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John Bradshaw - Do You Believe in Miracles?


John Bradshaw - Do You Believe in Miracles?
John Bradshaw - Do You Believe in Miracles?
TOPICS: Miracle

Nobody expected them to win. They were basically a team of college kids. Average age was just 21. Now, their opponents had won the last four Olympic gold medals. They hadn't lost a game at the Olympics in 12 years, and their record against the United States over the previous 20 years was 28 wins against 7 losses. And in case you're forgetting the era, Soviet teams were made up from the very best players from Russia and the Ukraine and Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan and Moldova and Estonia and Lithuania - 15 different countries in all.

The Soviets were the very best. They were full-time professionals. The United States didn't have a chance. But that U.S. team, coached by Minnesotan Herb Brooks, played their hearts out. They beat the Soviets four goals to three, following a goal late in the game scored by team captain Mike Eruzione. Then they went on to play Finland, and they beat Finland, and they won Olympic gold. What helped make that victory over the Soviets in 1980 so memorable, as it took its place in sports legend, was one of the most famous lines ever uttered in the history of sports commentary. With just seconds to go and victory now in the grasp of the U.S. team, Al Michaels famously said, "Do you believe in miracles"?

Now, what happened at Lake Placid in 1980 wasn't a miracle. It was totally unexpected, absolutely. It was an upset, no doubt. But not a miracle. You know, when the New England Patriots came back from being down 28 points to 3 to win the Super Bowl, or, or when that little high school team from Indiana won the state basketball championship, or when Leicester City won the English Premier League, now, those were surprises, absolutely. But they weren't miracles. So what's a miracle? Apart from me being able to stay up on these skates? I've come to Boston to talk to Mike Eruzione, who was the captain of the U.S. Olympic hockey team that won that gold medal in 1980. In fact, he scored the iconic winning goal. I wanted to find out about miracles, the miracle, "the miracle on ice" from the perspective of a man who lived it.

John Bradshaw: So tell me what was on your mind, on the mind of the players, as you're building up to this game? We look at it now through the lens of history, but how were you looking at it then at the time?

Mike Eruzione: Uh, an opportunity to, to, to win a game and play for a medal, play for the gold medal. Um, and I think that was kind of the mindset. You know, you can't go in too high; you can't go in too low; you've got to be focused and prepared and understand what's at stake. And I think we went in with all the emotions you have for a big game, you know, excited, you're nervous, you're curious, um, but I think, you know, again, our mindset was, one shift at a time, one period at a time, and when the game's over, let's see what the end result is. And, you know, we ended up us winning, and now we've got another game to play.

John Bradshaw: Did, did you come into the game with any, um, any of that political baggage or the historical baggage?

Mike Eruzione: Yeah, no. To, to us it was a hockey game. Um, you know, we knew a little bit of what was going on around us because it was in Lake Placid, and we knew a little bit of the political climate because of the people in Lake Placid with waving the flags and "USA! USA"! chants, so, the game meant a lot more to a lot of people than just a hockey game. But for us as a hockey team, it was a hockey game. Um, you know, by us winning, didn't solve all the world's problems and the crises. But what we did, I think, was we brought joy and pride back to a nation that was looking for something. You know, as a country we were looking for something to feel good about, I mean, almost what we're dealing with now. And it happened to be us.

John Bradshaw: So the game is known as "the miracle on ice". Was it a miracle?

Mike Eruzione: No. I, I've never, you know, I mean, "miracle" is a catchy phrase, uh, and it sounds really nice. Miracles are to me, you know, some of the things that our doctors and nurses do day in and day out, the lives that they save, and you read about, you know, uh, a, a building that collapses, and all of a sudden, three days later they find somebody that's alive, I mean, those, those are miracles. Those are things that I look at. Uh, I, I don't consider sporting events miracles.

John Bradshaw: Was there ever a moment looking back where like, "Man, I, I might not have been involved in that, if but for this"?

Mike Eruzione: Yeah, I mean, I, I got invited to the tryout. What if I didn't make the team? What if he cut me? Which he threatened to do.

John Bradshaw: He did?

Mike Eruzione: Oh yeah. He threatened right before the Olympics. And I think he was just sending a message to the team, you know, uh, if he's willing to cut Mike, he's willing to cut anybody. Because no, no guaranteed spots until you got to Lake Placid. So, yeah, I, you know, always think about that. Um, you know, I'll sit here sometimes in my, my living room, or I sit out in the backyard, look around, and see what I have now, and I think, "Boy, we could've lost".

