The Squeezings of my Brain Grapes.
I Can’t Prove There’s A God, And It’s Freaking Me Out!

kchel-sea asked you:
Hello! How does one prove the existence of God? I mean, I know God exists. But how do I explain that to those to the really smart, scientific people who need evidences and theories and such to believe? Sorry if this is a nonsense question, I just don’t know how to explain it to them. They don’t believe in a testimony, and they most certainly don’t think ‘faith’ is reliable. They say that there should be logic and science and philosophy and yeah….

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Keren,

Great question!  That isn’t nonsense at all.

I think that, sometimes, we can feel overwhelmed by our own inabilities.  There are a lot of tough questions out there – “How do you know there’s a God?”  “How do you know your religion is the right one?”  “What if you’re wrong?” – and, when we face up to those tough questions, we realize that we don’t have an airtight response ready.  And that can be really scary, because it makes us start wondering, “Man, what if I am wrong??”

Well, here’s the thing: nobody has an airtight answer for these questions.  In fact, those kind of answers don’t exist.  We could talk philosophy and theology and science all day, but we’re going to keep coming back to that sticky word, “faith.”

Faith believes because it does.

In that, faith is exactly like love.  Love desires because it does.

It’s not that faith and proof can’t coexist; they just don’t have anything to do with each other.  If you told a mother that her child was beautiful, she wouldn’t say, “Well, that’s reassuring!”  No, she’d say, “You better believe it!”

So it is with faith.  If you told a Godly person that science had just proven the existence of God, they wouldn’t sigh and say, “Wow, well that’s a relief!”  They’d say, “Took ‘em long enough!”

With all that in mind, let’s return to your question.  How does one prove the existence of God?  Simple.  You can’t.  Now, of course, it should be said that your skeptical friends can’t disprove the existence of God either.  And it seems a bit like that leaves us with a stalemate.

Except for one thing.  The huge vast majority of people on this planet believe what they believe for emotional – not intellectual – reasons.  In other words, people believe what feels true to them.  If you grow up and encounter a bunch of mean-spirited people who all go to church, it would feel true that religion is a lie and there is no God.  People believe in narratives, in stories, and stories are about emotion.

If you want to help your friends reconsider their views on God, you need to give them a new story to consider.  And the one story you have control over is your own.  Your life.

If you live a life that demonstrates – with actions, not words – the incredible love of God, the incredible grace of Jesus, and the overflowing joy of a Christian, your friends will take note.  If you volunteer at the HIV clinic, they will notice.  If you befriend the gay couple on your block and help them move their furniture, they will notice.  If you are there for them when they need it and do so without judging or condemning, they will notice.

It may take a long time, but the story of your life will be swirling through their brain.  And when they’re ready for something new, they’ll ask you how you managed to be the person that you are.  And, at last, in that moment, you can tell them all about God, and you’ll find that they are more than ready to hear it.

Does Faith Ever Stay Around?

bmentzer asked you:
I’m not used to seeing positive Christian things on tumblr - Maybe I wasn’t looking for it but I’m glad I stumbled onto this! I guess my question would be is does “It” ever stick? do Faith/Beliefs ever stay around? I’ve had so many ups and downs in my journey that I’ve found that it’s easier to to not expect my relationship with God to go anywhere. Maybe this is an experience vs relationship issue?

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey sis,

Well, in terms of positive Christian things on Tumblr, we can load you up!  Check out these awesome blogs:

Thebridgechicago.tumblr.com
Unkaglen.tumblr.com
Leeyounger.tumblr.com

All awesome, and all friends of mine.

Now, then, do faith and beliefs ever stay around?  Well, I think it depends what you mean.

What I’m betting you mean is, “Do the emotions of religion ever stick around?”  Good question.

When I was growing up, I associated having a walk or relationship with God with my feelings.  When I felt “spiritual”, I figured I was doing good spiritually.  And when I felt less spiritual, I figured something had gone wrong.

