The Universe Sandwich… March 17, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog  

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Big BangLiving in an era when literally dozens and dozens of television channels are at the whim of my choice and the thrust of my thumb on the selector, I stumbled across two programs promoting ideas on the origin of the universe.

One was on a Christian broadcast and was making a divine appeal about the creation of the universe by God. The other, more secular, was called Cosmos, and was explaining the Big Bang theory, with very expensive graphics and computer-generated images.

They shared only one thing in common: they both ignored each other.

I thought how foolish it was for us to choose sides when it comes to discussing the origin of our species. Here’s what I think:

The universe is a sandwich: you have bread, meat and if you’re smart, a really nice condiment, like mustard.

  • I happen to believe that God is the bread of life.
  • Science is the meat, providing the protein for our meal.
  • And nature is the mustard, tying the two together and granting us flavor.

All you have to do to understand evolution, and even consider something like the survival of the fittest, is allow for the concept that there was an “Our Father who art in heaven,” who provided the “ready, set, go.” Feeling the need to eliminate “Dad” baffles me.

By the same token, believing that the earth was created in six actual days so that you can tout how powerful your Divine Being truly is, is equally as obtuse when there is ample evidence not more than seven miles down the road from me that the rock formations have been around for more than seven thousand years.

Stubbornness is the best way to remain ignorant. Whether you’re a preacher displaying that nasty vice or a scientist with a multitude of degrees, “stupid” is still pretty ugly.

I believe that God is alive and created everything.

I also believe that evolution was His choice in doing so.

I also contend that the process seems to have actual, factual basis — up until you arrive at the time of the creation of human being.

Why is it so difficult to think that a creative God could use science until He wanted to create personal caretakers in His image — a little less than the angels and a little smarter than the monkeys?

So here’s what I hold out as reality to you this morning:

A. I want a Creator

B. I need science

C. I will listen to nature.

To me, this three-step process permeates every piece of truthful knowledge that’s ever been propagated in the human race.

Without a Creator, we’re stuck with science and nature–educated but lost.

Without science, we have a Creator and nature, and we become smug in our lack of information.

And without a Creator and science, we worship nature and become overly superstitious.

So when the logos, which is the word of God, meets up with the cosmos, which is science, you have our atmosphere–which is nature.

The universe is a sandwich–bread, meat and mustard.

And you and I, just like at Subway, get to decide for ourselves what other fixins’ we want to put on it.

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Subway Stop… April 2, 2013

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SubwayAshford done.

It was an evening with a couple dozen strangers. We talked, laughed, got to know each other and I believe, departed as friends. That in itself is an inspirational miracle that boggles the mind and tingles the spirit.

Packed up, ready to go–8:33 P.M. At this point we need some nourishment–something called dinner. It’s tricky business. You don’t want to get food that has so much fat, sugar and grease that you wake up the next morning with a five-pound weight gain. But you also would like to have something that is both incredible and edible. So we “went to Jared’s.” No, not the diamond store–Subway. You remember Jared–the guy who lost all the weight just eating Subway? It is a remarkable joint to frequent if you are attempting to watch your calories and consume vegetables along with your breads and meats.

I stayed in the van and Jan ran in to make our selections. I snapped a picture of her while she was in there, as you can see in today’s artwork. While I was sitting there a car pulled up, rattling my windows with its speakers, sharing a massive overdose of rap music, proliferated with lots of harmonics, rhythm, and language which would make my mother leave the room in a huff.

A young man stepped out of his car, into the Subway and stood in line behind Jan. I had to watch this. Even though she was very busy making her order and interacting with the lady who was trying to “sandwich everything in,” Jan took a moment to strike up a conversation with the young man who had just entered the store. I couldn’t hear anything and it was like watching a silent movie, but in no time at all they were laughing and he was expressing great intrigue. I just sat there for a moment and thought, “How perfect.”

There is this thing we talk about called The Great Commission. Basically, it states,  “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every living creature, teaching them to observe whatsoever I’ve commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”

I had to smile. God never begins or ends at the door of the church. God is us. It’s why Jesus saidthe kingdom of God is within you.”

So on this beautiful night in Houston, we HAD “gone into the world.” We drove over to this town and broke our pattern of normalcy to try something new. “Go into the world” means that somehow or another you have to escape your confinements. If you believe that everything has to be “normal,” you will eventually become prejudiced and close somebody out. If you do this, God stops showing up for your morning meetings.

Then you’ve got to preach the gospel. We had done that. “Preaching the gospel” means finding your message, and making sure that when you share it with others, it’s GOOD NEWS. There’s a lot of stuff I could tell people which would shock them or make them angry, but that’s not the gospel. The gospel is good news. So if I can’t muster a bunch of good news to share with people, and all I can find in my soul is sadness, I probably shouldn’t preach. We shared good news.

But when it was over and we needed a place to get a bite to eat, The Great Commission continues–it’s no longer about preaching, it’s about teaching. How do you teach somebody? Are we talking about a blackboard? Or reciting information, hoping that someone is taking notes? No. Our entire teaching format is displaying to the world who we are. It is our presence. We are the “light of the world” and we are the “salt of the earth.” If we can’t be lit up and tasty, no one will care much about anything we have to preach.

When Jan returned to the van, she explained what the young man was interested in when he came into the shop. He dug her clothes and shoes. He thought she had style. So it made him curious about what brought her to town.

I guess if we can’t shine forth like a city set on a hill and have a countenance that reflects that we’ve been somewhere other than a lemon-tasting convention, we have little chance ot teaching anyone anything.

Yes–it’s our responsibility to make our lives a presence.

And finally, we need to walk with the realization that Jesus is with us. Not just us–we’re not his “favorite dudes.” But because we’ve gone into the world, escaping our “normal,” and we’ve preached the gospel by finding a message and making sure it’s good news, and we’re teaching people to observe what Jesus said by making our lives a presence, we can have the confidence that he’s with us.

Can I sum that up in two words? Stay sane.

The world wants you to go a little nuts. Don’t do it. Society would love to have you worry and become overwrought. Turn down the invitation. The television set screams of dangers. Change the channel. Stay sane.

  • Escape the norm
  • Find a message and make sure it’s good news
  • Make your life a presence
  • And stay sane.

That’s The Great Commission, folks. And my friend, Jan, acted it out last night, at a Subway stop.

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