The Storms of Life (pt 2) – Mark 4:37-40

(This is an unplanned follow-up to a post I did about this passage earlier this week.)

“I was in that boat.”
Sometime in the middle of the night I woke up and had to go to the bathroom. Don’t you hate when that happens? I usually try not to think about anything when I wake up so as not to get my mind going because then I have trouble falling back asleep. I checked the time: 2:30. I realized I was thirsty so I poured myself a glass of water and suddenly a realization dawned on me about the storms of life and specifically about this passage.
I felt God gently whisper something to me: “I was in that boat.”
Think about it for a minute! The disciples were never actually alone; Jesus was with them in the boat. Similarly, don’t I have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside me? So am I ever actually alone when the storms come? Never!
Our suffering pales in comparison to that of our Savior!
Jesus promised that He will be with us. One of my favorite Bible verses (Heb 4:15) says that Jesus, because He has experienced being human, is able to sympathize with us! But that verse doesn’t say that Jesus is able to sympathize with just the good parts of human life; it’s talking specifically about suffering. Jesus is able to sympathize with our weakness. Earlier, in Hebrews 2:18, the author states that Jesus is able to help us when we suffer because He has suffered Himself.
In fact, it’s doubtful that anyone has suffered to the degree that Jesus has. On the cross, Jesus absorbed God’s full wrath for the sins of all mankind (Mt 27:46). Our suffering pales in comparison to that of our Savior! He is infinitely more familiar with suffering than we are.
And that is one of the most beautiful parts of the Gospel. It means that, no matter how dark the storm clouds, Jesus is always able to help us walk through. This is because, as Jesus promised in John 16:7, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us. We have God dwelling inside us!
So my encouragement to you is the same as that of the author of Hebrews: look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured more suffering than we can ever hope to imagine on the cross and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb 12:2, paraphrase). Look to Jesus not only for an example, but also for hope and empathy!

Psychology 101 – The Gospel

For my “Theories of Personality” class final I had to combine all the theories that I had studied during the course and synthesize them into one core theory. We had studied Freud, Jung, Horney, Erikson, Adler, Allport, Maslow, May and a handful of others; now it was time to take a theory from each person and synthesize them! While I understand that some of these psychologists might roll over in their grave if they found out I was using their theory as part of the Gospel, here’s what I came up with:
My synthesis of these ideas is simple: we need God to rescue us from ourselves. In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the earth and it was very good. Then he created humanity; something went wrong. Since then we have been born with a fallen nature (evolutionary psychology). Because of this fallen state in which we exist, we sin against one another and against our children (basic evil). Additionally, our children are born in our fallen image and also have a predisposition to sin (collective consciousness). This sinful nature will manifest itself differently in men and women (anatomy and destiny) but we all fall short of God’s perfect moral standard. Consequently, we are in a constant struggle to redeem ourselves, especially when we compare ourselves to others (inferiority vs. superiority). The good news is that, because we are made in the image and likeness of God, He creates us all uniquely (traits) and influences the world around us so that we may seek him (environment). The best case scenario is that, through a series of events, we will be guided into a redeeming relationship with God (self-efficacy). Once this happens, we (the ego) will live the rest of our life in a struggle between our flesh (id) and our spirit (superego). There are three ways in which we mess this up. First, we may become legalistic and use religion against one another (token economics). Second, we may worship false gods and seek our fulfillment in the wrong places (displacement). Third, and finally, we may just altogether deny that we have any depravity at all (actualizing tendency). God is graceful and has given us minds that, although they are influenced by the world around them, they are able to stop and think, to ponder, to choose how we respond to our world (human dilemma). Finally, when we choose to accept the gracious invitation granted to us by God, we will have all our spiritual needs met (hierarchy of needs).

