Archives For salvation

Just Come

randomlychad  —  October 6, 2015 — Leave a comment

My wife and I participate in a small group study. Lately, we’ve been looking at how to share the Gospel. As a part of that process, I’ve been tasked with answering a couple of common objections:

The exclusivity of the message of Jesus, and the plethora of world religions. I may have bitten off more than I can chew here, but intend to give it the old college try.

The world as we see and experience certainly establishes a prima facie case against the existence of God. There is much suffering, atrocities, and evil. Why would a good God allow such things to transpire? On the other hand, there is much about this world which is beautiful, lovely, and sublime in way which surpasses our poor power to express it. There is an order to the universe, and a precision in the way in which it operates that certainly at the least implies design. Atheists will say that’s all it is, implied design. But according to Occam’s Razor, the simplest solution is often the correct one, e.g., the universe appears designed because it is designed. In other words, and in the words of C.S. Lewis, “if the universe were without meaning we should never have discovered that it was without meaning.”

Is it possible that both are true? That all we see around is designed, yet all is not as it should be? Pain, suffering, disease, and death certainly provide a strong argument for this. If this is so, is God to blame? Is He a cosmic sadist delighting in our struggles? Why would He go to such great lengths to create all of this only to seemingly remain hidden from His creation? Why does He allow us to flounder in the mire? Surely a loving Father would [fill in the blank]?

And there’s the rub: we’ve just gone over the line into idolatry, making a god in our image, instead of falling at the feet of the One Who is. Because the One Who is, while promising an ultimate end to evil, in the meantime chooses the much harder path of walking with His suffering creation in love. Rather than delivering us from every trial, He suffers along with us. Instead of answering our questions, our every objection, He gives Himself. This is not an answer that many are willing to hear.

So yes, the world is broken. We are broken, and our brokenness try to fill that void with whatever we think will sooth our savage breast: science, atheism, sex, drugs, alcohol, relationships, education, what have you. We move from one thing to the next, never really assuaging the emptiness. And into this mess comes the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It seems an offer too good to be true; for how can it be free? This answer to our broken selves, this broken world? Because our experience is here, in the material plane, we know that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, that we get what we pay for… Thus it is that the word squeezes us into its mold. Because there’s always strings, right? And we don’t want to be anyone’s puppet. That is ultimately what it boils down to, really; every objection to the existence of God, while purporting to be philosophical, scientific, logical, is really about this: we don’t want to give up control. All else–the prima facie case the world presents–is but a smokescreen to an underlying condition of the heart the Bible terms “sin.”

Because God made us free, we are free to either accept, or reject, this fact. In essence, in shaking our fists at the sky we are saying, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, God, my mind is already made up.” And then we will come up with our reasons, our justifications, of why this is so. Why we are right, and Christians are wrong. Why we’re okay. This is nothing but confirmation bias. We’re right because we’re right. I’m okay, you’re okay. Now go away.

Meanwhile Jesus is saying, “Come to me all you who are weary, and I will give you rest.”

And that is what the Gospel is all about: rest from our striving, our brokenness, our sin.

Come to Me, He says.

Come and lay your objections down, and take up the life you were made for. For His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Just come.

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Fu*k.

Not a word much-used in polite company. Not a pretty word by any stretch. (See how I have trouble even writing it?). It’s an ugly–yet powerful–word.

It assaults our ears, and brutalizes our sensibilities.

Besides its obviously sexual, and perjorative, connotations, I submit that it’s also a strongly theological word.

What do I mean? (Has he lost his mind, you ask?).

Well, there’s this:

There it stood upon the crest of Golgotha looking nothing so much as like an upraised middle finger. And it was: Jesus’ cross was the center one, sandwiched in-between two thieves.

Akin to the aural ugliness of the word– fu*k–was the ugly spectacle of Calvary:

It was the ultimate display of a Father’s frustrations with a sin-soaked world. The sheer barbarity of an innocent man suffering so brutalizes our sensibilities, brings us up short (like the power of a certain word dropped in conversation–it knocks the wind out of us).

Then we realize: we are the brutalizers, we put him there.

If sin is our “fu*k you” to God, the cross is God’s “Fu*k you!” to sin, to our lost condition. To an enemy, who instead of winning at Calvary, lost utterly.

It is a holy battle cry of victory. That, too, is the redemptive power of Calvary.

What do you think?

Yesterday, October 5th, 2011, Steve Jobs passed into eternity. Though I did not know the man, I’ve lost family members to cancer. As many of you have as well. It is a horrible, insidious disease–killing painfully by degrees.

As such, I grieve along with his family and colleagues. There is grief along the way, watching your loved one slowly die. And there is grief when the end comes, because although expected, it is always too soon.

At least that’s the way it seems to me.

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Jesus Loves… Satanists

randomlychad  —  September 6, 2011 — 12 Comments
'Jesus Loves* You' photo (c) 2008, R. M.  Calamar - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Jesus loves:

Satanists
Wiccans
Witches
Warlocks
Magicians
Harry Potter-readers

Jesus loves:

Atheists
Agnostics
Richard Dawkins &
Rob Bell

Jesus loves:

Homosexuals
Homophobes
Fred Phelps (Westboro “Baptist”)

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Sometime ago, I had friends who spoke often about getting this, or that, “word from the Lord.” Usually, this was in reference to God’s will for them, and specifically in regards to what He wanted them to either do, or not do. His perfect will for their lives.

Problem is, oftentimes these things didn’t work out.

Consequently, the faith of my friends was repeatedly shaken, because God had somehow let them down.

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