Posts Tagged ‘ simple man of God ’

The Core Facts: Despairing Disciples

Here is another friendly reminder to go read the wise words written by the men at Proverbial Thought!

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

Last week I began the study of the Core Facts, starting with Jesus’ death on the cross. And I remind you that these posts are not meant to be exhaustive arguments on these topics. I currently do not have the time for that! Rather, these are a brief synopsis of the main points.

This week I continue with the second of The Four Core Facts:

The Despair of the Disciples

There are two main reasons why the Disciples being desperate is true:

  1. the Jews (of which all of the initial Disciples were) were expecting a Messiah to overthrow the pagan government; and
  2. it was shameful to record faults of heroes of the story.

On point number one, as was discussed last week, the Jews were expecting Israel to be freed from oppressive rule by a great King.

One example of the Disciples’ fervor for a conquering King is demonstrated while travelling through Samaria on the way to Jerusalem for the last time:

As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?”

Luke 9: 51-54

One example that they did not expect their Messiah to die comes immediately after Peter’s confession that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah:

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Matthew 16:21-22

Imagine being in their shoes … er … sandals. They are expecting the heir of King David to come to the rescue, restore Israel, and lead them as King …

… not die.

If you saw your unstoppable leader killed, would you not be emotionally destroyed?

If you saw your Lord being taken away by soldiers, put on trial, flogged (beaten, whipped, and tortured), and crucified, do you think you would run in and try to save the day or run and hide?

This leads to point number two: The Gospels recorded the Disciples running away!

Throughout history, those who have written history have generally put themselves in the best possible light. The epics written of old showed individuals and armies alike running into danger to rescue a friend, a leader, or an army. Individuals confronted hundreds or thousands of soldiers to save the day. Mere mortals braved the pain and torment of the Underworld to save a loved one.

The first leaders of the Church fled and hid. Then they told everyone about it!

At the time of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, they forgot He ever said that He must be killed and raised back to life. Peter even denied his best friend of the previous three years!

Some might argue that this kind of thing happens all the time, but I urge you to look into the current world of politics. Rarely do we see a politician taking the rap for a mistake, let alone deserting friends. If they do own up to it, usually it is to cast it in a good light.

The Disciples knew what they did was sad and wrong. They owned up to it.

Even today that shows someone who is honest and therefore trustworthy.

These were heartbroken men, literally scared for their lives, who believed their Lord and Messiah died. They had enough reason to suspect that they could also be arrested and even crucified for inciting a rebellion.

Perhaps they even thought they were wrong all along about who Jesus is.

Talk about an existential crisis.

Fortunately for them, within three days they were redeemed (on so many levels).

It changed their lives.

But that is for next week when I cover Core Fact #3: The Change in the Disciples’ Willingness to Die

Are there any thoughts on this?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 08/12/2012

Another friendly reminder comes from me to you
to check out Proverbial Thought and all of its timeless truth.

It is still amazing that, although I planned these poems for these days months ago, they match up with the topic of the blog for the month.

Jesus Christ truly is who He claimed to be, God, and He proved it by rising from the dead. He is all we need.

i only want to seek You out

to know You intimately

my passion for You is growing

You are now all that i need

without Your presence in my life

my soul groans out in agony

as i cry out to my Lord and King

would You come dwell inside of me

You are my only driving passion

without You i will cease to be

fill me now with all Your Love

Your holy glory let me see

make me everything You have planned

until the day my soul is released

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 129.

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?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 08/05/2012

As I do the series on the CORE Facts and Values, it is fitting that the first Weekend Words post would be about believing that what God says is true. The guys and I over at Proverbial Thought help show how trustworthy the Bible is from beginning to end.

We can trust the Bible. We can trust that what Jesus said is true.

a child of God

i want to trust in all You say
my heart tends to walk astray
but i pray to You everyday
to make me a child of God
i try to constantly think and pray
in Your Love is where i want to stay
help me hold my doubt at bay
and make me a child of God
i know my own will i must pay
all my desires must die and decay
Your Will and desires i want today
as You make me a child of God

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 123.

Believing and KNOWING

In recent decades there has been a dangerous trend of youth leaving the Church, most of them leaving after graduation or in the first year or two of college.

Barna tells us that it is about two-thirds (approximately 66%) who leave.

Answers in Genesis tells us that most teens are already gone before high school even starts, but they wait until after graduation to physically leave.

Barna tells us one reason is because 84% of young adults within the church (18-29 years old) do not know how the Bible can relate, in effect, to real life.