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Mike Eruzione: We didn't, and I'm fortunate and, you know, blessed to, to do the things I've been able to do, but I also understand that, uh, you know, that there's more to life than, like my dad always said, than athletics.

John Bradshaw: What do you tell kids who are looking to get ahead in life? Not, not in hockey or, hockey's part of life, whether it's hockey, school, business, but in life.

Mike Eruzione: I think it's just being a good kid. Uh, like I told my own kids, that what I did in life was what I did; what you do is what you do. I, I don't care if you make touchdowns and, and get winning goals. I want you to be a good kid. Be a good brother; be a good sister; be a good neighbor; be a good friend. When the smoke clears, people, I don't want people to remember me as a guy who won a gold medal. I want them to remember me as the type of person I was. Be a good kid; make the right choices in life.

John Bradshaw: Mike, we could talk all day. This has been, this has been fantastic. I really appreciate you taking your time.

Mike Eruzione: Thank you for that pleasure.

John Bradshaw: Appreciate it.

Mike Eruzione: God bless you, and thanks for your company.

John Bradshaw: Thank you. The dictionary defines a miracle as an event that can't be explained "by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributable to a divine agency". And when you come to the Bible, you find it's full of miracles. In fact, if you were to open a Bible to its very first page, you'd be immediately confronted by one of the most remarkable lines in the history of literature. It says, "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth". Now, how in the world did He do that? God just made the earth? Really? Well, the Bible tells us how He did it. Back then in the beginning, "God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light". He spoke it into existence. Back in the Psalms it says, "He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast". "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth". God spoke and created the world.

Now, isn't that an incredible thing to ask a person to believe? But the alternative to believing that is no less incredible. In fact, it's more incredible. The prevailing alternate view to Creation is evolution, and evolutionary theory posits that long ago, like, like really, really long ago, there was absolutely nothing in existence, nothing at all. But then something in the nothing exploded, and out of that explosion the universe was formed. Two views: one, something out of nothing, because an all-powerful Creator God created something out of nothing due to the creative power that He possesses. Now, that would be miraculous. Two, something out of nothing because of...nothing, which would also have to be called miraculous. So how, then, do you reconcile this idea of Someone creating the world? Well, honestly, it's not that difficult if you choose to believe that the God of heaven is capable of performing supernatural acts.

You can believe that God did things for which there's no rational explanation outside of His creative power. You can believe that God created in six days before resting on the seventh. You can believe that Jesus fed a crowd of thousands one day with a little boy's lunch of just five loaves and two fish. You can believe these things, not simply because the Bible says so, but because when taken as a whole, really there's no possibility of believing anything else. Now, it's entirely possible for two different people to genuinely read the same passage of the Bible and come to different conclusions. That happens. That's okay. That's part of the process of learning. But what doesn't seem reasonable is for someone to read the Bible and then say, "I reject that". That is, "I reject," let's say, "the miracles of the Bible because they're not rational". Well, that's not rational, because miracles are miraculous. So let me ask you: Is it reasonable to believe in miracles? And if it's not, what are the implications of that? I'll be right back in just a moment with a very special guest.

John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me today on It Is Written. The Bible says again and again that God worked miracles. Jesus during His time on earth worked miracles. His disciples worked miracles. So can you believe in miracles? I would suggest you can, but can people really work miracles? Well, I'm about to introduce to you a very special guest, someone who can do the extraordinary. His name is Todd Bogue, and he is a Florida-based entertainer and magician. Todd, thanks for joining me on It Is Written.

Todd Bogue: Thank you very much for having me.

John Bradshaw: I appreciate this. So you work magic, do you?

Todd Bogue: Yes, I do.

John Bradshaw: Does that mean you perform miracles?

Todd Bogue: I do not.

John Bradshaw: You don't?

Todd Bogue: I do not.

John Bradshaw: All right.

Todd Bogue: Just an entertainer.

John Bradshaw: An entertainer. All right, but I know you're gonna show me something that someone's gonna say, "How in the world did he do that"? So what have you got?

