Monday, August 18, 2008

Nooma 001 - Rain

So I have started watching this series of short messaged by Rob Bell called Nooma. I already did a post about one of his videos, but I have decided to start from the beginning and post about each one of them. What is so great about theses messages is that they are short but filled with so many deep messages.

In his first video “Rain” he tells the story of how he was on a walk with his year old son on a beautiful, clear summer morning. All of a sudden, it started to rain. He describes the rain as a “drenching rain”. It was the kind that completely soaks your body and mats your hair to your head.

His main point was that “it always rains”. It is not a matter of “if” it rains, but rather “when” it rains. We might not expect it or plan for it, but at one time or another, it will come.

Now, when it started to rain, he and his son were almost exactly half way around the lake with no shelter. At first his boy did not have a problem because the rain was light but as it intensified, he began to cry. As time when on, his cry turned into a deep, scared and passionate cry that came from deep within. He talks about the power the word “cry” has in the Bible and how God cannot ignore the cries deep cries of need.

Psalm 107:27-29 (King James Version)
27. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit's end.
28. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.
29. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

He continues his story by saying that in an effort to comfort his child, he holds him close to his chest and tells him, “I love you buddy, were going make it, dad knows the way home, you’re going make it, I love you.”
He kept repeating those words until he got his son back to safety.

When you cry Jesus is close to the broken hearted and to those who admit they are scared, lost, soaking wet and confused.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. The essence of Salvation is admitting to God that you are lost and that you don’t have it all together and are hurting. Admitting that opens the door for him to enter your life and heal your pain or help you take that extra step when you feel like you cannot go any further.

While in a storm, it is common to not be able to see very far in front of you. You cannot see what lies ahead or if it will end soon. God however, can see from above what we are gong through and knows how to help us get through whatever type of storm we may be experiencing at the time.

For years, I have carried a small piece of laminated paper in my wallet that has a few paragraphs on it that relates to this idea. Until tonight, I did not know where it came from (I love the internet) but apparently it is from a LDS magazine called The Friend back in 1992. Despite my issues with its origin, I still agree with what it says.

“I learned something important that day about my father’s point of view. He could see more than I. He could tell that I would make it—but he let me find out for myself.

I think Heavenly Father is like that. When I’m thrashing along with a bad habit I can’t seem to change, or a goal I can’t seem to reach, thinking I’m not good enough and about to “sink,” I remember that Heavenly Father can see more than I. Perhaps I’m moving in the right direction and don’t know it yet. Perhaps He knows how close I am to safety and success and has the confidence in me that I lack in myself. Perhaps He wants me to learn and grow from a hard experience. Sometimes when I’m struggling the hardest, I wonder why He doesn’t “jump in” and help me. That’s when I remember my dad saying, “You were doing fine.”

I know Father is watching. He’ll help me when I really need Him to. But for now I just need to keep kicking.”

I have not reached the point yet to where I can take that leap of faith and cry out to God but I will admit that there have been many times recently where my desire to do so has been very strong, only to be stopped by my lack of trust/faith in his existence and ability to help.

In the scriptures it talks about how the Lord carries us like a father carries a son. That must be an awesome feeling.


  1. Leaving mormonism is a hard thing. It is such a part of your life, and everything is so set in stone. It is comfortable and comforting. My wife struggled for a long time after we left, and it wasn't easy to put my faith in God. How could He let me be caught up in a lie like that? I would encourage you in your spare time to take a gander at our testimony of leaving mormonism, I hope it can be an encouragement to you.

  2. This post reminds me of the "Footprints" poem, where a man sees his whole life while walking with the Lord and looks back and only sees one set of footprints during the hardest spots in his life. He questions why Jesus left him during the hardest times and is given the answer that that is when he was carried. I don't remember the origins- don't think it's Mormon in origin, but I love the message. It gives me hope.

    Arthur- your link got cut off but I think I found the right post and will be reading.

    Soy Yo- Thanks for the new post. I got so confused with all the comments on the previous one I couldn't tell who was on which side towards the end. My brain was hurting- talk about overload of information.

    Soy Yo's wife- I love you! :)

  3. thanks (on the fence)....thank God I know who you are and I can I love you too!

    loved this post very tender

  4. I really like the message of that post, but I don't believe that God answers prayers. There are too many millions of innocent children suffering in the world. I know that some of them have cried out for some God to ease their burden but help never comes.

