Saturday, 13 December 2014

Hello, Mr. Kringle

At least this goes through my head whenever I hear this song.
















Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Night Before Christmas at Grocery Avenue

Traditionally I like to create something Christmas-sy this time of year to share with my friends.  This one is a re-vamped and extended version of a poem I wrote a few years ago.  Hope it makes you smile.



In case you were wondering, "Grocery Avenue" is a fictional company created by myself, both for my upcoming novel and for the group of comics I drew and have on display here:  www.groceryavenue.ca

Sunday, 31 August 2014

How To Become Smarter



I'll admit it.  I want to be surrounded by less stupid people.  Criticize my bluntness if you want, but you probably agree.

I'm not helping things by only saying that I wish there were less stupid people.  In fact, this goes without saying, since we all are "stupid people" at times.  So I've decided to put together a guide to help people become smarter.  You're welcome.

One thing smart people do is not put in any unnecessary work.  Before I began to write this I did a quick Google search to see if there were any all encompassing articles that said exactly what I wanted to say.  Although I did find a few good articles with many good points, I did not find the one that covered what I wanted to, and thus I wonder if their writers were as smart as me, or if I am actually stupid for thinking I know more than them.

Here's a couple of good helpful pages that showed up near the top of my Google search that will help you become smarter:


There's a good chance if you took a brief look at pages such as these, you go, "I already know all that!"  To this I would say, "okay then, why aren't you becoming any smarter then?"

This guide will be more about getting one's brain into the frame of mind to make smarter decisions than the actual smarter decisions themselves.  Yes, smart people read books.  But maybe this is because this is because they are already smart due to past right decisions.  How do we become smart like that?

I want you to think about your day to day routine.  Be honest.  I especially want you to evaluate what you do with your free time.  After all, this will be the easiest time to use to increase your smartness.


Sleep

How much sleep are you getting on a regular basis?  So many of life's problems boil down to this one simple question.  Are you sick a lot?  Are you constantly tired?  Did you plan to do so many awesome things, including things to get smarter, and end up not doing anything because you felt lazy and unmotivated?  Have you tried sleep?

With a well rested mind you will find yourself behaving more efficiently during the day and making better choices.  Quite often it's worth sacrificing two hours of activity for two hours of sleep.  After all, when you are honest with yourself, how often do long periods of free time go down the drain doing unproductive things because you felt too tired to accomplish something productive?

A habit I've gotten into is asking myself at the end of certain days, "do I have the physical and mental energy to complete anything productive?"  If the answer is no, the follow-up statement would be, "okay, now would be a good time to call it a day and head to bed."


Long Winded Winding Down

"I would go to bed," you say, "but I'm all wound up because of my day and I need to unwind first."
Okay, so what do you do to unwind?  Do you start watching TV and YouTube, and then after watching it say, "one more episode can't hurt."  Do you start playing video games and think, "just one more try," and repeat this phrase forty-seven times?  Sleep is important, and so often we try to ready ourselves to sleep by unwinding, and through unwinding we lose out in useful hours of sleep.

Evaluate the pattern in your life - is your unwinding period effective?  If not, may I suggest doing something differently?  Try reading a book.  Not a book that is super interesting and will keep you up turning pages.  Try reading an educational, boring book.  One that would put you to sleep just as reliably as your old university professor.

"I can't go to sleep now, I have a wife and kids and pets to take care of."

I am not in this boat and never have been, and so correct me if I'm wrong in the following.

If you have kids, don't just supervise them, be active in their lives.  Chances are if you are wanting to become smarter, you are wanting them to become smarter too, and you have many ways in which you can teach them to do so.  If your kids are doing an important activity, can you be involved in it?  You don't have to do their homework for them, but you can make it easier for them to do their homework.  You don't have to be good at a sport or video game to participate in their favourite past-time.

Don't just watch a TV show with your spouse.  Talk to them.  Ask them how their day was.  Let them ramble on about things that are probably unimportant in the long run.  In this way - simply venting - both you and your spouse can effectively unwind.

Play with your pet.  Spend your unwinding time training them.  Teach them to do useful things such as going to the bathroom in the right times and places.  After all, pets are a big reason many people lose out on sleep.  Take your dog for an evening stroll.   After all, exercise definitely helps one become smarter.  How?  Because science, that's how.


Eating Smarties Doesn't Make You Smarter

Perhaps sleeping is something you have no problem with.  Perhaps you sleep a lot.  Perhaps you sleep too much.  Perhaps you take naps to recover from the long periods of sleeping you took part in.  Perhaps you feel lazy and unmotivated to do things that will make you smarter despite the fact that you get your share of sleep.

