How do we know the Bible is true?

2 11 2006

There have been hundreds of books written on the subject of the evidences of the divine inspiration of the Bible, and these evidences are many and varied. Most people today, unfortunately, have not read any of these books. In fact, few have even read the Bible itself! Thus, many people tend to go along with the popular delusion that the Bible is full of mistakes and is no longer relevant to our modern world.

Nevertheless the Bible writers claimed repeatedly that they were transmitting the very Word of God, infallible and authoritative in the highest degree. This is an amazing thing for any writer to say, and if the forty or so men who wrote the Scriptures were wrong in these claims, then they must have been lying, or insane, or both.

But, on the other hand, if the greatest and most influential book of the ages, containing the most beautiful literature and the most perfect moral code ever devised, was written by deceiving fanatics, then what hope is there for ever finding meaning and purpose in this world?

If one will seriously investigate these Biblical evidences, he will find that their claims of divine inspiration (stated over 3,000 times, in various ways) were amply justified.

Fulfilled Prophecies

The remarkable evidence of fulfilled prophecy is just one case in point. Hundreds of Bible prophecies have been fulfilled, specifically and meticulously, often long after the prophetic writer had passed away.

For example, Daniel the prophet predicted in about 538 BC (Daniel 9:24-27) that Christ would come as Israel’s promised Savior and Prince 483 years after the Persian emperor would give the Jews authority to rebuild Jerusalem, which was then in ruins. This was clearly and definitely fulfilled, hundreds of years later.

There are extensive prophecies dealing with individual nations and cities and with the course of history in general, all of which have been literally fulfilled. More than 300 prophecies were fulfilled by Christ Himself at His first coming. Other prophecies deal with the spread of Christianity, as well as various false religions, and many other subjects.

There is no other book, ancient or modern, like this. The vague, and usually erroneous, prophecies of people like Jeanne Dixon, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and others like them are not in the same category at all, and neither are other religious books such as the Koran, the Confucian Analects, and similar religious writings. Only the Bible manifests this remarkable prophetic evidence, and it does so on such a tremendous scale as to render completely absurd any explanation other than divine revelation.

Unique Historical Accuracy

The historical accuracy of the Scriptures is likewise in a class by itself, far superior to the written records of Egypt, Assyria, and other early nations. Archeological confirmations of the Biblical record have been almost innumerable in the last century. Dr. Nelson Glueck, probably the greatest modern authority on Israeli archeology, has said:

“No archeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.”

(For more info. on Archaeological  findings relative to the bible then look in the page “Questions of Christ” at the very top right)

 

Scientific Accuracy

Another striking evidence of divine inspiration is found in the fact that many of the principles of modern science were recorded as facts of nature in the Bible long before scientist confirmed them experimentally. A sampling of these would include:

  • Roundness of the earth (Isaiah 40:22)
  • Almost infinite extent of the sidereal universe (Isaiah 55:9)
  • Law of conservation of mass and energy (II Peter 3:7)
  • Hydrologic cycle (Ecclesiastes 1:7)
  • Vast number of stars (Jeremiah 33:22)
  • Law of increasing entropy (Psalm 102:25-27)
  • Paramount importance of blood in life processes (Leviticus 17:11)
  • Atmospheric circulation (Ecclesiastes 1:6)
  • Gravitational field (Job 26:7)
  • and many others.

These are not stated in the technical jargon of modern science, of course, but in terms of the basic world of man’s everyday experience; nevertheless, they are completely in accord with the most modern scientific facts.

It is significant also that no real mistake has ever been demonstrated in the Bible — in science, in history, or in any other subject. Many have been claimed, of course, but conservative Bible scholars have always been able to work out reasonable solutions to all such problems.

(for scientific findings and theories with the bible look in the above given page or the “Scientific” category of the blog in mid-right)

Unique Structure

The remarkable structure of the Bible should also be stressed. Although it is a collection of 66 books, written by 40 or more different men over a period of 2,000 years, it is clearly one Book, with perfect unity and consistency throughout.

The individual writers, at the time of writing, had no idea that their message was eventually to be incorporated into such a Book, but each nevertheless fits perfectly into place and serves its own unique purpose as a component of the whole. Anyone who diligently studies the Bible will continually find remarkable structural and mathematical patterns woven throughout its fabric, with an intricacy and symmetry incapable of explanation by chance or collusion.

The one consistent theme of the Bible, developing in grandeur from Genesis to Revelation, is God’s great work in the creation and redemption of all things, through His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 





How can a God of love send anybody to Hell?

1 11 2006

Before I write this post, I wanted to point you to a new page which is to your right called “Questions….”. Check out guys. Anyway back to this topic:

One of the classic problems that people bring up is: How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Well, there are several answers to that.

