My daughter, Kia, sent this to me last week. She had written her own "encourager" and felt compelled to share it...
Jesus is Alive
"The basic Christian story of creation, fall, promise, and fulfillment is clearly discernible in Scripture to those who can see a good beyond this world and whose minds recognize that charity is beyond the intellect. For people whose desires are merely worldly, the Bible has no appeal whatsoever." -Blaise Pascal, Three Outsiders, p. 45Is the Bible appealing to us? Well, as Christians our answer is yes. That book is full of truth and promises that provide hope for us in this hopeless world. But are we actually reading the Bible every day or are we doing it as a chore? What in our life or in our thoughts is preventing us from depending on God for everything? If we fully comprehend that we are nothing without him, we can't help but soak up his Word daily in order to be filled with life. We should be praying continually to show devotion to him, to thank him, and to be with him. We should be seeking to risk and tell everyone we come in contact with about his love.
I think about the disciples (Luke 24:13-49). This past Easter I was thinking about the switch that occurred in them after the resurrection. For some reason I think of them as some of the best, most faithful followers of Jesus. But they made so many mistakes when they were with Jesus. There are examples in the gospels of them misinterpreting what Jesus taught and prophesied. It wasn't until after the resurrection, when Jesus died for their sins and they had evidence of his resurrection that they tapped into the power of the resurrection. That is when they became all in, full of boldness and passion. Just like the disciples, we can't be fully committed to Jesus and his mission until we recognize the power of the resurrection.
How can we do that? I know in my life, I need to set aside time to reflect on who I am. I think about my human, sinful nature and how naturally selfish my thoughts are. I need to recognize that Jesus is the only one who knows me to the core, the good, the bad, and the super sinful. He loves me so much that he took the punishment that I fully deserve. Now, I am alive. I can truly live in freedom because of what he's done. By taking time to remember and reflect on that often, then the reality of the resurrection becomes a stronger part of us. And we can start living like it actually radically changed us. Take a listen to the song Resurrecting by Elevation Worship. There is a line that sings "the resurrected king is resurrecting me" may we live that out.
A girl who loves Jesus,
Am I a Christian if I have doubts whether the resurrection, the virgin birth and miracles really took place? Is it possible to be a follower of Jesus and believe that these outlandish miracles are just legend and myth?
How would you respond to questions like these?
What would your attitude be like towards them? What would your tone and how much time would you give them to discuss these questions? How would you treat this person?
As I read the four biographies of Jesus, I am always amazed at the time Jesus gave to people with questions even if the questions were traps to trick Him and make Him look bad. I am also amazed at how Jesus really listened to the questioner and what really was behind their questions. Was is genuine or a trap? Was it fear or anger? Was the real issue clearly expressed or did Jesus have to draw out the real issue in their mind and soul?
One of the younger brothers of Jesus whose life was radically transformed by the risen Jesus wrote, "Be merciful to those who doubt." Jude 1:22
Do we have the love of Jesus to be merciful to our family, friends, neighbors and co-workers who have doubts about Jesus? Do we seek to build relationships with those who doubt or reject Jesus by serving them and giving to them? Are we willing to risk and start a spiritual conversation to see how the Holy Spirit might unleash a spiritual adventure?
Jesus said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.... Love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:30
Is our first response to peoples' questions a mission to win the spiritual argument? Or is our first response one of value, dignity, kindness and love? Jesus explained that others will know that we are Christians by how we love them.
As we respond with love, how do we intellectually respond to these very important, life changing questions?
Do we have patience and time to explain so much evidence like the first eyewitnesses who were women in a culture that did not even allow women to testify in court? Or the life-depending job description of the Roman Soldiers to do their jobs? Or the medical evidence that reveals Jesus' death? Or the countless eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus? Or the hundreds and thousands of Jews converting almost overnight to Jesus whom they so wanted to get rid of and did? Or how no one can prove or disprove God's existence? So how much of a stretch is it to believe that a God who created the universe cannot do miracles? And so much more evidence....
Seeking to be more and more like Jesus. Knowing that I wrestle with my old nature every day.
Grateful for the evidence Jesus clearly left for all to examine, discuss and enough to make logical conclusions,
"When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs.56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons." Mathew 27:50-56
"When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away." Luke 23:48
How did the Centurion and other Romans soldiers respond to the death of Jesus?
How did the women respond to the death of Jesus?
How did the crowds respond to the death of Jesus?
How did the disciples respond to the death of Jesus?
How do you respond to the death of Jesus?
How do your family and friends respond to the death of Jesus?
Humbly in awe of the messy, illegal, false accusations and bloody crucifixion,
"Paul went to the synagogue to reason with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and he spoke daily in the public square to all who happened to be there." Acts 17:17
When was the last time you had a conversation about Jesus with someone who does not believe?
Let's eavesdrop on the following conversation between two friends....
Vick: I've come to the conclusion that all world religions are illogical. With Christianity it's a lot of concepts, one being the trinity.
Matt: Well, let's take a look at the Trinity quickly. The Trinity is the doctrine that there is one God who exists in three persons: Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are not three gods. Now, what about that is illogical?
Vick: Well, for starters, why? Why exist in 3 persons?
Matt: Asking why is not an issue of logic but of curiosity. The Trinity is not illogical. Asking "Why" really isn't the issue. Do you see my point?
Vick: Yea, I see. But I can't see why that would be essential for him to survive, or anything for that matter
Vick: Not to mention the idea of a trinity was not popular until well after the 1st century.
Matt: We do not know if it is or it is not essential that God be a Trinity--though I assume it is because that is what He is. We Christians simply state that the Trinity is the doctrine revealed in scripture. It is what God has revealed about himself. Take for example the concept of time. Time exists in three parts: past, present, and future. Each is not the other. But each shares the same nature: time--so, too, with space which is height, width, and depth. Matter is solid, liquid, and gas. You live in the trinity of trinities. Why would the concept of the Trinity be so difficult to accept? The Bible says in Romans 1 that God's nature is revealed in creation. It is all around us. Also, it does not matter if the Trinity was popular or not before or after the first century. The issue is whether or not the Bible teaches it. The Church merely took a while to recognize what the Bible said about God's nature. What they concluded was what we call the Trinity.
Vick: As you refer to the Bible, there are a lot of things about the Bible I do not like....
What adventure is Jesus leading you to dialogue about?
What are you learning as you have these potential life-changing conversations?
How is the Holy Spirit guiding you?
Let's join in on life-changing conversations about Jesus.
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.