Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Introduction to My Book Spiritual Spackle that I am currently writing

What is Spiritual Spackle, you may be wondering. Spiritual Spackle is the way that the Holy Spirit works in our lives to help us through the ups and downs that this world throws at us. It is how, through a partnership with the Holy Spirit, we can have the ability to: put down the beer, the heroin, the third helping of chocolate cake, or the credit card. It allows us to let go of the anger, shame and insecurities. Through this relationship we can stop having premarital sex or affairs. We can focus on ourselves and what we need to change instead of focusing on everyone else. It is what supplies us with faith, hope, compassion and love. 

 Later in Chapter 16 I will get deeper into defining the meaning of Spiritual Spackle, both what it means and how it works to overcome addictions and heartaches (life consuming issues). Spiritual Spackle has it’s own chapter because it is that important to overcoming our hurts, addictions and other things that keep us separated from God. And yes, I do believe that we can separate ourselves from God, he never leaves us but we can have actions that remove us from Him. 

This is not a book that will tell you that once you are saved, you are always saved. The Bible dispels that myth numerous times, such as in Matthew 16:27 where it says, “For the Son of Man is going to come in His Father's glory with His angels, and then He will reward each person according to what he has done." and 2 Timothy 2:12 states, “if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us.” and finally in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” If you want fluff, you will be better off reading a romance novel. 
I believe that God loves us, and because He loves us he wants us to put Him first in ALL that we do. Not some of what we do, but in every aspect of our lives. Matthew 22:37, Luke 10:27 and Mark 12:30 say that the most important commandment is to love God with all of our heart, mind, strength and soul. God comes first and foremost in our lives. 

In this beginning part I want to explain why this book was written and what makes up the 20 plus chapters that it contains in brief. It contains an autobiography of my life: from growing up a Jehovah’s Witness in what I considered to be a normal family, to becoming an abused child who liked to fight and enjoyed pain, transitioning into a drug addicted agnostic convict and from there to a realization that I was a child of God that was promised eternal live if I accepted Christ, made changes and lived my life right. 

My life story is juxtaposed with how Christ and the Holy Spirit have worked in my life and the changes that God has wrought through out my life to allow me to no longer look at myself as an addict or a convict. It also contains the theories, both Spirit given and Biblically founded, that were the biggest factors in my life changing. With the help of God leading me I came to realize that I wasn’t born to be a good example of how NOT to live one’s life. 

Mercy Me, in their song entitled Beautiful, say “You’re Beautiful, you were made for so much more than all of this. You’re beautiful, you are treasured, you are sacred you are His, you’re beautiful.” That is how I see my life in its’ entirety. In my child hood and early adulthood, I was made for so much more than what I had become. In my walk with Christ I have came to realize that my life was bought and is no longer mine, that I was created in the image of Christ and that makes me a beautiful child in God’s eyes.

 I have heard this quote several times attributed to Ethel Waters, “God don’t make no junk,” and I agree with her. We were created to be perfect and we chose not to be. Even though we are not perfect we are still not trash to be thrown out. That said, both the things that happen to us and how we live our lives could make us feel as if we are junk if we allow them to. I allowed my past to control my present and to insure that I did not have any hope for a future. I was known to brag that if there was a hell, that is where I was going. 

Now that I am positively living my life by putting Christ first I want to share how that transformation was made possible, how what I thought was impossible became a viable option. In fact, living life well and enjoying it became the only option that I could see once my blinders were removed. It was not easy at first, but then I would tell you that there is rarely anything in life that does come easy. Ultimately, it was a lot easier than I tried to make it. 

I tried to make living my life better a much more difficult task than it really was. I tried to take control of my life to enact the changes I felt needed to be made, and I wound up making my life a complete sham. If nothing else, I made my life worse. I lied to all of those who were close to me, I was afraid to tell people who I truly was out of fear that they would reject me, that they would not like me for me. What I found out was quite the opposite. My true friends respected me more for being honest and open with them. In the end, my being honest with people, accepting that God had a purpose for my life and the realization that it was not for me to know what it was but to stop asking questions and start making changes that began with the addition of one primary rule in my life that the miracle happened. 

I will get into that one primary rule that really helped me begin living my life as a Christian in Chapter 15. It is so simple but yet we can make it very difficult. I have had to learn to swallow my pride, which was much larger than I had ever realized. I took pride in my criminality, in my drug usage, in being violent, in being a drug dealer, in sleeping around, in being classified as having an antisocial personality disorder and in having multiple mental health diagnosis. I was proud of my deficiencies because it was all that I thought I had. 

I hit rock bottom several times. Several of my rock bottoms were cavernous, what some would see as Grand Canyons. I would always come back up somehow, and then find ways to make my previous rock bottom look like a shallow hole. I could not, by using only my self and the prescribed generic Higher Power of my understanding that I was equipped with as an agnostic, keep myself out of trouble. In fact I am certain that it kept me in trouble. 

I was still miserable; I could not really stand myself. I had to figure out somehow that my life was worth something, that all of the horrific things that had either happened to me or that I had done to others had a purpose. The writing of this book, how I live my life now and my goal to travel and speak both motivationally and inspirationally  at conferences/churches/recovery centers/halfway houses/homeless shelters/schools/colleges are a major part of that purpose. 

If I can share with others how I went from me being considered both by others and by myself the dregs of society to a life that others are inspired by where I am guaranteed salvation, where I am no longer owned by addiction than I have lived a great life. If sharing that brings one Christian into a closer relationship with Christ, or gives one addict the courage to accept Christ into their life, or gives one convict a glimmer of hope that their life can change for the better than that is one of my purposes for life………..and the sole purpose for writing this book.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Scriptures of Recovery - Romans 3:23

I can remember sitting in church the very first Sunday that I went. I had been invited by friends because I was hopeless and stuck in a major depressive episode. I had not been to a Sunday service in 20 years. I had stopped going to church the first week of my 5th grade year. I am exact on that, because that is the week that my mother left my father and we went to live with my paternal grandfather. He was my abuser for the next 1 1/2 years. That is when I had decided that there could not be a God. Don't get me wrong, I had tried church several times in high school. I felt out of place in church and from my sophomore year on I had not been to church other than weddings and funerals.

As the service started, I was already feeling a little more open to what was about to be said. One of the songs before the service was Third Day's "Cry Out to Jesus," which you can read about here: It opened me up to listen. So there I am, sitting in church actually listening as the pastor, Cal Swenson, gave his sermon. 

