What pressure? Believers less likely to feel stress

A story last week in Great Britain’s Telegraph discussed tests that were performed by the University of Toronto on religious people during pressure situations.  Results of the tests showed that those who admitted they believed in God were less likely to panic when being asked to perform various mental tasks and likewise performed better than those non-believers who took part in the test.  The story goes on to say that there was a correlation to the strength of faith and the amount of calmness of the individual.  To record these results, scientists measured and recorded brain activity during a set of mental agility tests.  In those who at least had a belief in God there was less activity in the portion of the brain (anterior cingulated cortex) where anxiety and stress are managed.  Results of the test are published online in Psychological Science journal.  An interesting counter argument made by atheists groups regarding these test results is that it doesn’t prove that God exists, only that having strong beliefs can help, inferring that people could have done just as well if they believed in “Father Christmas.”  Hmmm….really?

Most of us can probably remember taking a test or giving a speech where we just thought, “Lord, just help me make it through this” or “If you let me pass this test God, I’ll do anything you want.”  While it’s funny to think back at how we attempted to rationalize with God, I do believe that this focus on God allows us to maintain our calmness during these stressful times.  Without breaking down the “science” of this experiment of how the born-again Christians performed vs. those who believe in God vs. non-believers, the data did show that those who had stronger beliefs performed better.  These results likely disqualify the atheist’s groups argument, because if merely a belief in something allowed less stress then the results would have been “flat” based on the strength of beliefs.

For us Christians there is a calm that resonates within us.  This calm doesn’t help get an “A” vs. getting a “C” on a test, but rather is an extension of our beliefs in One greater than ourselves, namely God and His Son Jesus.  The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:27, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”  So we know that worrying or stressing out about things is not a Godly posture to have.  In Psalms 94:19, we read the words of the psalmist say, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”  I don’t think it was a coincidence that this experiment produced the results that it did.  It’s exactly what we are told in the Bible would happen when we make the decision to trust Christ as our Savior.  This decision doesn’t always prevent stressful situation or trials, but rather helps brings peace to our lives in response to these circumstances.  The next time you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with anxiety or stress, think on the words in the passage from I Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Tebow’s charity doesn’t interfere with eligibility

tebowjohn316

Tim Tebow has been cleared to return to the University of Florida for his senior year.  Questions about his eligibility arose from his father’s missionary work and donations made to charity’s namely, Uncle Dick’s home.  The charity, an orphanage in the Philippines, was founded by the Bob Tebow (Tim’s father) Evangelistic Association.   After a brief inquiry into the donations, Tebow will return in 2009 and hope to lead Florida to back to back championships.  After spending the summer on missions trips, the former Heisman Trophy winner and product of homeschooling, led Florida to their second national championship in three years.  During this game, Tebow sported the eye black seen in the picture above leading to John 3:16 being the number one searched item on Google.  Reportedly, Tebow will be flying to the Philippines next week for a missions trip, during Florida’s spring break.  I’ll be praying that Tim Tebow’s witness remains strong and that God finds glory not only in his on-field performance, but likewise his off-field.

Jeremiah 29:11 “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

U2’s New Album deemed um….Christian?

An article written over at Christian Post Christian Post discusses a thought posed by some “theologians” that the band U2’s latest album is their “most thoroughly Christian” to date.  I wonder if that’s  in comparison to their others?  Listen, I know most won’t deny that U2 is a great secular band, while years ago I was a fan of some of their older albums, namely Achtung Baby, I hesitate to call any of their albums Christian.  You can’t fill one song with “spiritual” overtones and then fill the next with lust and revelry.  It just doesn’t mix.  In  my opinion it seems like a way to straddle the fence and appeal to a secular audience as well as a “Christian” audience. 

If the band’s lead singer, Bono, wants to claim Christianity, that’s on him.  I’m not here to condemn or judge.  But I am quick to point out those who might lead Christians astray.  Perhaps I would take the band’s religiosity a little more serious if they were to partake in a less partying and a less free flowing foul language.  Until then, this seems another attempt to fit a secular worldview into a biblical worldview.  If you want to listen to U2, that’s your choice, just don’t expect to hear the Gospel and if you find yourself straining to figure out if the band is singing about Christ, maybe He doesn’t exist in the song.

Romans 12:2 “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Ephesians 4:15 "Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ"