Issue 18 - Jan 19 - 23

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Monday - Penn State University

Today was Martin Luther King's day and classes did not meet. Instead, as I relayed in the last issue, I attempted to get my journal out. I always am annoyed when some computer geeks do something that greatly affects thousands, if not millions of people, but they don't bother to tell anyone who pays for their service. Don't get me started.

Tuesday - Penn State University

See the rant above but add a thousand.

Wednesday - Penn State University

See the rant above but multiply by ten.

Thursday - Penn State University

I came to a place of whimpering defeat. Trying to fix a problem that no one in Tech Support for Yahoo, Blat, nor Stunnel knows anything about is a frustrating experience. Personally I thing that the term "Technical Support" is an oxymoron.

I won't bore you with the details, but unfortunately it did include emails going out to all parts of the world seeking someone, anyone to help. But admit it I must. I was not able to get around Yahoo's new requirement. Although I have 41 years experience, none of it was in the Windows universe. Windows system level code to me is a black hole.

I was sitting at my desk, in a snit of frustration, ready to give up. The Lord whispered in my ear. "Try just one more time".

"Oh, all right, but just one more time", I said.

This time I did a search on the internet using a slightly different topic than I had been using before. I clicked on the first hit, and lo and behold, the user was doing the same thing I was attempting to do. He then listed out the configuration parameters that worked for him. I was delighted.

Might as well use it, I thought. I copied his parameters into my configuration file. They were very nearly the same, just a smidgen different. Well, I guess that was what was needed. The test mailing encrypted and went out on Yahoo, sweet as punch speeding to delivery. I was stunned. I am not sure why it worked. As I said before, the configurations were nearly identical, but I was not one to argue with success.

Since I now could do the mailing, I went out on campus for a little preaching.

I am amazed at the faithfulness of the atheist - the group at the top of the steps. Their fearless leader Nat is no longer a student, so he is missing from the group portrait. Almost every day they are out on the steps to do battle with the evil Christian preachers. If only the Christians would defend their faith as vehemently as the atheists. It is almost as if we are their only friends. They hang out, they engage us in small talk, they joke with us, but when it is time to preach, they are out there to ridicule, mock, and blaspheme. One of the main atheists, Adam,
Hail, Hail, the gangs all here

responded to my comment about how much time they spend at Willard with "I am on the salvation continuum."

Dimitri, who I introduced to preaching in the fall, has been faithful to preach every Thursday,

as his schedule permits. He is getting better as his boldness gets stronger. I have high hopes for him in the ministry. This is his apprenticeship. It is interesting because I share with him my more or less reformationist theological positions, and Gary, who is Orthodox, shares his church's perspectives. Dimitri gets both spectrums to think about. It makes for some interesting discussions.

Sometimes people ask me what denomination I represent. I tell them I am an Orthodox Bapticostal. The theology of the Orthodox church is very close to mine in many regards. They believe in salvation by faith, perfection as the goal, and the ability to achieve it in this lifetime. Gary's preaching in particular is compatible with much of what I believe. He has laid his life on the line, and has preached full time since I left Penn State in 1982 to travel around. This brother is faithful For twenty six years he has not wavered in his commitment to preach. I appreciate that he is always willing to share his pulpit with us (me and Dimitri).

Shortly after this picture was taken, an older gentleman with a baseball cap off camera, walked over to me, with a smile on his face. He introduced himself as an employee of Penn State. When he attended Penn State years ago he used to listen to me preach. Now, his son listens to me. I told him of my decision to return to preaching after years of absence. He shook my hand and said "Welcome Back". Am I really old enough to preaching to the grown children of the children I preached to so many years ago?

Friday - Penn State University

When I got started today, the atheists were not yet fully assembled. So I focused my attention on the life of an atheist, under a microscope. Ahhhhh, that got them mobilized. If you look at the progression of photos Below, it did get a little heated.
               

The first photo was getting started. First I had to get their attention. I told them I was going to examine the atheist life. "What a pathetic group", I said, "spending their lives fighting against something that does not exist." I started out pretty good, but was not able to hold to that topic.

In the fifth picture, the fellow I was addressing and I got into a good old shouting match. Ahhhh, just what I like...a good loud debate. Nat, who used to be the leader of the pack for the atheists dropped out of school for reasons unknown. The fellow in picture #5 has taken his place as head God-hater. He made a bookie's mistake right off the bat.