Answers in Genesis says the main reason for all of this is that the message of churches for a very long time has been “Believe in Jesus! The rest does not matter!” Yet, our schools tend to teach students, primary/elementary through college, that many of the claims within the Bible have been refuted by science. (Just a few months ago I talked with a teacher who believes archaeology has proven King David never existed, though four years ago evidence of a united Israeli kingdom from 3000 years ago was found near the site where David fought Goliath according to the Bible.)

(Not) Giving Up the Fight

It would seem, then, that Christians have by and large given up on growing believers to love the Lord their God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Answers in Genesis may be written off as crazy by some, and I admit that I think there are a few things they push that are not exactly what I would push as important as other things, but they exist for the sole purpose of training up believers to know what they believe and why. They want to see a church not ashamed of the Gospel and able to properly defend it.

Our youth group is right there.

Therefore, I will be doing a series on what our youth group, The CORE, teaches.

These are:

The CORE Facts:

The CORE Values:

  1. Desperate pursuit of God
  2. Diligent prayer
  3. Consecrated heart
  4. Focused life

Which lead to The CORE Mission:

The Core exists to make a worldwide impact for Christ through fervent prayer and by living consecrated lives.

I trust you are intrigued and will come back for more!

I know our youth enjoyed the lessons, and I pray I can do justice and bless you with the information.

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 07/29/2012

Do not forget to check out David’s commentary today over at Proverbial Thought!

In the middle of the hottest months of the year, I offer a humble look at what our Lord has done for us.

I do not pretend to understand why God loves us so much. I only know that He does and proved it through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Why Us?

Would You look at us.
We are unscrupulous,
We are blasphemous,
All too often callous,
Living lives that are unjust,
Sending each other back to the dust.
For these reasons You sent Jesus.
Why do You love us?
Though we’re dangerous
And live perilous,
Your love is vigorous,
Your will ingenious,
Working with the tedious
To make us prosperous.
Though we are ruthless,
And we are vicious,
Your mind is tireless,
Your arm knows no weakness.
Your will ferocious
With loving kindness
Seeking the baseless
And the soulless,
The overly ambitious,
And the barbarous,
Spiritually delirious,
Of these You’re envious.
You come after us,
Show us You’re glorious,
For our attention, jealous.
Your actions are momentous,
Your love miraculous
Also continuous,
Informing the oblivious
And taming the ludicrous.
You change the obvious
Into the outrageous,
Make the serendipitous
Part of Your purpose.
You are so splendiferous
Taking the rebellious
And reigning victorious!

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, pages 105-106.

What Love Do You Have?

Today I offer part two of the devotional time from the recent trip to the Desperation Youth Conference. Again, it has been adapted for the blog.

This devotion is taken from 1 Kings 3.

Have you read that?

Good.

Seeking Wisdom

Many Bibles title that chapter “Solomon Asks for Wisdom” or something like that.

I now invite you to read the entire book of Proverbs. (You can also head over to Proverbial Thought for some excellent commentary!) If you do not read it all right now, I understand.

Solomon made the right choice. Wisdom is the ultimate thing you can get. If Proverbs 8 is compared to John 1, we understand that Jesus Christ is the Wisdom of God.
Wisdom helps us understand what God is doing in our life: Wisdom guides us to God; Wisdom helps us understand when the Holy Spirit is working in us or God is working in our circumstances

The usual theme for this passage is Solomon’s wisdom shining through.
It is a good example. Imitate Solomon in this regard!
But this is not the theme of our lesson today.

These two women are prostitutes. This helps explain why they were living together, they both had children, and there are no fathers mentioned.
In a previous devotion we discussed crazy things: Things that happen to us, things that we hear about hapening to others, and things God calls us to do. Imagine being labeled a prostitute, kind of like being called a slut in school or the workplace. Everyone knows you have this reputation. Would you be willing to go before anybody, let alone a king, to fight for your rights if everyone thinks you are practically worthless?
These women going before Solomon would be like school bullies going before the principal saying one stole the other’s stolen lunch money. Society did not look very highly on them! This is a crazy or even silly situation (at face value).

The real point of this devotion, however, is this:
What is your most favorite thing or person?

Would you … could you give that thing or that person up? Would you be willing to let your worst enemy take it? Would you be willing to let your girlfriend/boyfriend go to another person? Would you give up your child?

“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Matthew 10:37-39

One of my favorite definitions of hate is that it means you love something more than another thing.

And the Wisdom that leads us to God, is Christ Himself. If you claim to love Jesus Christ, are you willing to give up your life for Him? Do you love Him enough to give up your life?

Just like prostitute who cried out to let her baby live with the other woman if it would spare his life, are you willing to say “Lord Jesus, take my life and do with it as you will!”?