Had An Epiphany Lately?

Epiphanies are those moments in life when something suddenly and without warning becomes clear in our lives and we begin to see things with new insight — and perhaps begin to think and do differently as well.

Screen shot from Reflections blog.

For my part, probably the most important such moment in my life came at 9:15 am in the morning of March 1, 1991, when I awakened from my last drinking spree and looked around at the wreckage I’d made of my life and those of others near and dear to me.

It was at the precise moment that the Lord opened my eyes to see that wreckage honestly and to realize that I had to make up my mind, do I really believe what I profess about being a Christian and, if I do, why don’t I start acting like one instead of being a hypocrite?

It hasn’t been all sweetness and light since then, but the Lord has changed me in countless ways and turned my life into an incredible adventure of learning, loving and living. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t thank Him for that epiphany.

But that’s enough out of me. Philosopher Kenneth Samples writes of his own epiphanic experiences in an interesting post on his blog, Reflections.  He writes movingly about his discovery of a Dutch theologian who knew his father, an American GI, fighting in World War II.

Go here for the full Samples.


 

Dr. Francis Collins Explains What Led Him From Atheism To Jesus (Yes, THAT Francis Collins!)

Dr. Francis Collins is probably best known as the former director of the National Human Genome Research Institute from 1993 to 2008. But there is another distinction in his biography that is equally unusual.

That distinction is the fact Collins was appointed to head the National Institutes for Health (NIH) by President Barack Obama in 2009 and then re-appointed by President Donald Trump in 2017. How many people in the public eye these days can say they drew such solid support from politicians as opposite one another as Obama and Trump?!!

What is less known about Collins is that he is a man of deep faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It was not always so because for much of his early adulthood, Collins was a convinced atheist.

But that all began to change, as he explains in the following video from Biologos, when a woman dying of heart disease asked “what do you believe, doctor?”


But Wait! There’s More!!

There’s More Historical Evidence for Jesus Than For This Caesar

THINK ABOUT THIS: Friday’s Poached Egg

Think You Know What The Gospel Requires You To Do To Be Saved?


Shouldn’t You Be Following HillFaith?

Harvard Scholars Say Faith And Marriage Are Two Pillars For An Enduring Economic Prosperity

Dr. Patrick Fagan of Marripedia offers concise summaries of two important recent works — one from two scholars at Harvard and one from Cal State Long Beach — who marshal mountains of data that demonstrate the solid connection between strong religious faith, strong marriages, and strong economic prosperty.

I had the privilege of working with Pat for six years at the Heritage Foundation when I was teaching journalists how to do computer-assisted reporting. I know him to be a scholar of the first rank and a man unalterably committed to the truth

These are important works for Hill staffers involved in shaping government policies toward families, economics and societal expectations:

Faith, Families and Prosperity Are Inter-related

A 2019 book entitled “The Wealth of Religions: The Political Economy of Believing and Belonging” by Harvard’s Rachel M. McCleary and Robert J. Barro asserts the economic value of religion by exploring the extent to which religious beliefs motivate people to be economically productive. Continue reading “Harvard Scholars Say Faith And Marriage Are Two Pillars For An Enduring Economic Prosperity”

Multi-Millionaire Was Spiritually Bankrupt. Then He Met Yeshua

“When tragedy struck Joseph’s family he was determined not just to fill his father’s shoes but to surpass everyone’s expectations and make a name for himself. Soon his financial company turned into a internationally traded bank and the press called him Midas.

“But inside of all of his success he was empty and self absorbed, so when the stock market crashed his world of wealth crashed with him. And that’s when he finally found the greatest treasure in life when he discovered the Jewish Messiah, Yeshua.”

From One for Israel:


 

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Surge Of Underground Christian Conversions Rattling Iran

Despite the fact that converting from Islam to Christianity, or any other religion, is illegal and punishable by death in Iran, thousands of Iranians are becoming followers of Jesus Christ.

13th Century Iranian bowl (Photo Credit: Smithsonian Design Museum, Cooper Hewitt)

An estimated 3,000 Iranians are converting every month, according to Michael Ansari of Mohabat TV, a Christian satellite broadcasting channel that penetrates Iran, CBN is reporting.

