Posts Tagged ‘ simple man of God ’

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!”?

Weekend Words & Sunday Stanzas – 07/22/2012

A simple one is all I have for today, and do not forget Proverbial Thought!. Today’s poem is a message of hope and encouragement from our Lord and God.

Do not be deceived, my child.

All that happens in this world
That is bad is not of my will.

I can make it all work for my plan,
And I do, but it is not of me.

Turn to me and I will help you.

Taken from deeper words for God from a simple man of God by daniel m  klem, page 104.

Destroyed and Renewed

During the trip to Colorado Springs for the Desperation Youth Conference we had daily devotionals with our kiddos. It was a blast. Here is the second one we did with them (with a few modifications for the blog!):

God’s Fire

There are two parts to fire: Destruction and Renewal. We throw a piece of paper into a fire to get rid of it, but crews will go into a forest and purposely burn swaths of land to create a barrier to stop a forest fire from spreading. God has one fire, but it can both purify and destroy. Trusting in God tempers us so that we endure and are refined. Without trust in God, all one can expect is destruction.

1. The recent wildfires destroyed tens of thousands of acres (hundreds of square miles) of forest and several hundred homes. Overall, though, that destruction provides nutrients to and restores the soil, and this can help forests grow stronger in the long run.

2. Do you know how a silversmith knows when he has removed most impurities from silver?

This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.
Zechariah 13:9

God will put us in the refining fire to work out impurities. This can be through circumstances and conviction by the Holy Spirit. There will be pain involved, but it is to make us better (like a forest being burned to create more and sustaining life).

3. Many people lost everything: homes, mementoes, belongings. Most will realize they still have their lives. Like the forest, they may rebuild and even become stronger. With insurance they may even get new and better things. As we go through life we will endure many trials and suffer many losses, but we shall be rewarded for our faithfulness.

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.”
Zechariah 3:1-4

How does the silversmith know when the impurities have been removed from the silver?

After putting the silver in the fire, all of the impurities float to the top and are scraped off. This is done until the silversmith can look at the silver and see his (or her!) reflection shining back.

John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
Luke 3:16

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Galatians 3:26-27

Jesus baptizes us with fire to purify us. The Holy Spirit both pushes us through that fire and strengthens and encourages us as we pass through. When we come out on the other side, the Father can look at us and see His Son Jesus Christ shining back!