One of course is that God doesn’t send anyone to Hell. You send yourself there. God has done everything He possibly can to keep you out of Hell and still leave you as a person with free will and not just a robot. That’s the way He made us–after His image, after His likeness, the power to say “yes” or the power to say “no,” the power to reject our own Creator, and of course to take the consequences. In one sense you can say He doesn’t send anybody to Hell, because across the road to Hell he has placed the cross of Christ. There are also the prayers of parents, pastors and Sunday school teachers, and all the other things that God brings into our lives to stop us on our selfish way and to bring us to the Savior. We have to go wandering on past it all and put ourselves in Hell.

Sometimes you hear people say, “God wouldn’t send His children to Hell.” God certainly doesn’t send His children to Hell because when we’re His children we’re in the family of God. We’re born again and part of our salvation includes deliverance from judgment. We’re not all children of God except through faith in Christ Jesus.

Can a God of love send anyone to Hell? You might as well ask some other question to make just as much sense. Does God allow disease in the world? Does God allow jails and prisons for some people? Does God allow the electric chair sometimes? Does God allow sin to break homes and hearts? Does God allow war? All of these things are the consequences of sin entering into the world, and in some cases the direct result of man’s rebellion, and the result of greed and pride and egotism and hunger for power that doesn’t have any use for people–only the desire to get ahead.

This is the incredible fruit of sin. Sin brings suffering into the world. There’s no way of getting around it. And the greatest sin in the world is to reject the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

We have our catalog of sins. We have rape and incest and murder; and we have them all cataloged and classified–but there isn’t one of them (or even put them all together in one big hunk) that comes close to the sin of keeping Jesus Christ out of your life. Did Jesus say, “I’m going to send the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin because they rob banks”– or, “because they believe not on me”?

It is folly to expect that you or I can trifle with the Lord Jesus and not have a penalty attached to it. What ridiculous thinking people have in this area! We expect penalties for doing much less. Life is just built that way.

You jump off a high building, the law of gravity will take care of you. You might say, “God is love,” all the way down, but you’re still going to get splattered when you hit the bottom! You break the law of gravity, and it breaks you! You may love your little child, but if he puts his finger up on that hot burner on the gas stove or the electric stove, he’s going to get burned!

Fire burns. Gravity kills. Water drowns. And you can say, “God is love, God is love, God is love,” until you’re blue in the face. But water will still drown you, fire will burn you, and gravity will kill you, and sin will damn you no matter how much you say about a loving God.

God just set up life that way. He set up the rules. He set up the laws by which we are to live. And if we break those laws, they break us, and we pay the consequences.





Aren’t all religions basically the same?

1 11 2006

Why do Christians insist that one must believe in Christ to be saved?

“When Christians, Jews, Buddhists, and others pray to their god, all of those individuals are actually praying to the same god, but simply using different names for that deity.”

—registered opinion of four of every ten Australian adults (Census religious poll)

Are these Australians right or wrong? Mahatma Gandhi of India once said:

“The soul of religion is one, but it is encased in a multitude of forms.”

Is this true or false?

“In reality, there is only one religion, the religion of God. This one religion is continually evolving, and each particular religious system represents a stage in the evolution of the whole,” claims the Bahá’í faith on its official Web site at bahai.org.

Are the Bahá’ís correct or incorrect? What about the Hindus?

“In whatever way men approach Me, even so do I go to them.”

—quoted from the Hindu scripture by Swami Chidananda of Divine Life Society

Is Christianity’s claim of uniqueness and exclusivity misleading and baseless? Or is it necessarily true?

Even a cursory examination of comparative belief charts and data quickly reveals that different religions make very different truth claims on a number of even basic issues. And they do so in a definitive manner. In other words, as any knowledgeable student of comparative religions will tell you, every religion—not just Christianity—claims exclusivity.

Here are a few examples:

Nature of God

  • Christianity

— Monotheistic, personal

 
  • Buddhism
 

— Monistic, impersonal

 
 
  • Hinduism
 

— Monistic, polytheistic

 

Identity of Jesus Christ

  • Orthodox Christian

— Deity incarnate

 
  • Orthodox Jewish
 

— human only

Dr. Michael Green is an internationally respected author, speaker and scholar. He is currently Senior Research Fellow at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University, England. He recently authored the text “But Don’t All Religions Lead to God?,” Navigating the Multi-Faith Maze (Baker Book House, 2002). In this book, Dr. Green writes:

“Jesus is unique among religious leaders in claiming to bring God to our world in His own person and making good that claim by such powerful evidences.”

