Sunday, May 7, 2017

God Has Hidden Beauty in Every Corner of the Earth

Accompanying Video:

Audio Message:

God has hidden beauty in every corner of the Earth, every nook and cranny is full to the brim with it. If we go upon the mountains of the Rockies or the Appalachians we will witness pieces and parts of God’s glory and His divine mystery. If we go by boat to the north pole, and climb upon the crest of a snow mound and wait for darkness to fall, we will witness the incredible awe of the northern lights, atmospheric phenomenon that defy our ability to fully comprehend.

If we were to take a rocket ship and fly into deep space, we’d see the firey burning star that fuels our planet with light. Yet I find I get to witness a bit of that beauty when I come home and see my two cats walking up to me as I open the door.

Tornadoes, hurricanes, prairie valleys, star filled night skies, underground caverns, flocks of geese flying through the air, herds of cattle roaming on the fields, music played by a symphony orchestra, a butterfly flapping it’s little wings through a summer day, tall trees reaching up toward the heavens, giant whales lurching through the seas, is there any end to the amazing beauty of this world our God has created?

A resident here at Bishop Noa often comes over to me, and sits down at my table, and asks me if I’m with the church. And I reply yes. And he tends to always ask me the same question: “Do you believe there is a heaven?”

And I always say yes. I do believe there is a heaven. But it’s more than mere belief. I know there is a heaven.

He often asks a follow up question, he asks: If we went up in a rocket ship and kept going through space do you think we’d eventually reach heaven?

Well that’s an interesting question. See the Apostle Paul spoke of three heavens. The first heaven is probably the blue sky above us. The second heaven then must be the universe. And the 3rd heaven is of course God’s throne room and the place where He and his angels exist in and live. This place is told of in the book of Revelation. And if we took a rocket ship up to outer space, we would not reach God’s heaven, it is beyond our reality of space and time.

It’s an interesting question though. He says to me that he’s never been there. He’s never seen a heaven or a hell. So why should he believe that they are real?

The Bible says that deep down we all know that God exists. There is something deep within us that tells us this is so. I believe that is true. But I like to see evidence and facts on why I should believe something. After all I have to make sure no one scams me right?

So here is an argument for the existence of God.

1. The universe began to exist.

2. Anything that begins to exist must have a cause.

3. Therefore the universe must have a cause.

This cause must be spaceless, timeless, omnipotent, and personally active,thus the best explanation for the existence of our universe is God.

Here is another argument, we were just talking about the beauty and mystery of nature.

1. It is statistically impossible for complex living thinking lifeforms to evolve by chance, even given billions of years.

2. Therefore if chance is ruled out, design is implied.

3. To find design in life, nature, and the universe, means there must be a designer.

The designer must be omnipotent and timeless, the being best meeting these guidelines is God. So there is good evidence and argument to believe that God does exist and that He is active in human affairs.

Now we come to the most important man who ever lived: Jesus.

Jesus Christ most certainly existed and he lived and spoke to people and he died by being crucified on a cross by Roman authorities in collusion with the Jewish leaders of that time in ancient history. Even the most skeptical historians and scholars agree that Jesus existed, lived, and died by crucifixion. So that should be nailed down right now as absolute fact. There was a Jesus of Nazareth.

I would continue to argue that the Bible, the historical records of the history of Israel and the teachings of Jesus and the church should be considered authoritative and factual. In fact the Bible is the single most well attested historical document in history. Actually no other ancient document even comes close to the number of matching parallel manuscripts, which is about 5,686 I believe.

So God exists. Jesus existed. And the Bible can be trusted. Which is why we read the Bible here at our church services, and why we sing songs of praise and worship to our glorious God.

Jesus came, and the scriptures say he was the God-man, God come to Earth, which is what Immanuel means. Jesus lived a perfect life. He was tempted, just like we are tempted everyday. Remember, to be tempted is not to sin. We are all tempted, that is not sin. Jesus was tempted just like us. He got tired just like us. He had to go and by himself and pray, just like we do. He had to trust and obey the will of God the Father.

Jesus lived a rather unremarkable life until he reached the age of about 30. He grew up with his family, ate, drank, used the restroom, just like us. He studied, he learned, he trained under his father as a carpenter I assume, and eventually began working to support his parents and family. All of this time Jesus knew that he would one day go into Jerusalem, speak the truth to the people, do great deeds, and then be offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. And for my sins personally.

Jesus knew, and He came voluntarily. No one forced him to come on His rescue mission to save us. He came because he values us so deeply .

Jesus lived a life of service to others. Every time I read the gospels it seems like Jesus did nothing but help other people. And as a pastor in training, just learning the ropes, I can tell you that such work is very stressful and quite exhausting. The emotional, personal work with others is very draining and often quite discouraging. Yet Jesus lived like that. He served others during his three year ministries.

Jesus’ ministry went a mere three years, and consider all he accomplished. People like Napoleon or Hitler, they conquered much of the known world during their times, but they were defeated, and driven back. Today Jesus’ kingdom is worldwide. There are over 2 billion Christians in the world today. Churches and Christian movements exist in every country big and small. All starting with a mere 3 years of ministry done by Jesus.

So Jesus lived, served, and healed those who were sick with supernatural power from heaven. The people even back then were very skeptical of him. When jesus healed a blind man, the blind man was dragged before the religious leaders and they refused to believe that the man had even been blind, til they called his parents who testified to it. We’re often quite skeptical today too. But I find it reassuring that even back then, when people was literally walking around healing people and doing miracles they were still like: Yeah whatever he’s just a faker, he’s bad, he’s no good, he’s doing it by the devil or something. It’s not true, it’s not real. We try to write often Jesus today too. But I encourage you to reject that worldly attitude and embrace Jesus. Let go of that skepticism and dare to believe. Your life will change, because Jesus is real. And he is really risen from the dead. He is alive right now. And he is here with us. Someday everyone will see Jesus face to face, then they won’t be skeptical anymore. But for many by then it will be too late.

I want you to know Jesus personally. Not as a part of a big church, or because other people in your family know Jesus, or because your pastor or priest tells you so, I want you to know and have fellowship with Jesus personally, one on one. It’s between you and Him. You and Him.

We here are all sinners, in that we’ve fallen short in so many ways in our lives. We know that. I know that. I know my sins. I know how I’ve hurt others. I know how I’ve used people. I know how I’ve lied, stolen, cheated, and mistreated my parents. I know what I’ve done. It’s ugly. And it’s a weight constantly on my back. It’s heavy and it drags on my life. And I was so happy when in despair, agony, depravity that I called out to Jesus, and He took that heavy bag off my back, and where did Jesus put that weight? He put it on His own back. That’s what Jesus does for you. For you personally. If you will accept and believe in Him. If you will turn your sins over to Him, and believe that your sin was put on Jesus when Jesus was on the cross, then your sin is gone. If you will live for Jesus, then you will live forever. Jesus went to the cross to receive the punishment that each of us deserved. Believe this. And believe that three days later after Jesus had died, he resurrected from the dead, to set us free from death.

If you believe these things I want you to pray with now. I want you to say it in your mind to Jesus, from you to Him. And follow Jesus. Read his word. His word brings life.