The problem here is that feelings come and go.  That’s part of what makes them “feelings”.  And that here-today-gone-tomorrow quality of our emotions is normal.  In fact, when Jesus was talking about living life as a Christian, he didn’t say that the emotions might wear off, he said that when they wore off, we should be prepared.  (Check out Matthew 13:1-23 in The Message translation, and in particular verses 20-21.)

So, given this, we’ll want to base our walk with God on something stronger and more permanent than feelings.  Now the Bible answer here is that we live by faith - a supernaturally strong ability to believe God’s promises that in fact comes from God.  But, practically speaking, how does that work out?

Well, see, one of the promises God has made – including to you – is that there is a point and purpose to your life.  (Check out Ephesians 2:10.)  The way that we get to that destination is by following God’s lead, regardless of how we’re feeling about it at the moment.

If I could suggest something to you, it would be to begin looking for – and asking God for – a burden to serve other people.  With spiritual stuff, it’s really easy to get stuck in our own heads.  This much I know: God’s purpose for your life revolves around serving others. 

So, start serving others.  Let your walk and faith become less about whether or not you suck (you don’t) and more about hooking up people going through a rough time.  If you’ll do that, I bet you’ll find that the ups and downs don’t bother you the same way they used to.  And I bet you’ll start to find a conviction and sense of calling within you – a whisper from the Holy Spirit – that doesn’t come and go.

thebridgechicago:

from Jed Brewer’s song “The Easy Part is Hard”, about the struggle to believe that God loves us.
Get it on iTunes

thebridgechicago:

from Jed Brewer’s song “The Easy Part is Hard”, about the struggle to believe that God loves us.

Get it on iTunes

Can I Tell God I’m Scared?

Anonymous asked:
Can I tell God I’m scared?

Jed Brewer replied:

Of course you can, anon.  He wants you to!  As it turns out, the Bible says (repeatedly) that what God really wants is for you to be honest with him about what’s going on in your life…check it:

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22, NIV)

“Throw all your worry on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7, ISV)

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

I think, my friend, that the key question before us is this: why wouldn’t we tell God when we’re scared?  There are a few possibilities here.

For some of us, I think we’re concerned that God would reject us.  That our fears would be too much, or too weird, or too frequent, and God would tell us to get lost.

For others, we feel like we need to first get our act together, and then, present ourselves to God as a fully-formed, squared-away Christian.

In either case, we’re not quite grasping who God wants to be to us, and who we are to him.

Anon, you and I are great big balls of need.  We wake up in the morning, and we need stuff.  We keep on needing more and more all day long, until, at last, we go to sleep, where we remain needy.  Then we wake up the next day and do it all again.

You’ve seen this pattern before if you’ve ever been around a baby.  Babies are born helpless, vulnerable, and completely needy.  They can’t protect themselves, provide for themselves, comfort themselves, or reliably move their limbs.  In everything, they are in need.

No (good) parent has ever resented their baby for this.  That’s what babies do!  They eat, sleep, and poop, and they cry to alert Mom and Dad that, once again, they are in need.

Well, now, as Christians, you and I are little, itty-bitty children, and God is our Dad.  And God knows that, as a little child, you are in need.  You were designed to be that way. 

God is not bothered or put off by your needs.  To the contrary, it’s a joy for him to hook you up.  That’s what a good Father does, and we most certainly have a good Father!

I think, anon, that the challenge for you – and for all of us – is to embrace the fact that you are – to God – a little child.  And that little children need, and when they need, they cry for their Papa.

The next time you’re afraid, go straight to your Dad.  Tell him what you’re scared about, and let him give you the comfort he has waiting with your name on it.  There’s nothing he wants more than that.

If you’re struggling with doubts, take a few minutes to read this post.  It rocks.

leeyounger:

Anonymous asked:

So, I have always loved God my whole life, but recently I have been struggling with doubts. I just don’t know… like, what if I’m wrong about all this? Who knows? I mean, I believe, but sometimes I struggle with whether or not it’s really all real or if I understand it….

Why Does God Use Suffering?