  5. Sido,
    I enjoyed reading your testimony. I see a few things that are like my experience. One thing I loved was your use of Matthew 23:27 to describe the temple. Thanks for sharing.

    One question, you did not really believe much in God before converting to Mormonism so what kept your belief/faith in Him so strong after you realized you were deceived and left?

  6. On The Fence –
    I thought of the “footprints” poem as well and its message is much like what Rob Bell was trying to get across. It’s good to see that you are still reading.

    I hope you are doing good and finding some peace in your journey.

  7. BR –
    If you ask my wife, she will tell you that just a few months ago I brought up the same issue about God answering prayers. I don’t have an answer for it yet either. I’m not sure if there is a way to explain why people hurt, get sick, or experience bad things. Those things are not exclusive to those living in Africa. People all over the world suffer…heck, everyone suffers.

    Why does it seem like others are handed a worse lot in life? I won’t even pretend to have the answer to that question.

  8. I have a answer, we live in a fallen world.

    john 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

    Since we live in a fallen state there will always be people suffering. The bible explains it well.

  9. I don't dispute the existence of or even the justification/need for suffering. The issue I have is that scriptures state that relief is available, but that relief is not meted out justly. The odds of a humble spirited child getting relief are no better than those of the sinner. This leads me to believe that prayers that actually seem to be answered are merely coincidence. Statistics bear this out.

    I will never be convinced that Molly found her car keys as a result of prayer, but 8 year old Sally's prayers went unanswered when she was kidnapped, raped, and murdered.

    This is not the action of a just God. The only way I can reconcile this is to believe that no prayers are answered and that God is not a personal God. I don't care what the scriptures say, reality is different.

  10. I have heard so many people say that comment br. All I can say is that we are not all God's children until we choose to be. That is why there are missionaries for Christ all over this sinful world. To spread His love to those that do not know it. God takes care of His children and I recently learned that not everyone is His children. Only the ones who come to Him and believe.

    I am sure you will come back with some whitty thing to say, you always do. As a mormon I believed we are all children of God and now I know differently.

  11. Soy Yo, all that kept me close to God was His grace. I won't get into predestination or anything like that, but when God changed my heart I saw Him for who He is and I saw myself for who I was, a sinner in need of a Savior.

    I see so many people who leave mormonism and turn from God. Whether one stays in mormonism or leaves and turns from God, the enemy is pleased. That is why I constantly say it is not enough to show why mormonism is wrong, but also why Christ is right. If I can show someone how false mormonism is and get them to leave it behind, but they don't come to know Christ, I haven't really accomplished anything and that is ultimately something only God can accomplish.

  12. Soy Yo's wife,

    I would go a step further and say that even those who are His children suffer. All of the apostles suffered greatly for His sake, and most died gruesome deaths. Indeed it is often the Christian who suffers the most. But our reward is not here, but to come in glory. It is hard to see it that way sometimes, but compared to the glory to come in eternity, what is suffering for a short time now?

    I would say that Rick is somewhat on the right track, for the wrong reasons. Prayer never changes God, but when we pray for His will to be done and give Him the glory, it changes us.

  13. You know brain does not always think to say all that. I am not one who thinks it all out before I write. I do know what you are saying...I just didn't express it that way.

  14. My wife is the same way, men don't always appreciate being succinct in what we are saying!

    (plus having eight kids to care for doesn't give her much time!)

  15. I was Southern Baptist before converting to Mormonism. I understand the children having to accept Christ before being adopted into the fold.

    I just don't believe it. The missionary effort is valiant but only scratches the surface. billions of people have lived and died without ever hearing about Christ. Surely God will not ignore them because they did not hear / accept Christ as their savior.

    I don't buy the Mormon answer of post-death rituals and after-life acceptance either. This makes no sense. Why live to begin with.

    These things make me wonder of its necessity.

    I'm not trying to merely have a witty comeback. I'm just trying to explain my position.

  16. I believe that if there is a judgment after this life, it will be based on the intent of one's heart, not what religion they belong to or what rituals they had performed for them.

    This is the only equitable type of judgment that does not discriminate based on race, origin or other circumstances that are beyond one's control.