I remember sitting next to my friends Nate and Becca thinking that I did not belong in church. Truth be told, I probably did not feel that I deserved friends that were as caring and kind as Nate and Becca. I was looking at them and the people sat around me, all the while feeling that I we all had nothing in common. What could they possibly have in common with me? 

Then Cal read Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." 

I suddenly looked at every one around me, and I felt that maybe I fit in. I was not the only one in there who had sinned. But, and there is that word but, as I looked around I still felt that my sins were far more and far greater than every one else in there. I was so full of self-loathing that I felt my sins completely outweighed every one else's. 

I did not believe in God at this time, but I can remember thinking that even if God was real, my sins were bigger than his forgiveness. I guess that it is really easy to make God insignificant if you have no faith in Him. That does not make Him so, but perception is reality (at least your perception is your reality). Amazing how Paul helped me see that all can be forgiven. His conversion from Saul of Tarsus to Paul and what he was employed to do when he was Saul helped me realize the extent of God's forgiveness, but that is for another blog!

So all sin, not just me but everyone that sits in church. I mean from the pastor to the deacon to the greeter at the door.  Mother Teresa, Ghandi, the Pope, all of the disciples, everyone! I had somewhere forgotten that no one is perfect, not even the people in church. Romans 3:10 expresses this best when it says, "There is no one righteous, not even one."

Sometimes I wish that the people in church would remember that and stop looking down on others and instead love them enough to get them inside of the church. That gives the Holy Spirit the chance to work on them. I believe that we should hold each other accountable, but acceptance in a genuine and nonjudgemental fashion is what will get people to stay so that the Spirit can begin to work on them and recreate them. This is a soapbox of mine, and I will step off of it now and get back to Romans.

So we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. This is a relief, because as a sinner it should make it hard to look down on other sinners. I know that this does not really happen, but it should. As I looked around the church that day, even though I knew that my sin's were more extreme and more frequent, I felt a little more like I could come back. I felt like maybe I at least had one thing in common with everyone in church at New Life. We were all imperfect, and we all fell short of the glory of God. 

Since we all fall short of the glory of God, which I would define as how God intended us to be. We were made to be holy, righteous, and eternal. We have all fallen short thanks to Adam and Eve. That said, it is time that we begin to accept responsibility for out actions. How do we do that? 

Romans 3:24-25 says that we are, "justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood." So Christ was sent to redeem us from our past sins, so that we could be justified. Justified is another way of saying declared righteous. So thanks to God's grace, we are now able to be declared righteous based solely upon what Jesus did for us. 

When Jesus walked the Via Dolorosa on the way to Golgotha, He knew what He was doing. The blood that He shed, from the whipping post to His crucifixion, was all done so that we could be forgiven. We sinned against God, and out of His mercy, love and grace He sent His Son as an atonement. What we could have never done on our own, God out of His love did for us.  

Just so that you do not get caught up like I once did in my sins and never being able to find forgiveness, Romans 3:28 says that, "we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law." That means that we are not justified, or declared righteous by our obedience to the law. Instead, we are declared righteous by having faith that Christ died so that we could live eternally. 

Finally, this is not a ticket to sin. 1 John 2:3-6 states, "We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." 

So in summation, everyone sins and no one is perfect. Jesus was sent as a sacrifice so that we could be forgiven of our sins by God. We are redeemed of our sins not by our acts, but by our faith. Yet, this does not mean that we are free to sin. If we put our faith in the redemption of Christ, our lives will be directed by the Holy Spirit that resides inside of us and we will begin to live lives that are more and more Christ-like. Ergo, we will live life more righteously and sin less!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Scriptures of Recovery - Beginning of a New Blog

Welcome to scriptures of recovery. This is where I will look at the scriptures that were instrumental in my  overcoming my addiction through the help of the  Holy Spirit, kept me in church long enough for the Holy Spirit to work on me, allowed me to forgive myself or blessed me with a stronger relationship with God. I will not lie, I do not believe that Christianity is a religion. Not to quote a T-Shirt, but religion is one's search for a Higher Power, or man trying to work their way to God. Christianity is God coming to us through a relationship with Christ.

I have heard people say that they found Jesus, and I have heard others say that you cannot find Jesus. I would actually agree with the latter. I never found Jesus. He wasn't lost, I was! He came to were I was and gave me the power to overcome my past life and begin a new one. It was not religion that got me through my addiction. It was the Holy Spirit and Jesus coming to where I was at. Religion did not save me, Christ did! 

How do I know that God exists? All I have to do is examine my life before and after. If I were on a diet, I could look at the before and after pictures and tell whether or not it was successful. If there were things that I did other than exercise or eating better, such as methamphetamine or some other artificial way I would know because I would be ingesting it. I could also step on the scale, or I could use a tape measure to see how much my waist had shrunk. I could also tell if it was successful by how my clothes fit. These would all be valid ways for me to tell if it was working. So, how can we tell if the changes wrought in us are imagination or reality? How can we tell if it is worldly means or supernatural means that cause us to change?

So, why do I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. How do I know that it worked:

1. I stopped taking my prescribed medications, stopped seeing counselors/psychiatrists, stopped going to secular 12 step meetings and stopped following secular methods of recovery. I turned to the spiritual and scriptural realms instead. I used prayer, meditation, reading and Celebrate Recovery. So it was not worldly means. I would know if I was ingesting some worldly intervention, and I was no longer doing that. I had given up hope of being successful by secular means.

2. The before and after picture of my life is night and day. I am not who I once was, and that has been said to me repeatedly by people who knew me before and after (think of the diet and everyone asking what you are doing to lose weight). I am now trusted to watch children, and to have keys to businesses that people own. I am asked for advice and taken into confidence, not called up to come and fight someone's battles. When clients cuss in front of me in groups, they do not apologize to the group. Instead, they apologize to me.

3. When I look at the people in my life, which I feel is a good measuring stick, I see major difference. I see people who put their kids and other's first. I see people that I can trust to watch my son, and not worry about him coming home and repeating the "F" bomb. There are no longer people who might get drunk or high around me or my son, not would their house get raided while I was there. Finally, I can turn my back and not worry about getting shot or robbed. So the tape measure definitely shows change.

4. I have tried to go to the places that I used to hang out at (think old clothes), but they just do not fit me anymore. I do not want to be around drunks, I cannot stand the smell of cigarettes and I feel out of place. I no longer fit into the old role. I am not the angry guy that fights at the drop of a hat. I am instead the peacemaker and the one in the advisor role.

