Tell us if this is familiar: You have decided that your life feels pretty empty, that what you have tried and how you have tried it just does not work. You know there has got to be more meaning to life, and so you are drawn to Christianity and you accept Jesus. For a while, you feel better, but slowly you get that gnawing feeling that nothing has really fundamentally changed in your life. What do you do? How do you find the real bottom line change that you have been looking for and actually let it change you? If this description fits you or someone you know, then stay with us, because we are going to get basic and practical! I am a Christian but want to REALLY be a Christian. So, where do I start?
A few weeks ago we began to tell the story of the dramatic events that led up to the conversion of the Centurion Cornelius to Christianity. Because the expansion of Christianity to Gentiles was such a radical shift in God’s methods, radical measures had to be taken! Today we will finish the story and see how its conclusion would change the history of Christian faith by the inclusion of you and me!
Sometimes things need to change. When there is a great plan in progress, the need for great change is likely to be a part of that plan. Since Adam’s fall from grace, God’s plan for man’s redemption has been punctuated by changes, including the great Flood which ended the old world, the calling of Abraham which began the age of the Patriarchs, and the death of Jacob which ushered in the age of Jewish favor. Each change had a distinct purpose. Today’s story about the conversion of Cornelius signaled that another change was on the horizon – a change that would be played out through the experiences of the Apostle Peter and Cornelius, the first Gentile convert. God’s plan was progressing and great change was necessary. But why Cornelius? Why a soldier?
Our world is in great need of many things. We need to learn to listen to those with whom we disagree, we need to be merciful and understanding, yet we also need to be firm and just. We also need to find light. Not just any light, we need to find the purest life-giving and revealing light of truth that is available… As Christians we know that the light of the world is Jesus, but what we need to learn is how to use that light, how to be clear reflections of that light and how to be worthy vessels of that light.
Religion is a powerful thing. It wields a sword of conviction with which humanity will go to face great challenges. Depending on its purity, the results of this conviction can be very good or very bad. Religion can also wield a spear of bigotry that can be passionately thrown at a perceived enemy who is far away…unfortunately, Christianity and Islam both carry such weapons and have both been known to use them for harm. Is it possible that God is behind both of these religions?
The very definition of “Christian” is one who follows Christ. As Christians, we all know this and we all agree that it is of paramount importance. The big question is, what exactly does it mean to follow Christ? What is our life supposed to look like? What does God want FROM us through Christ and what does God want FOR us through Christ? Is it different for everyone? How do we know if we are on track? What role does trouble play? Do we really have to suffer for Christ?
Here we are in the 21st century and Christianity has really taken on a different look than when it all began. So, what is following Jesus all about? Is it costly? Is it pleasant? Can we customize our following of Jesus to our personal preferences? How do we know if we are really following him or if we are following our own idea of what we would like Jesus to be? Stay with us as we try to get our arms around what true discipleship is and how we can be fully immersed in the footsteps of our Lord!
Several weeks ago, we began working on a response to a YouTube video sent to us by a college student entitled “Why I am no longer a Christian,” a 1½ hour step-by-step presentation of how another young man went from devoted Christian to atheist. It was a well done, non-inflammatory treatise on why the author now believed Christianity to be just a story. Today is Part III of this three-part series, and we will primarily focus on the core issues of his reasoning that drove him away from Christianity and into the camp of atheism. How valid are these points? Stay with us and judge for yourself!
There are many different approaches to Christian faith. Some of us find the basis of our faith in feeling Jesus present in our lives. Others of us find the basis of our faith in intellectual understanding and reasoning through the Scriptures. Still others of us thrive on the fellowship of our brothers and sisters in Christ as the signature of our faith. Each would argue that their approach to faith is strong and sustaining. So, what does true Christianity really want from us? Are we supposed to always be excited, spiritually charged up and energized – or are we supposed to have a quiet and firm faith that might be characterized as strong and silent?
Several weeks ago, we began working on a response to a YouTube video sent to us by a college student entitled, “Why I am no longer a Christian,” a 1½ hour step-by-step presentation of how another young man went from devoted Christian to atheist. It was a well done, non-inflammatory treatise on why the author now believed Christianity to be just a story. Today is Part II of this three-part series, and we will primarily focus on the portion of the video that spells out specific issues that the video’s producer encountered with the Bible itself.