Posts Tagged ‘ Resurrection ’

Engine Change

Firstly, here is your regular reminder to get some good ol wisdom from Proverbial Thought.

Perhaps you have heard the line – or even said it yourself – “I believe I can get to heaven, because I am basically a good person. I do a lot of good things, at least way more than the bad I do!”

There are a few reasons why this is wrong, and I will explain this some a little later.

First, a story:

Engine Change

You are a car. You were built with the modern combustion engine, and you run on gasoline. As you drive around, you occasionally speed or roll through a stop sign; but overall you follow the rules, let people merge ahead of you, let people take the closer parking spot at the store, and do your best to keep your engine running well.

One day, you realize that the way you are living is actually harming your surroundings and causing some issues within your engine, because it runs ever-so-hot and fills the air with corrosive and poisonous gases. You decide to clean up your act! You switch to a biofuel, like E-85. You still live much the same way, but now you have much less of an effect on your surroundings. Good for you! You are now the envy of so many other cars who wish to live the same way as you!

There is still one problem: No matter what kind of fuel you use or how well you drive, you are still polluting your environment even just a little. No matter how well you drive, even if you follow all of the rules of the road and let every one else get ahead of you on the road and in the parking areas, you still pollute your environment at least a little. Your good intentions will always stain your environment and hurt the air.

One day, you learn of the Master Mechanic. When you choose to let the Master Mechanic work in your life, he offers an upgrade you can not get on your own. He switches out your engine for a fuel cell and tells you to obey all traffic laws and offer your spot on the roads and in parking areas. He tells you that you have to come to Him regularly to ensure your engine is running smoothly. In the process, you will no longer pollute the air or run too hot. Instead, all you produce clean, pure water. You may still drip the occasional break fluid or wiper fluid when you forget to check in with the Master Mechanic, but He fixes you right up and helps you clean the spills when you remember to spend time with Him.

Did you get it?

Perhaps this was a little too straight-forward, but here is the explanation:

Our hearts are like the engines. While we eventually come to realize that our actions have consequences, that we can do many things to make our bodies run efficiently and healthy by changing habits or diet, we still have a problem. We may occasionally do truly selfless acts, but we all have selfish motives at one time or another. We all deny God in some way at one time or another. We all put ourselves in the place of God at one time or another.

This is called sin. One sin is enough to taint every part of our lives. No matter how good our intentions, we all will fail in the end to live perfectly pure and clean lives. A car that runs on biofuels will still require oil to help the engine run smoothly. A person doing good works will still do many things with selfish intentions, or make something (including their good works) more important than God, or they may think they might have the control that God alone has to decide who suffers and who does not or who lives or dies.

Good Intentions

What a person like this fails to realize is that even good intentions can lead to horrible results. I know of someone who once was told by his dad not to let anyone touch the car in the driveway. It seems like a simple enough request. His friend called and said, “I need a ride to the store, can you help?” He thought, “Sure. What could be the harm of a quick five-minute drive?”

His friend came over, and they pulled out of the driveway. At the stop sign at the end of the block, they rolled through the stop sign and were struck by another car. His friend was killed almost instantly.

You see, his dad wanted no one to use the car, because his dad had gone to find new brakes having taken the ones from the car to match.

This young man had good intentions, but his desire to do something good at the sake of disobeying his father led to drastic repercussions.

It must be remembered that even our good intentions may have unintended consequences. Think of the age-old cliché “Be careful what you wish for!” As the show Once Upon a Time … puts it, “Magic comes at a price.” There are countless ways to express this.

The Whole Point

Here is what it all means:

Apart from the work of Messiah Jesus through the Holy Spirit living in us, we can do nothing on our own to get us to Heaven. While we are capable of good works on our own, they are meaningless without God. We must believe in the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus, that He brought us grace, forgiveness, and peace for our sins.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Isaiah 64:6

As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God. All have turned away,
they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
“Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
     “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

. . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God . . .
Romans 3:10-18, 23

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

2 Corinthians 5:17, 14-15

Back from the Dead: Merciful Death – A Repost

As I work on finishing up my degree (especially Calculus, at the moment!), I need a break from some things. As you saw last week, I had a guest blogger, and there will be more in the future. For this week, I am taking us back to one of the more popular posts from my blog last year. I also found it fitting leading up to my birthday and All Hallows’ Eve next week! Feel free to comment and add to the discussion!