How well do you eat?  If I were to hazard a guess, I would say there is significantly more information out there on how to eat better than how to become smarter, and so I won't spend a lot of time on this point.

You already know how well (or unwell) you eat.  You probably already know it's healthier to drink water than pop.  Because you're smart.  Sort of.  You still drink pop anyway, don't you?

I can relate.  I might not drink pop on a regular basis, but in general I don't eat as healthy as I should.  The healthy food is the time consuming, more expensive stuff.  Guess what, becoming smarter is a lot more difficult than making sure you go to bed on time.  Deal with it.  It's worth it.


Deal With It

Deal with your smoking problem.  Stop it.  You're killing brain cells.  You can't become smarter that way.

Deal with your drinking problem.  Stop it.  You're killing brain cells.  You can't become smarter that way.

Oh, did I cross some sort of line?  Are you now thinking that it's worth it to not be so smart if it means you can enjoy intoxicating your body from time to time?  Don't be stupid.  It's not worth it.  Smart people are having a better time in their lives because they aren't haunted by as much past stupid mistakes.


Surround Yourself With Smart People

Look at your friends.  Look at the people you spend a large portion of your free time around.  Without telling them your answer if it's "no," would you consider them to be smart?

"Everyone is smart in their own way."  Very good.  Give yourself a cookie.  Oh wait, you can't afford one because you already maxed out your credit card.  Smart.

Just like some people are naturally more big-boned than others, some people are naturally more mentally adept (that means smarter, for those of you who aren't mentally adept) than others, and this isn't a bad thing.  What is a bad thing is to give in to your weaknesses just because self-improvement is hard; it's okay to have a different mind or body shape than other people, but it's not okay to use this as an excuse to allow your body to fall into a less-desirable state when you have the power to change it.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses.  Surround yourselves with people who are constantly looking for ways to learn and grow.  They may not be book smart, but they should have the desire to get smarter.

In addition to this, keep in mind who you are consulting as experts to speak into your life.  Do the people you are looking to for relationship advice have track records for healthy relationships?  Are the ones you are looking to for financial advice in a good, secure spot financially themselves?

Are you listening to people's advice because they are famous or they have a strong relationship with you, or are you listening to their advice because they have proved themselves to be well-learned in this area?

Who are you listening to advice when it comes to which world view to believe?  Are they a biased person?  Using your other smarts, can you see if they are building their statements on solid facts rather than on opinion?


How To Become Wise

"Ooh boy, there's a section here that shows us how to become not only smart, but wise?"  Yep.  There's a chance you're not going to like it, but because I want to be surrounded by wise people I'm going to go ahead and spill it anyway.

Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

You can become smart by gaining knowledge and understanding in specific areas.  Wisdom is about more than gaining IQ points.  It's about gaining a mindset, a perspective through which you will be able tackle every single problem in life.  It's about understanding the basics so that even if one doesn't have the ability to understand "how" something works, they can understand the "why."

As soon as you input God into the picture, you have a reason to get smarter greater than your own goals or the goals of those around you.

When Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is in Matthew 22, he responds with "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."  Although it isn't the central theme of this statement, I have no problem using it to support that God cares about the state of our mind.  He cares about how much we know.

2 Peter 1:5 - For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge.


I love you guys.  I want you to be both smarter and wiser.  Even if you reject my God/Bible related claims, I hope that you'll heed the advice given in the earlier portion of this article.  Who knows, perhaps after you get smarter you will see the truth in my claims about God.

I'll leave you now so I can go look up the word "humble."  Smart people learn new words, and I've always wondered what this word meant.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

It’s My Birthday I Can Blog If I Want To



Actually yesterday was my birthday, but most everything that I’m going to say now I was planning on saying yesterday so that counts.  In fact, this isn’t the only way that the title of this blog is a bit off – as its very nature suggests an attitude that I will be speaking against.

Why do people celebrate birthdays?  Wait, before you answer that, let’s take a step back and ask a broader question:  why do people celebrate anniversaries?

I’m often amused when I see couples, young people especially, celebrating their two month anniversary, their once month anniversary, their two week anniversary.  I smile because the briefness of the relationship means nothing in the grand scope, as it’s likely not indicative of the potential success of their future relationship.  But it’s really not up to me to judge the significance of this anniversary.  By celebrating their anniversary, they are saying that the time they have spent together was meaningful.