Anonymous asked:
Jed, I know that God does everything to His glory but why does it have to cause so much pain to us to show His glory to others?

Jed Brewer replied:

Well, my friend, I think there’s a few different parts to answering that.

If you’ll permit me to say so, I think what you may really be wondering is: “Where is God in the midst of my suffering?”  That’s a great question.  And we’ll get to it just as soon as we’ve covered a few basic things.

I think, broadly speaking, there are four different kinds of suckage here on planet earth, and we want to think about each of them a bit differently.

Life on a fallen planet
We live in a fallen world where everything breaks down.  We stub our toes, get pimples, and can’t find a good parking spot.  Although, yes, God is at work in all things, we may not want to expend too much energy in trying to understand the role of the Divine in having a bad hair day.  That’s just part of life this side of eternity.

Suffering you aren’t meant to go through, but choose to anyway
If you go shoplifting and get arrested, we probably don’t want to put that on God.  That’s probably on us.  Certainly, God is with us in the midst of it, but He’s most likely trying to get our attention so he can ask us: why are you settling for a life that’s so much less than what I want to give you?

Somebody’s not doing their job
Quite a bit of suffering in life comes from the people around us not doing what they’re called to do.  God is in the constant business of giving people the opportunity to step up and live into their calling.  Unfortunately, few do.  And, consequently, we suffer.  Whether its parents not being emotionally nurturing, a church pastor not discipling his people, or a wealthy man not sharing his resources, when people don’t live into their calling, we all suffer for it.  Ultimately, God makes sure those needs can get taken care of through an alternate route, but in the mean time, it sucks for us, and the suckage is on the person who isn’t stepping up.

A hard time God’s asking you to go through
This is the really tough one, per your question.  Suffering that’s significant, unavoidable, and nobody’s fault.  A friend is diagnosed with cancer.  A grandparent passes away.  Dad’s company closes down and he’s out of a job.  What do we do with that?  Where is God?

As you know, God is right there with you in the midst of it (Matthew 28:20).  He sees every tear you cry (Psalm 56:8).  You know that God is always close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).   But, still, why?  Why suffering?

Well, the witness of scripture is that God uses suffering to shape us, to mold us, to strengthen us and make us into the people he made us to be (1 Peter 4:12-13, MSG).  And, so, we know that we can’t lose.  We know that, in all things, God is working to our good (Romans 8:28), bringing about our absolute best.  But, still, why suffering? Is there no other way?

On this question, the Bible remains silent.  I suspect that the answer, which we may find in eternity, is beyond our ability to understand as mere and fallen human beings.  But God offers a different – and deeper – answer to the question of, “why suffering?”  His answer is to go first.

Jesus led by example.  He submitted himself to suffering that he could have avoided.  He was obedient to the point of a death he could have refused.  He cried out to the Father for any other way, for the cup to pass from him, yet he still chose to follow a path of sorrows he could have declined. 

Jesus went first.

Because of that, we have a God that understands.  A God who knows what it is to sweat, to bleed, to feel sick and tired and cold and hungry and exhausted.  And this God wants you to pour out your heart to him in the midst of your suffering.  To cry and vent and rant and rail and be honest about the burden of living in a fallen world, and being shaped by suffering.  And in that moment of honesty, you may begin to discover that what truly stills the questions is encountering the still small voice and unfathomable love of Jesus that whispers, “I know, child.  I love you, and I know.”

How Do I Know Christianity Is True?

sailingstarss asked you:
Hey jed I’ve been having some questions. Now i’m not shaking in my faith or anything, i believe 120% but i talking with my friend whose a nonbeliever and he was saying how there’s so many animals with different personalities and so there could be a high equality of there being reincarnation (which i truly don’t believe) but it got me to thinking how do we know there’s no reincarnation, and that christianity is truly the right er.. not religion, but the right God to be having a relationship with?

Jed Brewer replied:

Hey Julianne,

I’m really glad you asked.  And you don’t need to be shaking in your faith to ask questions.  Asking questions is a big part of how we learn and grow.  In fact, I’m far more concerned about a person who doesn’t ask any questions than I am about a person who does!

