Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Apathy and Infinite Despair of the Young Generation

Photos are of Ukrainian/Russian kids who climb skyscrapers without safety gear

The photographs I used to preface this post are of Russian and Ukrainian daredevils who climb skyscrapers under construction.  Apparently it gives them a solid adrenaline high.  They record themselves doing this, and upload it to the internet.  I thought these photos were a stunning depiction of what it looks like when post-modernism is lived out.  These are kids who believe the universe is meaningless, and that has understandably led to apathy; Even apathy that leads to dangling from skyscrapers.  Click here to watch a video of these daredevils. And yes, this is a real thing.

We were raised up in a culture where there were only two goals: personal satisfaction and ambition.  Or as Francis Schaeffer said it: Personal peace and prominence.  Rightly enough, we revolted.  The bastions of church and synagogue were plastered with lies and selfishness.  Sex scandals and child abuse poured out of them.  So we turned away from religion, and from reason.  Reason had led to sorrow for most.  The prevailing philosophies which influenced us through the culture had tossed aside reason for non-reason.

I lived it.  I was the youth in revolt from the post-industrial world.  I knew deep down that materialism wasn't true.  The society was aghast, but I didn't know what to do.  Where do you turn, when the doors to the church have been sand-blasted with sin and lies?  Where do you turn when reason has been declared sorrow?  

Many of us turned to the drug culture.  Many of us turned to utopian pipe dreams. Many of us turned to non-reason.  Many of us turned to wealth and pleasure.  We turned to hedonism.  And when hedonism failed us, we turned to the new age.  We knew we needed spirituality. But we didn't want the rules, or the moral precepts.  So we invented our own spirituality.  And the best thing about it was, we were gods in this delusional reality.  Yet time still passed, welts formed on our skin, the days passed, addiction and fear still ruled in our minds... and the obvious truth became far, far too obvious; we are not gods.  Reality does not attune to our desires.  So the circle began again, turning again to pithy pleasures and self-satisfying intellectualizations regarding our situations.  

But the truth like an ugly hound in the cold, always came for us, refusing to go away, refusing to sleep.  Truth of course, stomped to the ground, even by me, will rise again.  It can't be stopped.  What a wonderful thing that is.  The truth goes anywhere from embarrassing politicians to toppling dictators, to turning druggy fiends like myself to a loving God.  The truth is rather impressive, isn't it?

We found ourselves in apathy, and meaninglessness.  We found ourselves surrendering, unable to understand the universe around us.  

Like an Icarus, careening toward the sun I made a decision then.  I decided I would derail off the tracks and blast off toward rebellion and toward total collapse.  I would bet against it all.  I lept up into the sky, darting toward the sun.  I hoped after hoped that somehow, in a dark tunnel of sorrow and blackness of addiction and self destruction, a mighty meaning might come upon me and save me from the dark path I'd set.  

So the years went on, and I wrestled with the darkness.  Would daybreak ever come?  If life was meaningless, if reason led to sorrow, and if God was really dead, then nothing mattered anymore!  How true was that.  I had set the only logical course in a universe where men are beasts formed up from the muck to aimlessly wander nowhere for a few short years unto total darkness.

Then there was no purpose, none whatsoever, no reason to continue on, no purpose to personal peace, no reason to seek after prominence.  Why not jump into the hyperspace of drugs and altered states of reality?  Why not surf such a darkness into total collapse?  So it came, and I got closer, and closer to the hot burning sun.  My soul began to melt, burn, and collapse.  The last air drifted from my lungs.  In fact I had accepted my fate.  I was at peace with the emptiness.  And yet... something inside me knew: It isn't over yet.  There is more to be revealed...  There is an order, somehow.  

Then my eyes met a beautiful meaning, who had found me out there.  There I had been.. deck by deck, sinking into the sea of stars, decks aflame, women and children on the lifeboats, nothing left to lose... and then at the edge of the skyline there he appeared, riding a stream of light.  He clasp me in his hand, blessed me with his Son, and redeemed me toward his mission.  I'd bet it all, that he might save me, and he did.  My world changed then.  All of it changed.  And I began a new journey.  Daybreak came, just at the edge of disaster.  

I'm such a nerd, but I don't care. I think about this scene in Battlestar Galactica. This civilization had been attacked and all their homeworlds had been nuked by this machine race.  And so they're on the run.  They find this planet, they call it New Caprica and settle there.  But the enemy finds them, and enslaves them.  Over the next year they're abused and tortured and slaughtered by this evil machine race.  But then the Galactica makes a daring attempt to try and get the people off the surface.  The Galactica jumps in and launches the attack, but Galactica is overwhelmed.  There is this beautiful scene where the camera fades off from the Galactica, as it's being pounded by enemy ships on all sides.  And its just done.  Then suddenly this second cruiser the Pegasus charges in at full speed, and rams the enemy ships, saving Galactica from destruction.  Click here to view that scene.

That's what I think of sometimes.  Because I was surrounded by my enemies.  I was dying.  I had lost everything.  I was beyond the point of no return, or so I thought.  Then Jesus arrived.  And he gave himself up for me, setting me on the road home.  

Everything changed.  I had new eyes; Seeing the universe... in an entirely new light.  So there I was.  Faced by the world.  Daunted and afraid, but remade.  So we also find ourselves daunted by the challenges ahead.  And our energy has given out, and the day is only half done.  The battle rages around us.  And here we are.

Here we are, in the midst of it all.  

I could not live with apathy.  I could not live with meaninglessness.  My own journey parallels that of young people today.  Meaninglessness, and apathy is why my generation is drug addicted, STD ridden, gender-confused, and depressed.  We were led up in a generation devoid of meaning, a generation surrounded by modernism, a generation addicted to material, wealth, sex, and power.  We rebelled against it, found the church doors locked, and instead turned to drugs. 

We became apathetic. What a tragedy for young people to fall into apathy! 

We apprehended the problem most thoroughly.  But the solution was wrong.  Similarly in the 1960s a generation revolted against a skin-deep tyrannical religious system.  A false Christian system they revolted against, instigated by atheist thinkers, and pushed toward a sort of new age of peace, love, sex, and drugs.  

