Archive for August, 2011

Hurricane Irene: God and Calamity

Hurricane Irene, which had downgraded to a tropical storm, came through our area (Scranton, PA area) yesterday bringing a deluge of rain and high winds.  We are a little over two hours west of New York City.   Some areas lost power and there was minor wind damage in the form of tree limbs downed.  However, at my house the lights flickered once and nothing significant happened.  We are grateful for this but join those who mourn for lost loved ones due to this storm.

When I got up this morning, the sky was crystal clear, the clearest blue I have ever seen.  It is as if God used Irene to wash the sky.  It has been a beautiful day.

Last week in chapel at Baptist Bible Seminary I spoke on “God and Calamity” in light of my church’s summer ministry doing tornado relief work in Alabama.  It is part of my gearing up to deal with the apologetics question of how a good God could allow such things as tornados that kill people.  Later that day was the earthquake on the east coast.  Now with the hurricane, my students don’t want to see me preach in chapel any more!

The content of my sermon was based on Jesus’ statements in Luke 13:1-9 which seems to push believers to consider more important matters.  The audio of my sermon “God and Calamity” is available online at  Let me know what you think.

The Christian Conversion of Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln was sometimes criticized during political elections in his career because he never joined a church.  He was accused of being an Atheist.  Apparently, he rejected to some degree his parents’ Baptist heritage.  But as he grew older and rose in the political ranks, he seemed to talk about spiritual things more.  He began attending Presbyterian churches and even had one of his children baptized.  One interesting testimony is given from one pastor who asked him if he loved Jesus.  His response was the following:

When I left Springfield I asked the people to pray for me.  I was not a Christian.  When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian.  But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.  Yes, I love Jesus.

Source:  A Patriot’s History of the United States by Larry Schweikart and Michael Allen.  Their sources for this statement are documented in note 137 on page 857.