I have said it before: "I have a good memory, but it's short."
Unfortunately, when it comes to the THE GOSPEL of JESUS CHRIST, many of us have good memories, but they're short. We remember the cross and remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but sometimes we forget about Christ's suffering. This is why Jesus Himself tells us to remember Him.
Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.
In the above passage of Scripture, Pilate asks Jesus "What is truth?" And for thousands of years, the search for "truth" continued until, more recently, the great minds of this world have concluded that there is no truth. Current worldviews bring this "no truth" or "fluid truth" concept to light.
The philosophy of relativism says all truth is relative and there is no such thing as absolute truth, but instead, truth changes depending on people and circumstances. Us old people used to call this "situational ethics".
“What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Yesterday, I went to a high school baseball game to support a student in our youth group. While watching the game, I met an 11th grade student who told me he “wanted to get closer to God.” I asked him if he knew for sure where he would go when he died. He said “Absolutely… I would go to heaven.” When I asked why he was so sure that’s where he would go, he essentially said because he was a good person and he did good deeds.
For the last several years at Thanksgiving, my sister and I have run the annual Turkey Trot together, and every year I am surprised at how out of shape I am. But it is amazing how a simple line marked out on the ground can so dramatically impact the way one runs in a race. During the race, I run with purpose, focused on finishing with a time I consider respectable. However, as soon as I pass the finish line, I begin to wander, trying to catch my breath while watching the other runners. There is a stark difference between how I run before and after the finish line.
This Sunday, March 17, at West Pines, we will be looking at a Bible verse that is often quoted or at least referred to when we consider the topic of our thoughts. It's Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren , whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.
While this is a great verse that reminds us of what we are to think and meditate on, the context for this verse is not often understood.
Do you believe in the "afterlife"? That is, do you believe that when this life is over, you will continue to live someplace else? As someone else? As something else? Or do you believe that the journey is over when you die and there is no existence after this life?
When it comes to the "afterlife", there are so many opinions, so many experiences (seeing the light at the end of the tunnel) and yes - so many questions.
At breakfast this morning with a group of men from West Pines, we talked about goals. Goals that we have in our lives in a variety of categories. We have goals for our health, our finances, our family, our careers, our educations, and even our patience (or lack of . . . ). Goals help us achieve those things that we think are important. At least, important at the time.
Over the years, I have met a lot of people. Great people with interesting stories. Great people with similarities and differences. Great people from all over the world.
As I meet new people, I love getting to know them. Getting to know more about them: their interests, their likes and dislikes, their political views, their social agenda, and yes - their views and beliefs about Jesus Christ and who He is.
I'm not a mechanic by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that a car without an engine just won't run. We could roll it down a hill, or tow it up one and give it some semblance of movement, but it has no power of its own. In a different analogy, without a heart, the body won't live. No doubt, technology and pharmacology can keep a body in stasis for a while but that kind of existence is artificial, hollow, and once the body is disconnected it dies, like dead. No heart, no life!
What may come as a surprise to the modern church is that the heart of Christianity is not predominantly, “Jesus loves me this I know,” as we sang in Sunday school,