Feb 27, 2010

Sunday Soaking - No apologies here... what do YOU believe?

apologetics: “rational, non-emotional defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity”

If you ask my husband, he would more than likely say that the concept of true apologetics probably doesn't exist inside my body, because I cannot separate out my emotions from any aspect of my life, which is generally true about me.  However, if there was any one thing in my life I could step back from and look at with a semblance of rationality, my faith in God is definitely that one thing.

Don't get me wrong, I can be very emotional about God, but I don't find myself getting hot and bothered by people who attack or deny Him.  I will explain more about that over the next couple of weeks, as I offer a few ideas regarding the Truth about who Jesus of Nazareth really was.  I challenge you to pick a question or two and comment, no matter if you are a long-time believer, an atheist or a person with another, firmly held, religious philosophy, I would love to hear your thoughts. Without further ado... I give you my first week...

What are your earliest memories of church? Take a moment and think about it. For some of you, it might be that you never went to church because you have another faith, for others, you may have gone with Grandparents or relatives a few times a year. Others might have years of experience going to church. What do you remember?

 
 The book I will be using as a jumping-off point is a great book written by a guy named Lee Strobel.  It's called "The Case for Christ".  Lee was an Atheist and investigative reporter whose wife became a Christian.  Fearful of his wife getting all "religious" on him, he set out to disprove the tenets of the Christian faith.  The detail and exhaustive research this guy did is really quite impressive.
“If you were selected for a jury in a real trial, you would be asked to affirm up front that you haven’t formed any preconceptions about the case. You would be required to vow that you would be open minded and fair, drawing you conclusions based on the weight of the facts and not on your whims or prejudices. You would be urged to thoughtfully consider the credibility of the witnesses, carefully sift the testimony, and rigorously subject the evidence to your common sense and logic.” Lee Strobel

 Are you in a place where you would be willing to look at the facts of this case?  Would you be willing to even consider that Jesus was who He said He was? While still an atheist, Lee’s initial conclusion was this: If Christianity is true, it has huge implications for one’s life. What do you think he meant by this statement?
  • What best represents your current position regarding what you believe about Jesus Christ?
  • What are your biggest questions or objections regarding Jesus Christ or the Christian faith?
  • What level of confidence do you have that Jesus is an actual historical figure?
  • How possible is it for us to know if Jesus was, in fact, divine?

Romans 3:21-26 The Message paraphrase:
“But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us.
Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it's now—this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.”

This is a passage is a pretty concise description of what Christians believe. It covers sin, faith and Jesus’ sacrifice for us. How much thought have you given to what the Bible says about Christ?  

As for me, my confidence in the reality of God is a huge part of what defines me.  If it turned out to all be false or made up, I am pretty sure I would find myself in a deep, dark depression, because for me, Christianity and more importantly, my relationship with Christ, fills my life with such peace and hope, without it, I would be quite empty. 


What about YOU?

Just me, AJ

7 comments:

  1. Without Christ, there is no me. Aside from the fact that I was created by God, so there would literally be "no me" without Him...I am who I am because of the faith and knowledge of Him. I am certainly not oozing Christ in every action I take or word I utter (that would be swell, though!), but many moments of my day are spent talking to Him, thanking Him, asking Him for help. I'm a mom of 3 - I can't do LIFE without Him! And I started that book several years ago...didn't get very far. Must pick it up and try again. Love you!

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  2. I love Romans, every time I read thru it I always think,,, if people read Romans they must believe. I always think Jews must read Romans, but I know it is not that simple.
    My first memory of church was going with my neighbor when I was 8 and going to the whirly birds:O) Then I started having dreams about the Devil and my mom said I couldn't go to church any more:O(! Which is weird, if your kid is dreaming about Satan, church is the first place she should be:O)

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  3. I really like this part.
    Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we're in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear. God decided on this course of action in full view of the public—to set the world in the clear with himself through the sacrifice of Jesus, finally taking care of the sins he had so patiently endured. This is not only clear, but it's now—this is current history! God sets things right. He also makes it possible for us to live in his rightness.”

    That is beautiful. And so true! My hubby read, "A case for Christ" by Lee Strobel--we have it our hosue somewhere--(we have a TON of books)
    I should read it sometime.
    Yes, without my faith in Christ, I don't know where I would be either.

    Earliest memory of me going to church? Not sure if I can remember back that far. And not that I'm old either. I attend church EVERY week so maybe the earliest memory got forgotten or something. LOL.

    Anyhoodles, what a good reminder for us all! I like the fact you posted quite a post on Sunday even. Thanks!

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  4. I love this post...It's amazing when the Lord is driving a point home. He really knows how to do it :)
    Just last Sunday our teacher challenged us to truly study and know in our minds and not just our emotions who Christ is. The Lord has given us many "reasons" to believe in Him also! Obviously He really wants me to do this! He also showed me Isaiah 50:4-5 (check it out) He's equipping us to know him not just emotionally but we're supposed to love him with all our minds also! So that we can be approved workman ready to give an account for the hope that is in us! Thanks for giving your account!!!

    I've been in church my whole life, but it's amazing to me how I sat in a pew for so many years and never really knew the Lord I was singing to. I had to take those songs and make them my own for it to become precious to me! (maybe that made sense :)

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  5. More than ever, my belief that Jesus was a real guy who walked this earth and died to cover our sins for an eternity and then was resurrected, is strengthened and sustained! There is so much concrete evidence for this, for those that need it, myself included. As I read the bible, as I read Lee Strobel, as I read every single thing I can get my hands on, it is apparent that God new just what we needed in order to believe. He knew just the questions we would ask. And then He left the answers, sprinkled about. I think the best and most exciting evidence for the resurrection of Christ (after satisfying myself that the gospels are trustworthy and accurate) is the fact that the disciples all went out and preached the gospel passionately and with little to no gain for themselves and much persecution and suffering. This is a 180 from denying they even knew Jesus the day he was crucified! Only a visit from the resurrected Christ could turn a scared and doubting man into an empowered and passionate preacher. I find that so powerful!! And exciting!

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  6. SPEAKING FROM THE CRIBMarch 1, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    my earliest church memories are good ones. my grandpa was the minister and both my parent's families attended the church. i would sit by my grandma and she would give me her compact and i would put powder on my face with that soft beige sponge the entire time. i also remember kneeling on those hard wooden floors to pray while my grandpa went on for what seemed like FOREVER! this has inspired me to write about these memories! someday soon! i'll give ya a shout out!

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  7. To tell you the truth, I am an atheist. I am not a typical atheist, though, I am one who wishes that he could believe. I hope every day that something may happen to change my opinion. I would never tear down someones faith or beliefs.

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