Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Is There a God and Is He Good? – The Puzzle of Pain

I asked her what she thought about Christianity. She said that Christianity is a means of control. That God is a moral monster.

At one time, he told me, he had a strong faith in God. But that faith faltered when someone close to him was suffering and God did not answer his prayers.

I am a retired nurse. Nurses take care of people who are suffering and in pain. Where is God when they hurt?

Pain and suffering often cause people to question God’s goodness or his existence. If God exists, is he good? What is God’s relationship with pain, suffering, and death? Where is God when I hurt?

I explore those questions (and more) in this video (Part 3 of Is there a God and is he Good? – The Puzzle of Pain). Click here for Part 1 – Evidence from the Universe and here for Part 2 – Evidence from History. Each presentation is about 35 minutes long. Grab some food and watch them with a couple of friends. Then research the evidence I present.

Kathy

Click here to read why many young people are leaving the church. Want to change that? Click here to download a 30 second promo. You can use it to invite some struggling friends to watch the presentations with you.

Here is a study guide with links to the sources I cite.

Click here for Study Guide.


Is There a God and Is He Good? – Evidence from History

It was a freezing Monday morning, the day after Easter. We were huddled together on the street corner, stomping our feet, blowing into our gloves, anticipating the warmth of the school bus. I asked if the weather put a crimp on her Easter celebration. She said her family does not celebrate Easter. Jesus did not rise from the dead.

He was convinced the New Testament is a fabrication. He told me that the Gospels were written long after the events they described. A nice story perhaps, but nothing to do with reality.

Their views are not uncommon. Just last year I was told that Jesus is a myth. Is that true?

Do you know that atheist New Testament scholars and historians are certain that within three years of Jesus’ death the primitive church was reciting a Creed about Jesus? A Creed that claimed Jesus rose from the dead! I present this evidence (and more) in this video (Part 2 of Is there a God and is he Good? – Evidence from History). Click here for Part 1 – Evidence from the Universe and here for Part 3 – The Puzzle of Pain.

Each presentation is about 35 minutes long. Grab some food and watch them with a couple of friends. Then research the evidence I present.

Kathy

Click here to read why many young people are leaving the church. Want to change that? Click here to download a 30 second promo. You can use it to invite some struggling friends to watch the presentations with you.

Here is a study guide with links to the sources I cite.

Click here for Study Guide


Is There a God and Is He Good? – Evidence from the Universe

Christianity did not make sense to her. She became an atheist when she was five and stopped attending church when she was thirteen. She told me, “If there was evidence for God, it would make worldwide news and win a Nobel Prize.”

He grew up in the church. He had a crisis of faith in college. He told our group why, “What my church teaches about Genesis does not match the facts of nature.”

Their stories are not unique. Children and young adults evaluate Christian claims. Are they logical? Factual? Does the Old Testament accurately describe creation? What does that imply about the New Testament?

Do you know? Evidence for God made worldwide news and won a Nobel Prize in physics! Genesis accurately describes creation! I present this evidence (and more) in this video (Part 1 of Is there a God and is he Good? – Evidence from the Universe). Click here for Part 2 – Evidence from History and here for Part 3 – The Puzzle of Pain.

Each presentation is about 35 minutes long. Grab some food and watch them with a couple of friends. Then research the evidence I present.

Kathy

Click here to read why many young people are leaving the church. Want to change that? Click here to download a 30 second promo. You can use it to invite some struggling friends to watch the presentations with you.

Here is a study guide with links to the sources I cite.

Click here for Study Guide.



Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Falling of the Rain – Music Story

Remember the story of Job from the Old Testament? He lost it all, his children, his wealth, his health, reputation, his happiness. He was caught in a storm of pain. Perhaps you are caught in a storm of pain. 

Job believed there is a God, but he questioned God’s goodness. You may question more than God’s goodness. You may question God’s existence. You may be skeptical of religious faith, thinking it is blind or unreasonable.

Is there a God and is he Good? is a three-part presentation available on YouTube, making a case for the existence of God and showing that God is present in the storm. Each presentation is approximately 35 minutes long. The parts build on each other, the evidence for God accumulating from one part to the next.

Click here for a three-page PDF study guide for Is there a God and is he Good? Grab some food and watch the presentations with a couple of friends. Then work through the study guide, checking the facts. What is the best explanation for the facts? 

Click here for Part 1 – Evidence from the Universe

The Old Testament makes three astonishing claims about creation. Do those claims hold up against images / photographs of the universe and earth? What does that imply about the New Testament?

Click here for Part 2 – Evidence from History

The New Testament claims that Jesus died on a cross and rose from the dead. Do historians and critical New Testament scholars agree with those claims?

Click here for Part 3 –The Puzzle of Pain

How can the Creator be good when there is so much pain, suffering, and death in the world? How can I cope with pain?

God answered Job from the storm! From the album “This & That – A Little Bit of Everything” this video is scrolling playback of a song based on Job38:1[i].

Kathy

 

Click here and here to read why many young Christians are leaving Christianity.

Want to change that? Invite some struggling friends to watch the presentations with you. Serve food and work through the study guide together, checking the facts. Here’s a 30 second promo you can download from Google Drive to start the conversation.

You can get print (PDF) and/or digital (MusicXML™) sheet music for The Falling of the Rain.

Click here for print sheet music.

Click here for digital sheet music.
(MusicXML™ is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music. Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML™ files.) 
 