Green says that no other spiritual leader or teacher but Jesus Christ…

  1. ever claimed to bring God to man
  2. dealt radically with our wickedness
  3. broke the final barrier of death
  4. offers to “live inside” His followers

Apologist and author, C.S. Lewis said that when it comes to the categorical claims of Jesus Christ regarding His Divinity…

There is no half-way house, and there is no parallel in other religions. If you had gone to Buddha and asked him, ‘Are you the son of Brahah?’ he would have said, ‘My son, you are still in the vale of illusion.’

If you had gone to Socrates and asked, ‘Are you Zeus?’ he would have laughed at you.

If you had gone to Muhammad and asked, ‘Are you Allah?’ he would first have rent his clothes and then cut off your head.

 

Sin

  • Christian

— real moral trespass and condition of indebtedness before a holy, infinite-personal God

 
  • New Age
 

— ignorance; susceptibility to illusion; unprofitable behavior

 

Crucifixion and Resurrection

  • Christian

— historic fact

 
  • Islam
 

— deceptive myth

 

Salvation

  • Christian

— a gift of God’s grace

 
  • Islam
 

— only by observing Pillars

 
 
  • Scientology
 

— Dianetic counseling

 

Again, Dr. Michael Green writes:

“Perhaps the greatest difference of all [among religious views] lies in the Christian assertion that none of us can save ourselves and make ourselves acceptable to God, try as we may: all the other faiths assert that by keeping their teachings a person will be saved, fulfilled or reborn.”

Authority

  • Christianity

— the Bible alone

 
  • Mormonism
 

— the Bible plus

 
 
  • Christian Science
 

— the Bible plus

 
 
  • Roman Catholicism
 

— the Bible plus

 
 
  • Unification Church
 

— the Bible plus

 
 
  • Unity School
 

— the Bible plus

 
 
  • Way International
 

— the Bible plus

 
 
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses
 

— the Bible as per flawed New World translation

All religions are not the same — Biblical Christianity is absolutely unique among all the religions and philosophies of mankind. Its claim to be necessary for salvation is based squarely on the uniquely powerful evidences for its truth and finality. Actually, true Christianity is not a religion, but a person, Jesus Christ.

“By Him, and for Him, were all things created” (note Colossians 1:16, 17).

Thus, Christianity is unique in the following fundamental respects, among many others.

  1. Only in the Bible is God revealed as the one eternal, personal Creator, who brought the entire universe into existence by His own Word.All other religions start with the material universe as the only eternal reality, with their “gods” being essentially personifications of the natural forces which develop the universe into its present form.On the other hand, the Creator-God of the Bible has all power and is Himself, therefore, not only the One who created the universe but also the One who establishes the basis for human salvation.
  2. Christianity alone is centered in the historical events associated with a Person – the birth, death, resurrection, and imminent, glorious return of Jesus Christ.Other religions are invariably based on the teachings, rather than the acts, of their founders.
  3. Jesus Christ alone, of all men in history, has conquered man’s greatest enemy – death.The founders of other religions are all dead and their tombs venerated. The tomb of Christ is empty, and His bodily resurrection from the grave is the best proved fact of all history. The fact that He alone could overcome death demonstrates that He alone has all power. He Himself said,

    “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).

  4. All other religions of the world are fundamentally just one religion — one of salvation by works. Each religion sets up a particular set of religious rites, of commands and restrictions, and of ethical principles to follow, and then teaches that if a man does these things he will be saved. The human origin of each of these systems is indicated by the fact that each is humanly attainable.The Bible, however, sets its moral and ethical standard as the very holiness and perfection of God Himself, and demands nothing less than this for salvation. Obviously, no man would invent a standard which was utterly impossible for any man to keep.
  5. by The man Christ Jesus, alone of all men who ever lived, maintained in every respect a life of perfect holiness and full obedience to the Father, thus demonstrating that He was the God-Man. He then died for the sins of all men and thus can offer full pardon and His own nature of perfect holiness to anyone who receives Him .Christ alone offers salvationgrace alone, to be received only through faith in Him.To the one who truly believes on Him, He then gives through the Holy Spirit a new nature, enabling that one to live a life pleasing to God.

There is no mere “religion” in all the world like this. Jesus Christ is the world’s Creator, and its only true Redeemer.

“Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).





Hypocrisy in the Church–“I would never be a Christian; they’re a bunch of hypocrites.”

1 11 2006

It’s good to be back after that long series of exams and I wanted start with something that a lot of people think off. Hypocracy. A lot of people on this site the Church, bible and all the Jazz are hypocrites. But this fellow right, he wanted to reply to me but didn’t want to be rude on the site so he send me an e-mail about 3 days back which basically said ““I choose not to believe in the incredible hotchpotch of superstition which is Christianity… which is all the more understandable if you come from Northern Ireland, a place where religion has been the excuse for appalling barbarity.”