Today is quite similar.  My generation moved toward drug culture as an ideology.  We moved toward non-reason (post-modernism).  Many moved toward anarchism, or more interiorly, libertarianism.  Others moved unconsciously toward authoritarianism and various forms of marxism.  Today more so than ever, young people, pursuing a God-given desire for a better, more perfect system turn toward marxism, socialism, and what they call "democratic socialism." 

Today you have the old guard, gen exers and baby boomers astounded watching things change.  The old guard on both sides of the debate is astounded by these young people, and the directions they are moving.  

You've really got two sides of the future ideologies of our nation.  There are certainly others it's true, but these are the two dominant ones.  On one side you have a libertarianism, leave me alone ideology, prominently on the right side of the aisle.  Liberty at any cost.  I tend to lean that way myself.  And on the left you have a probably even larger movement toward socialism, collectivism, and ironically enough, authoritarianism and forced uniformity.  Equality at any cost.

Ultimately marxism and collective ideals aren't functional, they don't work.  But it appeals to a better side of young people.  Which is why they turn to it.  The desire for a better, more just situation is in their hearts.  The ideal of a utopian future is within their hearts, it is an expression of eternity, placed their by God.  But it's been harnessed and forced in an unintended direction: Toward a godless marxist utopian suggestion that is simply not realistic.  In fact it's utter nonsense, because in a godless system, which marxism is, there can be no meaning.  Why?  Because in a godless system nothing matters and when you die you face the dark nothingness of eternal nothing.  Even humanity itself will eventually die out in such a worldview, and the quaking universe will be left to spiral unto utter entropy.  It's a meaningless worldview, and false; it doesn't line up with the facts.  But marxism tugs at the better angels of human nature, and that's why it draws young people.  Too bad it so often leads to genocide and human suffering. 

Democratic socialism is not a viable solution for government, but it does hint toward some of the problems.  Problems like a lack of community, and a lack of group effort for a better tomorrow.  Such a group mentality once existed within the churches of yesterday, when the entire life revolved around the church, but today church has become something quite different.  Thus after creating the problem through cultural marxism, they swoop in to fix the problem with socialism.  Socialism hints toward other problems too, like crony-capitalism, political corruption, and dishonesty in the business sector.  

The followers of this democratic socialist ideology are quite sincere young people who feel they are being conned by the system.  And they are!  They really, really are.  They've been screwed by the college university system, and they've been screwed by a failing job market.  It's just all that pent up rage and injustice has been funneled into a nightmare ideology that will destroy everything our nation stands for: socialism.  It's tragic, because these aren't bad people, they are sincere, they've just chosen the wrong solution.

Libertarianism is also an insufficient model.  Though it does hint toward many of the problems, once again.  Libertarians are justly disturbed by the cruel drug war waged on non-violent users.  Libertarians are justly disturbed by government overreach and it's ability to reach into your home and dictate to you everything and anything you may or may not do.  Libertarians are justly enraged by crony-capitalism and government picking winners and losers.  Libertarians are justly incensed by high taxes, endless regulations on small businesses, and endless wars in foreign lands.  But as socialists decry the business sector and hail the government sector as holy and good, so libertarians decry the government sector as evil and boaster the business sector as holy and good.  Neither is true of course.  

Both of these systems look to create a prosperous future.  One targets government as the solution, the other targets free markets as the solution.  The issue is both of those systems tend toward corruption.  Though I do think libertarianism is closer to the solution because it looks to empower the individual.  Inevitably an empowered church can rise in a libertarian system to help instill morality and justice in humanity.  In a socialist system, Christianity has no hope.  In the majority of marxist systems religion is quickly debased, persecuted, and eventually exterminated. At the very least, Christianity would become a worldview beholden to LGBT activists, hate speech laws, and high taxation.  It would become a Christianity in name only, required to violate it's own teachings to appease the prevailing political correctness of the times.  Equality at any cost.

But even more so, we have take a wider perspective. We have to look beyond the now.  We have to look beyond temporal government and economic systems.  In fact we have to look beyond death itself.  All of us will die.  We know this.  Therefore we must look for an eternal solution.  If we want a worldview with real hope, a worldview with a real concrete philosophy that looks to the timeless good of mankind, we have to look elsewhere.

The correct system to turn to for young people is Christianity.  Why?  Because it's true.  And its the just, righteous system we all pine for.  We've been sold a lie about what it really is.  We've been told it's all pedophiles and hypocrites.  That isn't true of course.  But it's a convenient way of dismissing a system of moral teachings.  Though of course it's much more than that.  Much more. 

Like in many cases, from the mainstream media to abortion, politics, and human trafficking, we need to look behind the curtain of lies and see the truth. So many times in my life, I've discovered that the truth has been hidden from me, intentionally.

Reason can lead to joy, instead of sorrow.  We can reason our way to the renowned historical figure, Jesus Christ. We can come to believe through reason.  I'm encouraging you to take that quest.  Leave behind apathy.  Leave behind frivolous pursuits.  Take on yourself a higher calling.  But don't believe it because I'm telling you to.  

Research it yourself, listen to great minds like Ravi Zacharias (View 'Why I'm Not an Atheist'), William Lane Craig (View 'Key Arguments for a Reasonable Faith'), and others on the topic of the reasons behind the Christian faith.  I think you'll be shocked at what's been hidden from you.  

Perhaps the greatest lie we've been sold as young people, as "millennials" in this odd world is this: There is no truth and there is no meaning to life.  And to that statement you ought to ask two simple questions, 1: When you say there is no truth, are you making a statement that is true or false? And 2: If there were really no meaning to life, how could you ever know such a thing?  In other words, those statements are self defeating.  They are lies, projected by those who prefer a godless reality.

Ultimately I'm asking you to begin a quest for the truth.  There is only one rule for this quest, one position of the mind: Your greatest objective must be to discover what is actually true, and resist the desire to search for what you would personally prefer.    

It's that simple.  Investigate.  Test.  Study.  Learn.  And discover the truth.  As Jesus himself said, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

A great gift of this quest is to finally, finally come to see the world as it really is.  Instead of seeing a broken picture, we finally see the truth, even if it is a difficult truth.  It most certainly is.  But then finally, we have our cause.  We have our righteous mission.  We have our meaning.  And it's real meaning.  We can see reality for what it truly is. Finally!

Keep thinking friends, until next time.

Related Posts:
  1. Journey of the Christian through the Forest called Earth
  2. What is the matrix? 
  3. Living in the Suburban Sprawl (Mountains beyond Mountains)
  4. Ancient Doorways in the Brickhouse: Fields of Green in your Dreams
  5. Depression & Meaninglessness: Where is God in the depths of sorrow?
  6. The Awe of Dreams & the Surreal
  7. Big Picture: The Solution to all the Problems of Earth
  8. What is the meaning of Life?
  9. You Oh Lord are my Strength: The Manifold Provision of God
  10. Daybreak: Examining the Problem of Pain

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Jesus & the Internet: How to Share the Gospel on Social Media

We are charged by God almighty to share his gospel with the world.  God is good.  His gospel is pure, right, and timeless.  Therefore we ought to share it with all peoples, in all nations, everywhere.  Many of us consider cities, towns, and nations that need the gospel.  Many of us consider the post-Christian nature of the United States and Europe.  Many also consider the 10-40 window and the persecuted church in those areas.  But how many of us consider the power of the internet in sharing the gospel?  

The internet is a strange realm.  It's rife with chaos, bluster, and profanity.  It's a hot bed for pornography, hate speech, human trafficking, and other horrors.  Yet it's also a field of ideas, a field of debate and discussion.  

The internet is also a beautiful realm.  It's a place where people gather to discuss ideas.  It's a place where charities grow and flourish.  It's a place where people stand against evils in the world, and expose corruption.  The internet is a place where Christians create websites, apps, and online Bibles to share the truth.  It's a realm that gives a voice to millions of bloggers.  It's a hot bed of discussion, much of it negative yes, but much of it also positive and productive.

Many are dismissive of the internet.  They don't seem to think that the internet is real, or important.  What they fail to realize is that behind every post, every page, every site, and every profile is a real person.  That real person is influenced by the ideas shared on the internet.  Therefore, the internet is simply a realm of people.  And we are called to share the gospel with all peoples.  

Media hasn't always been as open as the internet.  Television was the great silencer of debate and alternative ideas.  Thank God almighty himself that we no longer have only the pale orthodoxy of television to guide debate and discussion in our culture.  Imagining a world without the internet is imagining a dark, establishment driven march toward progressivism and moral relativism.  Thank God again for the internet.  It's just what we needed to counter such a narrowing of the debate.

The internet is a vast network of ideas and discussion.  These ideas come in many forms.  You have social media, you have blogs, search engines, all of these lanes to navigate.  Within these endless pages live the chance to stand for Jesus Christ, and to share his gospel with the world.  Imagine how many people you can reach!  These are not just usernames, or meaningless entities; these are people who can be deeply influenced.  

We engage in the realm of ideas.  The internet is a giant mission field where we can share the gospel and transform culture.  There are dozens of outlets for the sharing of ideas: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Blogger, Reddit, Linked In, Tumblr, Stumble Upon, and Wordpress.  There are many, many others as well.  

The most important thing about the internet in regard to culture and the gospel is this: Young people are the vast majority who interact on the web.  

Young people are the future.  Therefore, sharing the gospel via the web is vital to our efforts as Christian activists.  It's ground we must conquer, because it is the open forum.  We're locked out of the television already, and the media.  We're almost entirely locked out of Hollywood, the college system, psychology, medicine, academia, the sciences, and public schools.  We're not locked out of the web.  And the web is the key to reaching young people.  This is how many young people prefer to interact.

So how can we share Jesus on social media effectively?  How can we begin to influence the web?  Let's look at some common sense ways to share the message on social media.  The two largest social media platforms are Facebook and Twitter.  We'll look at Facebook and Twitter, and how to share Jesus on these prominent platforms.  The lessons we discuss regarding these two giants can be applied to any of the myriad additional social networks that exist on the web.

1. Facebook is the largest social media site on the web.  There are three primary ways to engage on Facebook: Through an account, a page, or a group.  Experiment with these options.  But for our purposes we'll discuss how to engage via your personal account.

One of the best ways to share on Facebook is by resharing pictures.  This is a very common method of sharing the Christian worldview on social media.  It's best done on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.  There are tons of Christian pages that regularly put out Christian pictures.  They tend to have quotes from Christian leaders, Bible verses, apologetics information, and other content.  Click reshare, and get the truth out there.  Very simple.  I tend to share 3-5 pictures a day on my Facebook account.  

Some good pages to "like" on Facebook include:
The International House of Prayer
Cross Examined
The Institute for Creation Research
Banner of Truth
Family Research Council
Charisma News
Charles Spurgeon Daily
A.W. Tozer Man of God
Not a Fan
Our Daily Bread
K-Love Radio
Frank Turek
New Living Translation
Focus on the Family
My Bible
One Nation under God
Baptist Humor
The Salvation Army USA

Also consider liking our pages:
A Lifestyle of Peace
Pastor in Training Justin Steckbauer
Evangelical Intelligentsia
The Appeal to Heaven Movement

Another good way to share the truth via Facebook is by posting text.  The two primary ways I do this is by copy-pasting scriptures and by copy-pasting quotations.

I have two mainstays for accessing scriptures, they are and Open Bible.  If your on a mobile device, check out YouVersion.  Simple find a scripture portion that is speaking to your heart, copy-paste it onto your Facebook and post it.

If your looking for inspiring quotes to share, check out of the Powerful Quotes section of this website.  Another good source for Christian quotes is a ministry called Always Be Ready.  Still another source for good quotes is

The final way I'll mention to share the truth via Facebook is by reposting blogs and videos.  You may feel free to copy-paste any blog on this website to your social media accounts.  There are many other good Christian blogs out there too, do some Google searches.  If you enjoy writing consider creating your own Christian blog!  The three best free blogging platforms are Blogger, Wordpress, and Tumblr.

Another great way to share is by posting videos from You TubeHere are some recommended channels from You Tube for solid content to reshare:
Acts 17 Apologetics
Apologia Acts 17:17
C.S. Lewis Institute
Christian Channel
Christianity Reason and Science
Desiring God
Dr. Craig Videos
First Cause Argument
Frank Turek
Liberty University
Moody Bible Institute
Ratio Christi
Ravi Zacharias International Ministries
Socrates in the City
Sermon Index
Tactical faith
Test of Faith
The Good Christian Music Blog
The Veritas Forum
Theology, Philosophy and Science
Thriving Churches International
Truth Endures

2. The second and final social media platform I'll discuss is Twitter.  Twitter is the second largest platform on the internet.  Twitter is very different from Facebook. You'll be challenged to post concisely in 140 characters or less.  You can share a few short sentences, or links, video, and pictures.  