It doesn’t really matter what sort of anniversary is celebrated, it is celebrated because the duration something lasts is has value to someone.  Nobody is likely going to celebrate the anniversary of the placing of the park table that I am currently sitting at, but the anniversary of a historical building, on the other hand, may be commemorated.

Why do people celebrate birthdays?  Is it not because one’s life has value to this person and the people around them?  Although one doesn’t have much of a choice of whether to live or not – it’s either that or die – we celebrate the duration of one’s life anyways because the life is important.

But do we need to celebrate birthdays in order to celebrate life?  Don’t we do enough celebrating of life as it is?  After all, in North America we celebrate each other’s lives during holidays like Christmas where we exchange gifts, Thanksgiving where we share meals, as well as smaller holidays such as Family Day which we use an excuse to get together and spend time with each other.  Do we not adequately celebrate the fact that we are living by indulging in pleasurable things on a regular basis?

The thing that sets birthdays apart from other holidays is that it’s exclusively a celebration of self.  Even though all one did to have a birthday is to do what came naturally (live), we find it necessary to reward oneself for doing so by expecting a full day that is by right, ours.

Admittedly, birthdays are a convenient day to celebrate a person’s life, especially in the context of allowing other people other than one’s self to celebrate the life.  However, in the culture that I grew up in, it seems as though we are raising our children with the mindset that one must celebrate one’s birthday, that is an intrinsic right earned by being alive.  In addition to this, people on their birthday must be subject to special treatment on their birthday.

A worthwhile thought is that the way we are to treat people on their birthday – politely, kindly, respectfully – is the same way we should treat people regardless, right?

Here’s where I introduce my Christian beliefs.  As a Christian I believe that my life belongs to God:  not my whole life minus one day.  When Jesus is asked what the greatest command is, he answers with this:
Matthew 22:37-40 – Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.’  And the second is like it:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Notice how Jesus doesn’t command people to love ourselves?  This is because the love of self is the natural state, no one has to be commanded to do it.  It is assumed when Jesus says “love your neighbour as yourself” that we already love ourselves.

There’s nothing wrong with loving life and be grateful for the one God has given us.  But the attitude portrayed when one celebrates a birthday is “this is my day, and so I should be allowed to do whatever I want to do.”  This goes against the attitude of humility that Jesus wants us to have.

With my facebook status for my friends the day before my birthday I thought I was being witty when I tried to pre-emptively halt the inevitable barrage of “Happy Birthday.”  It was an effort to re-direct the attention away from me and encouraged people to say something nice to another random friend instead.  However, after many people ignored my request to leave my facebook wall alone, and I do not look reproachfully at them.  They were only doing what Jesus commanded and loving their neighbour as themselves by way of sending me a well-meaning message.

The way someone celebrates a relationship anniversary likely involves doing something loving for that special someone.  What if we looked at birthdays in the same way?  What if we saw our lives as not just as something that is ours by right or as our achievement but as an ongoing gift from God?  How would this prompt us to celebrate it?  Whatever the celebration entailed, it would show an appreciation for God and his love for us, which often implies setting our own personal preferences and desires aside.

Yesterday when I spent my day at work and with my family, I wasn’t really fully putting aside my own preferences for the day.  I mean, sure, I would have liked to sleep in and do what I’m doing right now, spending time by myself outside in beautiful weather while doing what I love:  writing.  Yet I also wanted to spend my day in such a way that my presence would be appreciated by others.  So before you think that I’m just a religious party-pooper, recognize that the closer you get to God, the more you love him, the more likely you will actually be simultaneously be doing something that you enjoy when you spend your birthday living for God.

Friday, 20 June 2014

I Am The Colour Blue

Recently I heard an interesting customer complaint about a cashier.  The complaint wasn't that the cashier was being rude to her, per se, but that the cashier wasn't treating her as politely as the customers before and after her.