This man, like so many others with whom I have spoken over the years, claims to have rejected Christianity because of what he perceives to be blatant hypocrisy on the part of Christians, historically and presently — people who “profess what they don’t possess” — who are phony, empty, and hollow to the core.

Perhaps you, too, have felt justified in either avoiding or rejecting the Christian faith because of some instance(s) of disgusting hypocrisy that you have encountered in those identifying themselves as Christians. If so read on, as we offer four key responses to the line…

    “Hey, I would never be a Christian. I mean, look at all the hypocrites in the Church!”

“Well, we’d be glad to move over — there’s always room for one more. And furthermore, if you ever find the perfect church, please don’t join it. You’d spoil it.” Pointing fingers. Illustration copyrighted.

    Does that response strike you as a being a bit too smart-alecky? Perhaps so, but before you totally discount it, consider the point that is being made. Is this not a case of the pot calling the kettle black? Are not four fingers pointing back at you as you point at the Church? Are you not a bit like the father who once screamed at his teenage son: “Kid, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times — don’t exaggerate!”

“You’re right. There is far too much hypocrisy in the Church. And there always has been. But it’s certainly not being condoned.”

    An honest admission here may hopefully clear the air enough to make it evident that there are many men of integrity in the Church boldly crying out against hypocrisy today. Ravi Zacharias is one key evangelical church leader who has said, “The Bible’s condemnation of hypocrites is clear. The Bible also clearly pledges that God will judge hypocrites (Matthew 24:51). God is more angered by hypocrisy than we can ever be.” Addressing 10,000 itinerant preachers and evangelists in Amsterdam in the summer of 2000, Dr. Zacharias then went on to challenge his listeners with these words: “Why is it that a community that talks so much about supernatural transformation shows so little of that transformation? We will have to be men and women who embody the message that we are preaching, whose lives are faithful to the claims we are making.”

“Since when do you allow hypocrisy to determine your affiliation and participation?”

We’ve all heard of medical quacks — but have you you stopped going to the doctor? There have been news reports of hamburger contaminated with E. coli — but have you stopped eating Big Macs? Jonathan Pollard and Benedict Arnold were phony, hypocritical Americans — but are you planning to leave the country?

And where would you go anyway? With what faith would you ever align yourself? Certainly there are also hypocritical Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists. Even atheists. Like the fella who once participated in a formal debate with a minister. The atheist clearly out-debated the clergyman, but the minister was declared the winner because at the end of the debate, in a sudden flush of victory, the unbeliever shouted out: “Thank God I’m an atheist!”

You’re right — the Church is not perfect. But Christ is. Fasten your eyes on Him.”

    Cliff Knechtle in his book Give Me an Answer, © 1986 IVP writes: “We all either try to hide our bad sides or we try to make them look good. But deep inside we all know that we fall short of living the way we know we should. No one can escape the charge of “hypocrite” — no one except Jesus Himself. He is the only One who has lived up to God’s standards; the only One who has perfectly lived what He preached. Only through…Christ can we escape the penalty due our hypocrisy… By living within the security of Christ’s love, we are free to peel off masks and to become real, honest people.” Ruth Bell Graham, wife of international evangelist Billy Graham, shares the true account of a young college student from India by the name of Pashi who once told her, “I would like to believe in Christ. We of India would like to believe in Christ. But we have never seen a Christian who was like Christ.” Ruth Graham says that when she consulted Dr. Akbar Haqq about what might be the best response to Pashi’s challenge, Haqq answered decisively, “That is quite simple. I would tell Pashi, ‘I am not offering you Christians. I am offering you Christ.'”

    (the sudden change of font because this was basically my response to him)





Why can’t we see God?-A scientific explanation

19 10 2006

The string theory just offered a completely new concept about our universe. After I read an article on string theory, I was thrilled. This must be it! God must be there! He could be only a centimeter away from us without being detected. Physicists have discovered the mechanism that prevents us from seeing the Kingdom of God!The string theory has been developed for several decades, with a goal to become “the theory of everything”, that is, to unify all four fundamental forces – gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces. A revolutionary discovery of the theory is that the whole universe should have nine or ten dimensions of space, instead of three dimensions (length, width and height). Then, why do we see only three dimensions? In the earlier version of the string theory, it was assumed that those extra dimensions were too small to be observed. Thus, the whole universe is essentially the same as the 3D world. If this were true, there would be no place for God. Fortunately, a few years before 2000, researchers began to realize that those extra dimensions could be as large as the ordinary three dimensions. The reason why we cannot see extra dimensions is because all matter and electromagnetic waves (photons) are confined in a three dimensional sub-universe called “braneworld“.

