April 2, 2017
Jesus Came to Give Life
Why do you follow Jesus? Before you answer that question, take some time later today and meditate on the question. It is a vital question because it is the foundation of your heart. DO you come to Jesus because you’ve always been a “church goer” or because it is something you’ve always done. Did someone promise you that if you followed Jesus he’d make sure that everything in your life would be ok?
In John 6 there were people who came to Jesus for the wrong reason, they had their bellies full and wanted more (Jn. 6:26). Do we just want Jesus for his stuff or because we get Him? Do we come to Jesus hoping that all our financial needs will be met or that we’ll never experience pain in life? Do we see Him as the bread of life? Is Jesus enough? Does Jesus consume us or are we ok settling for scraps? Is our relationship with Jesus in flux based on the ups and downs of life or constant regardless of what life throws at us? Jesus came to give us a life so radical that nothing can come between us and Him (Rm. 8:31-35). The great thing about all of it is, we get Him, and the world gets to see Him through us. Why we follow Jesus is important because the world is watching.
April 16, 2017
If God, Why Evil
One of the most used arguments against God’s existence is the presence of evil in our world. I cannot tell you how many times someone has asked me, “if God exists, why is there evil in the world?” This question is an emotional question and therefore demands an answer because someone, somewhere, has experienced the tolls of evil. How often do we hear about a shooting, rape, robbery, genocide, bombing of civilians in the news? The question is, where does God fit into the equation or does He?
First, it should be noted that evil can arise from humankind abusing free will. By this I mean, that since God desires people to freely choose Him, He must also grant the possibility that they freely reject Him as well. Therefore, in the case that people freely reject God and His framework for their lives, they become evil. Furthermore, in becoming evil they enact evil on the people or populations around them. For example, communist China sought to exterminate Christianity from its country during the reign of Mao. Clearly, the government of China at the time had no desire to follow the tenants of God, and rejected Him.
Does this automatically mean that God does not exist? In both Old and New Testaments, there are clear examples where both evil people, societies, and leaders exist and yet God continues to work His divine plan. Furthermore, who is to say that God couldn’t or wouldn’t use certain instances of evil to accomplish His plan? In Acts 1, Jesus notes that the apostles would be His witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. He accomplish his goal through persecution, starting in Acts 8. Maybe the clearest depiction is seen on the cross, where an innocent man was beaten, mocked, scourged, stripped, and nailed to a cross, but then rose from the grave. God used that cross to show how deplorable sin was but how willing He was to redeem humankind from the bondage of sin.
Considering these facts, the existence of evil does not negate the existence of God.
(from the weekly Church Bulletin)
April 9, 2017
Free to Be All Things for God
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-23, the inspired writer Paul states,
“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law…"
Paul, was a master at meeting people where they were, regardless of religious preference, personals circumstances, or spiritual knowledge. Paul found a way to connect with those who weren’t like him. He was not a slave to his own personal idiosyncrasies. He tossed those aside for the spread of the gospel. Too often we meet people where we think they should be, not where they are spiritually.Let us have the ability to meet people and connect with people where they are spiritually. It worked for Paul in the first century; it certainly can work for the church in the 21st century.
Gastonia Church of Christ