Todd Bogue: Uh, we're gonna do two tricks today. Sometimes you go to a magic show, and a magician will steal somebody's watch.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Todd Bogue: Or steal somebody's wallet.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Todd Bogue: So what I'm going to do is... I'm going to steal somebody's phone.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Todd Bogue: I'm going to steal somebody's phone, but before that, you're going to do a magic trick.

John Bradshaw: Oh, I am?

Todd Bogue: You're going to do a magic trick.

John Bradshaw: Oh, no joke?

Todd Bogue: Yes, yes.

John Bradshaw: All right.

Todd Bogue: So we're going to do, do the old behind the ear... I'm gonna reach behind your ear and grab a pretend deck of cards.

John Bradshaw: Well, look at that. Okay.

Todd Bogue: I'm gonna hand it to you, John. I want you to shuffle those cards, please.

John Bradshaw: All right. Uh...

Todd Bogue: You got to take them out of the pretend box first.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Todd Bogue: Take them out of the box; lay the box on the table.

John Bradshaw: Uh, open the thing up, little flaps.

Todd Bogue: I like it.

John Bradshaw: Pull them out, leave the box here.

Todd Bogue: Shuffle them up.

John Bradshaw: Now shuffle them.

Todd Bogue: Nice.

John Bradshaw: I put them down. I'm gonna cut the, cut the deck, do the...

Todd Bogue: I like it. I want you to pull a random card out.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Todd Bogue: And what is the card you chose?

John Bradshaw: This is the seven of diamonds.

Todd Bogue: The seven of diamonds. Could you show everyone the seven of diamonds?

John Bradshaw: Seven of diamonds. Look at that.

Todd Bogue: Can you turn the seven of diamonds around backwards?

John Bradshaw: Yup, there it is right there.

Todd Bogue: Put it back in the deck.

John Bradshaw: Just in the deck anywhere?

Todd Bogue: Mm-hmm, anywhere in the deck.

John Bradshaw: In the deck.

Todd Bogue: Shuffle them up real good.

John Bradshaw: Shuffle them.

Todd Bogue: Nice. Put them back in the box.

John Bradshaw: They're in the box.

Todd Bogue: Put the lid on.

John Bradshaw: Lid is on.

Todd Bogue: So I'll get this empty bag. I want you to drop the deck of cards in the bag... just like that.

John Bradshaw: Ooooh!

Todd Bogue: That was pretend before; now it's real.

John Bradshaw: All right.

Todd Bogue: Now, if you really turned around the seven of diamonds, that's going to be pretty cool.

John Bradshaw: I really did.

Todd Bogue: You did.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Todd Bogue: We'll see. So there should be one card turned around backwards. I don't see any cards turned around, there is, there is one card.

John Bradshaw: Uh, there it is.

Todd Bogue: Turn the only card turned around backwards.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Todd Bogue: Pull it out.

John Bradshaw: Want me to pull that out?

Todd Bogue: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: All right.

Todd Bogue: And show...

John Bradshaw: This one?

Todd Bogue: Yep.

John Bradshaw: Oh! Get outta here. Oh, really? Look at that. Look at that.

Todd Bogue: Amazing...

John Bradshaw: Wow! Huh, the seven... Well, okay. There it is.

Todd Bogue: Good job.

John Bradshaw: I think I might have a career in this.

Todd Bogue: So we're gonna do something really, really spectacular tonight.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Todd Bogue: This is pretty cool. Uh, David Copperfield once did something similar to this where he walked through the Great Wall of China, okay?

John Bradshaw: Yeah, sure.

Todd Bogue: But I'm gonna do something similar with objects you are familiar with.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Todd Bogue: Take my driver's license. We're all familiar with a driver's license. It's a hard piece of plastic.

John Bradshaw: Oh, yeah.

Todd Bogue: Solid.

John Bradshaw: That's the real thing.

Todd Bogue: And a cell phone, okay? What I did is I took a cell phone case; I put a little slot in my cell phone cover; I'm gonna take the driver's license and go right through the cell phone.

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Todd Bogue: We know there's no way, uh, a solid can go through a solid.

John Bradshaw: No, that's right; that's solid.

Todd Bogue: Yeah?

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Todd Bogue: Solid. And earlier I said I was gonna steal somebody's phone. I'm gonna steal my phone.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Todd Bogue: Turn my cell phone into a solid block of steel. But there's no way... that a driver's license...

John Bradshaw: Can I touch this?