  17. Rick you must not have gone to any of the SBC churches I have been in. The intent of one's heart is irrelevant. The pertinent point is that all people are sinners, without exception and without excuse. The only thing that stands between any person and eternal punishment is the blood of Christ. What is just is that all people end up in hell. What is gracious is that God chooses to save some of us, apart from our own works, intents of heart or manmade righteousness.

  18. arthur,

    I probably wasn't in any of the churches you visited, unless those include southern VA.

    Yep, I know about the blood of Christ, hell and the lot. The intent of one's heart is my own determination. Obviously I didn't learn that from the Baptists or the Mormons. I just don't think sending everyone to burn in hell for eternity, save the few that have the opportunity and choose to accept Christ, is just. If you think this is just, then we simply need to disagree because I don't go in for that line of thinking.

  19. Justice- give what you deserve
    Mercy- give what we don’t deserve
    Grace- give more then we deserve

    It is by God's grace that we get the ultimate gift of life eternal.

  20. Rick, not trying to be flippant here, but what is the basis for that belief? What is your source of authority, in other words where do you turn for answers? Not Scripture apparently. This is something that you can't be wrong on, so I am curious how you came to your conclusion.

  21. arthur,

    You are correct. I don't use the scriptures to come to my conclusions. Scriptures can't be trusted because of translation errors and the fact we really don't know their origin. We only know what other people tell us about their origin. The only thing I can trust is myself.

    That is not as bad as it seems on the surface. By that I mean that I try to take in all information from all available sources (as much as possible) and use my own reasoning and experience to come up with my own conclusions. Not a conclusion that someone else has come developed for me.

    I hear people all the time that have a very sure knowledge of the scriptures and religion who preach "the word" as they have been taught. They have a common message backed by scripture - assuming they use the same interpretation of the scriptures.

    And there is the rub. Everything about the scriptures is subject to interpretation (thus all the different religions/sects) and, like I mentioned earlier, we simply don't know their source.

    God didn't write the Bible. It was written by men. The four gospels were written years after the death of Jesus by non-eyewitnesses. We can pinpoint a reasonable timeframe certain books were written by the people and events that are mentioned, but usually it is only a range, and we have to use deductive reasoning to determine who wrote them. Sometimes we can't pinpoint either.

    OK, now I'm getting off topic. But just a little perspective.

  22. The Gospel of John and the Gospel of Matthew were both written by Apostles, eye witnesses.

    The Gospel of Mark, by Mark an associate of the apostle Peter.

    Only Luke was not an eye witness, and he was an associate of Paul, who had contact with the apostles.

    All were written before 70 AD as were all the books of the bible.

    Where do you get your information?

  23. Hi Soy Yo!
    I have to disagree with the last part of the Friend article: "He’ll help me when I really need Him to. But for now I just need to keep kicking.” To me that very much demonstrates the Mormon thinking that God will cover the rest "after all (we) can do". This ties in with what Rick is saying about suffering too. I believe that we suffer/struggle so that we will learn dependence on God. We are dependent on Him for our salvation and need to be dependent on Him for everything. With God all things are possible, but that doesn't mean our suffering will be completely taken away -it means it becomes bearable and is temporary as we know that our treasure is in heaven and not on this earth, as Arthur said.

    So the Father is there watching, but He doesn't want to step in only 'when we need Him to' -He wants us to walk with Him and hold our hand every step we take back towards His presence.

    -Pip (aka Andrea on Mormon Coffee)

  24. Rick,

    I appreciate your candor. If there is a God and He is all powerful, does it not seem reasonable that He could direct the writing of the book in which He is revealing Himself to ensure that it is accurate and infallible? I mean, if God is unable to do that without being thwarted by men, He is hardly the sort of God who could create anything or condemn anyone. Much of what is written in the NT is written directly by Paul or dictated by Paul to a scribe, or written by the apostle John and Peter. All of the epistles agree with the Gospels on the nature of Christ and His work. He was born of a virgin, the Son of God, lived a sinless life, died unjustly on the cross for the sins of His people, was buried, rose again and is coming back to judge the world.

    You should investigate the formation and transmission of the canon of Scripture by some conservative sources, you will find a radically different view than the one you have espoused.

    Your view is not uncommon, it is the "I am a generally good person so I get into heaven" view. It is a view that is around for 2000 years...

