Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jesus is a Myth


For several years, billboards loudly proclaiming that Jesus is a myth have sprung up around Christmas time. Various atheists’ groups are proud to claim responsibility. One such sign, recently erected in Times Square, depicts a rendition of Jesus with the words “Jesus is a Myth”. As a Christian, I could not be happier…once again, Jesus gets free advertisement. I almost feel bad for Buddha (originally, Siddhattha Gotama), Shiva, Vishnu, Muhammad, Joseph Smith, L. Ron Hubbard, and thousands of others who apparently do not rise to the level of concern for atheists. Only Jesus of Nazareth rises to such distinction. So strong are their feelings towards Him that they will give their greatest resource—money—just to tell others about Him. Praise the Lord!
In business, there is a saying, “There is no such thing as bad publicity.” Church buildings are boring. Christians are often very boring. But posting something that goes against all logic, historical evidence, and long-standing acceptance is exciting. It grabs one’s attention and makes them question the truthfulness or falsehood of the statement.

I love this technique, and I’ve personally challenged hundreds of students throughout the years to spend a week or two of their life, using all of their intellect and research abilities, to try to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. I believe the fastest way to saving faith or unbearable realization that Jesus indeed lived, died, and rose again is to aggressively study the evidence for the resurrection. My prayer is that people will read that sign in New York, question their beliefs, and set out to understand why they believe what they believe (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Tim. 2:15; et al.). That is, if they claim Christianity, why do they believe? And if they are atheists, why do they see the facts of history differently than over 90% of the world? The simple truth is one side is right, while the other is wrong, and there is no middle ground.
One thing is certain; atheists have already proven a man named Jesus lived, died, his body disappeared within three days of His burial and is still missing, and He was so impactful on society that the known world changed due to Him and Him alone. How do we know this? Atheists, agnostics, and many brilliant lovers of knowledge have spent 2,000 years trying to prove where His body went after His burial. Implicit in their study is the foregone conclusion that a man named Jesus lived, died, was buried, His body is gone, and He changed some of the world’s most ardent religious followers as well as pagans, thus why they spend their time, money, and talent on one point: where did His body go? Intriguing to me is that without even opening the bible, only listening to the naysayers, I can already firmly know that Jesus lived, died, and His body is missing. So again, the only remaining question is, “Where did He go?”
Please, my atheistic friends, I sincerely beg you to continue to put billboards up, go on news channels and argue your point, and enter the halls of learning. God wants His people to get ready for the coming years of trouble with an unshakable faith, and the only way to remain strong is to know that you know that you know. Christians need a good dare to motivate their lazy minds, and apparently, the best way to strengthen the gospel is via a good challenge/persecution.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.” Genesis 50:20

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

FALLING! I Should be Dead

Back in the day, I was a proficient 5.10 rock climber and an occasional 5.11. One day, my good friend and I, went to my favorite climbing spot, Crowders Mountain outside Charlotte, NC. Desiring a “cool” picture for my desk, I decided to climb without the aid of a safety rope. After all, the pitch was something a child could climb, a 5.4, and I only had a few feet of 5.11 at the top to create an awesome print. I informed my friend to take the picture when I was hanging by one hand and my other hand was in my chalk bag. Everything was going as planned until I reached my left hand into the bag. That’s when the unexpected happened—the rock broke.
In the picture, you can see the rock in my right hand and my body instinctively moving into a defensive stance, preparing for impact. I recall thinking, “Well, this is it” as I faced a 150’ fall to my death. As my body picked up speed, my right knee and left forearm struck a small knife-edge rock formation. That edge strike shoved my body up the mountain instead of backwards as I would have expected. I then fell another ten feet into a tiny crevice, onto my hip and head. As I regained consciousness, my friend rushed to my side and off to the emergency room we went for some exhilaratingly fun pressure burst wound scrubbing and many stitches.
I knew the risks of ignoring the safety line. I had fallen dozens of times and felt that beautiful feeling as the rope tightens and the harness cinches around my legs and hips. “Alright, lower me down” I would yell to the bilayer, only to attempt the route again. But this time was different. This time I’d tried something for the first time; I went without a firm anchor point, I went on my own strength, and I miscalculated the strength of the rock.
I wonder how many of my friends and family who rightly mocked my poor decision to go without a safety line, miss the fact that they are doing something far more foolish. That is, while what I did had immediate physical ramifications, theirs has eternal consequences. They have chosen to put their trust in the fragile world that is clearly broken. The rocks they grab continually crumble and turn to dust before their eyes, yet they repeat the process believing that the next rock will hold their weight. Or the one they are forever grasping after will be the firm anchor point they need.
The truth is there is only one unmovable Rock. There is only one unbreakable Anchor who has not budged despite the incessant pounding of atheists, agnostics, and haters of righteousness. We are all climbing the rock face of life; some are on 5.4 while others are at 5.14+ pitches. Eventually, everyone will fall. The only difference is some will have that Safety Line, while others will have chosen to trust the brittle rock.
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” Psalm 18:2