So, those are just several of the ways that I can tell that something is different in my life. That something is me, not only my life but also the people in my life. Some of the people have stayed the same, but I do not let my circle of friends get stagnant. I tell people that you always need to have people in your life who are like how you want to be, not like how you are. If I want to get better at anything, I do that by playing against people who are better than I am. If I want to live a better life, I do that by having people in my life who are living better than I am. Due to this, I am always adding new friends.

So, part of my relationship with God has came through my reading of scripture and what those scriptures have meant to me. Scriptures of recovery will contain scriptures that helped give me hope and/or faith. A reading that revealed to me God's ability to forgive or showed me His mercy. I would often feel unworthy of God's forgiveness, or truly helpless/powerless, or unable to fit in at church and out of place due to my past. Sometimes I would simply come up with excuses because I was afraid of opening myself up just to be rejected or let down. The scriptures that helped me overcome all of this and build a relationship with God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will be listed. Why they helped and what they made me realize will also be included.

I hope that the little bit of insight that I have into these particular verses will be able to help you the reader either come into relationship with Christ, overcome your addictions/hurts/excuses or build a stronger relationship. Thanks for reading, and the next Scriptures of Recovery will actually contain a scripture!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Songs of Recovery - Cry Out to Jesus by Third Day

I am 4 months removed from burying my father after he committed suicide. I have recently broken up with the mother of my 1 year old son, and she has not let me see him for several weeks. I am agnostic. I am broken. I am a functioning alcoholic who is working one full-time and one part-time job, I smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, I cannot complete a sentence without using the "F" word  and I am getting into fights semi-weekly. I still think convict and junkie every time that I look into a mirror, even though I have not done drugs other than alcohol for several years. No matter what I do, how many degrees I have, I still see myself as worthless and the only thing that really matters to me, my son, I am not able to see.

That is where I was a little over three years ago. Thankfully, I had several people that I knew reach out to me. One of them was Nate, who I worked with and the other was his wife Becca. They were 2 of the only Christians that I had ever met that did not judge me and that appeared to be genuine. They walked the walk instead of just talking it. They saw me, shattered and hopeless, and invited me to church. I would have said no, but they suckered me in with the BBQ that was after the service. If you saw me you would understand. I do not say no to food. In fact, I love food. BBQ just so happens to be near the top of the list when it comes to my favorite things to eat. That is probably the reason that I am currently on a diet. 18 pounds down, 37 pounds to go!

I remember several things about that day that made me feel welcome at their church, which is New Life Church. I have talked about the ink wall, which is the wall when you first walk into the church that has pictures of tattoos that people who attend New Life have, along with the meaning of the tattoo and where they got it done. Today, I will talk about the first song that they played in service and how it made me feel as I read the words of the screen that morning.

The song was a perfect song for my first experience with the church. It was Cry Out to Jesus by the band Third Day. It starts off:
                      To everyone who's lost someone they love
                      Long before it was their time
                      You feel like the days you had were not enough
                      when you said goodbye.

As I heard the band sing these words, tears formed in my eyes. All I could think about was my father, and how I did not get to really say goodbye. I thought about the last words that I ever said to him, face-to-face and how I could never take it back. I thought about all of the times that we talked and I took it for granted! I thought about the fact that my son would never be able to meet his grandfather, my father, the man that I call Superman (I blog about him here:
Then came the second stanza:
                                      And to all of the people with burdens and pains
                                      Keeping you back from your life
                                      You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
                                      Who can make it right.

The tears began to roll, as I thought of how miserable I was. I had tried substance abuse rehabilitation, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, Narcotic's Anonymous and Alcoholic's Anonymous but there was something that was missing. The only thing that I had found to work was alcohol, sex and violence. It took my mind off of my current and past problems and made it right for a while. But even that was only temporary, and I knew in my heart that nothing could change me, nothing could make it right. Then came the chorus:

                                There is hope for the helpless
                                Rest for the weary
                                Love for the broken heart
                                There is grace and forgiveness
                                Mercy and healing
                                He'll meet you wherever you are
                                Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

I continued to cry, I can remember this. I was the helpless, the weary, the broken hearted. This song could have been written about me. What could they possibly mean that there was hope, rest, love and mercy. I could not forgive myself, so how could anyone else forgive me. They did not realize who I was, that I was an addict, that I was evil and mean and hateful and arrogant and every other negative thing that I could possibly think of. There would never be love for me, because I could not even love myself. I was an addict, a junkie, the worst of the worst. Even though I was not using any more I was still a drunk, and I knew who I really was! Several stanzas later, God spoke to me again through music as I heard the entire congregation sing:
                For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
             You try to give up but you come back again
                Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
                  And your suffering
                 When your lonely
              And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
            You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
                Cry to Jesus
Wow, even me?!?! Even the addict was being talked about. My life was being mentioned. I had kept trying to change, but no matter what I did I was always still me. No matter how much I tried to change, what I took, where I moved, who I associated with I was still me. I was still miserable, I was worthless. Since when were addicts talked about inside of church, other than when the pastor said, "Don't be like these people!" I was lonely, I was suffering, and the whole world was crashing down on me. I was pretty sure that there was no help for me, but I had several friends that were in church that day with me, they had a program of recovery I had never tried called Celebrate Recovery, and the band actually rocked!

Maybe there was something different about church than what I was used to. Maybe they were not all judgemental and holier than thou.  Maybe I would give this place called New Life Church a chance. I still did not believe in God, but I felt a little better for the first time in a while. I felt accepted, I felt a little less stress, I felt a little more at ease than when I had walked in and I liked it. Yep, I decided, I will give this a chance and see what happens! Here I sit 3 years later, and the journey was definitely worth it. This is one of the songs that was truly instrumental in my still being alive today, in my being blessed with a life worth living. I went from hope-less to hope-filled. I took the road less traveled, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Songs of Recovery - How the Devil Used Music to Control Me

There is something about music that really affects us. It has the ability to impact our lives, it can make life seem more worth living. Even Friedrich Nietzsche had to admit that. He said that, "Without music, life would be a mistake." Music is a great escape. It can save us from our feelings, or it can intensify them. Maya Angelou said, "Music was my refuge.  I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness." 

Music has always affected me in immeasurable ways. Like food is for our physical body, I believe that music is food for our soul. It will nourish us, sustain us, we are what we eat. Junk food is seen through our physical bodies when we have too much of it. That said, if we listen to junk music it can be seen in our actions and how we live our lives. Just like food, music has a manifestation.