It's easy to look at this kind of attitude with disdain, yet the root of this attitude creeps so easily into our daily thoughts.  Perhaps you are like me and stop yourself from feeling a great deal of jealousy of the extremely wealthy.  After all, as we all know, life is about more than reaching financial heights.  Still, subtle dissatisfaction with our lives invade our thoughts without us being aware of it.  Here's a few examples of what I mean:
  • I wish I was taller.
  • Must be nice to be able to grow a full beard like that.
  • Of course they got far in life, look how much more motivation they have than I do!
  • You know, I would be a lot more productive if I could get away with so little sleep.
  • Why can't I have a relationship like that?
  • I bet she didn't have to go through as a child what I had to.
  • Why did he have to die?
  • Of course, it just had to rain!
  • It would have been nice to be born in a place where winter wasn't so cold.
  • He does half the work as I do and gets paid twice as much!
  • No fair that we all have to be inconvenienced because of a couple of idiots' mistake.
  • Life is too short.
  • Aging sucks.
You'll notice that many of these phrases that go through one's mind are completely logical.  To be honest with you, it was super easy for me to come up with them.  I have a birthday coming up, and it got me thinking about how far I have gotten, how far I didn't get, and how far I should go in life.  I'm in a process of re-evaluating my actions in regards to how I should behave "at my age."  What is my place in this world?

Where am I going with all of this?  Well for some strange reason I felt inspired to write a poem, and so I'll let it do the talking.  Forgive me, I am not a practiced poet:

I am the colour blue.
I am not the whole of blue,
    No,
         not even close
I am no more than a misshapen dot,
      a dribble of paint from a brush that left the canvas too late,
                or too early,
                       it doesn't matter.
I am not even a deep blue,
       a strong blue,
                a bold blue:
                   bold enough to convey
                           extinguished sorrow
                                            or sharp decisiveness
If a great blue sky covers the canvas,
        I do not know it:
               I cannot see it.
        Little matter, I'll never be a part of it,
               even though I am blue.
Were I the colour yellow, I would hold some beauty.
         Gallantly glimmering glory.
         Proudly portraying splendor,
               or happiness,
                      it doesn't matter,
                                 because I am blue.
Even green is better than me:
       Vital, breathing green.
Perhaps if I were red,
        Being a dot wouldn't be so bad.
        I could be glamorously angry,
              alive
                         ...and dangerous
        Ruthlessly romantic in my redness,
              Passionate,
                                                       or perhaps even a cute freckle.
There's nothing ornate about my form,
      No vivacious swirls,
             alluring lumps,
                    or pronounced,           purposeful           roundness
Of course, I can't be straight:
     No,
          no, no, no no!
                                   That would bring far too much attention to me!
Me, a pasty blue,
                      surrounded by darkness.
I do not much like black,
          Ugly, empty black,
                     though it hugs my edges.
                               It's pointless.
                                                                                       it's all pointless.
Gray is not much better:
         It is a lie,
                 Pretending to be pure as white,    next to black,
                            Yet it clothes itself in the very darkness it contrasts.
There's too much black and gray.
There's not enough white.
             Wonderful white,
                     Combining all the colours but not becoming dark,
                              not becoming black
                        but bright.

Smiling, the artist painted.
         Magically pouring life into colours,
                  colours into life.
Though living, they could not see what he could,
          They only know what he told them,
                   displayed to them,
                              as he displayed them.
            A small glimpse
                    of a small part
                             of his spectacular masterpiece.
Every drop,
       Every dot,
              every speckle of paint was deliberate,
                       an outpouring of his perfect plan.
He didn't need to,
       But he wanted to
             Interact with blue.
"Who are you, blue,
         to say what is right to you
               about you
                      around you?
I drew you, blue,
         So I want you.
I drew you blue to reflect the very sky you cannot see.
       It's glorious,
              w  i  d  e,
                  full of many colours of blue,
                          some look like you,
                                                                    but they are not you.
I love yellow, green, and red too,
        just like you.
              They look good,
        just like you.
You are not bright,
        bright as white,
                 Bright as I.
Yet you are still bright,
         bright as the sky.
Soon I will show you the sky,
Soon I will show you much,
                                                           Much more than you now see.
For now I want your trust
                                  Trust in my brush
                                  Trust in the end it will all be beautiful.
Though you are surrounded by dark,
         empty,
                  ugly black,
                              You are part of something magneficent!
For I do not make anything less than glorious.
         Trust in my brush,
               blue,
                   and be the best blue you can be,
                                                                                          for me."

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

From Science to Jesus - Part III: Science and Jesus



I highly recommend you read Part I and Part II of this blog series if you haven't already, as the following will be a continuation of their lines of logic.

I hope my Christian friends will forgive me for coming at this not as a Christian but as an individual objective thinker.  I may say things that will seem a bit "off" to you.  Rest assured, I may not fully believe the things I say.  As a Christian in a relationship with God, I have an understanding that only those inside relationships can have.  A person may become famous and have many books written about them and be analyzed by fans and critics alike, but only someone who is in relationship with them has the deepest understanding about the way they are.  I have a relationship with God, but I am choosing for now to relate to those who don't, and so the very way I approach this topic may seem a bit unorthodox.