Todd Bogue: Yes, please do.

John Bradshaw: That's, that's pretty amazing.

Todd Bogue: Thank you very much.

John Bradshaw: That's pretty impressive.

Todd Bogue: Fun stuff.

John Bradshaw: That happened right in front of my eyes.

Todd Bogue: Yes, sir.

John Bradshaw: And I have no idea how you did that. You said a moment ago you're not a miracle worker, but, um, how in the world do you do this if it's not miraculous?

Todd Bogue: Years of practice.

John Bradshaw: Anybody ever worry about you? Ever get any feedback where people are concerned about what you're doing?

Todd Bogue: Yes, yes, yes. Sometimes people think that, uh, what I do is...evil.

John Bradshaw: Uh-huh?

Todd Bogue: Like my mother. One time, we were at her church, and after the service she asked me to go backstage so her and her pastor could pray for me.

John Bradshaw: Okay, sure.

Todd Bogue: And I asked her what was wrong, uh. And she says, "We're worried about you". She says, "You didn't have these powers when you were a kid". And I'm like, "Mom, I don't, I don't have powers. I just do fun stuff". And I actually had to show her how a couple tricks were done.

John Bradshaw: And what did she say when she saw that?

Todd Bogue: She saw that, well, that's not magic. That's... and it's all an illusion.

Todd Bogue: You know, there's a...

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Todd Bogue: You could explain all of it.

John Bradshaw: So, not miracles?

Todd Bogue: No, isn't.

John Bradshaw: Just a man who's good at what he does.

Todd Bogue: I appreciate the compliment.

John Bradshaw: Hey, thank you, appreciate you being here. Thank you so much.

Todd Bogue: Thank you very much.

John Bradshaw: Thank you. We both know magicians aren't really magicians. They're, they're illusionists, masters of misdirection, causing you to see what didn't happen and sometimes to miss what really did. Now, there is another kind of magic that people ought to stay well away from. The supernatural occult magic is evil. It's something you want to avoid. It's real. The devil is real. He's a deceiver, and he's still in the business of pulling people over into the realms of darkness. Now, pulling a rabbit out of a hat isn't miraculous. Causing a driver's license to go through a block of steel, it's incredible, but it's not miraculous. You might call it clever. It's entertainment, but we wouldn't say that about anything that crosses the line into the occult. Illusions, party tricks, sawing someone in half, they're illusions, not magic, not miracles. But what's way beyond clever, what's absolutely jaw-droppingly miraculous is God's ability to perform miracles. Now, if your faith won't allow you to accept that miracles happen, I'd encourage you to reconsider the size of your God. In a moment we'll look at some great miracles of the Bible, and I'll share a couple of modern miracle stories with you, too. I'll be right back. Hey, can you show me how you did that?

Todd Bogue: Sure.

John Bradshaw: The cell phone thing.

Todd Bogue: Yeah.

John Bradshaw: So what did you do?

John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me on It Is Written. Miracles: there's no doubt they happened in Bible times, but do miracles still happen today? I'll share a couple of miracle stories with you in just a moment. In Bible times? To begin with, God called the universe into existence from out of nothing. That's a big one. Did the Israelites really cross the Red Sea on their way out of Egypt? Well, we know that the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt and that they got out of Egypt and went to the promised land. So the facts are the Exodus really happened. It says in the Bible that "the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind". Some have said that that wind was simply a natural occurrence, a weather event.

Now, I'm not sure what kind of wind you would have to have that would create an opening in a sea, one that allows thousands and thousands of people to walk through the middle of that sea on dry ground, and what a coincidence that a strong wind happened right as Israel was fleeing Egypt. There really isn't another explanation. The sea was very shallow in a certain place? No, that's absurd. And what you've got here is a fundamental issue. The minute you start deciding that certain portions of the Bible can't be believed, you've set yourself up as the judge of the Bible, and you become the one who decides which parts of the Bible are inspired and which are not. You've chosen to play God. Remember what Paul wrote to Timothy: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God". Second Timothy 3:16. Did Jesus turn water into wine, grape juice? The Bible writers were convinced He did.