I can remember listening to mostly gangster rap and heavy metal when I was in my addiction. I was angry, so I listened to angry music. I was violent, and I listened to music about violence. I was an addict and a drunk, so I listened to music about drug dealing and partying. I reveled in my sin, so I listened to songs about debauchery. I had extreme road rage, and have punched people at red lights and stop signs for cutting me off in traffic. The music encouraged my rage, and discouraged restraint.

Don't get me wrong, I take responsibility for my actions. That said, the music helped. Kind of like smoking cigarettes and cancer. You may not want to get cancer, yet you smoke. You are still responsible for the choice that you made, but the cigarettes led to lung cancer having a higher probability of occurance in you. Music is the same way. I probably would have continued making negative choices in my life without the music, but the music increased the probability of my making the choices that I did.

Even after the addiction, I still kept the music. And I wondered why I stayed angry. I wondered why I still felt such a strong pull to always do the wrong thing, to make the worst possible choice in any given scenario. I feel that music is just another way that the Devil can control us. I heard songs about drugs, money, threesomes and other sins. I sang these songs, and I liked them. Tell me that is not reinforcing the behaviors.

Why would you go to church and hear about Jesus dying to forgive us of our sins, then sing songs that praise the sins that Jesus died to forgive us of when we are not in church. I thank Jesus in church for dying to forgive the very same sins that I praise by singing about outside of church? That is nonsensical at best, and pure sin at its' worst. I believe that it sends mixed messages to those who know that we are Christian, to our family members and especially to our children. This goes back to a past blog that asked if you are a stop or a go Christian that you can find here:

If we truly believe in the Bible and are trying to represent Christ, we would not sing songs that glorify sin! If you want to change your life, why would you only change one aspect of it and not change it completely? My listening and singing the songs that I did was just one more way for the Devil to control what went into my mind and came out of my mouth. It was also influencing my moods, emotions, how I appeared to those around me and how people look at Christians if I am one that they have close contact with.

 As a dad, I cannot imagine hearing my son sing the lyrics that permeated my life as an addict. Why would I want my son to hear music that is diametrically opposed to how I want him to grow up. He soaks up everything, and I know that what I listened to would have a detrimental effect on him if I still listened to I do not. I have made the switch to worship music. I no longer listen to secular music except on rare occasions. I no longer go to secular concerts, I only attend worship concerts. This is my choice, and I will get into the reasons for that in another blog. 

The bottom line is, we need to change what we ingest mentally. There is an acronym, GIGO, that come to mind. It stands for garbage in garbage out. If I continue to soak my soul with music that is garbage, then that will encourage me to act in ways that garbage, metaphorically speaking. The blogs that are entitled Songs of Recovery will be blogs that discuss how different songs have positively affected my recovery and strengthened my belief in Christ and will end with a video of the song. They will also discuss how that song can be used by you to encourage and strengthen your walk with Christ, or help you build a stronger recovery.

To end this blog, I do not have a song. Instead, I have a poem from the Passion for Christ Movement, or P4CM. It discusses how the devil loses us when we give up our secular interests and begin focusing on Christ and being Christ-like. How Dynamic Living and being a Lukewarm Christian are the exact opposite. It discusses how we have to make unpopular decisions and separate ourselves from worldly things. Christ did not call us to be comfortable...........

Monday, July 25, 2011

So What if I Believe God Exists

I have been following several blogs as well as the comments that they elicit recently. I must admit that the comments and even the blogs are at times a little beyond my comprehension, but I guess that is okay. I have tried to follow them to the best of my ability. I have ordered several things to read to increase my knowledge of the various arguments. There are philosophy professors, quantum physicists and a lot of other highly educated people who are having these day long dialogues on these blogs, and I want to understand a little better. I for one wonder how they can have so much time, because I see them on multiple blogs and they post all day and night. Some of the comments are questions or dialogue, and that is informative and interesting to read. Other comments are malicious, and that I have never understood.

For example, I am a Chicago Cubs fan. I am occasionally on Cubs blogs and Cubs sites. I want to stay informed about the team that I follow. I am often astounded at the number of Cardinal fans who comment about how much the Cubs suck and how stupid their fans are. I see the exact thing on the blogs I have been reading recently on evolution, creationism, and the cosmological argument. Someone who believes differently comes onto one of these blogs just to slam the people who believe differently. Do not get me wrong, there are some good discussions in the comments section. But........there are also those who just want to hop on the blog and tell everyone how much smarter than them they are because they hold different views and how stupid they must be because of what they believe in. How is that helpful?

I do not need petty people to confuse me more. I get confused enough by all the talk about the four different types of causes and how they are metaphysically proven. I am lost how we get from "since things appear to come out of nothing based on the "fact" that the model used in quantum physics field cannot explain it, then they come from nothing" and how that is even a valid argument. I don't know, so it must be from nothing???

I see that there is a lot of good in using science, logic and philosophy to explain things, because there are those who need that explanation. My issue is with using the same arguments over and over again on one side, and on using the lack of knowledge argument on the other side. Just because your model cannot explain it, then it must not exist or can't have a cause? That is like saying that since I cannot explain the illusion, the magician must have made the girl appear out of thin air intact after he apparently sawed her in half. I do not know how he did it, so it must be magic or in this case ex nihilo........right? And everyone accuses everyone of using straw man arguments, or tautology, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Secondly, why is it that all I hear are people who are explaining other's research or other's experiences for why they believe how they do? If I am to truly believe a certain way and claim to be educated, than I must have first-hand knowledge or experience in order to have that belief. Is it a proven fact if I have never first hand seen the proof? If I believed everything in writing, then the National Enquirer has totally proven that God does not exist and in another issue that the Garden of Eden have been found. I did not read about it, but I saw it on the cover as I was in the line at Wal-Mart. Call me Thomas, but I need proof.

If I am a scientist, than I must have first-hand experience myself. It is called the scientific method, and it consists of knowing through your own experimentation using an open mind. Instead many people rest on the laurels of others, not even their own, to make their point. Furthermore, the open mind has been closed for so long that there are cobwebs growing. My question to all of you is simple, How do YOU know? How have you been impacted, or what experiments have you done, that give validity to your argument? Here are three Dilbert comics that comically address my point:

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more
December 24, 1997
The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

Here is my question to all of you - So because your model does not contain God then you discount him no matter the experiences of others? What are you doing to make the world a better place? What are you doing to truly help others? What time are you donating, what money, what emotion do you give to help those in need? How has being agnostic or atheist made your life any better, and why are you so sure that you are right? I will not talk about why I believe there is a God now after being agnostic for two plus decades because I have already done that at: What I will do is ask several more questions.