Merciful Death

Cross Walk 2008

Me doing the Cross Walk in 2008

If we honestly looked around our world, we could see plenty of good reasons why people would want to take their lives. Sad? Definitely.

Sorry to be gloomy and maybe even a bit sick, but what if they are on to something?

Sweet Death

I read an article recently in Christian Research Journal (Vol. 34, No. 2, 2011) titled “A Christian View of Human Nature“. The author, John S. Hammet, had this to say about death:

Moreover, may not the end of life in this world be a severe mercy from God? True, death entered the world as the punishment for sin, but a punishment that opened the door to mercy. For once humans had fallen and become like God in knowing, not just good, but now evil, God intervened: “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and live forever” (Gen. 3:22). It was the mercy of God that established the limitation of life as a fallen human; as redeemed persons, we are welcomed to the tree of life (Rev. 22:3).

Not only could God have allowed death as a mercy to get away from the suffering we brought upon ourselves (and for the record, I am not making any arguments today about the afterlife for all people; this is just about this life), but He used death to defeat death!

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

But:

Since the children have flesh and blood, [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

From the beginning, God showed us mercy through death. Even if you do not hold to Hammet’s take, here are some examples:

What do you think? Is death God once again showing His grace in the midst of our punishment?

The Core Facts: The Crucifixion

I may not be the most eloquent nor wise, but to get some good truth and wisdom go check out Proverbial Thought. If nothing else, the proverbs are excellent!

Also, the youth pastor with whom I work speaks on all of this. Find Jesse Bollinger at Fervent Youth.

Last week I implicitly made some bold assertions: Christians have faith in provable facts, and only a handful of facts should be enough to prove that assertion.

In other words, Christians should not and do not have a blind faith (though there are some who claim it is, both within and outside of the Church), and it is justifiable to say so.

And right off the bat, let me say that if someone says there is no evidence that Jesus of Nazareth even existed, they are being intellectually dishonest. The mere fact that Christianity has existed since the first century is more than enough evidence. I will even make the statement now that I will delete comments that seriously offer that argument. It is not censorship, it is keeping the garbage and the trolls out.

Also, one great resource to find all of this information (though not necessarily an exhaustive source, though they source very well) is I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek (Crossway, 2004).

Now, and finally, on to the first of the Four Core Facts:

Jesus’ Death on the Cross

First for the obvious argument: A crucifixion is not hard to believe in area of Palestine 2,000 years ago. People were crucified left and right throughout the Roman Empire, rather literally.

Secondly, we know there were many people claiming to be the Messiah since at least the Maccabean Revolt until the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. (Yeah, I used A.D. and am not afraid to use it!) It is not unheard of to have “messiahs” crucified. They were calling for the downfall (or at the very least to be left alone by) the Roman Empire. We still treat treason as a capital offense today.

Poor Pontius Pilate, while by no means innocent, is given a bad rap during the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Most scholars agree that Barabbas (the man released when Jesus was crucified) was one of these messiahs. We need to remember that Pilate was in charge of keeping the peace. He would want to squelch any insurrection before it happened, if possible. He knew that Jesus was not trying to overthrow Rome, but he also knew that the Jews might very well all rise up if he did not acquiesce to their demand to kill Jesus.

This man just wanted to keep the peace (even if he hated the Jews).

Thirdly, Hebrews have long and largely believed that the Messiah, or Christ, would be a man who would arise and defeat all of Israel’s enemies, effectively making them not only a viable world power but perhaps even the strongest (depending on to whom you talk). This man would not be defeated but be more triumphant than King David ever was!

Further, the Jews have believed that there would be only one resurrection in all of history: at the very end of history as we understand it!

Fourthly, there are many arguments about Jesus fainting on the cross (“Swoon Theory”), that the Disciples stole the body, that the Jews/Romans hid the body, or that there was mass hallucination within the Disciples making them think they saw a resurrected Jesus.

