Saturday, November 21, 2009

Why Christianity?

If there was the ultimate question at final jeopardy this would be it. First of all there is a question you must ask your self and that is, is truth important? Christianity claims to be the Truth, In fact, Jesus claims to be the “Exclusive Truth” meaning the only way to God is through Him. Secondly, Jesus said those who believe on him will not perish but have eternal life, be saved. These are strong, clear-cut statements, but are they True? Is there evidence behind the claims of Jesus being truth?

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
John 14:6

“that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
John 3:15-17

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he“.
Deuteronomy 32:4

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
John 8:32

We have all fallen short to the glory of God. Jesus died for our sins so that we are forgiven. By Gods amazing grace we are saved when we submit our lives to him. I ask you to imagine this. You are in a courtroom standing before the judge. The only difference here is you did not sin against the community but to him. He looks at you and reads off everything you have done… He then leans over and says I am going set you free and I will pay the price for you. The first thing that comes to your mind is “I don’t deserve this.” But God loves us so much that he does not wish to see anyone perish. We have an infinitely loving God who has called us to do the same. To love the unloved, to be there for those when no one would.

“Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.”
Proverbs 10:12

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
John 15:13

"In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling.
Exodus 15:13

God, who calls us friend, and children of His, loves us so much. Though we walk away from him and curse His name whether out of anger or ignorance He still loves us this unconditional love that will never die. This is God, this is Jesus who was crucified on the cross so that we may have eternal life and salvation in the kingdom of Heaven.

Right and wrong (Part 2)

Right and wrong Part 2

There are two main feelings someone faces when making a decision. What I ought to do and what I ought not to do. A lot of the time if the task undesirable or even dangerous the “ought to” is the weaker of the two decisions. For example someone you do not know is hanging from a cliff screaming for help. By helping them you put your own life in danger yet you don’t even know the person. The first reaction and sadly the weakest is “I ought to do something” immediately after that comes the rationalizing on if saving this person is worth the risk of your own life. There is one standard that stands alone in this and this is the little voice inside of all of us telling us to do the weaker of the two decisions. Even though we would be putting our own lives in danger the desire to rescue or to do good hits all of us it comes naturally almost as if written in our DNA. Now you may argue that this is nothing but a “Herd instinct” doing things for the good of society is the only reason why we do good, but this is false. C.S Lewis once said in his book Mere Christianity “Now I do not deny that we may have a herd instinct: but that is not what I mean by Moral Law. We all know what it feels like to be prompted by instinct-by mother love, or sexual instinct, or the instinct for food. It means that you feel a strong want or desire to act in a certain way. And, of course, we sometimes do feel just that sort of desire to help another person: and no doubt that desire is due to the herd instinct. But feeling a desire to help is quite different from feeling that you ought to help whether you want to or not.” So where does this come from? Not from us, C.S Lewis goes on by saying “The law of Human Nature, or right or wrong, must be something above and beyond the actual facts of human behavior. In this case, besides the actual facts, you have something else-a real law which we did not invent and which we know we ought to obey” This law which is above man comes from God, who has put in all of us this desire to do good. God is all true and all loving. He blessed us with free will and loves to see us use it to glorify him. We all know the good we ought to do and the conviction it carries. Your next question may be well there are so many religions out there why Christianity? Lets dive right into that on the next topic.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No such thing as right and wrong

There’s no such thing as right and wrong its and there is no such thing as truth, it is only opinion….. I’m sure most people if not all have heard this statement. This “idea” has no foundation and is dismissed in virtually all arguments because of how self-defeating it is. For any Christian struggling in this area of evangelizing here is what you can do. This will be brief but I will be happy to go into more detail upon request.

First of all lets check out something’s in the past that both non-believers and believers can agree on. The mass extermination of Jews which was led by Adolf Hitler was definitely wrong to do. If there were no such thing as right and wrong the definition of murder(to kill or slaughter inhumanly or barbarously) turns into… population control. Those who do not believe in morals do not realize that we live by them everyday…Have you ever thought about that? When someone yells at you for something you didn’t do you would say “that’s unfair or that’s not right”. You would not sit and be silent. We know right and wrong best not by our actions but our reactions. Lets dive into truth, a guy I work with once told me that he does not believe in truth. Such a trap because he is oblivious to the fact that he just made a truth statement. Recognizing this he said “things may be true for you but not for me”. Once again no foundation under this statement. Truth does not change depending on who believes it. Why is it that we demand truth from doctors, lawyers, employers and friends but when it comes to religion we cast it off by saying “well that’s true for you but not me”. There is only one truth and it is immovable whether we like it or not. If you are like him and believe that truth may work for some but not all then I have a mission for you. Go to a bank, and write yourself a check for an amount that reaches beyond your balance. When you do go to the teller and ask her to cash it… When she says “I’m sorry sir/ma’am but I cannot cash this for you because you have insufficient funds”. Use your statement “well that may be true for you but for me” and see how far that gets you. Later on in the week that same guy said to me “If there is anyone who deserves vacation its me”. Another truth statement. How do you think he would react if the supervisor looked at him and said “That may be true for you but not for me, get back to work”. Not only do we subconsciously live by right, wrong and truth but also judging. The definition of judge is to decide or settle authoritatively. When we decide what we want to eat we are judging one restaurant versus the other. When we choose to hang out with a group of people over the other we judge both options of people. When a person commit’s a crime we hope that he is judged accordingly and given the punishment he deserves. If you take an honest look around we live by this standard of right and wrong, just and unjust but where does it come from…. We will go over this tomorrow.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Trying or Traning?

John Ortberg said this perfectly "Then it dawns on you: Right now you cannot run a marathon. More to the point, you cannot run a marathon even if you really try really, really hard. Trying hard can accomplish only so much. If you are serious about seizing this chance of a lifeftime, you will have to enter into a life of training. You must arrange your life around certain practices that will enable you to do what you cannot do now by willpower alone. When it comes to running a marathon, you must train, not merely try."

A buddy of mine in class awhile back, told me that he tried but everyone and everything around him tempted him into going back to his old ways. I pray for this guy everyday. The devil will throw at us temptations that are so hard for us to drop. Whether it be one night stands, getting hammered, drugs, or even pornography. These are all corrupting temptations. We must remove ourselves from these situations and stay away from them until we feel strong enough to slowly come back and face them. I didn’t give up everything over night it took time and yes I did slip up several times but I am forgiven. Time with God, time in prayer and time in reading the bible is the training we need. I removed myself because I knew if I stayed I would not have turned into the man God wants me to be. In Matthew 11:29-30 says "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” What a wonderful picture, Jesus is giving to those who are exhausted, weary and burdened from carrying the load by themselves! What a comfort, peace, joy and rest it is to know that Jesus is right with us, walking with us, teaching us and strengthening us side by side With the love and help from God I was able to train myself into the follower of Christ that doesn’t give in to meaningless things. The greatest thing to remember is, is God is right there waiting for you to come to him wholeheartedly. He is ready to shoulder the massive stack of worries, pain, and doubts that you have. The real question is are you ready? Are you ready to take that step and change your life forever? I can honestly tell you I’ve been there, I’ve hit rock bottom. The only thing that brought me to my feet was God who was right there with me. I’m going to close this one with a story for all of you.

One Night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to him and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you you'd walk with me all the way, but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me." The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."