    For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

    What Paul is warning Timothy about is exactly this view, that people will naturally rebel against the sovereignity of God and refuse to listen to those who preach the truth and instead seek to find teachers who will tell them what they want to hear (for example people like Joel Osteen) But can billions of people be left to their own personall religion and still all be right? Can the mormon, muslim, atheist all believe things in opposition to the Bible, and still expect the God of the Bible to grant them salvation? You have no anchor but yourself, and in doing so have no god but the one you have created in your own mind, which is every bit as much an idol as a golden calf.

  25. BTW Soy Yo, I would steer you away from Rob Bell's teachings. To get some solid teachings, check out John Piper'ss stuff. His sermon are on or you can listen/watch him on youtube. His teaching is rock solid and accessible. I cna also recommend a great book, it is a challenging read but worthwhile, in J.I. Packers "Knowing God" It is a classic of Christian literature.

  26. Arthur,
    I’m curious to know what your objection to Rob Bell is. Care to elaborate?

    Thanks for coming to my blog. If the main thing you disagree with is a quote from a Mormon publication then I guess I am doing something right. While I understand where you are coming from and what you are trying to say, I agree only to a certain point. Of course God wants to help us every step of the way but there are certain times where he requires us to take action. I can pray all day on my couch for a set of six-pack abs but if I don’t get up and exercise, it’s not going to happen. When that last set of crunches is starting to burn, if I want the results I asked God for, I have to finish strong. Will God give me renewed strength to finish and maybe even do a little more? Sure, but the actual action is dependent on me. God is not going to move my body for me.

    Christ commanded his disciples to go out and preach his gospel to the world. When times got rough, God did not always deliver them out of the situation; we know that because many suffered greatly and were killed by those who opposed them. Did he give them strength and comfort when they needed it most? I would think so, but he let them struggle too. The way they worked through those tough times now stands as an example to us on how to pass through adversity. They prayed, received wisdom and strength and then got to work.

    The Mormon idea of “after all we can do” refers directly to being saved while the passage I quoted has more to do with everyday life struggles so I think you have to distinguish the two. I think I agree with the idea of salvation through grace although I have not accepted Christ as my Savior and been born again. I know I do not prescribe to the Mormon idea of doing works to earn grace.

    One of the things I have the hardest time understanding/accepting is that God is a micro-manager. I think he would want us to use the great mind he gave us to make decisions for ourselves and to take risks. Most of the decisions I make on a daily basis I can do on my own. Should I wear a red polo or a blue dress shirt? PB&J or turkey? Take the freeway or back roads to work? I don’t need to ask God about those things because in the grand scheme of things, they don’t really matter nor do they affect my salvation. Now, for larger, life changing issues, I could see the need/desire to consult with God.

    I tend to be long winded so I apologize for the length of this comment. These are just my opinions and I admit that I still have a lot to study and learn about Christianity but this is where my mind currently stands.

  27. Soy Yo,
    I do agree with you. :) If we want 6-pack abs, we need to work for them. God can give us the strength and motivation to achieve it, but ultimately we do have to do something about it. I guess my point was more that we shouldn't wait until we can do no more, we should begin by asking Him to help us endure -obviously I'm talking about more than just crunches here. I'm just of a mind-set that the more we rely on God the more He can use us to accomplish His work simply because we are keeping Him in our hearts and can better listen to Him. True that whether I take the freeway or back roads to work does not matter to my salvation, but I can ask that either way will grant me safe passage.

    I don't mean that we need to ask His permission for every decision, but rather that we need to keep open dialogue with Him and not go to Him only when we're really in trouble and need bailing out.

    Since I said the thing about asking for safe passage while driving it reminded me of how Mormons always pray like that and I have to share a kinda funny story. Last Easter my 3 siblings and their families were at my mom's for "family dinner". My mom and brother are still Mormon and so we pray before eating. I was asked to give the prayer; I bowed my head and began thanking God for His sacrifice and His wonderful gift of grace and salvation, etc. Then with tears in my eyes I said my Amen and my mom immediately says in that sarcastic way she has "thanks for blessing the food!" (I then said "Oh no! It's going to kill us now! Dear God, please bless the food!") :P

    My sister and I thought it was so funny, yet really sad, that she chose to overlook the appreciation expressed to God for the work on the cross and instead criticize that I didn't ask for the food to "nourish and strengthen our bodies". To us, it was really telling of the Mormon mentality.

    anywho, I've enjoyed your blog so far and just wanted to encourage you to keep putting it all out there -both what you've discovered about Mormonism and what you learn about Christianity. I look forward to it!