[i] Job 38:1 NIV: “Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm.”


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Ten Years (Daddy Daughter Dance) – Music Story

According to the BB King classic, “Let the Good Times Roll,” good times happen when you get together, spend some cash, and have some fun. The coronavirus smeared King’s picture of a good time.

Sara turned ten on March 17, 2020. Just four days after her birthday her family began sheltering in place. She could no longer get together with friends, spend some cash, and have some fun. She missed important milestones. School functions, including her spring concert, were cancelled. School moved online with E-Learning assignments. Her daddy was worried how this would impact her life. 

She assumed responsibility for doing her own laundry. She learned how to make pancakes from scratch. How to identify animal bones she found near her home. She used the Internet and Legos to entertain her out-of-state nephew. She helped build a monarch butterfly nursery. She curled up with her parents after dinner to watch Star Trek Discovery. How will she remember 2020?

I had written a song for each of Sara’s birthdays, but not her tenth. I was not sure what to write. Then her daddy made a casual statement during dinner one evening. He said these are the best years of his life! I incorporated that phrase in her tenth birthday song. From the album “Silly or Celebratory – Songs for Sara Lily” this video is scrolling playback of the song.

Kathy

Click here for BB King’s “Let the Good Times Roll.”

Print lead sheet music is available for Ten Years (Daddy Daughter Dance).

Click here for PDF.

Do you teach or play the cello, keyboard, guitar, or bass? Ten Years (Daddy Daughter Dance) is on SmartMusic, the comprehensive music practice app!

Click here to practice the music. Click here for SmartMusic help.

You can change key and instrumentation with MusicXML – digital sheet music.

Click here for MusicXML.
(MusicXML is the standard open format for sharing digital sheet music. Check the help files in your music notation app for directions on importing MusicXML files.)


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Story of Reality – Music Story


Christianity makes exclusive truth claims, truth claims based on the Bible. For instance, Christianity claims that we are highly created, deeply fallen and in need of a Savior. Jesus, and no one else, is that Savior.

Our culture wants us to believe that these exclusive truth claims marginalize people. Do they?

Christianity tells us that we have inherent dignity and worth. We are created in God’s image. Even the most marginalized person bears the image of God. But we are deeply fallen. We victimize the vulnerable. We oppress the defenseless. So, God took special care to ensure that the most defenseless, the most easily victimized, would be treated with dignity and fairness. Check the original documents. God’s laws protected the most vulnerable – women, the poor, orphans, widows, day laborers, debtors, foreigners.[1]

Our culture divides people into two groups: those who are oppressed and those who do the oppressing. Our culture tells us that oppressed people can better understand reality. Their “lived experience” gives them privileged access to truth about oppression. Their special insight makes it possible for them to free themselves and their oppressors.

Christianity disagrees. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the truth. According to Jesus, the real story about people is that all are slaves to sin. No one can free themselves. Jesus came to set us free. And if Jesus sets us free, we are truly free.[2] Christianity, not our culture, tells what is true about man. Christianity, not our culture, tells the story of reality.

How are we to live in a culture that thinks poorly of Christianity’s truth claims? Paul in Colossians tells us to:
Live wisely among those are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.[3]

We are to take the most of every opportunity to graciously and attractively share the story of reality! From the album “A ChorusBook” this video is scrolling playback of the song.
Kathy

Our culture divides people into two groups. Click here to read how this differs from Christianity.
Jesus died to make two groups one! Click here to read how he does this.

You can get print (PDF) sheet music for the Story of Reality.
The Story of Reality
Click here for print sheet music.




[1] Deuteronomy 24
[2] John 8:34-37
[3] Colossians 4:5-6 NLT

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The Wall – Music Story


An emergency room physician in the Chicago area has tested positive for COVID-19. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a stay at home order effective March 21st through April 7th. We are not on lockdown. Nor are we under martial law. We are to “shelter in place” in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Our homes provide physical barriers against infection. Walls protect us.

There is another disease that is just as pandemic as COVID-19. It is the disease of anger and resentment fueled by privilege and exclusion. Walls cannot protect against this disease. Walls exacerbate it.

Today’s social justice movement teaches that our identity is found in a group, either an oppressed group or an oppressor group; that individual identity is on lockdown, inseparable from group identity. People “shelter in place” according to identity markers such as race, economic class, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical ability, age, weight, etc., feeling “safe” in their group and “threatened” when the norms, values, and expectations of society exclude them. By resisting dominant power today’s social justice movement seeks to liberate groups that are oppressed. Today’s social justice movement sees Christianity with its exclusive truth claims as oppressive.

Group identities separate people. The lockdown fuels anger and resentment. Today’s social justice movement cannot end the war between privilege and exclusion. But a new identity can! The wall separating people groups crumbles when people share the same identity. That’s what Jesus accomplished when he died for us.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.[1]

Jesus won the war between privilege and exclusion. He won it on the cross. His death ended our anger and resentment. It ended at the cross. Jesus tore down the wall of separation. He is our peace. He made us one.

From the album “This and That” this video is scrolling playback of a song based on Ephesians Chapter 2.
Kathy

Click here to read Ephesians 2.
Click here for an overview of Critical Theory, the social justice movement making inroads in our culture and church.

You can get sheet music for The Wall at the MusicStories Shop on Etsy.com.
The Wall
Click here for sheet music. 




[1] Ephesians 2:14 NIV