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When It's Over Our Heads

When I first encountered fly-fishing as a hobby, I was overwhelmed.
Growing up a bass-fisherman, the new world of flies and tippets was like
graduating from high school to university.

Besides fish and water, everything was new to me. The rigging, the types
of rods, the back and forward casting, the matching of flies with the
hatch of the insects on the river, the waders and felt-bottomed shoes,
and the art and science of imitation and precision were all as fresh as
the first ride on a bicycle.

These categories are foreign to most readers, as it once was to me. And
as I grew from naming equipment to using equipment, and then grew
from casting to imitating hatching aquatic insects, I kept finding that no
matter how much you learn in fly-fishing, there is always a lot more to
learn. I was baffled, even discouraged at first because of so much
information. But as I grew in my learning and my practice, I was ready
for yet another step.

This, from my view, is parallel to preaching, apologetics, and youth
ministry today. I believe people are hungry to understand Christ more
deeply every day, both relationally and conceptually (terms that are
difficult to separate). There is a thrill that comes when a Scripture
passage is unpacked with sound Bible-interpretation principles. There
is a satisfaction of faith when another part of Christ's faithfulness is
revealed in a simple scene of feeding fish and bread to hungry folks.

Yet there is a constant pressure in our society, even our church
societies, to keep things simple, practical, to a reduced bare minimum.
After all, it is reasoned, if we don't speak to the lowest common
denominator, we may discourage people from being part of the church
community. While I think this a noble thought, it may actually be a
disadvantage to the healthiness of each individual believer and our
church communities.

Let me offer youth as an example. I am repeatedly amazed at how young
people respond to philosophy, theology, and spiritual formation.
They certainly do not understand all of it, but they are intrigued by
it. After walking away from a talk I gave on the role of feelings in the
spiritual life, a 13-year-old approached me. She was inching closer and
closer toward unbelief because she had a view that if Jesus were real in
her life, she would "feel" him. But after my talk she thanked me for
helping her realize that Christ is still present in her life even without
those feelings. Her face glowed. If I had been unwilling to venture into
territory that is perceived as too difficult, she may still be silently
wrestling with false beliefs. For some, it is not only helpful to talk
about Christ, but to also talk about how he meets us.

In school, youth are constantly pressured to handle new and deeper
concepts. They have to label and understand the parts of a cell. They
have to memorize names and events that lead to civil wars. Yet, we often
fall into the trap that while science and history may require depth, our
theology does not.

Our young people are looking for something to live and die for that is far
more serious than their subjects at school. Even if some of our content
soars over their heads, I believe this is all right. It lets them know
that, just like my fly-fishing, when the day comes for them to explore
their faith more diligently on their own, that there will be something
there to think about. In my journey, I have found it most assuring as
I develop as a Christian to know that there is territory beyond my reach
that I can mature into. I think our youth, indeed most people, are
looking for a church, a Scripture, a life that is bigger than their own.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus," says the Apostle
Paul (Phil 2:5). There are riches to be mined from such a phrase in the
context of the epistle. How well are we giving our fellow believers
encouragement to climb to higher places with Christ? How well are we
developing our own interior life to know Christ, not just to solve our
practical problems for the moment, but to order our lives to tackle the
even harder obstacles of tomorrow? We need not be afraid that we can
exhaust the riches of understanding Christ. He is always calling us to a
deeper faith and a deeper life.

Dale Fincher

"A Slice of Infinity" is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of
challenge, words of truth, and words of hope. If you know of others who
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* * * Four important things to KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

God loves you so much that He died for you!!!

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