  28. Thanks Pip,
    It looks like we were on the same general page just not using the right phrases. I agree with your clarification and like the story.

    I used to get a kick out of praying that cookies, ice cream, donuts, and soda would nourish and strengthen our bodies. Jesus may have turned water into wine but I don’t think he is going to make cookies turn into broccoli while in our stomach.

    Speaking of wine...I could use some tonight!

    Another post will be coming tonight. Thank you all for reading.

  29. Pops,

    I draw my information from hours and hours of research, from many different sources. I list some sources below that gave the following information:

    The only canonized gospel that might have been written prior to 70AD was Mark and Mark was definitely not an eyewitness. The range for Mark is 65-80 AD.

    Mark was a contemporary of Peter and wrote The Gospel of Mark well after Peter's death so Mark was written as a second hand account of Peter...from memory.
    (Eusebius quotes from Papias on the Gospel of Mark in Hist. Eccl. iii. 39)

    Matthew (written between 80-100AD) was not written by the apostle Matthew and was actually a plagarism of Mark. It is this dependence on Mark that dates Matthew at least 10 years after Mark. (Peter Kirby, Early Christian Writings 2001)

    Luke (written between 80-130AD) was obviously not an eyewitness, and as you point out was a contemporary of Paul. Problem with Luke is it draws extensive material from Josephus - Jewish War which means it could not possibly have been written prior to 78AD. (Richard Carrior, Luke and Josephus, 2001)

    John (written between 90-120AD) contains a serious anachronism stating that Jesus and his followers could not enter the synagogues. An eyewitness would not have made such an obvious mistake. (Morton Enslin, Christian Beginnings)

  30. arthur,

    Of course an all powerful God could influence men to write an accurate and infallible account. Problem is, that is not what happened. The Bible is wrought with innacuracies and contradictions, not to mention anachronisms. This could not possibly be the work of an all powerful God. You have to remember that the NY is just a compilation of early christian writings. These writings were never intended to be part of a canon. Some were letters, others were personal or oral histories. The Bible canon was created 100s of years after the death of the Apostles and Paul.
    (Note: I don't count Paul among the Apostles).

    You take all your supposition from a single book whose vericity is merely hearsay. Don't take this the wrong way, but God and Christianity are myths. That is not to say those myths are not true, but they are myths just the same. You choose to believe in those myths. For me, the jury is still out, and I am certainly not going to believe something that doesn't make sense just because someone else says I should, lest I fall away.

  31. LOL about praying over cookies and ice cream -how true!

    rick said, "I am certainly not going to believe something that doesn't make sense just because someone else says I should" pretty much how I feel about Mormonism

    Have a good weekend all, see you Monday!

  32. I think that you need to pray, some serious prayer, if you expect to get six pack abs, soy yo.

  33. Rick, so we get to the heart of the matter. You believe not in God, not in any god, but in yourself. At least you are honest about it.

    The Bible is uniformly consistent in doctrine and storyline. You are basing your opinion on the veracity of the Bible on your own interpretation, which of course is fallible. The books that are in the canon follow some very clear guidelines, and none of the books deviate from those guidelines. Conversely none of the books that are excluded from the canon meet those criteria.

  34. Soy Yo,

    "I’m curious to know what your objection to Rob Bell is. Care to elaborate?"

    Rob Bell falls into the category of what are known as "emergent church" preachers. Their material tends to be man focused, tends to over anthropomorphize God, and entirely devoid of the Gospel call for man to repent and the justification of man by faith through the crosss. Christ came not to make sinners better people but to save sinners from themselves, and that message tends to be glossed over or ignored in emerging churches. Bell is a very smart guy and talented speaker, but he missed the mark on the Gospel and I believe he does so intentionally.

  35. arthur,

    You don't quite have me pegged. I didn't say that I don't believe in God. Perhaps I wasn't clear, so let me elaborate a bit more. I don't believe in a Personal God. In other words, I don't believe in a God that interferes in the affairs of this earth. i.e. doesn't answer prayers. Doesn't cause natural disasters. Doesn't save lives, etc.

    You are correct though regarding my outlook on the scriptures is based on my own interpretation. Of course so are yours, and as you say, you are fallible as well.

    Not sure where to go from here.

  36. How about another post from the blog master, soy yo?