Like many Christians, my family has been blessed over the past 20 years by the music of the Newsboys. Surprisingly, the co-founder of the group renounced Christianity in 2007. And so it is worthwhile to consider a way back home for this disenchanted band member.
No one knows God simply by virtue of being alive. It takes an "aha" moment so to speak. It requires divine revelation, which brings about an understanding of grace and salvation. This is how a person is welcomed into the family of God.
You probably know that "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho." These words from the popular children's song describe a remarkable event when "the walls came tumbling down." But did you know that Joshua's battles point to the victory which every Christian can experience over sin? We glean spiritual insights as we consider the land which God's people came to possess after Jericho.
Was the sacrificial system of the Old Testament merely a misguided attempt to appease man's Creator? And when Jesus arrived on the scene, did His Father have any interest in His Son becoming a "sacrifice" for sins? Or was that concept simply an outdated approach which had no real bearing upon God's love and His acceptance of man?
Since we are living in a day of grace, does God still command people to repent of their sin? Or is that simply a thing of the past? Just how important is repentance in our modern world?
Christians regularly point to scientific evidence in our efforts to encourage people to believe God exists, and ultimately, to believe in Christ as Savior. But not everyone is convinced by the evidence. Not by a long shot. In fact, some unbelievers actually seem to resent it when Christians use science while attempting to lead people to God. So what's really going on here?
What if there was a spring of water right here in the United States which contained supernatural healing power? Some folks seem to think such a spring actually exists, and that it is located in Blackville, South Carolina. In order to reach this fountain of youth, you must drive about an hour south of Columbia, and then enter the woods in your quest to reach these natural springs.
Some people simply refuse to be swayed in the direction of Christianity, even in the face of an obvious miracle. But that really shouldn't surprise us. There were people who personally witnessed the miracles of Christ, and yet still managed to persist in their unbelief. They dug in their heels even in the presence of God's supernatural demonstrations. And if they could cling to their unbelief with the Messiah standing right in front of them, anyone can do it.
G.K. Chesterton wrote, "To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless." And if there is one thing everyone needs, it is genuine hope.
As Christians around the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, it is interesting to note that Bethlehem has a rich Messianic significance in Judaism. Not only did the Jewish scribes in Jesus' day understand Bethlehem's destiny, but so did Jewish scholars prior to Christ's birth, and after the Lord's resurrection.
I received a lengthy e-mail recently from a Christian in Wales. Having experienced much personal loss in his life, he wrote, "I rarely have peace." At the same time, he described times of worship when God's peace has filled his soul. So is this normal, and perhaps even to be expected in the life of a believer?
I enjoy listening to Charles Krauthammer. This Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist brilliantly weaves together logic, common sense, and the principles of freedom. Yet for all of his dogmatism in the realm of politics, he doesn't spend much time discussing faith and religion.
The Scottish minister Hugh Blair said, "Gentleness corrects whatever is offensive in our manner." If you doubt that fact, just ask someone who is married. The tone in the home can make or break a marriage. This is why every marriage tune-up requires a communication tone down.
What if your life on earth ultimately boiled down to one simple question? And what if a correct answer to that question made everything else come into focus? You do realize don't you that this is exactly what the Bible and Christianity teach about God. It all boils down to one question. If you get it right, you're home free.
Intellect and morality operate on different tracks. Intellect has to do with knowledge. Morality has to do with motive and behavior.
Marijuana is widely regarded as a "gateway" drug, which leads some users to experiment with more serious drugs. In a similar way, every time we sin against God's commands, we commit a "gateway" sin. That is to say, our sin often leads us to engage in other types of sinful behavior.
Christianity hinges on the resurrection of Christ. If it didn't happen, there is no forgiveness or eternal salvation for anyone. But if it didn't happen, surely the critics of Christ would have easily been able to produce His dead body. After all, they had plenty of time to do it, and all the clout to get the job done. And yet they came up empty.
What if everyone in the world was a follower of Jesus Christ? And not just in name, but in reality. Imagine if everyone knew the love of the Savior and then shared that love with those around them. What would this world look like?
This is gut check time for liberals. And it's due to more than just the tidal wave of the midterm elections. Things have been getting dicey for some time as more and more chinks in the armor of liberalism become exposed.
So if God really wants everyone in heaven forever, why does the Bible teach that many people won't end up there? (see Matthew 7:13,14 and Daniel 12:2) That is hard to comprehend, especially when Scripture clearly states,"God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) So does He or doesn't He?
So you say you refuse to believe in a God who allows so much suffering in the world. OK. You have obviously given this matter some thought. But have you considered it rationally?
If you listen to people who have transitioned out of homosexuality, you discover a common thread. They took deliberate steps and experienced various degrees of success during their transition. But they eventually made it. They have come out.
"Should we have one central congregation with many locations and video teaching for all? Or multiple congregations in many locations with live teaching for all?" Seattle-based Mars Hill Church has chosen to go with the latter. Mars Hill decided to dissolve in order to multiply. And here are some things that will get multiplied through their decision:
Nik Wallenda amazed the world Sunday night as he walked on a tightrope between Chicago skyscrapers. One of his two trips across was even completed while wearing a blindfold. No safety net. No harness. But plenty of confidence, and certainly a ton of skill.
It's not natural to know God as your friend. It just isn't. That is, until you enter a supernatural relationship with your Creator. Only then does it feel "natural" to talk to God as a friend.