At present, the major messenger we use to see or detect things is the electromagnetic waves which include radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, and x-ray. Since the electromagnetic waves are confined in our braneworld, this immediately explains why we cannot detect God if He lives outside our braneworld. The relationship between our braneworld (three dimensional) and the whole universe (ten dimensional) is like a TV screen (two dimensional) in our house (three dimensional). Suppose there is a creature confined on the TV screen, he cannot see us even if we are only a centimeter away from him. Similarly, if God lives in the ten dimensional space but outside our braneworld, we cannot see Him even if He is only a centimeter away from us.

What is the mechanism that confines matter and photons in our braneworld?

We know that all matter in our world is composed of atoms. An atom consists of a nucleus surrounded by electrons. A nucleus contains protons and neutrons, which are made up of quarks. The electron and quarks are elementary particles which cannot be divided further. In addition to the elementary particles that constitute matter, there is another type of elementary particles that mediate the fundamental force between matter particles. For example, the electromagnetic force is mediated by photon, the gravity is mediated by graviton. You may have learned that the magnetic force is mediated by the magnetic field. Similarly, you can say that the electromagnetic force is mediated by the electromagnetic field. In quantum physics, a “field” can also be viewed (“quantized”) as a particle. The photon is the particle name of the electromagnetic field. The graviton is the particle name of the gravitational field. A field may also be static (like a magnetic field) or dynamic (such as the electromagnetic waves).

According to the string theory, an elementary particle can be considered as a “string” with extremely short length. All properties (mass, energy, etc.) of an elementary particle are inherent in the string’s vibrational patterns. The particle string is analogous to a violin string whose vibrations produce various music notes. Similarly, different vibrational patterns of a particle string give rise to different properties. The vibrational patterns depend on the endpoints of the string. The particle string can be either “open” (with two endpoints, like a violin string) or “closed” (no endpoints, like a ring). In contrast to a violin string whose endpoints are fixed on a wooden board, the endpoints of a particle string are fixed in a “brane” (as in membrane), which is a space with two, three, or more dimensions. Since its endpoints are fixed, the open-string particle cannot escape from the brane. However, the closed-string particle can go anywhere because it has no endpoints to be fixed. Mathematically, different endpoints have different boundary conditions that are used in solving the equations for the vibrational patterns.

The properties of elementary particles in our world are known from experiments. The vibrational patterns of a particle string can be obtained by solving the fundamental equation in the string theory with appropriate boundary conditions (corresponding to endpoints). It has been found that, in order to match particle properties with vibrational patterns, the graviton must be a closed string, while all other particles must be an open string with endpoints fixed in a three-dimensional brane. This predicts that all matter and photons must be trapped in a three-dimensional braneworld. The only thing that can escape from the braneworld is the graviton.

What about the Kingdom of God in the higher dimensional space (the “bulk universe”)? Their matter is likely to be made of the elementary particles with closed string, thereby free to go anywhere. Their particles must not have any charge that interacts with photons, because the photon is an open-string particle which is unique to our braneworld. The electromagnetic waves (photons) will pass through their matter without being reflected at all. Therefore, even if their matter (including life) enters into our braneworld, it still cannot be detected by electromagnetic waves.

All our matter particles can interact with the graviton, which is a closed string. It is very likely that the matter in the Kingdom of God can also interact with the graviton. Hence, in principle, God could be detected by gravitational waves (gravitons). However, the gravitational waves are extremely weak. Physicists have not been able to generate detectable gravitational waves yet. In the future, when we have better scientific knowledge and technology, we may be able to prove the existence of God by using gravitational waves to detect Him directly.





That crazy guy!!!

9 10 2006

WARNING: This is a Long article. Do not comment on it unless you read the whole article. Thank you. ADMIN
God loves everyone, so a Christian should, too. In fact, Jesus said that the most important thing in life is to love God with everything we’ve got and love others the same way. But it’s not always easy to love everyone around us, is it? Sometimes we strongly disagree with other people’s political views, religious beliefs, behaviors, or something else, and it makes it hard to love them when we feel like we’re right and they’re very wrong. But Jesus doesn’t separate loving God and loving others. So maybe the best way for us to show our love for God is actually by loving other people no matter how hard it sometimes is. Maybe it’s the only way.

So I’m going to see a footy game with some old friends right, and up ahead on the sidewalk there’s this guy, and he’s got one of those big massive Bullhorns and yelling all this stuff and first I can’t hear what he’s saying but as I get closer I hear the words “Sin” and “Burn”, “Hell”, “Repent” and then…I hear the word “Jesus”. And, this, this guy he’s got all these pamphlets and he’s quoting these bible verses about anger and wrath of God and how if I don’t repent I’m going to pay for it for eternity and how I might die tonight, I might die at this very moment and this might be my only chance and I might spend ever in misery as I burn in hell.

And no one is stopping to hear more. And no one wants any of his pamphlets.

