Thursday, June 20, 2013

4 Ways to See the Nail Holes and Place Your Hand in his Side

(We're going to begin exploring matters of faith and family life issues here on the blog, while we continue on Luke's and his soon-to-be sister's young journeys.)

Is that a good idea?

The Bible Says So. The phrase may be cliche, but the reality begs for deeper conversation. Being that we've just finished reading the Bible in a year (Luke and I, that is), it's a good time to bring it up.

Let's be real. Non-christians doubt it. At times, Christian friends I've had through the years have questioned it. Many reject its messages. A few have abandoned believing God wrote it. Privately, others have wondered if they can fully trust it.

We're talking about the authenticity of the Bible. We're talking about whether or not the Bible is true.

A common argument I hear creeping in among intellectuals and academics is many books hold truths that can be applied to life--the Bible is one such book and a compilation men chose, at that (in truth, councils that affirmed the biblical books merely recognized what the church had acknowledged as divinely inspired for years). Therefore, it can be trusted little more than Whitman or Thoreau.

However, one distinction exists. Whitman never said "Song of Myself" was from God. He passionately believed his intoxications of nature, but he understood them to be observations. Similarly, Thoreau wrote from his own sense of searching.

The Bible claims it is divinely inspired by God. Trustworthy in every way to be true.

"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." 1 Peter 1:20-21


"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17

So is the Bible lying or is it true? There are only two options. The question really is--is it from God?

If it is, we can trust it in all situations. And if it is, we must change our lives in response.

In truth, we don't need evidence. Though I've heard many people say they read the Bible yet still need to see proof, my hunch is they aren't actually reading it nearly as much as they say they are (or think they are). If one pores through the Bible with an open heart to know God, his Holy Spirit will show everything it says is true--and we can believe God is really saying it.

Since God really exists, this is easy for him. The more time we invest in his Word (with an open heart), the more we give him this opportunity.

However, for those who tend to ask to see the nail holes and put their hands in his side before believing, go back and do what I just said. No, seriously.

But you can read on too, and see that what God's Spirit will speak to your heart, he doesn't simply say. It actually is.

4 Ways to See the Nail Holes and Place Your Hand in his Side.

1) Archaelogical Evidence. Really? I know, I know. Let's start easy. But think about it for a moment. Secular society considers most Bible stories to be nice, well...fibs. Adam and Eve. Noah's Ark. Jonah. Jericho. Unscientific. Fluffy religious stuff.

The basis for that assumption is evidence. Problem is, every current archaelogical discovery shows more and more places academics thought were made up actually existed. And were exactly the way the Bible reports (one of many references). Do these discoveries trump the weight of God's Word? No. His Word stands alone. But they clearly support it.

2) Medical Advances. In the 1800s, germs were discovered. At a hospital in Vienna, women were dying at an alarming rate during birthing. A Hungarian doctor realized the doctors delivering the babies were coming directly from performing autopsies and must be passing something invisible. He made them wash their hands before assisting in births and the mortality rate dropped from 18% to 2.2%.  Just washing their hands.

God told the Israelites to wash after various impurities made them "unclean" before they could return to camp. God's Word gave instructions about cleanliness thousands of years before germs and the importance of washing to prevent disease were discovered.

Other directions, such as not eating pork, have since been found to be extremely healthful. These are just two of many commands God gave in his Word that could not have been known at the time otherwise.

3) The Agreement of the Message. Around 40 different authors spanning many generations. All with the same enduring message. This isn't one guy scrawling down some thoughts from an angel. Some were uneducated--Peter. Others, extremely learned--Paul.

Critics argue the Bible contradicts itself. Really, passages complement each other for deep, clear insights into wisdom. And think who these guys were:

-Most of the Old Testament books were written by prophets who directly heard from God
     (and Moses, who was so close to God's presence his face shone)
-The ones in the New Testament were the guys who were so filled with the Holy Spirit they
     started and led the church (and confounded the far better educated)

Believable this was a work of God.

4) The Prophecies of Jesus. Perhaps most compelling, there are over 300 prophecies about the Jewish Messiah that were all fulfilled in Jesus (here are 44, clearly outlined. Check them out!).

They are irrefutable, things like where the Messiah would be born, what line of descendants he would come from, how he would die--things no one could fake.

And all these come from the Holy Scriptures of a people who largely do not even accept him (mostly because he threatens their status quo). They pre-date his birth, and can all still be read there. There's no way they could be doctored by a bunch of upstart newbies.


So put your finger here. See his hands. Reach out yours and put it into his side. Stop doubting and believe.