Consider the source

Recently a friend sent me a link to a blog written by a famous comedian. It was about why he was an atheist. My friend is a Christian and was simply sharing this article because they found it interesting. I read the article in its entirety and, to be honest, it troubled me deeply. Not because I agreed with the author or because he had challenged my beliefs; I was troubled because of his tone of authority.
After making what I considered a flimsy argument about how science can’t prove the existence of a God, so we shouldn’t believe in one, the author proceeds to explain that the burden of proof lies with believers, then he shares his anti-testimony explaining how he lost faith in Jesus at a young age. He then concludes his post by explaining why we should all be good to one another regardless of what we believe. I agreed with his last point, but I couldn’t help but wonder why he thinks human life has intrinsic value (unless still subscribes to some of his Christian beliefs, of course).
I could refute all his main arguments here, but that’s not why I’m writing this. There are two main things that troubled me about his post.

1). He appeals to the lack of scientific evidence for the existence of God as a sufficient reason not to believe. I’ve always thought this argument was insufficient. Let me ask you this, is the existence of God a scientific question? By definition, at least by Christian definitions, God exists outside of time and space. Doesn’t science specialize in the measurement of time and space? So is the existence of God a scientific question? I would say no. Or, to phrase it slightly differently; science measures the natural world; but God is a supernatural being. Can science prove or disprove God? Not likely; in fact I’d say it’s likely impossible. This is why faith is a part of the deal; but that faith is born from a lack of thinking. In fact, Pastor Timothy Keller would argue that a lack of faith results from a lack of thinking!
The existence of God is a philosophical question. It’s like me walking up to a mathematician and demanding he prove to me the existence of the ancient Mayan civilization. The mathematician doesn’t specialize in archeology or history; why am I asking him? So why do we appeal to a discipline that specializes in measuring time and space to determine the existence of an Individual that exists outside of time and space? I believe we ask far too much of science and fail to see that, as far reaching as this discipline is, it does have limitations.
That being said, please don’t label me as one of those “dumb, close-minded fundamentalists” who thinks that science is evil and can’t be trusted. Science fascinates me and I love reading about it. I can’t wait to see what’s next! But I know better than to ask questions science cannot answer.
2). The thing that troubles me the most is that the article was actually written! To be fair, the author stated that he gets asked why he’s an atheist often and this was a place for him to publicly explain why he doesn’t believe in God and why he thinks science is a better option (as though the two are mutually exclusive). But just like we’re asking the wrong questions of science, is it possible that we need to learn to be more discerning when we seek advice? Shouldn’t we learn to consider the source? Should I ask a car mechanic for health advice or a heart surgeon for car advice? For example, when pop stars start singing about politics I can’t help but roll my eyes; especially when they got famous by singing songs about crude topics that they wrote while they were on drugs (I realize that’s not a universal description, but it certainly applies to the band I’m thinking of at the moment).
So why do we suddenly listen to these voices? Why do we give them so much credibility? Am I going to put my eternal destiny in the hands of a comedian? Should we base our national policy off songs by punk bands?
I’m not saying that those people aren’t entitled to their opinions; they are. I’m not saying that anyone who disagrees with me is an ignorant fool; they aren’t. I’m not even “hating on” anyone, which is why I didn’t mention anyone by name in this entire post. I’m simply cautioning you to consider the source.
This equally applies when you go inside the church. You must make sure your pastor, elder, Sunday school teacher, deacon, or anyone else is teaching accurately. Read your Bible to make sure their message fits in with the broader context of the Bible. Buy a good systematic theology book and do some reading of your own. You’ll be amazed at all the incredible things you can learn. My theology classes have stretched my understanding time and time again; they’ve been a rich blessing.
1 Peter 3:18 tell us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” In this verse, Peter is urging us to grow in grace but he’s also challenging us to grow in knowledge.
I pray that we as a generation would grow to become more discerning in all areas of life, but especially in areas of faith.

The Chameleon Christian

Chameleons have always fascinated me. Their ability to change colors is just plain cool! Until I did some research for this post, I had always thought they changed their colors to blend in with their environment. I thought it was for camouflage or concealment. It turns out I was wrong! According to recent research:

“…evolutionary changes in the capacity for colour change are consistently associated with the use of social signals that are highly conspicuous to the visual system of chameleons. Moreover, capacity for colour change is unrelated to variation in the environmental backgrounds that chameleons must match in order to be camouflaged. Overall, our results suggest that the evolution of the ability to exhibit striking changes in colour evolved as a strategy to facilitate social signalling and not, as popularly believed, camouflage.”