So I want to talk to the Bullhorn guy:

Bullhorn guy, I don’t think it’s working. All the yelling and the judgment and condemnation, I don’t think it’s working. I, actually, think it’s making things worse. I don’t think it’s what Jesus had in mind. And see, see Bullhorn guy, it’s confusing for my friends and I because some are Christian and some are not. But we just don’t get it, we just don’t understand were all the condemning and all the converting, we don’t understand what it has to do with Jesus’s message. And, to be honest it’s confusing for me because you and I get painted with the same brush. I mean didn’t Jesus say that he came to save not to condemn. Like that story in the bible in the book of John where that women is caught for stealing and the religious leaders like drag her in front of Jesus and they have essentially condemned her to die and What does Jesus say to her. He says “I don’t condemn you”. I mean, that’s why so many of us are fascinated with Jesus because he never stops insisting that GOD REALLY, REALLY LOVES US, exactly how we are, who we are. I mean, isn’t that what draws you to him. It what draws me. And all I can figure out Bullhorn guy is that you think you giving people the good news, but the problem is it doesn’t come across that way. It doesn’t appear very loving. And when the Jesus is asked what’s the most important thing , Jesus’s response is to love God everything you have and then love those who are around you in the same kind of way.

Jesus doesn’t separate loving god and loving others. For Jesus everything hangs on these two. So the defining mark of a Christian is basically……….love. Like this writer John in the bible writes a series a letters to some of the first Christians and in one of them he says this:

He says “If you say that you love God and you don’t love the people around you, Then you are lier”. It’s almost as if John says that “How you love others, that’s how you love God”.There’s a great passage in the bible, this one writer “I can say all these things but If I don’t have love, then I’m like GONG or a clanging symbol. And you see Bullhorn guy, this is why all the yelling and the bullhorn are so disturbing to us. Because it just seems like your trying to convert people to your religion. Like they are notches on some sort of spiritual bell but they are not. They are people. They’re people that God loves. They’re people that Jesus wants us……… to love. They aren’t statistics, they aren’t numbers, they aren’t possible conversions. I mean, if…, If I’m loving somebody with an agenda then it isn’t really love, is it. Because God loves everybody. Any movement that isn’t of love it isn’t of God. I mean any movement of hate or marginalisation or oppresses, ANYBODY, ANYWHERE, no matter what it says or what’s in it’s name. Jesus doesn’t want any part of it. So a Christian, somebody who understands this, who understands that people’s different perspectives and different religious believes and convictions. They are to be loved and respected because they are made by God and they are sacred and are valuable and they matter. God loves the world, so Christian does to.

And it doesn’t mean that they have to agree with everybody, like they can’t have a spine or something. I mean we speak our minds and we take action against the things that we think are wrong but we do it with love and respect.

Because Jesus said to love everybody, including your enemies. And, and when we love our enemies, something powerful happens doesn’t. Something transforming, something that can’t be denied. It’s like we have an internal compass that tells us what love is, don’t we. We know when we see it. I mean Love wins. We just know when someone doing something out of love. See, God loves everybody, you, me, and God loves those who think that doesn’t exist and some people think that God only loves them and God loves them too. And some people think they are right and others are wrong and GOD LOVES THEM TOO. God loves everybody. Like the writes James says in the bible “God shows no Favoritism”.

And see, Bullhorn guy, there is so much that you can do, that we can do to help, there so much good that we can do to help. I mean there is so many people that just need someone to listen, not to preach to them and not to try to convert them but just to listen, to listen to their story and listen to their pain and to listen to their dreams. And then there is so many people who have such basic needs like food and clothing and shelter and medicine and we have the resources to help them and didn’t Jesus say that when we do that, when we look out for each other, he is there in some sort of mysterious way. I mean, how we love others is how we love God.

And see Bullhorn guy, that’s why the hellfire and the condemning stuff are so dangerous. When you tell me that I should follow Jesus so that I don’t burn in hell for ever, it…, it sounds like a threat. As if, like you scare people enough they magically all of a sudden decide to love God and follow Jesus. But that isn’t what Jesus did. Jesus went around INVITING people into the best possible kind of life, I mean at one point he even said “I come that you can have life and have it to the fullest.

We just don’t find Jesus waving heaven in front of people like a carrot on a stick.

So Bullhorn guy, I’m asking you in love, on behalf of all of us. Please put the bullhorn down. I’m tired of it, everybody is tired of it, I think……, I think that Jesus is tired of it.

But maybe (Yes, you reading this) you are a Christian sitting there nodding and agreeing with me and saying yeah you tell him, it’s about time somebody…said that. But what are you doing to change the perception because that’s what it is. It’s a perception between many that being a Christian is LAME, When you ask a lot of people what’s it mean to be a Christian and they give you a long list of things that have nothing to do with following Jesus. Even say the name Christian and for a lot of people it instantly drags up negative stereotypes, adjectives and images. I mean my question is this, how did the best message ever, this beautiful life of love and hope and peace, How did it ever get turned into something else? I mean, HOW DID SO FEW END UP SPEAKING FOR SO MANY?