Twitter is famous for it's various hashtags.  Whenever you "tweet" something it's wise to mark it with a hashtag.  Some of the most popular Christian hashtags are as follows: #Christians #JesusChrist #GodsnotDead #Apologetics #CCOT #TCOT #Faith #Bible #Godisgood #JesusSaves #religious #grace #bibleverse and many others.  

Similarly to Facebook, you can upload a picture and share it, link to a video and share it, and post a link to a blog and share it.  The best way to gain followers on Twitter is to follow others, retweet content, and interact with your followers.  Posting good content is a sure fire way to draw followers as well.  You can follow up to 5,000 users at the beginning, and more later once you reach 5,000 followers.

I interact a great deal on Twitter.  I personally have thirty different Twitter accounts.  Combined together, when I tweet something out I can reach over 50,000 people in a single click.  I did this through years of work, and I use a free program called to blast out my posts to all the accounts simultaneously. I generally try to post 3-5 tweets a day. 

If you'd like to follow me on Twitter my primary account is: @JustinSteckbaue 

Consider building your twitter account to reach out to as many people as possible.  Twitter is a powerful tool to connect people to Jesus.  It's also a great way of saturating culture with the Christian message.

There are many other social media platforms, but the biggest are Facebook and Twitter.  That can always change though.  New platforms are routinely invented and those with the best innovations soon dominate the web.  A few years ago Myspace was the biggest social media platform and only a few years later Facebook claimed total domination.  Don't be afraid to experiment and try out different platforms.  There are dozens and dozens to explore.  Find your niche in the conversation.  

Here's a tip: Even on the web, it's all about relationships.  Develop relationships with your followers on Twitter and your friends on Facebook.  Talk to them via messenger.  Engage them in debate and discussion.  That is the best way to share the gospel on social media, one person at a time.  Sharing great content plants a lot of seeds, but the best transformations happen when relationships are developed.  

People will challenge you when you begin standing for your faith on social media.  That's fine.  Be prepared to give an answer when someone does.  But remember to do so politely.  It's more important to win the person than to win the argument.  And remember, others are watching on social media.  Make sure your witness isn't damaged by a poor choice of words.  

A secondary benefit to becoming a Christian social media juggernaut is that it enriches your own walk with Christ.  All of this content begins to saturate your daily life.  Eventually you find yourself getting deeper and deeper into the Christian worldview.  You begin to see from the perspective of the truth, instead of desperately reaching for it from a foreign worldview.  The more I engage and find new ways to plant the message on the web, the more I find myself enriched in theology, apologetics, philosophy, scriptural references, and Christian history.  It's awesome.

After a few years of developing your accounts and pages, you can find yourself with an enormous influence.  I began writing this blog three years ago, only receiving about 15-25 hits a day.  Today that number is up between 200-600 hits a day.  I use to have a few social media accounts, now I have dozens with far reaching influence.

The web of course isn't for everyone.  When I write this I'm mainly speaking to people who already love the web and social media.  Use that love to the glory of God.  God calls us to mission fields like this, where we have natural talents.  If your naturally a computer nerd like me, then this could be right up your alley. 

The internet was once an extremely secular place, where the only mention of religion was to mock and ridicule it (through unearned moral superiority.)  You know how it is.  But more and more, Christians are beginning to gain influence on the internet.  In a world where Christians are locked out of academia, television media, public schools, and the sciences, the internet becomes a vital hope for the propagation of the Christian worldview.  People are being led astray everyday, especially young people.  We've got to engage them with the truth of life: The gospel of Jesus Christ, the God-man who came into the world to save us.  Share that message, not over weeks or months, but day in and day out over years and decades.  We're in it for the long haul.  We can't expect instant results.  We need to think long term.  Let's do so, bravely and wisely.  Take care and God be with you.    

Related Posts:
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  2. Does man need God in Western Civilization: Young People are Hungry for the Truth!
  3. Real Christianity: Clothing, Buildings, Money, & Extravagance
  4. The Information Age & the Christian Worldview: Is God Real? Or is he a Delusion?  
  5. Expert Testimony: The Existence of God, the Problem of Evil
  6. Christianity in the Public Square: The Apologetics & Philosophy Renaissance
  7. The Paradox of Victory through Surrender: Rise Above
  8. Expert Testimony: the Demise of Evolution, Complexity in DNA
  9. Expert Testimony: Intelligent Design, Archaeology
  10. Christian Activism: Can Christianity survive the new cultural attitudes?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The War on Principles & the Hope in our Worldview

The Pilgrims pray for their journey fleeing religious persecution
Daniel in the Lion's den

We live in a culture where really, values are passe.  You aren't allowed to have values.  Morality, principles are scorned by the media, ignored by academia, dismissed in politics, and mocked by Hollywood.  Especially for young people, if you have values your a loser.  If you carry a Bible around at public school, your a laughing stock.  If you believe in moral behavior, your backwards.  If you believe in principles in the political realm, then your an ideologue.  If you believe politicians should make decisions based on Constitutional principles, then your an ideological purist.  If you think sex is something sacred that should be reserved for marriage, then your a backwards rube, a traditionalist fool.  If you refuse to endorse, support, finance, and celebrate gay marriage then you are evil, bigoted, homophobic, racist, sexist, and the very definition of wickedness.  You are really worse than Hitler or Stalin if you don't endorse and celebrate gay marriage.  If you think the Bible is real, then you're an ignorant and dangerous fundamentalist.  If you think a fetus represents a sacred life, you're waging a war on women.  If you're blind to race, then you're actually a raving racist and white supremacist.  If you think a sovereign nation should police it's borders and prevent certain persons from entering illegally, then you are a heartless bigoted anti-immigrant hater.  The list goes on, ad infinitum.  