  • This first point also works within the third Core Fact, but it must be explained here, as well. If the Disciples stole the body, they would know the Resurrection was a lie. People generally do not die willingly for a lie (though a lot of movies and TV shows have people doing it quite a bit). Especially when faced with intense and prolonged pain or death, people usually come clean.
  • If the Jews and/or Roman authorities hid the body, they could have easily stopped the expansion of the Church by revealing the dead body.
  • The same argument can be made for mass hallucination: the authorities could have easily stopped the Church by revealing the dead body.
  • I am still surprised people still use the argument of “Swoon Theory”. Here is why: 1) He was flogged with a whip with metal balls or pieces of metal and/or glass fragments in the tails. He was bleeding from all over His body before even making it to the cross. 2) He had a crown of thorns (thorns up to two or three inches long) pushed on his head … more blood. 3) He was wrapped in a purple robe, which would have rubbed on his fresh wounds and pulled out any scabs when it was pulled off. He lost even more blood. 4) He was crucified by having his arms stretched out to either side (potentially dislocating His shoulders), having nails run through His wrists (more blood) causing paralysis of his hands, having a nail run through His feet (more blood) effectively making Him crippled, and having a spear thrust into His side (more blood, if there was much of any left). 5) He was buried for at least 36 hours and as much as 80 hours without any food or water to help revive Him. 6) He would have had to roll away a heavy stone and overpower two Roman soldiers to escape … after all of that other stuff having happened to Him.

Not likely.

Lastly, even though the Gospels may not have been written for at least 30-40 years, they were written to a) spread the Gospel to people and b) combat stories which had arisen contrary to the truth. This means the story was definitely well-circulated before they were even written, and there was plenty of time to have fact-checked the story before then.

Even after the gospels were written, it would have been possible to fact-check most if not all of the story being presented. Whether that be by people were still alive and had been there or by checking with the government and locals! (“Were those governors and kings really there?” “Are these places really in existence?”)

In truth, this post could go on for another thousand words briefly covering other evidences for the Crucifixion.

I think this is more than enough evidence, though.

Next week, I delve into Core Fact #2: The Despair of the Disciples

I would like to think you found this informative, or at least a good reminder of some points.

Are there any other thoughts on the matter?

Unrecognized

First of all, do not forget that I contribute to a blog giving commentary on the book of Proverbs, Proverbial Thought. Go check it out. Sign up to receive the updates!

The other day I went to a barbershop and received a shave and a hairscut. My wife watched as the barber worked, yet when I arose from the chair she barely recognized me. This is a woman who has known me for more than three years, yet she still had to do a double-take.

How could a woman who has known me for so long and loves me so dearly not recognize me immediately?

This past Sunday was Resurrection Sunday, or as it is commonly known, Easter. Something similar happened when Jesus arose from the dead.

Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
John 20:10-16

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

. . .

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
Luke 24:13-35

Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”

“No,” they answered.

He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
John 21:2-7

Jesus’ disciples, men and women alike, who had spent more than three years spending almost every moment near Jesus, essentially had to do a double-take. They did not recognize the risen Lord.

They had the wrong perspective.

My wife was still thinking of me with a beard. She had to change her thinking to recognize the new me.

These disciples were still thinking about how their Lord had died. They were still thinking in the old way.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
2 Corinthians 5:16

While I am on the subject, Christ’s resurrection gives us a hope of similar un-recognizability.

First spiritually:

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

Then completely:

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
Philippians 3:20-21

When this world is overcome – figuratively, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically (which fully happens when Christ returns) – the world does not recognize the new, the pure, the holy.

The new is not something different. The new is the cleaned up, purified original. All of the clutter and mess is removed (the old is gone), and the power of Christ restores us and perfects us into His likeness.

Are you able to recognize Jesus Christ in this world? Does this world recognize you as another part of this world, or does this world not recognize you at all?

Balancing Our Prophet Deficit

Over the weekend the Rapture did not happen. I just thought I would fill you in case you were wondering. (For the record: Harold Camping is now saying that everything is happening on October 21. There is no longer a final Tribulation period, just the final act.)