For starters, so what if I believe in God? How does that hurt you or anyone else? How does anyone who truly believes in Christ and tries to be Christ-like hurt anyone? Not the fundamentalists that bastardize the Word, but those who truly follow the teachings of Christ. You can come on here and attack this blog if you want, but I really only want these questions answered:

1. Instead of being self-righteous and trying to belittle those that you feel smarter and better off than, what are you doing to truly help those in need?

2. When was the last time that you heard about a group of atheists opening up houses for children to get them out of the sex slave trade, educate them, then allow them to become advocates against the trade and go back to their villages to combat it happening to others?

3. When was the last time that you heard of a bunch of agnostics gathering together to go and dig wells and teach irrigation and conservation to African tribes?

4. When have you heard of multiple groups of non-believers going into prisons and working to reform inmates and teach them better ways to live their lives upon their release?

5. How many atheist and agnostic organizations have homeless shelters and transitional homes for battered and abused women that they support by volunteering their time and money?

6. How many atheist and agnostic organizations have support teams on call 24-7 to help those in crisis/disaster situations (think tornadoes, monsoons and floods) all over the world?

7. When was the last time that you thought of someone other than yourself, your friends or your family?

8. When was the last time that you did something that made you uncomfortable financially for the good of people who you do not even know, but that needed the help?

9. How many hours each week do you spend helping those who are in need by donating your time to give them the basic needs of life: food, water, shelter, etc.? Pretty easy to write a check, so I am asking about donating your free time!

So I guess in ending this blog, all I want to say is that I am trying to read more about why people who hold other beliefs than mine believe as they do. I may even go on sites and blogs and ask questions as I read and the need arises. The truth is, no matter what, based on my own personal experiences I will never not believe in Christ. That said, I promise I will never go bash others for what they believe. If you want to be agnostic or atheist, that is your choice. Why do you have to belittle those that do not believe as you do? Yeah, pick on the evil Christians who are ignorant enough to be compassionate, genuine and empathetic. How dare they be ignorant enough to care about people other than themselves. Finally, I ask you to think of others out there who are in need.

I think that is one of the safeties of being a non-believer! You do not have to think outside of your personal circle and give to those in need on a regular basis. You might write a check out of your abundance to make yourself feel better, or to brag about later, or register for some drawing/free food, or so that others see you. The real question is when do you go without because of the tragedies that are occurring elsewhere? When do you think about the welfare of others? I guess that you do not have to worry about how you act in this life, because this life is all that there is for you.

Wow, that has to be depressing. Come to think of it, maybe I do see why you spend all that time ridiculing others. They have hope in something more, and this mundane existence is all that you will ever know. I would be hypercritical too, I guess. After all, misery loves company. If you want to have some hope, just shoot me an email or leave a comment on this blog and we can talk about why this life cannot be all that there is and how I have seen miracles occur. I was once living a miserable existence, and since Christ found me my life has been immeasurably better. Yours can be too!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Celebrate Recovery Lesson 2 - POWERLESS

Lesson 2 - POWERLESS

Principle 1: Realize I'm not God. I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.

"Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor." Matthew 5:3

Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives had become unmanageable.

"I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." (Romans 7:18)

When we accept the first recovery principle and take that first step out of our denial and into reality, we there are very few things that we really have control over. Once we admit that by ourselves we are powerless we can stop living with the following serenity robbers, the bandits that steal away our faith and hope, spelled out in the following acrostic:
P ride
O nly ifs
W orry
E scape
R esentment
L oneliness
E mptiness
S elfishness
S eparation

PRIDE – Ignorance + pride + power = a deadly mixture
Proverbs 29: 23 - "Pride ends in a fall, while humility brings honor."

List some of the ways that your pride has stopped you from asking for and getting the help you need to overcome your hurts, hang-ups, and habits.
I'm supposed to have it together. I'm the one that my friends and family come to when they need encouragement and advice.  I am a counselor, I should not have any problems. I have this under control, I can do this my way. My way is the last addiction, holding onto the locus of control. Pride forgets God, or feels our plans for our lives are better. Want to make God laugh, tell him your  plans for your future.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9)
ONLY IFS - keep us trapped in a fantasyland of rationalization
Luke 12: 2, 3 - "Whatever is covered up will be uncovered, and every secret will be made known. So then, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in broad daylight."

What in your past has caused you to have the "if onlys"?  Ex.:"If only" I had stopped ______years ago.  "If only" ______________ hadn't left me.
If only I wasn’t a felon, if only I wasn’t an addict, if only I had a job, if only I, if only I, If I only had a brain! In this program we start testimonies with I am a grateful believer in JC who struggles with __________. I do not struggle with ______, instead I have been blessed with many trials and tribulations that have strengthened me and my relationship with my higher power.
WORRYING – a from of not trusting god enough
Matthew 6:34 - "Don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time."
What is worry? It is defined as, "to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret. To torment with cares, anxieties, etc.

Instead of worrying about things that we cannot control, we need to focus on what God can do in our lives.  What are you worrying about?  Why?
If I worry, that simply means that I am not trusting God enough. If I truly believe in God, than I know one thing - God's got this! If you have trouble, try this short little prayer:
So, Lord - I give these worries to you.  Lord forgive me for worrying - I know your word says to not be anxious for anything - Lord help me to trust you more!
ESCAPE –a world of fantasy and unrealistic expectations of us and others
Ephesians 5: 13, 14 - "For the light is capable of showing up everything for what it really is. It is possible for the light to turn the thing it shines upon into light also."
In what ways have you tried to escape your past pain?  Be specific.
I have tried to dull the pain with excess foods, drugs, alcohol, relationships, shopping, violence and sex. I have learned to recognize the pain now for what it is and am able to work through it with the Lord's help.  It's a vicious cycle - life's stress and regrets can make me feel hopeless and then I use, and that makes me feel even more hopeless so I use again - You can only imagine how glad to be off of that merry-go-round I am. I'm no longer hiding from these things and have searched myself and realized that my not trusting the Lord is sin, and that the act of addiction is sin, and not exercising and treating my body as God's temple is sin - so I've repented from these things - I still fail, but I'm recognizing it quicker and getting back on track.