In other words, the main reason that chameleons change color is not for concealment or camouflage but is actually for social reasons. Realize I said the main reason is in response to social signals; they do still change their colors for concealment, too. The Wikipedia page summarized it like this: “The primary purpose of color change has been found to be due to social signalling, as opposed to camouflage, although both social signalling color change, and color change for purposes of camouflage do occur in most chameleons, to some extent.”

Are you a chameleon Christian?

Do you ever find yourself doing this? Do you change depending on your social signals? Are you a chameleon Christian? A chameleon Christian is someone who specializes in blending in with those around them. At church they’re saying all the right things, quoting the Bible, and acting the part; once they get to work they’re cursing, laughing at crude jokes, or just simply blending in.

It’s easy to point your finger; harder to look in the mirror.

Now here’s the thing about chameleon Christians: it’s easy to detect when someone else is a chameleon Christian; it’s not as easy to take an honest look at yourself and see if you’re one, too! It’s easy for me to be hyper-critical of others, not so much for me to take a long, hard look at myself and see if I’m blending in. It’s easy to point your finger; harder to look in the mirror. And don’t mistake this as me claiming to be perfect. Quite the opposite! This is an area that I need to grow in, too! According to unChristian, one of the biggest problems non-Christians have with Christians is that we’re hypocrites. I think that’s likely the biggest problem we have with ourselves, too!
Ask yourself this simple question: Do you shine as a light (Phil 2:14-16) or do you blend in with the darkness around you (1 Jn 1:6)? This question, despite its difficulty, is worth answering. My prayer is that we may all look at ourselves and see where we can grow!

The Storms of Life – Mark 4:37-40

We all claim that we want God to reveal Himself to us, but what does that look like? How does God most often seem to demonstrate His power? Perhaps for the same reason people tell us to be careful what we wish for…

“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

There was a time early in Jesus’ ministry when He was traveling with His disciples in a boat at night. But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself! During the day before, Jesus had spent some time teaching on the shore in this boat (Mk 4:1). At the end of the day, for whatever reason, He decided to go to the other side of the sea (Mk 4:35). (By the way, I have my suspicions that Jesus knew what He was doing.) All seemed well until “a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling” (Mk 4:37). It’s at this point that the disciples get scared. Wouldn’t you? Mark 4:38 says that they woke Jesus up and said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Isn’t that an easy question to ask? When the storms of this life come, and they will, don’t we sometimes feel as though God doesn’t care? Don’t we wonder if He sees what we’re going through? I can make you one sure promise in this life: Troubles will come (Jn 16:33). Ask anyone who has been around longer than… a week! You’ll find that this life does bring storms. Storms may look different from person-to-person; for some it may be a bounced check, for others it may be a broken leg! But Jesus promised us that the storms will come (Mt 7:24-27).

Don’t you care that I’m drowning?

And don’t we find it easy to wonder why it seems as though God does nothing? Doesn’t it sometimes feel as though God is just watching from afar; as though He’s sitting up in Heaven on His throne watching us as the storm sweeps over us, the waves crash into us, and it’s all we can do to keep our head above water?
“Teacher, don’t you care that my life is falling apart? Don’t you care that I don’t think I can make it? Don’t you care that I’m hurting, I’m alone? Don’t you care that I’m drowning?”
“Don’t you care?”
But isn’t this what gives our lives their meaning? Doesn’t God demonstrate His peace through our storms? Doesn’t God demonstrate His power through our weakness? What would happen if we didn’t have any storms? I know I would become arrogant and self-reliant. Wouldn’t we start to think that we deserved all the credit for all our great accomplishments? I know I would.

Are we really that different?