As Christians, we don’t have to be afraid of asking questions.  Questions are ultimately answered with something true, and, as a smart man once said, all truth is God’s truth.  (He made it, after all.)

So, you brought up reincarnation.  Today, the most common religions / philosophies that teach reincarnation are, of course, Hinduism and Buddhism.  

I’m no scholar of comparative religions, and, so, my Hindu and Buddhist friends will have to forgive my base approximation here, but, in very simple terms, the idea behind reincarnation in both Hinduism and Buddhism is that you, as a spiritual being, kind of suck.  You’re hung up on the things of this world, which are illusory.  And you’re trying to be satisfied with them, which can’t work.  When you die, in essence, the cosmos gives you another try at sucking less, in another physical form.  We keep going round and round on this – trying not to suck, sucking, dying, trying not to suck, etc – for as long as it takes until, finally, you don’t really suck at all, and you achieve Nirvana, liberation, or eternity in a heavenly spiritual realm.

I can tell you why, respectfully, I don’t believe that – and I will – but that’s a different reason from why I do believe in Jesus.

 As a Christian, I look to the Bible, and it says, really clearly, “Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)  That means, of course, no reincarnation.  But, let’s pretend, just for a moment, that the Bible didn’t say that, and that there could be reincarnation.

My problem with reincarnation, in that case, would be that, I know myself.  And, apart from Jesus, I really, really suck.  I suck so bad that, if you gave me a hundred million lifetimes, I still wouldn’t get this thing right.  You could bring me back as a badger, and ask me to just be a good and selfless badger, and I would still make a mess.  I’d be stealing the other badger’s food, hitting on their badger girlfriends, and, probably, going to badger parties and smoking tiny little bags of badger weed.  (I assume they have that.  I am not a biologist.)

My point here is that what keeps me from enlightenment, so to speak, is not a lack of opportunities to get it right.  It is a terminal brokenness, nestled dead center in the core of my being.

I know myself. And I need a savior, not another chance to fix it on my own.

But, as I said, that’s different from why I do believe in Jesus.  I believe in Jesus because I know him.  I believe he’s the “right God to have a relationship with” (as you put it), precisely because I do have a relationship with him.

I believe in Jesus because I have seen him take the mess-that-is-me, and make something beautiful out of it.  I have watched him make me into someone I could never be – in a million lifetimes – on my own.  And I’ve watched him do it in the unlikeliest of settings, in the span of a few short years, so I could know for sure that it was Him doing it, and not my good intentions.

And I’ve watched Jesus do that same work of transformation in the lives of others.

I’ve watched Jesus transform destitute crack addicts into good pastors, good fathers, and good men.  I’ve watched Jesus turn ruthless murderers into kind and compassionate servants, and close friends.  I’ve watched Jesus take women who’ve prostituted themselves in order to get high over a period of decades and turn them into the kind of sweet and lovely people I only wish I had had as a grandma.

In other words, I have seen with my own two eyes that Jesus is the Christ.  He is the Son of the Living God.  And He is very much in charge.

The more that you get to know Jesus, the more you’ll see and experience and know the same thing.  And that’s the way Jesus has always worked. He says, “follow me”, and, along the journey of following him, we find our questions answered and our doubts allayed.  You are no fool to trust him.

God understands everything. Someone did you wrong, now you want to do something wrong in return. He understands. You see a half-naked body, now your mind is off to the races. God understands about that. You have worries, fears and some massive doubts. God understands all those feelings. The end goal is to do right, the starting point is honest talk with a God who really gets you.
Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)

Why are you so worried about the future? Will you get married? Yes. Will they be hot? Shut up, and yes. Will my life count for something? If you point it in that direction, no doubt. Will my needs be met? Why would God desert you, after giving His Son as a ransom to free you? Your future is secure. No matter how it looks, no matter how it feels, it is certain. And it’s good.
Unka Glen (unkaglen.tumblr.com)