Now, you might think it possible, of course, that the Bible writers were lying about all this. Sure, it's possible, I guess, but thousands of people, eventually millions of people, were prepared to die because they believed what was written in the Gospel of John, where that story is found. Hard to imagine the Bible writers were lying. So what about miracles today? Let me give you a couple of firsthand accounts. Early in 2017, our It Is Written crew was on the beautiful west coast of Ireland, the fabled Cliffs of Moher. Stunning! We were filming for our "500" series about the Reformation. We filmed my parts, and then my two colleagues got some aerial footage with a drone. They flew the drone along the cliffs and then nearly a mile out to sea so they could get some spectacular footage of the beautiful cliffs.

There was a strong wind blowing, and as the drone flew into this wind, the guys noticed the battery was draining fast. It started plunging: 70 percent, 58 percent, 31 percent, and with this drone, when the battery level drops to five percent, it lands, wherever it is. So at 500 feet above the Atlantic and still a third of a mile from land, the battery level of the drone reached five percent. But they prayed, "Lord, bring the drone back. Bring back the footage we've shot. Bring back the equipment so we don't have to replace it and we don't lose an afternoon's work". The drone was at five percent and kept flying. Four, three, two, one, zero! No power left in the battery, and the drone kept flying. It eventually got above land; they brought it down. It came in and landed gently on the grass. The drone was saved. The footage wasn't lost. The program was made.

No, this isn't someone being raised from the dead, but it was divine intervention nonetheless. There's no other explanation for it. When that drone arrived back, it was out of power. A friend of mine tells an incredible story about his faithful mother. Dad didn't want mother going to church with the kids, and he didn't like them taking the car. One very, very wet day he decided that he would make sure she couldn't go to church. He removed the distributor cap from the car. The vehicle can't run without that distributor cap, just impossible. He went off to work happy that she and the kids wouldn't be going to church. When he came back from work, he was amazed that she was gone and that the car was gone, too. He waited for her to return from church. Dad said, "Where have you been"? Mom said, "Church". Dad, agitated: "How did you get there"? Mom, confused: "I drove the car, of course". Dad, incredulous: "How did you drive the car to church"? Mom, bewildered: "The same way I always do".

She explained. They went and got in the car, turned the key; the car would not start. She said to the kids and the neighbor kids, "Let's pray that God would start the car. There must be a problem". They prayed, she turned the key, and it roared to life. But dad had the distributor cap in his pocket the entire time. God still works miracles. Can we believe the miracles of the Bible? Of course we can. Can we believe God works miracles today? Absolutely. Does He always work miracles when we want Him to? No, not always. And He understands why, and we can trust Him. The greatest miracle of all is the miracle of divine grace. Every person alive is a sinner, and the wages of sin is death. But Jesus died for your sins and to work the miracle of salvation in your life. The Bible tells us again and again that we cannot save ourselves. It's just not possible. But Jesus does for us what it is impossible for us to do for ourselves.

If sin is burdening you down, Jesus can save you. If you feel like you're not worthy, Jesus can save you. If you're far from God right now, Jesus can save you. Yes, that's a miracle, maybe a greater miracle than parting the Red Sea. But this is the miracle that Jesus came to the earth to perform. Now, this miracle requires your permission; that's all. Just a yes from you, a surrender to God's will. Can you make that decision? If you've made it before, make it again. Tell God you accept salvation, and the God who saves you can uphold you, just like He holds up the sun, moon, and stars. Miracles still happen. That famous commentary from Lake Placid, the broadcaster Al Michaels asked, "Do you believe in miracles"? And then he said, "Yes". Now is your chance to say yes to a true miracle, a great miracle, the greatest of all miracles. Say yes to Jesus now, and His peace and grace will flood your life.

John Bradshaw: Let's pray together now:

Our Father in heaven, we are grateful that You are the God of miracles. You called this world into existence from out of nothing. You opened up the Red Sea, carpeted the ground with manna, brought water out of a rock, and today You still work miracles; we see them around us. We have the opportunity every day to experience the miracle of grace. We thank You that You can still call something out of the nothing of a broken life. Heavenly Father, we thank You for the gift of salvation in Jesus. And, friend, would you accept that gift now? Would you say to the God of heaven, "I believe in the miracle of salvation. I believe in the miracle of grace. You have my permission. Take my heart and make it Yours". Lord God, we make that decision now and believe that we are children of the heavenly King, that eternity awaits us, and that You will grow us. Keep us now, dear Lord, we pray, and we thank You for Your great miracle-working power in our lives. In Jesus' name, amen.

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