearing a worry-path in the carpet of heaven’s throne room. He is seated, relaxed, and building his church.
Worry doubts his capabilities while trusting in itself. It assumes that its activity of fretting is more industrious than trusting God. It’s possible that our disappointment in our church is rooted here.
A productive alternative to worrying about your church is trusting God’s perfection.
Turn gossiping to others about the disappointment in your church into thanking God for the good in it.
Blunders can be found in every church if you look for them. And, often, even if you don’t. But they are normal, especially since the church is filled with people like you and me.
Re-channel the fleshly thrill of gossip elsewhere, however. While changes probably need to be made, worship God with the fruit of lips that give thanks to his name (Heb 13:5).
A productive alternative to gossiping about your church is thanking God for the good in it.
Turn being a part of the problem with your church into being part of the solution.
Just about every church has that guy who is skilled in simultaneously seeing and being part of the problem. But the most painful thing to church leadership is when they take the time to seriously hear his concerns, but he subsequently stiff-arms tangible suggestions to become part of the solution.
As you think about the problems in your church, ask yourself honestly, “How might I be contributing to the problem(s) in my church?” “What log might I have protruding from my eye?” Do not move past that question too quickly.
Then ask, “What can I do to confess my contribution and turn from being the problem, to please Christ so as to contribute to the solution?” Ask your church leadership the same question. Listen. Learn. Pray. Serve. Contribute. Help. Give. Get equipped.
And do more than simply avoid being part of the problem. That may, in fact, be how you are part of the problem.
Participate in a way that your church leaders can look back and see how you were useful in solving problems in the church.
A productive alternative to being a part of the problem in your church is to be a part of the solution.
Turn resisting your imperfect church leaders into getting united with them.
Most church leadership are well-acquainted with their inadequacies for the work in which they find themselves. If they are biblicaly qualified, they see the many, many ways that they need to grow.
If you choose to point those out, do so in a way that obeys the commands in Scripture to submit to, obey, esteem, and demonstrate accountability to your church leaders (1 Thess 5:12-13, Heb 13:17, 1 Pet 5:2-3). In most cases, contrary to propagating their imperfections, your efforts to unite will humble them, making them more competent for the Lord’s work.
Pray for them. Thank God for them. Consider ways to come alongside them.
A productive alternative to resisting your imperfect church leaders is to unite with them.
Turn passively attending the worship services into actively participating.
The Sunday gathering is the high point of the week for God’s people. Our disappointment might be eradicated by getting ourselves prepared to treat it as such.
Pray for it. And pray for yourself to be teachable, awake, humble, and transformed. Bring your Bible. Take notes. Study things afterwards which you do not understand. Assuming the Scripture is being faithfully exposited, our souls will be nurtured when the word is preached. Pray for ways to live out the sermon.
Meditate on the words of the songs. Sing heartily. Ask God to help you make them sincere praise and prayer as you sing. Be on time. Listen carefully to announcements, readings, and anything else in the service. Reach out to visitors instead of coming in late and leaving quickly. Get their contact info. Invite them to a weekly home group. Help with set up or take down.
Be a part of what God is doing by being prayerfully attentive to every moment of the worship gathering.
A productive alternative to passively attending church is to actively participate.
Turn the desire to redo your church’s ministries into trying to benefit from what is already going on.
In many cases, our churches do need to rethink and redo certain ministries. However, be slow about taking that route.
Instead, intentionally seek out what is already happening. Participate in them humbly, faithfully, and enthusiastically. Give it time. Ask God to bless and use the ministry leader. Ask him to grow you from it. Find ways to help. Do not eject from a ministry before at least several attempts to grow from it.
A productive alternative to redoing various church ministries may be to benefit from what is already happening.
Turn restlessness and frustration into seeking out opportunities for evangelism.
Sometimes things in the church can get pretty frustrating. Committees seem to get nothing done. Projects remain unfinished. People disappoint. It can be discouraging.
While those things may need to be addressed, stay busy in kingdom work. Be sure to center on, and speak about, Christ crucified in the place of sinners. Pray for and seek out opportunities to share the news that is far more thrilling than your church is frustrating. Be so tired from disciple-making that you have little time for frustrated restlessness.
A productive alternative to restless frustration over your church is to use your energy for disciple-making.
Turn needing quick answers to the problems you see to serving the God who is sovereign over those problems.
Things probably are wrong in your church. We see the issues and often we demand answers. We must know now what is going on. But there is no Bible verse on our right to be in the know. However, there are several on our responsibility to be about serving.
As much as we may need answers, let’s devote at least that much energy to resting in God patiently, helping the church enthusiastically, and praying for her fervently.
A productive alternative to fixating on problems is to focus on serving our sovereign God.
Turn thinking about your disappointment and boredom into knowing and pleasing God.
Let’s ask ourselves, “Who cares if we are bored? Why might we even be bored or disappointed in the first place? What might that say about our understanding of the church and God?”