After the disciples cry out to Jesus, He simply commands the wind and waves to “be still” and they obey (Mk 4:39). Just like that the storm simply stopped. It’s almost like He was God. It’s almost like He was in charge the whole time. It’s almost like the disciples were worrying for no reason… But we already knew that didn’t we?
It’s easy for us to read this story and wonder why the disciples were so terrified. I mean, they had Jesus with them. Surely they knew that God was all-powerful and could stop the storm at any time. How could the disciples be so foolish? But are we really that different? Is our storm really that much bigger? Are our circumstances the special exception where God has no power to act on our behalf?
Look at how Jesus responds to His disciples: “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” It’s almost as though Jesus is disappointed. I can’t help but read this with my name in front of it: “Daniel, why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith? After all that we’ve been through, after all that you’ve seen, have you still no faith?”
Have you still no faith?
So here’s how the conversation goes:
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing,” we ask as soon as the storm starts getting rough.
Jesus answers our question with a question: “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
So why are we still afraid? Could it be that we lose perspective? Could it be that we forget that, just as Jesus had power over the storm in Mark 4:37-40, He also has power of the storms in 2011? Could it be that we believe the storm has more power than God? I ask God to show Himself to me, but as soon as that takes me out of my comfort zone, I become afraid. Jesus simply asks us to trust Him even in the midst of the storm.
Which brings us to the original question: We all claim that we want God to reveal Himself to us, but what does that look like?
I firmly believe that it will look like cloudy skies more often than clear skies.

The Atheist Creed by Steve Turner – 1980

To celebrate the completion of my series through the Apostles’ Creed, I thought I would share the Atheist Creed by Steve Turner.”This is the creed I have written on behalf of all us.We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin
We believe everything is OK
as long as you don’t hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomy is OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything is getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there’s something in
horoscopes, UFO’s and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man
just like Buddha, Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher
although we think His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same–
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of
creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied,
then it’s compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
What’s selected is average.
What’s average is normal.
What’s normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament.
We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed.
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good.
It’s only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.

We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.
We believe in the rejection of creeds,
and the flowering of individual thought.

“Chance” a post-script

If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
and when you hear
State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Whites go Looting!
Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.”

– Steve Turner, Creed, 1980

Amen

(This is part nineteen of a multi-entry blog series exploring the Apostles’ Creed.)

This is the last entry about the Apostles’ Creed. The last word of the line is simply:

“Amen.”

This word is actually a Hebrew word and it implies truth or steadfastness. According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, “Since Jews, Christians, and Muslims all use this word in a variety of languages, it may be one of the most widely known words in the world.” It conveys affirmation of a weighty statement or divine commands. In Deuteronomy 27:15-26, God’s people use it as affirmation to His commands. They’re agree with them and agreeing to live by them.

Our lives should reflect this reality. We should live in light of these truths and seek to study them deeper and share them with those around us. We should live as though there is a sovereign Creator-God, we should live as though Jesus came in the flesh, died for our sins, conquered death and will come back in glory. We should live as though the Holy Spirit dwells inside us, giving us the power to live for God instead of ourselves. We should live as though we’ve been forgiven and now belong to a beautiful family of Believers. We should live as though this life is short and temporary. We should live in light of eternity. In a recent sermon, Francis Chan simply said, “My prayer is that your life would make sense in light of eternity.” Does your life reflect the truths of the Apostles’ Creed?

After all, these are some of the core pillars of our faith!

Thus it is fitting to end the Apostles’ Creed with a heartfelt “amen.”

I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of Heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit;
born of the Virgin Mary,
and suffered under Pontius Pilate.
He was crucified, dead, and buried.
He descended into death.
The third day He rose again from the dead,
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.
He shall come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of the saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Can I get an “amen”?

The Reward

God rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

What comes to mind when you read that? Specifically, what “reward” do you think of?

A TV?
A PlayStation 3?
A car?
A good job?
Six-pack abs?
A nice house?
A good looking family?
A nest egg?

It sounds kind of silly when you read it, but when you think of your reward, do possessions pop into your head?