See there is massive numbers of us, all over the place, who are serious about following Jesus, who actually believe him when he said that he came to give us life and life to the fullest. We want the best possible life here and now, the kind that goes on for ever. The Jesus invites us too. And so we are pursuing it, we’re learning how to live it and we’re learning how to love people. Not because we’re trying to get them into our little clubs and not because we want everybody to be the same but because this is what JESUS TEACHES US TO DO (Madison).

So may you see that how you love others IS how you love God. That’s it. That’s the way of love. That’s the way of Jesus.





He believes in you!

6 10 2006

Warning!!This text is very, very, very long> Only comment on it if you read the whole article. Suggest to read it in parts as their won’t be more articles for a while, due to the HSC. Thanx
Believing in God is important, but what about God believing in us?

Believing that we can actually be the kind of people we were meant to be. People of love, compassion, peace, forgiveness, and hope. People who try to do the right thing all of the time. Who act on the endless opportunities around us every day for good, beauty, and truth. It’s easy for us to sometimes get down on ourselves. To feel “not good enough” or feel like we don’t have what it takes. But maybe if we had more insight into the culture that Jesus grew up in and some of the radical things he did, we’d understand the faith that God has in all of us.

I want to be the kind of person who does the right things, and I don’t mean the big things only but also the small things, the subtle ones and the ones that no one is watching, because it’s so easy to let those small things slip away and it’s those endless choices that we make everyday that shape us on who we are, but this started to change for me recently because I’ve started to believe things about myself. A friend gave me an insight about the story of Jesus and his disciples that I have heard before but it has taken a whole different meaning.

Let me just tell you a bit:

Jesus’s disciples are on a boat and it’s middle of a night and they are trying to cross get across a lake and the wind is blowing and its getting really choppy and Jesus comes walking out to them on the water. Now they think he’s a ghost, so they are like “Jesus it it you” and Jesus replies “Yes”. And one of them, Peter, gets out of the boat and starts walking on the water towards Jesus.

What is peter thinking? and Why does he, he believe that he can walk on water?

Now what I’ve come to realise is the story makes way more sense if you understand the background. Jesus is a Jewish rabbi with Jewish Disciples living a first century Jewish world. Now Jesus grew up in a region called the Gallalie and Jewish people in the Gallalie believed that god has spoken to Moses, one of their great historical leaders and given him the first five books of the Bible. They call these five books the TORA. Tora means like teaching or instructions or simply THE WAY. And so Tora was the center, the foundations of their lives and it was the focus of their educational system. And so, most Jewish boys and girls would go to the school for the first time to learn to learn the Tora, it probably be taught at the local Cynagog and be taught by a local Tora teacher who was a Rabbi.

The first level of education was called Baetsafear and lasted around until the kid is 10 years old. In Baetsafear most kid would MEMORISED the Tora and by the age of Ten would know the Tora by heart. Every single world. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Number and Deuteronomy. MEMORISED. Now, by the end of Baetsafear which would be around 10 years of age, most kid were no longer going to school, they were learning, they were apprenticing the family trade, learning the family business, learning how to manage a household but the BEST OF THE BEST would keep going. They would continue their education into the next level, which was called Baettaelmood.

In Baettaelmood, the best of the best who were still going on, the ones with most natural ability would MEMORISE the rest of the Hebrew scriptures. Genesis through Malachi. Memorise. Now by the end of Baettaelmood, say 14-15, most kids are gone, they are learning the family trade and apprentacing. But the BEST OF THE BEST OF THE BEST would continue on to the next level of education, which was called Baetmaidrashand they would go to a Rabbi any they would apply to the Rabbi to become of the rabbi’s disciples. Now we use the word ‘Disciple’ we often mean student,but we generally mean someone who know what the teacher knows. But a disciple was something far deeper, a disciple just doesn’t want to know what the rabbi knows, Oh! no, the disciple wants to be like the rabbi and wants to do what the rabbi does.

Now every rabbi had their own set of interpretations, this was called the rabbi’s yolk. So when you apply to be one of the disciples you wanted to take one of the yolks and take it upon yourself so you can be like the RABBI. so you go to a Rabbi and you go “Rabbi, I want to be one of your disciples”, the rabbi will then grill you, ask you question about the Tora, questions about the prophets, questions upon question upon question. Because the rabbi wants to know can this kid do what I do, can this kid speak what I speak, CAN THIS KID SPREAD MY YOLK.

Does this kid have what it takes.