But "blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).

In other words, go to his Word. Read it daily with renewed excitement and an open heart. His Holy Spirit will speak to you so powerfully there you will find it changes your life.

Stop doubting and believe.

And you will find what is true is exactly what he says. What the Bible says so.

Sounds about right, Dad

Friday, June 14, 2013

Luke's First Birthday!

Congratulations, Luke! You're 1. I can't believe it. I'll reject the temptation to say you've lived 1/100 of your life if you reach 100, that you're only 32 parts younger than Daddy, or that you're half the time again to putting your toys back in the toy bin, and just take this moment to say "I love you. Daddy couldn't be prouder of his little guy."

Of course, what everyone is dying to know...Luke has read the entire Bible!

He finished his last official reading with Daddy on June 12, 2013, 365 days after this:

So I think the perfect way to celebrate your life is to chronicle your little online photo journey.

Your Life. In picture.

First, Mommy was pregnant.

That was you, Luke!

You were hiding. It was dark in there. But then you came out and met Mommy and Daddy!

We read about "In the beginning..."

You learned quickly.

Sometimes you quivered!

And you slept a lot.

Sometimes with Daddy! Those were some of Dad's favorite moments.

You'd sleep on his chest and he'd feel like a million bucks. It was the best place in the world Dad could be.

You went on your first adventure! We won't mention the escapade in the car.

Sometimes you went on adventures with just Dad. Tucked away and safe.

You started showing your funny personality!

And your adorable one.

You went out to see the world.

With the most loving family ever! (in your frog suit)

Daddy swaddled you a lot. You were always surprised.

We celebrated the 4th of July together (Mommy's favorite holiday)! She picked out your outfit.

What a fascinating place.

You learned about Thai food.

And baths.

And playing on playmats. Which you loved! Daddy sang with the songs.

You met your adorable cousins. That's Sky!

You had parties. :)

It was tiring.

And you got cuter.

And cuter.

And cuter.

And cuter.

And cuter!

Like on Easter with Mommy and Daddy. 

Or just chillin' in your dipes!

 But you were always the coolest kiddo around.

 And Daddy's best friend.

I love you, Luke Israel Demsick.


Happy 1st Birthday!

Congrats on your 1st Bible!

I'm so proud of you.



(John-Peter lives in Vero Beach, Florida with his wife Angela, son Luke, and daughter-to-be. His new release, Breathing In and Breathing Out: Leader of Men, recently hit #22 on Amazon's top 100 Christian men's issues Kindle books and is available here)

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Final Day of Release Week

This is it! Crazy to think everything with Breathing In and Breathing Out happened in four days (since release) and the release week will culminate in 12 hours (with the party!).

Thank you to those who've rushed over to Amazon and bought the book, and to those who've sent everyone willing to listen stampeding (or wandering) over to buy one.

The results are in for the first four days:

Thursday, why you do dat?

A Recap.

Monday is a compilation of about five to ten pre-orders of different kinds and three people who jumped off their couches to buy after I learned how to use the internet (about 2/3 through the day).

Tuesday clearly saw our best results, as somewhere edging near 20 books were sold, I presume to 20 people--not antelopes, who are also very interested in breathing, and not 6.66 people who were so excited they wanted to read with one book in each hand. And another as some sort of non-kosher, recyclable yamaka.

Wednesda, as I've smartly coined above, saw a steady flow of sales the first half of the day, raking in 11 book sales by 1:30, and then right when I predicted we could edge out Tuesday by a slight margin and still be on track to reach $1,000 by Friday, anonymous people everywhere put their fingers in their ears and said, "Book? What book?", a Roman centurion bemused, "What is truth?", Don McLean died*, and antelopes went on breathing as usual. 

Still, one person kicked open the door to Amazon and bought a book.

Thursday five copies were snatched up, and that brings us to...

The Final Day of Release Week!

Yes, this is the last day your purchases (all you antelopes out there) will be donated to orphans. Tomorrow, any books sold will go toward other problems like erasing substantial third world book debt and things of that nature.

This has been a fun ride! The real adventure, however, begins when you open page 1. I am thrilled many of you will be reading the book and I can't wait to hear from you about it.

I pray God blesses you so richly. I pray God speaks to your heart about what he is saying to men, women, and the church. I pray it produces real action and change in our lives.

Isn't that what a good book should do?

I wonder if I can eat this...

And if not, perhaps you can recycle it. Or eat it.

(If you haven't bought your copy or want to give others as Father's Day gifts, click here for the Paperback and Kindle)

*not a real thing