The awakening in Iran is part of an otherwise largely unreported wave of conversions to Christianity throughout the Islam-dominated Middle East.

Such developments in the politically and economically turbulent Middle East should be of great interest to congressional staff, especially to the hundreds whose work involves foreign policy or religious freedom issues.


 

 

I Am Second: Mike Fisher

If you are hockey fan, you probably recognize the name of Mike Fisher, formerly of the Ottawa Senators and the Nashville Predators. If you are devotee of country music, you may know Fisher as Carrie Underwood’s husband.

Fisher is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, but, as he explains in this “I Am Second” white chair session, it didn’t come easily for him, despite growing up in a highly churched family. Success will do that to you.

This particular video was created six years ago, but it’s coming around again now because Fisher and Underwood have a new four-part series for the “I Am Second” folks that gets down to it about faith, marriage, babies, success and a whole lot more.


 

HARD FACTS: Is The Claim Jesus Rose From The Dead Just Another Fairy Tale Like The Easter Bunny?

The grave is empty. How do you explain it? (Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash)

It’s Easter week, the most important seven days on the calendar for the billions of people around this Earth who call themselves Christians. That’s because the single most important event in history happened during this period.

That event is the central claim underlying their faith — that Jesus was crucified dead and buried on Friday, then rose again on Sunday and appeared to hundreds of people in the following days before ascending back to Heaven from whence He came. He will return some day and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord and Savior.

But how can someone who is genuinely open to hearing all of the evidence for and against this central claim of Christianity know what to accept as logical and true and what to reject as baseless claims? Every day this week on HillFaith we will consider this question from a variety of angles, beginning today with the following video produced by the Impact360 Institute:


 

What About The World On The Other Side Of This Pandemic?

Bob Perry is a commercial airline pilot who has seen the coronavirus pandemic up close and personal in recent days. He’s also talented, thoughtful observer from a Christian perspective, writing at True Horizon. Here’s a sample:

“Christianity exploded during the plagues and persecutions in the ancient world. And it did so precisely because Christians served those who most needed it. They comforted and cared for the sick and dying. This isn’t just a job for healthcare professionals. It’s a duty for us all …

“The economic expectations we have come to accept as normal are reckless, selfish, and short-sighted. We borrow and spend too much. We save too little. Our leaders are more worried about the next election than the next generation. Continue reading “What About The World On The Other Side Of This Pandemic?”

Cold-Case Expert Explains Why He Took A Close Look At Christianity

J. Warner Wallace, the NBC “Dateline” cold-case detective and career Los Angeles law enforcement expert, was asked recently what it was that prompted him to take a serious look at the evidence for Christianity.

“We had been together about 18 years before she convinced me to go to church. I was more than willing but I thought I would just be going as an attendee,” Wallace said of why he agreed to accompany his wife to a service. Even if it wasn’t true, he thought, it might be useful if it helped him and his wife raise their children.

“Did I mock the Christians I met? Yeah, I did,” Wallace continued. “A lot of the Christians I met were people we were taking to jail, so they were easy to mock.” Wallace specialized in the oldest unsolved murder cases and he recalled one individual in particular who had committed the crime 25 years before. “I found 12 years worth of Bible studies in that guy’s house,” he said.

Today, Wallace is one of the world’s best-known Christian apologists. He explains how and why it happened in the following video:

Should People Pray Through This Coronavirus Crisis? That Totally Depends On …

There was a minor flap in some  quarters of the media and other precincts of the intelligentsia a few days ago when a news photo appeared of Vice President Mike Pence leading a White House meeting of the coronavirus task force in prayer.