RESENTMENTS – an emotional cancer if allowed to fester and grow
Ephesians 4: 26-27 - "In your anger do not sin ... do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold."
How has holding on to your anger and your resentments affect you?
It's made me sick.  Holding onto these things and stuffing down the feelings with addiction, has kept me from growing up and growing in the Lord. This has been a process of uncovering things I was holding on to and had to really internalize that if God loved me so much, enough to send his son to die for me - and has forgiven me - then I needed to let go and "accept" his forgiveness and trust in his forgiveness.
LONELINESS – In recovery and in Christ, we never have to walk alone
Hebrews 13: 1, 2 - "Continue to love each other with true brotherly love. Don't forget to be kind to strangers, fos some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it."
Do you believe that loneliness is a choice?  Why or why not?  How has your denial isolated you from your important relationships?
Yes, loneliness isdefinitely a choice. It may be subconscious at times, but it is a choice.  I can remember feeling so lonely in my house of five.  I became so self centered that I could not think about anyone else, but myself.  Again, this has a been a process to overcome the detachment, isolation and self-centeredness - I still battle the negative thinking that no-one wants me around and such - but I've learned to tell myself otherwise - learning scripture has helped keep me grounded. Learning who I am in Christ and then realizing that others are thinking and feeling the same way that I am- helps me to focus on them and share God's love with them - and realize that even if no one is around, the Lord is always there.  If I can't get others focused - I can almost always get Christ focused!
John 10:10 - "My purpose is to give life in all its fullness."
Describe the emptiness you feel and some new ways you are finding to fill it?
I used to feel empty. I felt that I had no purpose, that I was nothing, no good, a junkie and a convict. When I woke up in the morning as an Agnostic, I knew that right there was probably the best that I would feel all day, maybe the rest of my life. That kind of not having anything to look forward to was depressing. I have found contentment and joy in the Bible. God's word fills me with his promises and hope for tomorrow and I've gotten a lot of joy sharing that same love and joy with others to help make their lives full!

SELFISHNESS – we often pray, our father who art in heaven, gimme gimme
Luke 17:33 - "Whoever clings to his life shall lose it, and whoever loses his life shall save it."

What does it mean to be selfish? It is defined as, "devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others. Characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself."

Selfishness is at the heart of most problems between people.  In what areas of your life have you been selfish?    
Facebook and video games began to be an issue. I would come home and pour myself into the computer, playing games and facebooking with the stress of my job as my excuse to ignore my family and play games to escape. Then I realized how much that was hurting my wife and my son. In the past I would see people that gave and gave of themselves and I admired it, but I had never really seen that in my own life. I had never even considered doing that in my own life. I had never jumped wholely into anything.  I have began to give of myself instead of only taking. I still need to give more of myself at work, more of myself to my son, more of myself to my fiancé, and more of myself to Christ. But I have started, and that is better than it was!  

SEPARATION – some talk of finding God, as if he could ever get lost
Romans 8: 38, 39 - "For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from His love. Death can't and life can't. The angels won't and all the powers of hell itslef cannot keep God's love away ... Nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when He died for us."

Separation from God can feel very real but it is never permanent.  What can you do to get closer to God?
I know all it takes is for one or two mornings to wake up a little late and then boom - I'm off on my own again. I need to remember to start my day with God, and that if He is needed He is never more than a knee away when I pray. I make my days wrong, I have the first thought wrong syndrome. With Christ guiding me I now have first thought right!  

FOUR ACTIONS from Principle 1
1.) STOP DENYING THE PAIN. You are ready to take your first step in recovery since you have identified that your pain is greater than your fear. 

Psalm 6: 2, 3 - "Pity me, O Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, for my body is sick, and I am upset and disturbed. My mind is filled with apprehension and with gloom."
2.) STOP PLAYING GOD. You are unable to do for yourself what you need God to do for you.  You are either going to serve God or yourself.  you can't serve both. 
Matthew 6: 24 - "No one can be a slave to two masters: he will hate one and love the other; he will be loyal to one and despise the other."
3.) START ADMITTING OUR POWERLESSNESS. As you work the first principle, you are  seeing that by yourself you do not have the power to change your hurts, hang-ups, and habits
Matthew 19:26 - "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
4.) START ADMITTING THAT OUR LIVES HAVE BECOME UNMANAGEABLE. You can and have admitted that some/all areas of your life are out of your control to change.
Psalm 40:12 - "Problems far too big for me to solve are piled higher than my head. Meanwhile my sins, too many to count, have all caught up with me and I am ashamed to look up."

Friday, July 15, 2011

Another Discussion with an Evolutionist pt. 2

ME: The humane genome consists of a code that is 3 billion letters long. If it were to be read one later per second it would take 93 years to read. That seems a little too complex to have evolved. You take DNA, with a phosphate-sugar backbone and complexly arranged organic bases, stacked orderly on top of each other and paired together at each rung of the twisted double makes my head explode when I hear of people believing this could happen without the guidance of a master's hand. 

Hawking says, "The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like the Big Bang are enormous. I think there are clearly religious implications. It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us."

My bottom line is this. When I was Agnostic (which I was for 25 years of my life) I said that I had trouble with God because I could not empirically prove that He did or did not exist. I used that thought to look down on others and I lived a life of debauchery and alcoholism. It was great for me, I had no hope and lived a very self-centered life. There are those who would say that I was a good friend and a good person, but I knew better then just like I know better now.

 I eventually realized that although I personally could not prove there was a God, as a supposed empiricist I could also not personally prove that evolution happened, that life sprang from nonliving matter. I could not personally do that. I prayed and I gave God a chance to prove himself to me personally.

There are many out there who would tell me that my experience with the Holy Spirit was only imagined. There are atheists and agnostics that would tell me I have lost my mind. There would be psychiatrists and psychologists who in the past would have told them that they were right, I was clinically the past. To them I have a reply. If you have ever been in the depths of addiction, you would not say that. I have been in the depths of my addiction. Everyone has a different rock bottom, here is mine:

1. I have shot up ice water, because the batch of meth was not ready or I was waiting on the person to get back from filling their morphine prescription.
2. I have woken up at 4 AM in a urine soaked mattress to get up and drink a couple of shots to put me back to sleep and stop the shakes.
3. I started smoking cigarettes in 6th grade and had never been able to quit.
4. I had been to county jail often enough that I would stay in for several weeks to catch up on sleep when I had the cash in my wallet to bond out.
5. I had slept with enough women that I was in the mid-triple digits. I would go to parties and sleep with 2 or 3 girls when I was a drug dealer.
6. I was drunk 30 minutes after I got out of prison, and spun out on methamphetamine that night.
7. I dealt drugs and was involved with the manufacturing of methamphetamine for over a decade.
8. I had been to rehab, but the longest stretch of sobriety I had since I was in the 7th grade was 3 months.
9. I had been diagnosed with Bi-Polar, borderline personality, antisocial personality, masochistic, generalized anxiety and major depressive disorders.
10. I used the "F" word and cussed every other word even when I was happy and in normal conversation.
11. I have been found passed out in my own blood after slashing my wrists and rushed to the ER.
12. I have totalled 5 cars drinking and driving yet continued to drink and drive every night.
13. I have overdosed on several occasions and yet used within 24 hours every time.