Now we are faced with the question:

What do we do with Harold Camping?

Really, the question is “What do we do with false prophets and teachers, heretics, blasphemers, sinful brothers and sisters, and every other supposed Christian who messes up in some way?”

I have poked some fun at our friend Harold. I even do that for people with whom I agree! It is just the kind of great guy that I am. I must say, however, that I am quite put out by the number of people raking this guy over the coals. Do you not realize that this public display of renunciation in such a manner helps prove right those who want nothing to do with Christianity?

Do not get me wrong. He has done something that should not be condoned, and we should denounce his actions and teaching concerning this past weekend’s non-event. To ignore it or even praise it would send the signal to those outside the Church or those struggling within the Church that we are okay with dissenters and those who misuse Scripture and the name of God, and we are therefore deserving of their ridicule. To publicly call the guy names and attempt to smear his reputation is childish and exactly what we see happening in our culture with people every day. How is that the Church being better than the world?

Instead, we have two biblical models to follow:

  1. Tell the man to stop. If he refuses, simply have nothing to do with him. We should “hand him over to Satan” in hopes he will actually be purged of his sins (read the link). Then we respond to his claims so that the world knows what is going on, but we also make it clear he does not speak for all of us. Done. No name calling. No character assassination (admit it, a false prophecy is enough to do that). No helping the non-Christian masses with defaming our faith and our Lord.
  2. Tell the man to stop. If he refuses, treat him like a sinner. What are we supposed to do with sinners? Love them unconditionally in the hopes that they see their error, but we do not condone what they are doing.

Once again, I am guilty of what I am speaking against. I have joked around at his expense, albeit I kept it between myself and friends. I am not saying it is any better in God’s sight. I might still be guilty of leading others astray. However, we should strive to win over as many as possible through our love and loving actions towards each other.

Any thoughts on how we should treat Harold Camping, and any others who consistently sin? What does it mean to excommunicate a fellow believer in this day? Should we excommunicate him? (Quite honestly, it seems he already was by many Christians)

Expectant Religion

So …

ARE YOU READY?

There are some who claim that Jesus Christ is returning about 24 hours from the time I type this to rapture His Church. Family Radio (not Family Life Radio, mind you), founded and run by Harold Camping, is the entity putting forth this information.

Of course, going against them is Jesus’ own words in Matthew 24:36: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

A note in the NIV says that some manuscripts do not have “nor the Son,” but that does not change my next point.

They could be right.

A friend and I agree they could, in fact, be right, but it would be ironically funny if God used someone who has been wrong before about the date of Christ’s return. It would also be sad since part of the claim is that many who live relatively righteous lives but follow two false teachings from their churches – confessing members are safe and that no man can know the day or hour – are doomed. It is also sad in that we know all people who do not attend church or believe in Jesus Christ, which is about two-thirds of the planet’s population, are doomed. I am not arguing those numbers.

However, I have heard some great teachings about this that make quite a bit of sense.

God has not revealed the day or hour of the end, because He wants us to work hard the whole time until the end. See the parable of the ten virgins, for example.

God has not revealed the day or hour of the end, because He knows most people would have sat back until the last few days or even moments doing whatever they like. If most of us know the time something is going to happen, we tend to not worry about that event until we need to. See the parable of the talents, specifically the last guy given one talent. He did not do anything wrong, per se, but he did not do anything right, either.

Between Jesus telling us no one knows (other than God) and these parables, it seems rather clear to me that we cannot know the day or hour.

What Harold Camping and his followers got right

I am going to go out on a limb and say that these people have it wrong. Tomorrow is not the day of the Rapture.

What they have right is that they have been living their lives attempting to win over as many people as possible. They have attempted to warn everyone. They have tried to bring as many as possible into the loving fold of God’s mighty hand.

They have lived expecting Christ to return soon!

The early Church lived this way. There are some people living this way today. How do we know we have not been doing our job?