Insanity is the new sanity.  Lies are the new truth.  Depravity is the new holiness. Hate is the new love language.  Sin is the new standard.  Outrage, the new free speech.  And if you disagree, then they will silence you, or get you fired from your job.  And media will have a field day dancing on your ashes and celebrating your demise as the latest victory for social justice.  

I'd like to say something about all that.  And I hope you'll join me.  I hope I'm not alone in saying this: "No.  You are wrong.  Values still matter.  Religious faith should be respected.  Gay marriage is still wrong.  The Constitution is not out of vogue.  And yes, even the dreaded heresy of heresies: Jesus Christ is alive, and he is God."

In a world of lies, half truths, where we are astounded by the fact that all that we oppose in life seems to have full control... in the limelight of culture, media, and academia, we must be guided by marrow deep principles.  We must be guided by a worldview that is unshakable and firmly set within our souls.

We aren't people who are guided by talking heads in the media, or by big personalities in culture, or even by the latest "experts" and their speculations and calculations as to what is right and true.  Instead we are guided by presuppositions based upon value sets.  And so are they, those on the other side, the atheist, progressive, secular, Marxist, Freudian, anti-religious, democratic socialists, and all the other various ideologies and views of life that vie for power in our country.

They attack us for basing our worldview on the Bible, the Constitution, and moral behavior.  They say that those presuppositions can't be proven.  I would say, and have said many times that our presuppositions are more provable than theirs are.

The Bible is a respected historical document which lines up with outside historical accounts.  The Bible has transformed hundreds of millions of lives for the better.  The Bible is a remarkable document that only arrogant, condescending naturalists in academia have the gumption to mock.  Read a full case here.  The Constitution is not perfect, but given empirical reality, it has functioned very well to guide the prosperity of an amazing nation: The United States.  Moral behavior, well that flows from both of those sources, and it's value to society goes without saying, it is self-evident.    

Consider the alternative: various forms of Marxism, which have led to decay, economic collapse, and brutal genocides.  Consider the alternative of a society that doesn't value life, like Hitler's Germany.  Genocide followed, when one group of people were made to appear as the enemy.  Today conservative Christians are being scapegoated as an enemy.
  All the many names that fit under this crowd of seculars base their worldview on presuppositions.  Their presuppositions are that humanity is basically good, that humanity must look to itself for it's utmost and highest.  Is humanity good?  The state of the world, and the history of humanity should be enough, in short form, to disprove that immediately.  As Malcom Muggeridge the noted journalist said,"The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable fact while at the same time being the most intellectually resisted."  

Second, our adversary believes that only the natural world exists.  They believe in only the physical world.  Is that presupposition provable?  Absolutely not.  It's a presupposition.  It's a prior belief system based on faith in the doctrines of naturalism and evolutionary biology.

Third, they believe government should fix everything.  They tend to believe more government programs will help cure the ills of society.  They appeal to government in fact to transform America into a sort of capitalist-socialist hybrid.  They look to Europe and seek to make the USA look more like Europe.  Well, so far so good, our debt and stagnating economy certain now look more like Europes'.  (Many European countries have debt exceeding their GDP which America has had since the Obama presidency)  

Now I work for the Salvation Army, and charities are what we believe in on the Constitutional vein.  We don't believe we need to appeal to government when there is a problem.  Instead we appeal to heaven.  We create charities, church organizations, and temperance movements to transform the society to deal with social ills.  We don't believe the government should fix these things, instead we look to people to form organizations and charities to deal with social ills.  And when we do that, wonderful things happen.  

When we demand government fix everything, well, the United States is now over 30 trillion dollars in debt.  When we appeal to government to make the economy better, we get crony-capitalism.  When we appeal to the government to fix social problems, we get massive debt and failing government programs.  We get record numbers on government assistance, and debt spiraling out of control.  
The point here is, these ideologies don't work.  They don't function!  They are destroying our country.  These fools have destroyed the moral structure of our nation.  They've driven this country into debt.  And they've made political war on Christians.  They've mocked and ridiculed Christians, conservatives, and Constitutionalists.  Madness!  They've created these problems and then they swoop in to fix them, with government programs. 

They've removed morality, religious thought, and personal responsibility, now propagating their destructive ideologies in public schools and university institutions.  Is it any wonder that so many millennials feel an absurd sense of entitlement?  That everything should be free?  That government needs to care for them and give them free stuff from cradle to grave?  And is it any wonder that these young people are devoid of spiritual thought, given how so many in academia, politics, media, and public discourse make it a point to routinely mock Christianity?  And is it working for these millennials?  Is it?  Divorces skyrocketing, teen pregnancy skyrocketing, drug addiction on the rise! Is that working?  I've lived in two towns, Wausau Wisconsin and now Escanaba Michigan.  People in both these cities are dumbfounded by the flood of drugs moving in.  It's like the fabric of the societies are starting to give way.  This process began in the public schools, and in broken families and broken homes, and now it's come to it's full fruition; a generation devoid of morality, devoid of religious thought, and devoid of personal responsibility. My generation has been so lied to, so deceived, so tricked into turning away from the values that made this nation great. It's sick! They think the world owes them everything and they think meaning is to found in multicolored pills and in glass pipes.  I understand why.  They've been raised in a value-less public school system, matched with overworked families breaking apart under attack, then multiplied by a depraved media pushing sex, drugs, alcohol, theft, violence, and immorality of all kinds.  Is it any wonder given this destructive equation that we see young people are messed up in the head and broken inside and out?  No it isn't.

In this mess, this soup of chaos we must be that much more determined to be linked to our values, our principles, and our Christian worldview.  We've got to stick to our guns day and night; metaphorically speaking our principles and our worldview.  Let's look at these principles that have changed the world and brought about such profound liberty and prosperity. What are the basic precepts that make up this worldview?  Once again let us turn to Dr. Norm Geisler's key categories.  They are as follows:

Origin - Where did I come from?
Identity - Who am I?
Meaning - What is my purpose?
Morality - What is my code?
Destiny - What is my future?

Despite all the information imparted to young people, imagine if they could answer definitively these five questions.  Imagine young people armed to the teeth with this sort of rock-ribbed worldview.  Maybe they wouldn't be killing themselves in record numbers every year?