Another atheist had asked me if I believed in evolution, to which I said of course not. I explained to him a couple of quick facts off the top of my head that point to a young earth. One which I have used a lot recently has been the discovery of Carbon-14 inside of coal, oil, gas, and diamonds. Given the half-life of 5730 years, if the carboniferous period really were 240,000,000 years ago, there could be no Carbon-14 left in the carbon deposits.

Even if one took a solid block of Carbon-14, after 533,333 years, all of the Carbon-14 would have decayed to Carbon-12. Given the extremely low actual concentrations of Carbon-14, the actual carbon dates of the carboniferous deposits should be around 10,000 years m/l.

Well, that didn't sit well with Mr. New-Head-Atheist. He countered with an assertion that there is no scientific evidence for the existence of God. To this I replied, "I have some".

My evidence is a statistical proof. In a statistical sample, there is a test that can be applied to the data points to determine if the data points are truly random, or if there is some function that ties them together. It is called the Chi Square test.

I have followed the Lord for thirty some years, and the overwhelming majority of my prayers are answered. Most atheist discount that as being just coincidence. But when you get to very high percentages of answered prayer, some of which are answered in ways that defy logic and physics, the Chi Square test can show whether it actually is random outcomes or whether there is some other influence on the sample set.

He did not like my "proof" and tried to do as all non-thinkers do. He began to hypothesize or assume the existence of some proof somewhere involving someone else that IF it did exist might undermine my argument from answered prayer. Every time he would try to ramble off to dismiss my argument by alluding to the supposed existence of other evidence, I stopped him.

"Don't answer by inventing an answer somewhere else involving someone else's experience, address my evidence." I insisted.

It is a common tactic, called the "straw man" argument. You erect a straw man (a fallacious argument), destroy it, and claim victory. I wouldn't let him go down that road. "Answer my evidence." I roared back. At one point the one girl started screaming for me to shut up because I would not let Mr. Atheist to continue to employ a flawed tactic to discredit my answer to his challenge.

He asked me for evidence, I gave it to him. Now his choices are few. He can scientifically discredit the argument, which if one knows anything about statistics, it is fairly hard mathematics. He can accuse me of lying and reject the evidence. Or he can dismiss the evidence for one reason or another. This last is the last rathole for the evolutionists to scurry into.

Usually the argument is that because I experienced it, and they did not, that the evidence can not be empirical. Most college students don't know the definition of empirical:

Main Entry: em·pir·i·cal
Pronunciation: \-i-k?l\ Variant(s): also em·pir·ic
Function: adjective Date: 1569
1 : originating in or based on observation or experience
2 : relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory
3 : capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment

Because I experience something supernatural (answered prayer) does not make my observations not empirical. What the naysayers tend to think is because THEY did not experience the phenomenon, it is not empirical. Science only requires that someone observed it, and that it can be verified. The life of a Christian, with answered prayers, can prove the existence of God, and can verify the proof by continuing answer to prayer.

If you are seeing a large percentage of prayers being answered, I would strongly recommend keeping a diary containing what you pray for and when the answer came. I did this as a young Christian, and the results were simply amazing. With hard copy, it is good scientific proof that prayers are answered in specific ways.

Here is an example. In 1982, while on the road, I was scheduled to see my daughter on a Friday in Denver. I was preaching at CSU in Fort Collins, Colorado. A huge storm started boiling up over top of the Rockies, threatening a once in a century mess. That just wouldn't do. I would be denied my visit with my daughter.

I prayed about it. "Father, this storm is too big to send it north of Fort Collins, and it is too big to send it south of Denver." I paused a second. "Okay, Lord, split the storm in half. Send one half north of Fort Collins, and send on half south of Denver. I finished preaching out the week at CSU. The storm was supposed to hit on Friday, but all we got was a few flurries.

I drove down to Denver Friday night, to stay with some friends. When I arrived, I turned on the news. The weatherman was talking, and I will remember it till the end of time.

"We don't know what is going on, people. We can't explain it. We have never seen anything like this. Half the storm is up in Utah, the other half is down in Texas."

The Lord split that storm for me, against all the learning of the meteorologists.

I would love to hear from some of you concerning dramatic answers to prayer. I will publish them.

See you next week,

Bro

Once again please consider supporting my ministry.  If you can't support me yourself, would you be able to give me any contacts you have of churches that might be open to my ministry as I travel? Any help you could offer would be much appreciated.    
Bro Cope
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