Among those disgusted/amused/outraged/otherwise non-plussed by the photo was evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who snapped:

“There’s even a picture of the virus task force praying together! We don’t need prayer; we need science! Here’s the photo, which distresses me but doesn’t surprise me… [a]fter all, one godly intervention is just as delusional as another!” Continue reading “Should People Pray Through This Coronavirus Crisis? That Totally Depends On …”

Actor Ben Afleck Found ‘The Way Back’ And It’s Not Just A Movie

Ben Afleck has seen and done it all on the silver screen. “Batman.” “The Accountant.” “Pearl Harbor.” “The Sum of All Fears.” “Armageddon.” And don’t forget “Good Will Hunting.”

Ben Afleck in “The Way Back.” Screenshot from the YouTube trailer.

He’s also spent a lot of time on the front pages of the tabloids. Lots of women. Lots of booze. Lots of ups and downs and sideways. Lots of pain for Ben, for Jennifer, their kids, lots of folks.

You may also have heard Afleck has a new movie out, “The Way Back.” It’s about a guy struggling with alcohol. He was a great basketball player as a kid. Now he finds himself asked to come back and coach. I won’t ruin the ending for you, but it is a highly autobiographical work of art.

But here’s what you may not know: Afleck has found faith: Continue reading “Actor Ben Afleck Found ‘The Way Back’ And It’s Not Just A Movie”

‘God Made Me Fast And When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure’ Do You?

Scotland’s Eric Liddell is best-known these days, where he is known at all, as one of the heroes of the 1981 classic movie, “Chariots of Fire,” thanks to his winning gold medals at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

Screen shot from “Chariots of Fire’ clip on youtube.com.

What is less well-known is that Liddell was a deeply committed, born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior. He came from a missionary family and died of a brain tumor while in Japanese internment in China a few months before the end of World War II.

“Chariots” remains to this day my favorite movie of all time for one scene in particular in which Liddell explains to his critical sister that he will return to the mission work in China, but first he must honor God by competing in the Olympics. Thus his wonderful declaration that “God made me for a purpose. God made me fast and when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Continue reading “‘God Made Me Fast And When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure’ Do You?”

How Are Your Telomeres Today? Can Faith Actually Help You Live Longer, Healthier?

Unless you are deep into the study of cellular biology, odds are you have no idea that your body is so dependent on telomeres because they are essential to the quality and length of your life.

Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash

So what on earth is a telomere? TA Sciences begins by noting that they are “an essential part of human cells that affect how our cells age,” then continues by explaining:

“Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces.Without the coating, shoelaces become frayed until they can no longer do their job, just as without telomeres, DNA strands become damaged and our cells can’t do their job.”

In other words, when your telomeres can’t do their job, your life is adversely affected, and ultimately ended prematurely. Continue reading “How Are Your Telomeres Today? Can Faith Actually Help You Live Longer, Healthier?”

New Data Shows The ‘Nones’ Have Peaked, May Even Be Dropping Among Gen Zs

Experts didn’t expect such a development but it appears the ranks of the “Nones” — people who identify with no religious denomination or following — are no longer increasing and a decline may even be ahead.

Washington College Political Science Professor Melissa Deckman (Screen shot from Facebook).

That’s the news from two recently completed massive studies, both of which are reported today by the Religion in Public (RIP) blog. In the first, Washington College Political Science Professor Melissa Deckman notes:

“A truism of the American religious landscape is that Americans are becoming more religiously unaffiliated and that this tendency is especially pronounced among the Millennial generation (born between 1981 and 1996). Continue reading “New Data Shows The ‘Nones’ Have Peaked, May Even Be Dropping Among Gen Zs”

Have You Decided Your Life’s Core Convictions? You Will Go This Far But No Farther?

Being an aide or intern to a senator or representative in Congress is a lot like what it must have been for Daniel, the Old Testament prophet who at a young age found himself among a small group of conquered Judeans being groomed for the court of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Do you or don’t you violate your most cherished convictions? (Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash)

Part of the group’s three-year study and preparation for service to the King involved adherence to a royally prescribed nutritional course that conflicted in key respects with the dietary regimen of the Jewish faith of Daniel and three of his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.

“Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the King’s food or with the wine he drank,” Daniel 1:8 tell us. “So he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself.” Continue reading “Have You Decided Your Life’s Core Convictions? You Will Go This Far But No Farther?”