Or maybe it’s a feeling, attitude, or character trait…
Confidence?
Peace?
Joy?
Humility?
Wisdom?

That doesn’t sound as silly, but is it really any better? What is the reward that God gives to those who seek Him?

Himself.

To those who earnestly seek Him, God rewards them with the greatest of all possible rewards: Himself.

I’ll take that any day over a TV that’s outdated the moment I buy it; a car that will breakdown and need replaced; a nice house that will eventually need remodeled; confidence, peace, or joy in anything other than God; or… anything else! To expect any other reward is to chase after idols.

The greatest of all possible rewards and the only one that will grant you contentment in this life and the life everlasting is God. Earnestly seek God and He will reward you with Himself (Jeremiah 29:13, James 4:8).

That is a truly great reward.

and the life everlasting.

(This is part eighteen of a multi-entry blog series exploring the Apostles’ Creed.)

After discussing the resurrection of the body in the previous post, we’ll be looking at what the Creed says we resurrect to; namely

“the life everlasting.”

There have been entire books written about this subject, but I want to highlight a few simple aspects of the life everlasting that I find particularly encouraging.
First, there is a reason that Christians throughout the ages have endured hardships and suffering with joy that is glorious and inexpressible (1 Pt 1:8). Peter wrote that we have been born again to a “living hope” (1 Pt 1:3). He wrote that through the resurrection of Christ, we have been granted “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Pt 1:9). But here’s the kicker, in the next verse Peter wrote that they were rejoicing in their future inheritance, “though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” and that these trials serve as a test to see the genuineness of their faith (1 Pt 1:6).
It’s that “for a little while” that catches my eye. How long is “a little while”? Is it a few hours? Is it a few days? A week? A month? A year? A decade? Since Peter was just speaking about our eternal inheritance, it makes perfect sense to read the phrase “a little while” within the context of our entire lives. Eternity is a long time; our life on this earth is “a little while.” If we view our lives from an eternal perspective, we will see how short and temporary this life truly is! The brevity of life cannot be overstated.
It’s this perspective that allowed Barb to finish well. It’s this perspective that will empower you to finish well. It’s the promise of a life everlasting that gives us hope, if not for this life, then for the life to come.
This is our great hope; our great joy; and the secret of Christian contentment: the life everlasting.
Second, do you know what will be the best part about Heaven? God! We get to spend eternity with a perfect being that offers endless love and infinite joy; if that sounds boring to you then it’s only because you fail to grasp the fact that God has infinite glory. We could never get tired of worshiping Him; we could never get bored with Him. It’s like Amazing Grace says:
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise,
Than when we first begun.”
It’s an impossible concept to grasp this side of eternity, but we will never run out of reasons to worship our God. Never. We must remember this: the thing that will make Heaven so heavenly is the fact that we will be with God forever.
Third and finally, we will all experience Heaven uniquely! Consider Revelation 2:17b, which says: “To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.”
Did you catch that? We’ll each get a name that no one else knows! C. S. Lewis, in The Problem of Pain, wrote very profoundly of this passage:

What can be more a man’s own than this new name which even in eternity remains a secret between God and him? And what shall we take this secrecy to mean? Surely, that each of the redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the divine beauty better than any other creature can. Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently? And this difference, so far from impairing, floods with meaning the love of all blessed creatures for one another, the communion of the saints. If all experienced God in the same way and returned Him an identical worship, the song of the church triumphant would have no symphony, it would be like an orchestra in which all the instruments played the same note.

At the risk of sounding silly… THIS BLOWS MY MIND!! You will have a unique, intimate communion with God for all eternity. There are dozens of other facets concerning Heaven and eternity that could be explored, but those are probably my three favorite. Praise be to God for the grace He extends in His salvation!

the resurrection of the body

(This is part seventeen of a multi-entry blog series exploring the Apostles’ Creed.)

The line of the Creed looks at something that was one of the core reasons I felt as though I could trust that Jesus was the Son of God:

“the resurrection of the body.”