Europe used to be almost entirely Christian. The United States of America was founded on biblical principles, yet less than half of us attend church regularly if at all. Most people I know say they believe that Jesus is returning, yet the vast majority of them know little to nothing about what the Bible says about it.

Harold Camping has gotten people to get excited about winning people over for the Lord, and many of us sit and debate about why he is wrong or right or how it will happen. This is not bad in and of itself, but it is wrong when most people do not reach out to others with our knowledge.

I am not saying everyone needs to become biblical scholars. I am saying we need to find that love for God and others that we evidently lack. I know I am personally lacking!

What do you think? Are we within a day of seeing Christ’s return, or are we within 36 hours of knowing we do not know? How are we doing as the Church? Am I way off base, or do we seriously need to work on our relationship with God?

Weekend Words and Sunday Stanzas – 04/24/2011

HAPPY RESURRECTION SUNDAY!

How do you know this day is important? As Chuck Swindoll says “What other event do we celebrate 52 times a year?” We remember the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth every Sunday, but this week commemorates the actual day (even if it is usually off slightly, it is like communion … in remembrance).

and so It begins
daniel m  klem

Jesus is on the cross
held with my sin
but i am forgiven
for He is risen
the Father revived
the Son to live
and He loves us
even after His strife
He gave His Son
so we may live
and now through Christ
God will forgive
Jesus is the one
that set us free
and i can love
because of He
who died on the
cross for the world
that we can praise
God and His Word

Taken from the book simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p. 99.

risen

daniel m  klem

the curtain torn
the tomb now sealed
God watching as
His angels work
the lights flashing
thunder clapping
the joy surrounds
all in heaven
explosions  cheers
lightning  thunder
flashes  novas

on earth  Jesus
taking a breath
opening eyes
He sits straight up
removes the cloths
folds them neatly
rises and leaves

Taken from the book simple words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m klem, p. 132.

HE IS RISEN!

Merciful Death

Cross Walk 2008

Me doing the Cross Walk in 2008

If we honestly looked around our world, we could see plenty of good reasons why people would want to take their lives. Sad? Definitely.

Sorry to be gloomy and maybe even a bit sick, but what if they are on to something?

Sweet Death

I read an article recently in Christian Research Journal (Vol. 34, No. 2, 2011) titled “A Christian View of Human Nature“. The author, John S. Hammet, had this to say about death:

Moreover, may not the end of life in this world be a severe mercy from God? True, death entered the world as the punishment for sin, but a punishment that opened the door to mercy. For once humans had fallen and become like God in knowing, not just good, but now evil, God intervened: “He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and live forever” (Gen. 3:22). It was the mercy of God that established the limitation of life as a fallen human; as redeemed persons, we are welcomed to the tree of life (Rev. 22:3).

Not only could God have allowed death as a mercy to get away from the suffering we brought upon ourselves (and for the record, I am not making any arguments today about the afterlife for all people; this is just about this life), but He used death to defeat death!

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

But:

Since the children have flesh and blood, [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

From the beginning, God showed us mercy through death. Even if you do not hold to Hammet’s take, here are some examples:

What do you think? Is death God once again showing His grace in the midst of our punishment?

Rising Second Title

Earlier we heard from Mark about faith in Christ and the importance of the Resurrection. I have some other thoughts.

Today is Groundhog Day! This is the day a bunch of American’s put their faith in a small mammal who rises out of the ground to tell us whether we have to wait six more weeks for spring or should expect spring to come on March 20. So many people put their faith in this tiny creature to let them know if we have to wait 42 days to see the snowy season end or … 46 days.

Do those four days really matter? And, really, the hope is that it is an early spring will come if the little guy does not see his shadow. A few funny tidbits about Phil and his history:

  1. His predictions are frequently “Long winter”, sometimes for multiple years in a row, with “Early spring” never being repeated a year after it was last reported. That is rather pessimistic!
  2. Out of 115 predictions, 15 (13%) have been early spring.
  3. Out of 115 predictions, 45 (roughly 39%) have been correct.

To be fair, the Bible tends to be rather pessimistic, as well:

  1. All (as in all people. Every single person, minus One … but He was also fully God) have sinned.
  2. Israel could not listen, and they had to be disciplined.
  3. Our world will get worse before it gets better.