I had tried counselors, psychiatrists, drug rehabs, interventions and Narcotics/Alcoholics Anonymous, with no success. I had worked the 12 steps, but it was never quite enough. I had used my intellect in attempting to overcome my addiction and failed repeatedly. I have killed a lot of brain cells through my addiction, but I have had 2 psychiatrists and a psychologist score my IQ between 129-135 at different times in my life. I am by no means ignorant. I came to Him in prayer, and He gave me a second chance. That was all that I needed to do, truly turn my will and my life over to God. I had tried using a random higher power, such as the community in 12 step groups, and it was not effective. God was!
Since the night I prayed to God and asked Him to take all of this from me, I have had a complete life change. I have not used drugs or drank, I have not smoked a cigarette, I have not had premarital sex, I have not been to jail and I am on no medication for any mental illnesses. I have not cussed since I do not know when. If all of that is not proof of God, than I ask you what is?

Now I tithe 10% to my church (which supports the digging of wells for water in Africa, Convoy of Hope, and giving school supplies to children who do not have them locally) and give more money on top of that to other charities. I volunteer between 5-10 hours a week to work with helping others through various charities and resources. I now give back to others, and I am teaching my son to think of more than just himself. When I volunteered to do psychological first aid and trauma counseling in Joplin, I was Convoy of Hope and multiple churches there helping those in need. It reaffirmed my belief in Christians and the good that we do.

I have no idea what you do to improve the world around you, and I hope that it is a lot because you seem to be very bright and should therefore be able to think globally and altruistically. I hope that you give 10 % of your income to others because it is the right thing to do. In fact, I hope that you give 15%. I hope that you volunteer several hundred hours a year to help those less fortunate than you. I know that what I do for a living changes lives, gives children back their parents and parents back their children. What I do in my spare time (while raising a family of my own and caring for their needs while working a full time job) feeds the hungry and helps people heal from their addictions and past hurts. I know that my son benefits as much as my wife. I love my wife and treat her with respect and I teach my son to help those less fortunate, to give of himself and not be judgmental of others.

If that is done out of ignorance, than I would rather be ignorant, filled with hope and able to give others hope while making the world a better place than trying to educate people with other people's research while having done none of my own. I know that God exists, I see Him in the beauty around me, in my changed life and in the lives of those around me. I see evil too, as well as those who would try to usurp other's work and claim wisdom from it. You can use intelligence to read other's research, I use wisdom to live my life. My life screams that God exists based on my experiences.

The scientific method is done by asking a question, gathering information, forming a hypothesis, then performing an experiment that tests your hypothesis. From that test you then interpret the data and draw conclusions that help you to form a new hypothesis. You then publish that research. I could not tell you how many people I have seen that have been to 10, 15 rehabs for addiction using psychiatrists and the most advanced techniques available return to addiction over and over again. I should know, I was one of them. I tried the established methods as an agnostic and my results were the same. I and so many others that I have worked with quit for good after they found Christ! That is the evidence that I base my theory on, and it has been tested with several hundred participants and each one only makes my faith stronger.
I am in the middle of writing the book that will allow me to share with others the final hypothesis I have come to after 10 years of research. It is based on the observations I have had while testing my theory with hundreds of test subjects. I started out biased against God and came to believe in Him through my studies and experimentation. I would love to read your article when it gets published. I am certain that it will give validation to your theory, based on your data interpretation after you tested your theory with an unbiased mind. You definitely write well enough to hold my interest. Let me know when it comes out and I will read it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another Discussion with an Evolutionist pt. 1

ME: Had a discussion with an atheist on youtube, and this is how it went:http://spiritualspackle.blogsp​​erious.html

HE: First, I'd like to see the video where this conversation happened. Second, and I don't mean to say this harshly, but you are clearly uneducated about how science works (and that extends to evolutionary theory).

It was not in a video, it was comments to a video. I have never live debated evolution versus creation. I have discussions, but my forte is motivational and inspirational speech. The kind that let's drug addicts and criminals step into new ways of life through the power of the Holy Spirit. I know that power, and how a life of addiction and crime can be instantly reversed through faith. 

HE: 1) Chance is a part of evolution, but only in the form of mutations. You ignore natural selection, which is the exact opposite of chance. Mutations change genes and create variety. These changes are fed into the mechanism of natural selection, and those that are successful (or even neutral) get passed on, whereas those that are detrimental are weeded out and removed.

2) With an understanding of evolutionary processes I think it's easy to see how a small, simple brain can evolve into a larger, more complex one. I think you're trying to make some irreducible complexity argument, but ignoring the known and understood evolutionary history of life on earth. There's a reason why we use mice to study the human brain. It's because we share a common ancestor and most of the working parts are the same (albeit on a different scale). It's why biologists, anthropologists, and primatologists study apes and monkeys to learn about their behavior and social interactions to help figure out what makes us tick. 
‎3) The watch argument fails on several levels. First, the watch is not living. That's all there is to it. You cannot try to apply biological processes to inanimate objects. Second, it fails a reduction test. If a complex watch required an intelligence to make, then whatever made the watch must also be complex. So, what made the maker of the watch?

ME: ‎1) Natural selection is tautology at its finest. Some dwindle and die out while others multiply because some multiply while others dwindle and die out. When have we ever been able to breed and form a whole new species, though? And that would be on purpose, yet you believe that natural selection could do that? There is a limit due to the DNA barrier that insures only so much change can occur. How did natural selection create life out of non-living material? When have we ever created or observed living matter from nonliving matter? When have we ever seen offspring from the animal kingdom create new species? Changes within species happen all of the time, that is observable. 
2) Since when is there a known and understood evolutionary process? It has never been observed. I fall back to my last answer. Since when has a rabbit been observed to become a mountain lion? A rose turning another color or a variation in brain sizes is simply that, a variation in the species. Evolutionary theory, on the other hand, teaches that those changes will cross from one species to another and produce new and different species. Since it has never been observed, an evolutionist must rest on his belief that it is true.