And so the rabbi is firing all these question and the rabbi decides that yeah this kid loves god, and can follow him but isn’t the best of the best of the best he would say “You obviously love god but you don’t have what it takes to become one of my disciples”. And so the rabbi might say “Go and continue learning your family trade” BUT if rabbi thinks this kid’s got it, this kid has what it takes to spread my word he would say “Come, follow me”. And so you would leave as this disciple, as a 14,15 year old kid, you would leave your family, your friends, your Cynagog, your village and you would devote your entire LIFE to being like your rabbi. This is what it means to be a Disciple. So a rabbi comes down right, a powerful rabbi, and he’s got his pack of disciple who are doing what the rabbi does. So the saying that was developed among the wisemen:

“May you be covered in the dust of Rabbi”.

This is scene that everyone would have seen. And all of this has huge implication for Jesus and how we understand Jesus because most rabbi’s would begin their teaching around the age of 30, and around 30 in the bible, you have Jesus walking along the shores of Gallalie and he comes across Peter and Andrew and they are fishermen and Jesus says to them “Come, follow me”. Well if their fishermen and Jesus call them to be his disciples and then uh…they aren’t following another rabbi. And if they aren’t following another rabbi then they are not the best of the best of the best. They didn’t make the cut. And the test continues: It says that once they dropped their net and FOLLOWED him, which I thought was a bit strange. Isn’t a bit odd that they just drop ’em and go. Weird in the sense that here’s Jesus walking along the beach in his white bathrobe and light blue pageant sashay, and his hair is like perfect and blow dried and everything and he say come and these guys they like robots. They go.

If you understand it in it’s original context then it start making perfect sense, i mean the rabbi’s were the most honored, respected and revered people anywhere. And the best of the best of the best of the BEST only got to become rabbis’ and this powerful rabbi comes down the beach and says to YOU “Come follow me”. Well, what is he really saying? What he really is saying that is YOU CAN DO WHAT I DO. He’s saying you can be like me. I mean, of course you would drop your nets and follow him. And the text even continues, the text says the Jesus comes across James and John and they are fishing with their fathers Zebadi. now if they are fishing with their father that mean they are apprentices, they are learning the family trade. And if he calls them to be his Disciple then there aren’t disciple of any other rabbis’. So basically, James and John, they are not good enough. They didn’t make the cut either. They aren’t the best of the best of the best. And at 15, 16, 20 at max. and Jesus choses them because his movement is for everybody. It’s for the rich and the poor, the scholars and the peasants. It’s like the movement of anybodies and he calls them the JV team, the “B” team, the “not good enoughs”.

HE CALLS THEM TO BE HIS DISCIPLE AND THEY CHANGE THE COARSE OF HISTORY

So back to walking on the water thing, so you have a boat full of anybodies and the water is choppy and the wind is blowing and they are terrified because Jesus comes across the water to them and they think he’s a GHOST. And then peter says to Jesus “Then if it’s you tell me to come to you”. Why is this peter’s first response. Because he is a disciple, he has orientated his whole life around his Rabbi, Jesus. He has been taught to do what the Rabbi does. So what’s the first thing he does when he sees his Rabbi walking on water, I want to walk on water too. So he gets out of the boat and start WALKING towards Jesus, but halfway, he gets frightened, and he starts sinking right so he calls out “Jesus save me”. And then text reads that Jesus immediately caught him and said “You of little faith”, “Why did you doubt”. Now I always assumed that Peter doubts Jesus but Jesus ISN’T SINKING. Who does peter doubt?

He doubts himself. He loses faith in himself that he can actually be like his rabbi. I mean Jesus wouldn’t have called him if peter could be like him. He even reminds them at one point: “Wa..wa..Wait, You didn’t choose me, I chose you”. The Rabbi doesn’t choose you unless the rabbi knows that you can do what the rabbi does. All my life I’ve heard people taking about believing in God, all the time. BUT GOD BELIEVES IN US, IN YOU. I mean Faith in Jesus is important but what about Jesus…Faith in us. I mean he must have faith in us because he leaves us to spread his words, to spread his YOLK. I mean what’s the last thing Jesus says to them, “Go make more disciples”. He leaves it for the anybodies and THEY DO IT. THEY DO IT. I mean what if we can be like people the God created us to be?, What if he actually believes that? I mean what If we could be like Jesus. Jesus has faith in you that you can be like him and you can be what he wanted you to be like, He believes it.

May you believe in god. But may you come to see that God believes in you. May you have faith in Jesus. But may you come too see that Jesus has faith in you that you can be like him. A person of love and compassion and truth. A person of forgiveness, and peace, and grace and joy and hope. And may be covered in the dust of your Rabbi, Jesus.

(Congratulation, that was long, but may find the true meaning in my writing)