Perhaps someone has told you that even if Jesus was not the divine Son of God, He still teaches us the best way to live; even if there is no Heaven, hell, or eternity, the way of Jesus is still the best way you can possibly spend this life before you die.

But is this true? Is that a Biblical claim or an attempt to diminish the submission that Christ rightfully claims from His followers?

It’s easy, in modern-day America, to make the claim that Jesus’ way is the best way to live, but think about that claim for a moment in light of the Church’s history. Would that claim work in India? Would it work at the underground churches in China? Would it work anywhere Christians are being persecuted today? How would that claim hold up to any of the churches that experienced heavy persecution by the Roman empire?

Paul would say that, if Jesus is not God and there is no resurrection, then we’re wasting our time. In fact, Paul says “if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world” (1 Cor 15:19, NLT). The Common English Bible translates it like this: “If we have a hope in Christ only in this life, then we deserve to be pitied more than anyone else.”

In other words, if there is no resurrection we are the most pitiful people on earth. We’re wasting our time and should just go do whatever we want. All of Christ’s claims hinge on whether or not He was resurrected; because if He was not resurrected, then we won’t be resurrected. And, as Paul says, if our hope is only in this life then we are to be pitied.

Which brings us to the most obvious of all questions, “Is there good evidence for the resurrection of Jesus?”

I believe there is; I also believe that’s an investigation that Christians need to make for themselves, so as to strengthen their convictions and expand their ability to share their faith. Here are some recommended reads if you’re interested:

Online Articles:
Evidences for the Resurrection by J. Hampton Keathley, III
Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ by Christopher Louis Lang
Testimony of the Evangelists by Simon Greenleaf
Extra-Biblical Historical Evidence for the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus
Powerful Evidence For The Deity of Christ: The Greatest Sign – The Resurrection

Books (I’m sure there are dozens of options but these are some of the most popular):

The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
More Than a Carpenter

Here’s a sermon you could watch if interested:

http://marshill.com/v/nrb7h5bxbr1d

Take a look at any of those resources if you’re interested; laying out the historical argument for the resurrection is far beyond the scope of this entry. However, I do think it’s important for Christians to examine why they believe in the resurrection with the hopes that it will deepen their faith and enhance their ability to share their faith.

But if we believe in the resurrection, how should this affect the way we live?

I think Dan & Barb Evans are an excellent example of how the resurrection can dramatically change the way we live. They have been in ministry around the world for 21 years with Cadence International, a group that specializes in ministering to members of the armed forces. I’ve watched them open their home and their lives to show the love of Christ to many people. They have had a profound impact on the lives of many people around the world (I found one great example here). It’s an honor to know them.

During the fall of 2009, Barb was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. For a while, we weren’t even sure she was going to wake up from her brain surgery, but by the grace of God she pulled through. Soon after, a prayer group was started on Facebook. It has over 650 members from all around the world. I only share that last bit of information to convey how far reaching their ministry has been. For the entire Evans family, it has been a long, hard fight but they didn’t stop ministering. If anything, they have done more ministry, through Barb’s battle with cancer, than ever before. Barb spent the last 19 months of her life knowing that her condition was terminal unless God miraculously intervened. She never lost the faith, but instead found refuge in God. Barb spent the last 19 months living her life to the fullest.

On Christmas Eve, Barb spoke very openly and honestly about her battle, her fears, her hopes, her ministry, and, most of all, her desire to glorify God through her struggle and to finish well. On March 7th, Barb breathed her last and went to be with Jesus. Connie and I went to Dan’s house that night to say goodbye to Barb. She looked so peaceful; no more struggle, no more pain, just glory with Jesus. I leaned over and, with a tear in my eye, whispered in her ear, “You finished well, Barb. You finished well.”

While I do grieve for those she left behind, I’m not sad for Barb. Why? Because there is a resurrection. Barb was able to finish well because she knew that there is a resurrection; she knew that, on the other side of death, true life was waiting. She knew that, through His death, Jesus conquered death (Hebrews 2:14-15). Barb knew that something far greater waited on the other side of her death.

But we’ll discuss that in depth with the next post.