Origin - Where did I come from?
If your a naturalist, an atheist then you believe laughably that you came from rocks which were formed by energy released by a big bang 13.82 billion years ago. (Note: As the years go by the age of the Earth keeps getting older and older as scientists attempt to account for the insane complexity of the universe.) Yes, people actually believe this stuff.  Naturalists can't stand the miraculous.  But their own worldview requires miracles.  The miracles of naturalism, atheism are as follows:
1. Getting something from nothing - There is a universe, it can't explode from nothing. Basic logic, and if they throw "well who created God?" Well, they are making a category error.
2. Getting life from non-life - We've never observed that in science, ever.
3. Getting order from chaos - entropy, the second law of thermodynamics indicates that a system will tend toward disorder not order (and yes, this law applies to our universe.)
4. Getting the immaterial from physical matter - amazing how they don't realize their own miraculous claims.

For a Christian we understand that all life has value.  My life has value and so does yours.  The life of the most staunch atheist has value, even the life of Hitler or Stalin has value.  Why?  Because all life has value.  Every person is made in the image of God.  They are in fact a beautiful and unique snowflake.  Isn't that excellent?  This value guides so much of what we does as Christians and Constitutionalists.  We are willing to allow opposing opinions, because we know that every person has value and therefore has certain inalienable rights.  We don't engage in silencing people like progressives do, we believe that all people have the right to their opinions and should be treated respectfully.  The implications are huge for this simple fact, but I'll leave it there for the sake of time.

Identity - Who am I? 
I think we really covered that more so in the first category.  We are beings created by God, is our origin, and our identity is that of having infinite value and worth.  We are beings worthy of protection and ought to have life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness.  Which is why we must, must, must appose abortion.  Abortion is the organized genocide of our day; abortion takes life, liberty, and the ability to pursue happiness from the most precious among us: children.

Meaning - What is my purpose?
If only young people understand that life does have meaning.  And it's not the meaning we make up in our heads.  Life has objective meaning.  There is in fact a purpose to life and to the world and to the universe.  

What is the purpose within the Christian worldview?  Our purpose is to come to know the being who created us, and the being who created the universe.  Our purpose is to come into full relationship with God almighty, and to love God and be loved by Him.  In addition, just as important is our imperative to love.  Love is the very center of our mission and purpose on Earth: We are charged to love those who are unlovable, to care for those who are careless and to stand for those who can't stand themselves.  It is a beautiful charge, and a life of supreme meaning.  We are to lead a life sharing the message of the gospel, of Jesus Christ, to the lost and broken of this world.  It is a life that leads to charities being founded, it's a life that leads to mission trips to dig wells in 3rd world countries, it's a life that leads to orphanages being built and hospitals being founded.  It's a mission that seeks to fight injustice and destroy slavery and worldly evils.  It's a life that turns a person inside out, from selfish, lonely and miserable to loving, merciful, and serving to those in need.  And truly it is a hard life, it is a difficult challenge, and it's a cause that requires every inch of who you are.  It's not a pale grim path, but a path of danger, darkness, light, sorrow, joy and awe.  It is a beautiful, magnificent purpose that is true, and real.  It's not true because it's good, that is an added bonus, it's true because it's the actual state of reality; how things truly are.

Morality - What is my code?
The Bible and the Constitution articulate an astounding moral code.  This moral code gives instruction in every area from personal growth to sexual practices, to how to treat the poor and how to deal with evil.

This is where the rubber meets the road.  How am I going to live?  What am I going to do?  And I mean really, when it's tough.  When a lovely young lady wants to take you home to bed.  Yet she's married.  Or she's your best friend's girl?  Are your values going to transition into that situation?  Or are they going out the window for the sake of pleasure?  Are we hedonists or are we principled conservatives?  And another area, money.  Are we giving 10% of our income to charity?  Are we caring for our family?  Or does our money go only to our wants and desires?  These two areas are the most crucial I think.  Sex and money.  These are the areas where either we'll stick to our principles or we'll give in like hedonists every time.  What about drugs?  Or alcohol?  What about telling the truth?  What about cheating others for a profit?  These are the questions we need to ask.  

When Ben Carson had the option, either I endorse a principled conservative and get nothing in return, or get a seat in Trump's administration if I kiss the ring... what decision did he make?  What would you have done?  What do we do in these situations?  Can we stand with our principles when it means we lose?  Can we ignore a bribe and take a pounding for it?  Can we side with the American people and be hated by the elite in Washington?  Can we tell the truth about those in power and receive the full weight of their scorn?  We need to look at these situations through the lens of our convictions, and act accordingly.  Otherwise we're just hypocrites and deserve nothing good in life.

Destiny - What is my future?
Finally, what is my future?  If your an atheist, naturalist then you believe your future is to blink out of existence.  No life after death, and no reason to live rightly now.  If you die and no longer exist, why not live it up in sexual acting out, drugs, parties, bars, strip joints, and all the rest?  In other words, this worldview is not a sustainable one for a healthy society.  A healthy society can't function with those who believe life has no meaning; because people who believe that behave in self destructive ways, tending to bring disorder to the society.  Isn't that self evident?  It really is.

What is your future if your a Christian?  Your future is to live in glory with God almighty, in a restored universe, a perfected reality that people such as us cannot even imagine.  Not because we're pie in the sky types, not because we're afraid of death, but because such a position tracks with reality.  It tracks with near death experiences.  It tracks with the spread of Christianity worldwide.  It tracks with the default understanding within the human heart that what we are now is only a pale reflection of who we truly are and what we truly shall be.  Or as C.S. Lewis said,"If I find within myself a desire which nothing on Earth can satisfy the logical conclusion is that I was made for another world." Or as the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes recorded: "God has placed eternity upon the human heart."  We know these things.  They are self evident.  They are natural truths built within our very souls.  It is only by the false rabbit trails created by secular culture that we could be convinced to believe otherwise.  

Understand this: God is real, even if we don't want Him to be.  God is real.  He did in fact send us a savior, a God-man into the world named Jesus Christ, born in Bethlehem, grew up Galilee who did in fact die on a cross, put to death by the Romans, who also did in fact resurrect bodily from the dead, in the power of the creator of reality, demonstrating to us his victory over death and the hardline formula for the salvation of humanity.  This formula is simple, profound, magical, yet firmly planted in the ground.  It is a reality of life.  