Many people have a hard time believing in the Bible as an infallible source of truth, and understandably so.  After all, all one has to do is pick up a Bible and look at the bottom of the pages underneath the main text to see all the notations describing how some manuscripts say include "this," while others don't.  Discrepancies between manuscripts show more than the expected inadequacies of the current language to transmit the text's meaning in its original language.  It shows that throughout the passage of time, not every single word of the Bible is exactly the same as every single word of the Bible earlier.

I'll address this current doubt of the Bible's inerrancy at a later date, as it's something that I mean to study further.  However, in the case for Christ, we do not have to believe that every part of the Bible is as it originally was.  We only need to believe that Jesus Christ is a real person, and he is who he says he is. 


Truth From Action 

It has been said that if a man rose himself from the dead, this would prove everything he has said beforehand was true.  This might not necessarily be correct.  Perhaps this man had contact with a highly evolved alien and gained knowledge and power from them, but chose to convey something other than truth for his own purposes.  This seems rather science-fictiony, does it not?  Yet let's look further at this hypothetical situation in regards to the ground we have already covered.

If someone performed a physically impossible feat such as rising from the dead (and of this death there could be no doubt, they weren't just in some super deep state of meditation or a temporary state that only looked like death to the viewer), it would prove not that they always had told the truth, but that they had access to a knowledge or technology that far surpassed our own.  Like we discussed earlier, this would mean that this man had closest access to the truth, for what is the truth to us other than our best guess according to what we can see and observe?

If Jesus really did raise from the dead, then that would prove that he had access to knowledge that we didn't.  He would be closer to the truth.  The things he taught, as far as the listener is concerned, were closest to the truth.  You’re more likely to learn from a doctor rather than an artist about the workings of the human body, particularly if the doctor proceeded to bring healing to a person when all the artist could do is paint a picture of what he could see.  The doctor may be lying about what he says about the body, but his works shows he knows what he is talking about.

So, did Jesus really rise from the dead? 


Validating Christ’s Claims

If one wanted to verify if a past event happened, one would likely look for multiple pieces of evidence to prove it.  The nature of the resurrection of Christ is different than that of a global flood in that we would not expect to see a great deal of impact on the physical world because of it; unlike the people who claim the Loch Ness monster exists, we aren’t able to look for a physical body because it is said that Jesus ascended into Heaven afterwards.  In order to know if Jesus rising from the dead was historically accurate, we are left on relying mostly on the testimony of historical people.

This is where the unbeliever goes “ah-ha!  Got you!  There’s no way to physically prove Jesus rose from the dead just like there’s no way to prove that there are invisible undetectable unicorns flying around in our atmosphere!”


I would like to remind the reader that the way we go about scientifically proving the supernatural is different than the way we go about proving the natural.  One does not scientifically study the stars with a microscope, or a culture of bacteria with a telescope.  I am not saying that we cannot physically prove the existence of the supernatural using readily available means.  However, like I alluded to in Part I, any observable things that seems to point to the supernatural may later be explained by natural means.

We cannot look into a lens and peer into the past like we can the present- for all we know Aristotle and other historical figures could be completely fictional.  When one wants to know if a historical person such as Aristotle existed, we look to historical documents that this person either wrote or was written about them, and see if there are multiple accounts telling the same story.  If at all possible, we also look to physical objects verifying their existence, such as the pyramids tell the story of the ancient Pharaohs.

Most historians- regardless of their world belief- will admit that this person, Jesus of Nazareth, existed.  For the most part, it is his actions and words that on are trial today, both in the arena of historical accuracy and in the individual’s mind.

There are a number of religions that hinge on the accuracy of the integrity of an individual.  Did an angel really visit so-and-so, or were they lying or deceived by an evil spirit?  Did this person have a genuine “spiritual” encounter, or was it merely the result of an altered state of mind?  The account of Jesus is different than these religions, as it is the testimony of many people that support his actions, and thus lending to his actions' historical accuracy. 


Working Our Way Backwards 

The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) have admittedly been shown to have been written a respectable number of years after the events that they describe transpired.  However, the New Testament is written in such way that portrays multiple eye-witness accounts both of Jesus and of his actions.

