Holy diorama, Batman!
You have to appreciate the Old Testament prophets. They were called on to do all kinds of crazy stuff and they always came through. Even Jonah finished the job, although he clearly took some convincing to do so. One great example is Ezekiel. Take a minute to read Ezekiel 4:1-8. (Go on, I’ll wait…) Essentially, God asks him to make a diorama of the siege of Jerusalem and lay down in the dirt with it for over a year while he preached to passers-by. Image what that must have looked like!
Now, let’s bring that forward. Consider this question: who was your all-time favorite teacher or professor? Chances are they were really good at creative engagement; they found ways to hold your attention and make the material interesting, the good ones always do. God understands that. That’s why, if you take time to read through a lot of the Old Testament prophets, you’ll find tons of examples of these guys doing all sorts of crazy weird things to get people’s attention and make their point.
What does that mean for you, though?
It means this, instead of shirking the responsibility of sharing faith, have a little fun with it instead. Be creative. Look for odd connections and teachable moments when you can take the conversation in an unexpected direction. Don’t force it and you’ll find opportunities to share can come quite naturally. And don’t worry, it’s highly unlikely you’ll wind up making a diorama and laying on the ground somewhere. After all, it’s been done already!
Craig Hazen pointed out that while Jesus is a universal religious figure–everyone feels the need to deal with him–only Christianity makes him the central figure.
Gary Canfield taught that it’s okay to fail, that failure can direct us to where/what we need to be and we’re not going through it alone.
Gary Habermas shared with us six facts that NINETY PERCENT or more of academic experts agree on (including atheists):
- Jesus lived and died by crucifixion.
- The Disciples sincerely believed they had seen and experienced the risen Jesus.
- The Resurrection was proclaimed extremely early by the church.
- The Disciples were transformed by their experiences.
- James the Skeptic (Jesus’ brother) was transformed.
- Saul the Accuser became Paul the Apostle and was transformed.
Given those academically indisputable facts, you do a lot! That said, again, most disbelief is centered not in fact, but emotion. People don’t want to believe, for one reason or another, and twist truth to justify their disbelief. (Incidentally, Habermas indicates that over 75% of all scholars believe in an empty tomb.)
“If God is all good, and if God is all-powerful, then why does Alabama keep playing in the national title game?” (Rhyne Putnam)
“There has been far too much genuflection at the altar of David Hume.” (Tim McGrew)
And when asked about the possibility of the existence of Batman somewhere in the multiverse, Jeff Zweerink admitted it was, in fact, possible.
We were also reminded that in a public arena wherein Jesus is misrepresented in an astonishing variety of ways, what he said about himself by word and deed was fairly unequivocal: He. Is. Lord.
A great thought we ran into today:
“If you were to raise a child and work your fingers to the bone to send that child to college, and the child only occasionally sent you a Christmas card and never gave you the time of day, that would be wrong. It’s wrong because child owes not just deference but love. Now, if there is a God who created us and keeps us alive every minute, then the love we owe God would be infinitely greater. To not love him supremely would be infinitely worse. If you believe that, you begin to see how much we have wronged him. It begins to draw your heart outward toward him in humility and grief.”
Timothy Keller, Making Sense of God
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 12:8)
Everyone has a purpose in life. What’s yours?
For the secularist, this is a question replete with value. As the theoretical masters of their own destiny, they can look at the world and choose anything. There is no higher moral standard than that which they create, no universal dictums by which to be guided, only absolute freedom. Yes, there are societal norms and cultural values that may influence their decisions, but those are ultimately guided by nothing more than groupthink and circumstance; considerations, not mandates. The individual is still at perfect liberty to say, “The purpose of my life is…” and fill in the blank any way they choose. Not a bad way to live, attractive at least, and certainly capable of providing a sense of fulfillment and meaning. Like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, life is what you want it to be!
For the followers of Jesus on the other hand, the question of purpose is not one to be pondered with infinite possibility. Instead it is discovered with definitive certainty. Our purpose is not chosen, but revealed. It comes from beyond ourselves and is therefore transcendent, and it is this transcendence that makes our answer stronger. What we might lack in liberty we make up for in personal value and determination. Because we allow a Divine hand to guide us, we can be resolved in such a way that we need not fear the world. We are driven by purpose, not the drivers of it. And so, unlike the secularist, we need not avoid the question, “does my life truly matter?”
In a coldly reasoned universe without God, meaning is subjective. Temporary. Created from the ether to which it must inevitably return. What is deemed vital today might well be set aside as valueless tomorrow. Such is the way of the world. The secularist who seeks true meaning must, therefore, avoid thinking too hard about the choice their liberty created. The followers of Jesus, on the other hand, bask in the glow of an eternal Son and know beyond measure that their life is truly valuable.