3) In the watchmaker analogy, you say that a reduction test states that it takes something complex in order to make something complex, yet you believe in evolution? Where is the reduction test for an atheist when it comes to the universe, let alone mankind? Or is neither man or the universe complex? If they are complex and based on your reduction test they had to have a creator, who was that creator of the universe and of man?

HE: In most cases, speciation over time can be represented by a gradient. I hate using analogies, but here goes: If you look at a rainbow, where does red stop and yellow begin? By your argument, you would say there is only red and only yellow...there is no orange, and that is nonsensical. Orange clearly exists, we can see it with our eyes. We can see these gradients not only in the fossil record, but with living organisms. We can measure these gradients through measurements, statistics, and DNA. Your fixation and insistence that new species suddenly appear shows your limited knowledge and/or understanding. Bluntly, you're doing yourself (and your readers) a disservice by making an argument against a topic you don't have a solid grasp on. That, and your toolkit of arguments are old-hat and have been debunked and explained-away by many people who are a lot more eloquent than I, and I recommend you do some Googling. Generally speaking, your arguments will work on people who are less-educated than you, but will be found as straw-men to anyone who has greater understanding. If you find people getting angry or frustrated with you, it's probably because you are re-hashing these old anti-evolution arguments. Some just handle it better than others. I personally love educating people and would be happy to provide you with some book recommendations and other reading if you would like.
And somewhat of a thought exercise, how would you explain ring species?​ki/Ring_species an example:​olution/library/05/2/l_052​_05.html

ME: The amazing thing is that if you look at the strata you will find that species suddenly exist. Why has the coelacanth, once thought to been a missing link for fish becoming amphibians that lived 380 million years ago based on fossil records, now been found still living off the coast of Indonesia. Why has it not evolved in 380 million years! Or is 380 million years not gradual enough for change. We have never truly evolved. At our simplest, we are still made up of DNA, which is both sophisticated and complex. How did that evolve?
Secondly, microevolution does occur, but what we need to see is macroevolution for evolution to have occurred. If we all came from one set of parents, then how are we all so different? That is microevolution, or adaptation. Macroevolution is one cell evolving to man over time. That is not based on the scientific method at all. Scientific method involves:

Define a question
Gather information and resources (observe)
Form an explanatory hypothesis
Perform an experiment and collect data, testing the hypothesis
Analyze the data
Interpret the data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis
Publish results
Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

Since evolution has yet to be duplicated no matter how hard evolutionists have tried, there is no true scientific method at use. It is based on untestable science. Do evolutionists come to their conclusions with an open mind? No, so instead they make proclamations based on faith and belief!

ME: That is a great argument for adaptation, not evolution. Is it still E. coli? 50,000 generations in and it has yet to become a completely different organism. I said that micro does occur, this is an experiment that proves that. Where is macro change in this experiment?
‎"However, although this mutation increased fitness under these conditions, it also increased the bacteria's sensitivity to osmotic stress and decreased their ability to survive long periods in stationary phase cultures, so the phenotype of this adaptation depends on the environment of the cells."

So we can cause change in a controlled, scientific environment.....survival of the fittest is not shown here. The bacteria has become more sensitive to stress as well as developed a decreased ability to survive! Thanks for backing my point up.

HE: Coelocanths were once a wide-spread and highly-varied group of fish. The group Coelocanth is a taxonomic Order (Order->Family->Genus->Spe​cies) Last I heard, there have been three different Coelocanth species discovered in the past century.
"adaptation" is evolution :/
Check this out, a pretty big list of observed speciation: http://www.scienceforums.n​et/topic/13511-observed-sp​eciation/

ME: Adaptation is microevolution. Adaptation is not change from one species to another. If corn adapts to where it lives, does that make it no longer corn? Of course not. It is genetic variety, or genetic drift. How about a dog, when it breeds over and over again to create different breeds, does it change species? A hound and a labrador and a beagle are still dogs.

HE: Drosophila paulistorum and Brassica (​ki/Brassica) are the classical examples of observed speciation, as are ring species.
Sorry about link bombs, haha. Here's another:​iki/Observed_speciation

"The biblical creation/Fall/Flood/migrat​ion model would also predict rapid formation of new varieties and even species. This is because all the modern varieties of land vertebrates must have descended from comparatively few animals that disembarked from the ark only around 4,500 years ago. In contrast, Darwin thought that this process would normally take eons. It turns out that the very evidence claimed by evolutionists to support their theory supports the biblical model.

Biologists have identified several instances of rapid adaptation, including guppies on Trinidad, lizards in the Bahamas, daisies on the islands of British Columbia, and house mice on Madeira.6 Another good example is a new ‘species’ of mosquito that can’t interbreed with the parent population, arising in the London Underground train system (the ‘Tube’) in only 100 years. The rapid change has ‘astonished’ evolutionists, but should delight creationists.7 Scientific American admits as much.

These days even most creationists acknowledge that microevolution has been upheld by tests in the laboratory (as in studies of cells, plants and fruit flies) and in the field (as in Grant’s studies of evolving beak shapes among Galápagos finches)

Again, do these profound changes increase information? No populations are seen losing information, and adapting within the constraints of the information they already have. In contrast, goo-to-you evolution requires something quite different—the progressive addition of massive amounts of genetic information that is novel not only to that population, but to the entire biosphere."

HE: The creationist "information" argument makes my head explode. It's just another argument built upon not understanding what evolution is. The argument is only really ever discussed between Creationists. DNA is not information, it is a molecule with chemical properties that follow the laws of chemistry and physics. If you hear a biologist use the word 'information' in reference to DNA, it is being used as an easy way to describe what's contained in it. It's not being treated as a book. Sometimes scientific terminologies are misunderstood and used improperly, and it causes conflict. Think about the colloquial use of the word 'theory' vs what scientists mean it to be.
Gene and/or chromosomal duplication kinda nullifies the ID "information" argument, as well.


As for science, other than a meager education with Chemistry and Biology that I got at MSU, you are probably correct. Unfortunately, I did not go to a top tier college. I only have 3 degrees, and none of them are terminal degrees.

I have however read the presumptions that are made in evolutionary theory, like a bird came from a reptile. Yet how did 100 million minute hooks evolve and from where? Furthermore, how can you mathematically explain our brain with 100 billion neurons. If each neuron were to be placed end to end the line would be 600 miles wide, yet they all fit inside of our head. Or the 1 quadrillion synapses (that is a 1 followed by 15 zeros) or 60,000 miles of arteries, veins and capillaries in our body.

Sorry, I just cannot leave that to chance. A watch is so much less complex than we are, but when you find one on the ground do you wonder who made it or do you wonder what it evolved from?