Here’s what it says in the first verses of the biblical book of Acts (it is generally agreed upon that the same person who wrote acts also wrote the book of Luke, which contained many of Jesus’ miracles, the greatest of which was his resurrection from the dead):
1In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

The book of Acts is the account of the beginnings of the early church of Christ.  From this documentation, we can see that the church is not based on merely one person’s convincing teachings, or from a single person’s spiritual encounter, but from many people’s eyewitness accounts of physical actions.  Even if the gospels such as Matthew were written in a genre that adds divinity to an individual according to a specific Jewish template (which some historians argue), the book of Act does not fit the description of this genre.

“Okay, Stephen, so you’ve proven that Jesus is who he says he is… if the book of Acts can be trusted.  It, like the rest of the bible, was written by man, not God.”

The book of Acts is not the only book of the bible outside of the gospels that accounts Jesus’ words and actions.  I am not a scholar (partially due to me being too lazy to do large amounts of research while writing a paper – I’ve done enough research out of general interest of the subject beforehand.  Plus, by presenting all of my evidence, that would greatly increase the length of this already lengthy group of blog posts.  However, I can be convinced to produce more data if I am prodded enough), but I know there are documents outside of the Bible depicting accounts of Jesus words and deeds.  A there is even a bit of historical literature that conflicts with the Biblical account.  But let's look at what we know.

The church of Christ exists.  We can see that today.  A history of the church must therefore exist as well.  And who would best know the history of any organization than those who not only resided in it, but those who presided in it?

The Catholic Church recognizes (St.) Peter, disciple of Jesus, as the first "Pope."  Although it is not written in the bible, it is commonly accepted that Peter died by being hung upside down on a cross.  If anyone would know what happened in the real church history, it would be Peter, right?

Here's what Peter says in Acts 10

39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”


Again, Acts is written in the genre to be read in a matter-of-fact way, simply telling the history of the church.  To prove this point (and also because it's where the man who I was named after first made his debut), see this passage from Acts 6

1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.


In addition to appearing in Acts, Peter writes two books (or letters) of his own which appear in the New Testament.

What about those aforementioned literature that disagree with the books of the New Testament?  Weren't you paying attention?  History is verified by a number of sources, and the integrity of these sources are pitted against each other.  So therefore, the validity of the conflicting literature should be pitted against other literature such as Acts and Peter's words, as these are written as a real history of a real church that still exists to this day.

So now, in addition to Jesus, the integrity of Peter is on the line in order to reach the validity of Jesus and his claims.

Recall how I discussed that in order to know if Jesus knew what he was talking about, we had to evaluate his deeds?  Remember the doctor and the artist?  We know one knows more than the other one because he shows an ability that he wouldn't have had if he didn't know.

In the book of Acts, Peter and the other apostles (including Paul) performed miracles which caused the small group of Jesus followers to grow into a rapidly expanding Church.

The reason I am still "using the Bible to prove the Bible" is this:  to the unbiased eyes, the Bible isn't one big book but rather a group of mostly independent pieces of literature from the far past combined into an acceptable canon by a group of early Christians.  Just because they are all combined into one religious book does not mean they are not also historical documents with historical significance.  We are studying events that happened in history, and so I am referring to historical documents. 


In Conclusion 

In Part I, I showed scientifically how there must be a supernatural force.  Part II revealed how the most prominent supernatural force is the Christian God, and so He must be the one with the most truth to offer.  Part III revealed how we could validate Jesus' claims and actions.

"You like mentioning the word science, but I didn't see a whole lot of it here, Stephen."  What is science but coming to a problem with an unbiased questioning mind and searching for the most logical conclusion?   Over and over again I showed examples of coming to the most probable conclusion given the data.

This whole topic is hard to tackle with a scientific mind because we all are biased to a degree.  It is quite simple to study and accept the relationship between electrons and protons because it likely won't impose a necessary life change on our part as a result.  However, it is impossible to study the relationship between the supernatural, God, Jesus, and us, without the result implying major life altering reactions on our part

We want the answer to be one thing or another, and so we tackle the question with at least a minimal amount of trying to fit the evidence to our beliefs, instead of the other way around.

I hope you aren't thinking something along the lines of "by your own admission, new truth is constantly being learned, and so I will hold onto the belief that you will eventually be proved wrong."  If I have presented the most logical explanation given what evidence we have today, it should therefore be believed as truth, for what is truth to the scientist but one's best guess given the data? 

I assure you as someone who believes in Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life, that once you come to believe this, so much about what you see in the world just makes sense.  The pieces of the puzzle fit together.  It is a valid explanation that works, and so the logical mind should accept it as truth until a more logical explanation can be given.