There will be a day, not too far from now when each and every single person who lives today and has ever lived, will stand physically before the God who made the universe.  Each of us will give an account of what decisions we made and what things we did.  It's true, believe it.  We are morally accountable beings.  Our actions really do have consequences.  Our bad decisions cause evil in the world.  Our good decisions cause hope, rejuvenation, and joy in the world.  We will one day have to answer for our choices.  And we will have to answer the question as to who is for us.  On that day I will be certain to say and to know that Jesus Christ is my savior, that he has paid the penalty for all my poor actions, my sins against God.  For those who are unable to answer with such a statement, they will be removed from the presence of God, just as any of us would no longer seek to be in the company of those who reject us.  And they will then be in a place of sadness, a place of darkness.  And there is no escape from such a place.  It's true.  And God is just, right, and good to do so.  Believe it, and act accordingly.

In conclusion, in this crazy world of moral relativism and secular ideology it's more important than ever to have the courage to live out our principles.  Our principles are grounded in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit who works within us to help us stand against any and all temptations.  Continue to stand firm in the Christian worldview, and the rights found in the Constitution.  It's not too late.  There is still hope in our culture.  There is still hope for a new great awakening.  It could be right around the corner, closer than we all imagine.  It's always in the darkest moments of history that people come together to do great things, right before the moment of no return.  That moment is today.  Live accordingly. 

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Monday, March 14, 2016

A Fact-Based Look at the Life of Jesus Christ

In the life of Jesus Christ we find the idea of truth. Truth is described time and again by Jesus. But what is truth? Truth is indeed a great breathtaking challenge. What is the truth about life? As believers in this chapel, here to worship God, we know that the truth is as follows:

John 1:1-5, 9-14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life,and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

In Jesus Christ we find the answer to the overarching theme of life itself, a multi-pronged description of God. The word of God made the universe, the word of God became a man, the word of God became a son of God to enable the sons of God to become children of God. The truth there is rifled with paradoxes and deep philosophical constructs.

In our search for the truth, we’ll break it down into five categories. The categories are: Origin, identity, meaning, morality, and destiny. Origin – Where do I come from? Identity – Who am I? Meaning – What is meaningful in life? Morality – What is right and wrong? And destiny – what future do I have?

So in Jesus we find the answer to our origins: Our current predicament in the state of humanity: man has fallen from positive regard with God, and currently struggles in an attempt to create systems outside of a need for God.

In Jesus we find the answer to our identity: “we are made in the image of God” Genesis 1:27

We find the answer regarding our understanding of the meaning of life, you are an eternal being designed to live in joyous connection to your maker.

We find the answer in understanding the proper allocations of morality; the teachings of how life ought to be lived. We see in Jesus the perfect union of contrasts between mercy, justice, love, truth, judgment and grace.

We find the answer in understanding our future destiny in glory: We are destined to know Jesus, to know peace, and live in a perfected state of existence.

How can the life of one man do so much to redeem humanity? How can the life of one man change the world forever? Let’s look at the life of Jesus.

The life of Jesus was something very special. It was a union of contrasts. Jesus was a healer. Jesus was a lover of his friends. Yet Jesus also spoke the most severe words about sin, indicating that if our arm causes us to sin, cut it off! He declared seven woes upon the Pharisees, the political and religious rulers of that time, demanding of them how they hoped to evade the fires of hell? Yet Christ’s tender character and warm heart caused the children to come to him and rest in his arms. He spent his entire 3 year ministry helping and saving others, but he allowed himself to be nailed to the cross and forsaken by God almighty. He drove the bankers from the temple, yet he sat and ate with the worst of sinners.

His life was filled with divine mysteries, and the presence of God. A Voice called to him from heaven. A spirited dove descended on him from above. He was transfigured, meeting in glory with Moses and Elijah. He walked upon the water as if there was no depth to it. He wept so bitterly that blood dripped from his eyes. He gave up his glorious position in heaven to offer up his own life as a sacrifice for those who presently held weapons in rebellion against his him. And as he died, crucified in a midst of a garbage dump, hung between two criminals, he begged his heavenly Father to forgive those who killed him. And in his purity and utter righteousness death itself could not cling to Jesus Christ. His own righteousness, his divine nature resurrected him from the dead. God brought Christ out from death itself. Yet forever bearing the marks of his gift to humanity, with holes in his hands and feet.

This man Jesus, this God of ours then walked among the people, showing himself to those who had killed him, and came after his disciples, coming to show himself to them. Having risen from the dead, he promised eternal life to all who would believe in him. Then he commissioned his disciples, and commissioned us today, to carry the message of the gospel, the good news of eternal life to all nations and all people.

Jesus Christ, before he moved back into heaven indicated that he would return at the end of the age to rule and reign on this Earth. And he most certainly will do so.

We’ve never met him, yet we know him. We’ve never seen him, yet we believe in him. (1 Peter 1:8) And Jesus Christ himself said truly blessed are those who have not seen me, yet believe in me. That is you and me he was referring to. (John 20:29)

Can we believe these things? Or are they just the writings of man? I’d like to share some testimony. Even the best of us sometimes doubt and lose faith. So I hope this testimony will help encourage your trust in Christ and the word. Let’s ask two of the greatest scientists in history what they think of the Bible. Galileo and Isaac Newton.

Well, Sir Isaac Newton what do you think about the Bible?

“I have a fundamental belief in the Bible as the Word of God, written by those who were inspired. I study the Bible daily.” –Sir Isaac Newton

And how about you Mr. Galileo Galilei, are the scriptures nonsense?

“Holy Scripture could never lie or err...its decrees are of absolute and inviolable truth.” –Galileo Galilei

Well… What do scientists know about the Bible anyway? Let’s ask two historians.

Let’s ask the noted British historian William Lecky. What do you think of the Bible and the ministry of Jesus?

“The simple record of these three short years of active life has done more to regenerate and soften mankind than all the discourses of philosophers and all the exhortations of moralists.”
–William Lecky

Secondly, what does C.S. Lewis the writer and historian have to say about the Bible?