It’s possible that our boredom demonstrates that our feelings are more sacred to us than our God. Perhaps our boredom and disappointment have become more captivating to us than the God of Scripture.
But God is the most thrilling and awe-inspiring subject in the universe. Nothing and no one is more captivating, fulfilling, and motivating than the true God. As God’s people, we get to plug into his kind of churches for the great purpose and thrill of knowing and worshiping him. And God’s kind of church exists to worship God. If this is not the case, disappointment and boredom should be present and we may need to find a new church.
A productive alternative to caring about boredom is deepening in knowing and pleasing God.
Even as we do these things, however, there are those times when the church is disappointing for legitimate reasons. In those cases, ask yourself a few questions:
1 Do I trust in the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ for right standing with God?
2 If I am not converted to Christ, a New Testament kind of church is certainly going to be disappointing and boring (cf. 1 Cor 2:14-16).
3 Does the church exist to worship God above all things?
4 Does the church labor to unpack the glory and majesty of God through the exposition of Scripture?
5 Is biblical doctrine affirmed and systematically taught?
6 Is meaningful membership, biblical discipline, and discipleship practiced?
Except for #1, if the answers are “no” to the above questions, then a church is legitimately disappointing because it is not God-glorifying. Perhaps you need to leave and find a more faithful church. But approach that route carefully.
Church has a much higher purpose for existence than not being boring or disappointing. The most important thing is not that we are bored or disappointed, but that our lives and churches exist for the glory of God.
Eric is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Jackson Hole, WY. He and his team planted the church in 2008. He has been married for 15 years and has 3 children.
I can hardly believe it happened! Last week I suggested that we make the Friday after Thanksgiving to be “Giving Friday”. Little did I know that there was coming a national “Giving Tuesday” this week. Who would have thought?
Anyhow, last night Vickie and I were sharing a fast food meal in the Food Court of the Mall of Georgia. It actually was not that crowded, surprisingly. A lady was seated near us who had some unmistakable features. You could see that she had been burned badly in a fire because of the scars on her face. And then you notice that she does not have a hand. As she is leaving, Vickie speaks to her (no surprise there). So we get into a short conversation with her.
She tells us that she is from Indiana and visiting Buford— to get her new legs. We did not notice that even though she was standing by us. She explained to us that she was in an accident while on the job 30 years ago in which a propane tank exploded. She later had to have her legs amputated due to infection. She is married and has a daughter. We continue to interact and discover that she goes every year to Wisconsin for snowmobiling in an area not too far from where we lived. Shortly before she left and as part of the conversation about snowmobiling she remarked, “At least my feet don’t get cold.” And she walked away.
We did not have the opportunity to get into her spiritual condition so I do not know if she is a believer. However, I do know that she had a good attitude about something that is very difficult in life.
She could have been a bitter person. But she did not communicate that spirit at all.
I was challenged by her attitude of acceptance and not being bitter. It has been said that with every circumstance in life you can choose to be bitter or better. We have to be careful about a “root of bitterness.”
Hebrews 12:15 - See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
Bitterness is a result of not accepting the grace of God for the circumstances that you face. No matter what we go through in life, God gives you grace for the need and for the moment.
Hebrews 4:15–16 - For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
2 Corinthians 12:8–9 - Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
James 4:6 - But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Bitter or better—the choice is yours. We must choose to accept the grace that God provides.
I hope that yesterday was a wonderful day of giving thanks as you celebrated with family and friends. I know we had a great time.
Today is the day after Thanksgiving. The retail world calls it “Black Friday”—a time of getting a good deal or buying Christmas presents for others. Or is it for many another day of self indulgence shrouded in the idea of saving money or buying a gift for someone else or even for “myself”?
Perhaps the day after Thanksgiving should be a day of giving—not to retailers or to myself. But giving of myself afresh and anew to the Lord and to others. When we do that it certainly is counter cultural. And it is certainly resisting the urge to be selfish.
Maybe on the day after Thanksgiving we should take a few minutes to renew our commitment to the eternal, to that which will last.
We could set our hearts on things above.
We could evaluate our priorities.
We could review and see if we have a heart of serving.
We could pray for others in need.
We could give to others in need.
We could give…more thanks to God, more time to God, more of ourselves to God, more to serve others.
I know it will never become a national movement but perhaps we can be among a few who start a new tradition on the day after Thanksgiving and make it “Friday Giving.”
Note: I am not saying that you would not go to work or that you will not find a good deal somewhere on Friday. I am suggesting that our mindset be very different than the world around us. And it takes working intentionally against our natural tendency to be selfish.
Maybe our verse for this Friday after Thanksgiving should be:
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Now is truly a time for gratitude and thanking God and others. Give yourself to that and it will go a long way toward a wonderful “Friday Giving.”
And if you can think of a new name for a day such as this, let me know. Who knows, maybe we will get something started.
Dr. Wynne Kimbrough is the editor of this resource.
Some of the articles are written by him while others are found and shared with permission from the original authors. Some of of these authors wish to remain anonymous.