Happy Easter. Yes, we're still celebrating Easter. Let me tell you why that is so important. A couple weeks ago, we saw the angels telling those women at the tomb to "remember" what Jesus had said and "remember" what that meant. That week, my article probably used the word "remember" 20 times. Then, last week, the word was "believe" as Thomas got his doubts smashed by the absolute facts of the truth that Christ is risen.
Over the past few weeks we have been examining the claims of the book, "The Jesus Family Tomb." The authors of this work want their readers to believe that we now have hard physical evidence that Jesus did not rise from the dead, but rather has been found interred in what they claim is the family tomb.
Last week, I wrote about how one little task changes entire lives: Just Remember! The women at Jesus' empty tomb went from shock and sorrow to hope and joy because they were reminded of Jesus' promises. They remembered that they should have expected this victory. They should know it: Jesus lives. And that means your life has purpose.
Last week in this column I introduced the subject of the Jesus Family Tomb. According to the authors of the book by that title, this tomb, officially called the Talpiot Tomb, is the final resting place for Jesus of Nazareth. The authors claim that the odds for this tomb being the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth is 2.5 million to one in its favor. Startling odds. If it can be proven, the whole message of the New Testament is destroyed. So what are the facts?
Last week, being Easter, I wrote on the resurrection. Thomas Arnold, chair of modern History at Oxford, said, "I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of the fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead" (McDowell: "The New Evidence that Demands ...
What makes that picture bring tears to your eyes? What makes that song bring a smile to your face? Or, on the flipside, what makes that voice to you like fingernails on a chalkboard? One thing - memories. Memories change all your experiences; they fill your life with emotion. Now, the big thing is - what are you remembering? Because what you remember will change your life, for good or bad.
We call this Good Friday. Think about that - "good." We call it good when we see a man die - and not just die, die brutally. "Good." On this day we contemplate the most famous six hours in the history of the world. We witness through the record in scripture the most talked about execution that has ever happened. On Good Friday, we remember the blood and the brutality of scourge and nail and thorn. And we call it "Good."
There are two questions I often ask people who claim to be Christians. First, I ask them why they are Christians and second I ask them what I would have to do to make them doubt the validity of their faith. Now that second question may seem strange coming from a pastor, but it is a question that we as Christians must adequately answer.
March Madness! You know what I'm talking about. Our country goes crazy over this basketball tournament. If you've ever found yourself yelling your cheers at a television set watching a game, you get it. If you've ever seen the fans who are actually at those games - you understand why we call it March Madness. Can you explain the urge to wave signs, scream yourself horse and high-five complete strangers? Madness.
Well, this Sunday in the church year is what I like to think of as March Madness - God style. It's Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode ...
I am in a series exploring the classic proofs for God. Let me clarify for you that these "proofs" are not final proof positive for God, rather they are more like clues or evidence which, when looked at, lead us to certain conclusions concerning the existence or, for some, the non-existence of God. Personally I find the clues given us by the arguments of these classic evidences compelling.
Do you like to make big decisions? There are so many factors to weigh, so many pros and cons to sift through, so many variables to consider. Wouldn't it be nice if God just made all the decisions for us?
Well, he loves us too much for that - so, after making us his own, he gives us the ability to make some decisions. Realize, this is not something to take lightly. The decisions we make have a pretty profound impact on who we become. Thankfully, God gives us some guidance.
Last week I began a series of articles on the subject of evidences for God. While "no man has seen God" (God the Father that is-John 1:18), that doesn't mean that we cannot know that there is a God. (Psalm 19; Romans 1). Indeed that verse in John 1:18 goes on to say, "No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known" (John 1:18, ESV).
Last week, we saw Jesus teaching us why bad things happen. If you missed that one, check online at www.covnews.com or the full sermon at www.abidinggrace.com. But this week, I want to look at the flipside of that - why good things happen. We got a preview of that when last week Jesus told us to repent when we saw bad things because we are really the ones that deserve them. Repentance is turning around. So now the reason for good things happening is pretty clear.
As if it wasn't bad enough that an earthquake devastated Haiti, now Chile too. What's going on? Why did so many people have to lose their homes, their stuff, their lives? Or I suppose we could make it more personal: Why did my loved one have to die? Why did I have to get sick? Have you ever asked questions like that? How you ever lamented that things just weren't fair?
Lately I have been asked a recurring question by various individuals. The question is, "Can you prove there is a God?" Generally my first response to such a question is, "I can certainly give you the evidence for why I believe there is a God, but before I do that, I need to know, what evidence are you prepared to accept?"