 This can cause a lot of us to doubt our world, the Word, and even weather predictions! (That order seems off)

Consider this:

  1. How many Bible prophecies have been proven false? (Honestly. Not “there is no evidence” quotes from people who have barely even touched a Bible)   0 (Zero).
  2. How many religions have founders who died, rose to life again, and have not died since?   1 (One).
  3. How many religions have changed how time itself is measured?   1 (One).

It seems that the Bible is rather reliable, and Christianity seems to be the best … nay, the ONLY real option. It really is centered around the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. There are some great places discussing this very thing (Most recently at Matt Appling’s blog). It is through the cross we are truly introduced to God’s grace, another central point. It is through the cross we were given forgiveness. It was the Resurrection that solidified the deal forever, justifying us by signing the check that was written in His blood to pay for our sins.

It is not faith in a furry animal that gives us peace. It is not weather forecasts or cute productions that allay our fears of death and judgment. It is all through the death and Resurrection of Jesus the Christ.

What doubts do you still have? What fears keep you from moving forward? Where are you placing your faith, your trust? Who do you reveal your worries and concerns to? What hope do you hold on to?

My Life with Jesus (My first ever Guest Blog!)

Look at how amazing I am! New to blogging, yet I already have a guest blogger! Meet Mark. He is pretty amazing, too, but I am teaching him a few amazing things. Enjoy!

Dr. Luke  Timothy Johnson in his book  The Real Jesus: The Misguided Quest for the Historical Jesus and the Truth of the Traditional Gospels asks a very pointed question.   Is Jesus dead or alive?  The question seems awfully irrelevant  doesn’t it?  In our post-modern world existence or non-existence of something or someone  really does not matter  it only matters on our perception of things.  I doubt we treat our mortgage, car payment, and credit card bills  the same way.  Scholars for years have been doing their best to discover who Jesus really was.  Books have chronicled Jesus as Mediterranean peasant, iconic sage, and even a most holy prophet.

His words have been analyzed over and his steps have been traced.  The study of Jesus has made many scholars  famous, i.e.  John Dominic Crossan.  Scholars treat Jesus solely as a figure of the past to be studied and analyzed.  I am concerned that we as Bible believing evangelicals fall into the same dangers.  The pulpit in America is devoid of sermons detailing the most pivotal event in human history.  The event I am speaking of is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Easter seems to be the only time that this event is preached.  Liberal mainline denominations have treated the resurrection story in a very postmodern way.  “The reality of the physical resurrection of Jesus is not important, it only matters how it makes you feel.”  Resurrection has been reduced to a  feel-good, happy, ethereal feeling.  I want to state unequivocally that the actual resurrection of Jesus matters.  I want to share about my life with Jesus.

Jesus Christ is not simply a figure in the past to be studied and analyzed.  I may be able to learn about Jesus by studying the gospels and tracing His steps and studying all His sayings.  Learning about Jesus is not the same as learning from Jesus.  I live my life as a disciple of the living Jesus.  My day consists of hearing from Him as the living incarnate Word.  I also learn from Him as I hear Him speak through the Holy Spirit, and as He guides me on a daily basis.  “Jesus wanted: Dead or alive.  I choose Jesus alive as One who is real and continually leading me and guiding me to the truths of His Word.  You may only choose to study about Jesus, but I choose to learn from Him.  We need to change our vocabulary from “Jesus was” to “Jesus is.”

History has enough great names in the past to learn about.  Einstein taught us about relativity.  Galileo taught us about astronomy.  Newton taught us about Gravity.  The men I mentioned are all dead and gone and their legacy lives on, and we are grateful for their contribution.  Jesus stands out from all others, because He not only walked this earth and endured every pain and sorrow on the cross for us, but He conquered the grave and beat death, thus securing our salvation by rising from the dead! (I Corinthians 15)

Today, be ever mindful that Jesus wants to teach you something today.  My life with Jesus is a life full of hope, because I know that Jesus is alive.

SOLIA DE GLORIA!