He said,” “All I am in private life is a literary critic and historian, that's my job...And I'm prepared to say on that basis if anyone thinks the Gospels are either legends or novels, then that person is simply showing his incompetence as a literary critic. I've read a great many novels and I know a fair amount about the legends that grew up among early people, and I know perfectly well the Gospels are not that kind of stuff.” –C. S. Lewis

The Bible is really God’s word. I think there is a wealth of reason to believe the Bible. But ultimately, man is looking for a way out. Because no man wants an arbiter of his actions. He wants to do what he wants to do. Thus comes a convenient skepticism toward a book like the Bible that charges a man with personal responsibility.

We turn again to the reformed criminal Charles Colson. He said, “The Bible- banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it is more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints. Pieced together scraps of Scripture have converted whole villages of pagan Indians.”
Charles W. Colson

Indeed it was the great hymn writer, who wrote, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind but now I see.” Those words were penned by the captain of a slave ship.

He offers grace, and grace after grace. Total forgiveness! Complete absolution! No questions asked! Forgiveness!

We see the life of Jesus in the first four books of the New Testament describing his life and ministry. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. After these accounts we see the book of Acts which describes the activities of the apostles in their missionary work and the beginning of the ground shaking ministry of the apostle Paul.

Today we know that the apostle Paul wrote 14 of the 27 books of the New Testament. More than half! Paul’s descriptions of Jesus Christ are incredible, glorious, majestic, astounding, some of the most beautiful sentences penned by any man in history. Let’s look at a few.

In Colossians 1:15-20 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Ephesians 1:18-23 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Romans 8:31-39 If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The glory and majesty of the real God who made the world through the real savior, Jesus Christ, is revealed powerfully through the letters of the new testament. Though originally written in Greek, these words translate powerfully into English, causing us to feel the weight of the glory of God in our hearts and minds.

If there is one message that I try to carry it’s this: God is really real. He’s really here. It’s not just a tradition or a religion it’s a description of reality as it really is. He veils himself to allow for a real choice: For those who despise him and wish to ignore him, they are free to do so, and he makes enough of himself known the through the glory of creation, the universe, and his word for those who really want to know the truth, that they may find it in Jesus.

Indeed it is the order in creation that makes the existence of God so real and obvious. The self evident truth is this: something so complex and functional could not come about by chance.

The famed astronomer Fred Hoyle said:"The chance that higher life forms might have emerged in this way is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junk-yard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the materials therein." Fred Hoyle, Hoyle on evolution, Nature, Vol. 294, No. 5837 (November 12, 1981), p. 105

The likelihood of the universe coming about by chance is.. well, impossible. Charlie Campbell notes a Princeton study in this quotation: "Donald Page of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Science calculated the odds against our universe randomly taking a form suitable for life as one in: 10,000,000,000124. One in ten billion to the 124th power! This is a number so large, it is safe to say that the universe did not come together randomly. It was created by an incredibly intelligent and powerful designer."

Many of the greatest scientists say.. “hey, it looks designed.” And these aren’t crackpots on history channel’s ancient aliens. These are scientists who have shaped our understanding of the universe, many of them Nobel prize winners.

When we look at the stars and when we look at cells, it looks designed, very designed. Whether scientists look through the microscope or the telescope, they see design features. Interesting that this never gets talked about in the media, on the news, or in academia? Sounds like a heart problem. But my generation knows only too well that the truth is often surrounded by a bodyguard of lies. God is real. Now let’s talk about ourselves.

Written in the Reformation Study Bible, which is just an amazing resource… we see the state of man, described by Paul is five distinct ways. “2:1–3 First, The natural state of all human beings is a kind of spiritual death. This spiritual condition is universal: both Gentiles (v. 2) and Jews (v. 3) are “by nature children of wrath.” Second, they are in active rebellion against God. Third, they are subject to the evil rule of Satan. Fourth, they are totally unable to change themselves from rebellion against God (John 3:3). Fifth, they are exposed to the just anger of God (v. 3; 5:6; Rom. 1:18–20).

We’re a species, in flight, with basic notions set within us that go contrary to the truth about reality and the truth about ourselves. It’s ingrained by our society. We want things our way. We want to define truth as we see it, not as how God sees it. My own infinite skepticism in my teens and twenties is a testament to this. I didn’t want anything to do with God. I had decided I was going to make up in my own mind, my own way, and simply ignore religious thought. Many in the world today, especially in our country do the same thing. Just ignore the God question. But we can’t ignore it! It’s far too important to ignore.

Let me share my past struggles with you: I experienced the world out there. I experienced the drug culture. I experienced the party life on liberal college campuses. I experienced the post-modernist mindset of me, me, me. I used to write about how I didn’t believe in God or the Bible. Even at age 18 I refused to be confirmed in the Catholic church because I didn’t think any of it was real. I thought it was a stupid legend, based on lies and fabrications from human history. I thought it was a giant, pathetic joke.

I was a drug addict and alcoholic, smoked cigarettes, engaged in questionable activities of all kinds. And let me tell you something. That person that I was is exactly the person that needs Jesus Christ. That is exactly the person who is fit for the church, who is fit for ministry, who is fit to eat at the marriage supper of the lamb. It’s a message for the worst of the worst. And we have to carry the gospel message to the worst. Because as many as can ought to receive eternal life.

Finally we see God’s description of reality in the expression of eternity. God’s description of the meaning of life, is to know Him through Jesus Christ his Son and to participate in the elevation of the human race from depravity and selfishness to a state of perfected redemption, to enjoy happiness in the full presence of God for eternity. We who follow Jesus are destined to live in a restored universe, a redeemed universe, a state of reality perfected, in a city established before the foundations of the Earth to house those God almighty chose to pre-destine for election into the city we read in the scriptures depicted as “the new Jerusalem.”

It is written in Revelation 21:1-5: Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

In conclusion, the entire keystone, the cornerstone, the formula, the equation, the mysterious centerpoint of the Christian saga is found in Jesus Christ. The truths are mysterious, but may be broken down, boiled down to the life of Jesus Christ. And we may boil down the life of Jesus Christ to 7 I am statements he made, that were recorded in the gospel of John. In conclusion, I want to leave you with the 7 “I am” statements. Contemplate these truths, they define the mystery of life, God and ourselves. These truths are part of who you are, and in conclusion, they are as follows:

1. I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

2. I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”(John 8:12)

3. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)

4. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”(John 10:11)

5. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”(John 11:25-26)

6. I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

7.“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

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