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3 Ways To Bridge the Gap Between Believer and Non-Believer

How shall we bridge the gap between believers and non-believers in the New Year? How bridge-53769_640shall we bridge this gap in any year. Year? Perhaps the word “year” gives the believer too much time.  As believers we should question rather how we will bridge the gap this month, week or day?  Yes, why wait?  How shall we bridge the gap between the believer and non-believer today?

What causes believers to wobble on the edge of this chasm? Why do we not build bridges with our fellow brothers and sisters?  Are bridges even necessary?  Is the chasm really so wide we can’t simply cross the divide with a step or a hop?  We tremble with the thought of reaching out to a stranger or friend, fearful our word, even when kind, will be met with scorn or in the least, displeasure.  And yet is this fear unwarranted?  If as believers we truly believe anyone’s life is truly at stake, why do we waiver? Do we not truly believe? Do we feel there is always more time?  Do we leave salvation in the hands of another we feel is more competent to deliver the message?

Penn Jillette, one half of the illusionist team, Penn and Teller, is an outspoken atheist.  However after he was presented with a Bible by an audience member after a performance, he had this to say, “I’ve always said I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”

The gap perhaps is not as wide or deep as we convince ourselves.  Many non-believers may not want to raise their hand waiting instead to be called upon.  And that is fine if we are up to the challenge.  As teachers of the word here are a few ways to bridge the gap.

Show them Jesus – Do you remember the King in Braveheart commenting that the problem with Scotland is that it is full of Scots? The same can sometimes be said for Christianity and Christians.  The problem with Christianity is that it is full of Christians not practicing what they preach.  Win non-believers by showing them Jesus not just by telling them but when you do tell them, do so with gentleness and respect.

Always have an answer – 1 Peter 3:15 instructs us to always have an answer for the hope that you have. If a non-believer approaches you with a tough question about the Bible especially if they are sincere with their curiosity, you need to provide evidence, not a feeling.  Validating God’s existence based on a dream, your family’s prior relationship with God, or wishful hope, exposes you to skepticism or worse, ridicule.  Atheist Christopher Hitches once wrote, “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”  As believers can we afford to be dismissed? Study Christian Apologetics.  It will equip you with evidence to prove that your faith is not blind.

Share your testimony – How has prayer, attending Church, your fellowship with other Christians and your belief in God helped you? Has an ailment vanished? Have you escaped the clutches of an addiction?  Has hope sprung anew in your bad marriage? Do you finally see a light in the darkness of abuse that has smothered you your whole life? Your testimony can open ears. Your story instills hope.  Your victory wins hearts!  Sit down with a friend or loved one and tell them about the effect Christ has had in your life.

Nothing above guarantees salvation and certainly you will not always receive a warm welcome, but if you can give hope to one person, they might take that first step towards Jesus!

 

 

 

Christian Apologetics: Why Do Believers Need It?

As Christians we take the Bible and all the accounts within as fact.  We do not dispute that God Ravi2
created the heavens and the earth, all the life forms on it and that he sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for us.  As Christians the Bible represents a source of hope and inspiration.  It is a means by which we can share Jesus’ good news with others.  To lift them up, brush them off and through the Bible’s teachings show others the love God has for us.  The Bible is a handbook for how we should live and treat others but possesses also the assurances that Jesus will not abandon us in this broken world.

Inevitably as more people leave Christianity and turn to disbelief or at the least agnosticism, how will you bring people back into the flock? The Bible is a great start of course but how do you respond when the non-believer says, “I don’t believe in the Bible?”  For many individuals, young adults especially, no God is more convenient than one to whom their actions are accountable and so they latch on to theories and scientific discoveries thrown at them by their atheist professors and friends.  This might be why some suggest that as much as 40-50% of Christian youths abandon their faith during their college years.

The problem us church going Christians have is that the Bible cannot prove itself.  In other words the Bible won’t be accepted as true just because the Bible says it is true.  Without the Bible to prove our case we may find ourselves like defense attorneys at a murder trial who have discovered their key defense witness has just been ruled inadmissible.

Even more problematic, many well-known atheists are brilliant professors with PHDs who continue preying on and corrupting young minds with their best-selling books.  How as Christians do we counter the arguments of such brilliant minds when popular voices such as Richard Dawkins, Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse Tyson provide evidence that no God exists and that the Bible cannot be trusted?

This is the need for Christian apologists. For every best-selling doubter such as Sam Harris, Bart Ehrman or Dawkins, Christians also have an equally brilliant apologist such as Prof. John Lennox, Dr. William Lane Craig or Ravi Zacharias.  These gentlemen and others debate the atheists and answer the difficult questions that students around the country ask such as:

How do we know Jesus really existed or that the disciples didn’t make up his resurrection as a hoax? If the individual does not believe in the Bible then using the Bible as evidence for Jesus’ existence will not convince them.

How do we know that Jesus’ tomb was really empty?

How do we trust the Bible if it has been translated numerous times, has numerous errors and we do not have an original copy?

Stephen Hawking says in his book “The Grand Design” that the law of gravity explains how the universe created itself from nothing. Why then should we believe the Biblical account?

Why should I believe Genesis when Charles Darwin, all his present day acolytes and my textbooks claim that natural selection and random mutation explain the various species of animals on the earth and how we came to be?

How could the dinosaurs have lived hundreds of millions of years before man if God created man and dinosaur in the first week?

How do you argue the notion that you are a Christian only because you stayed within the faith in which you were raised?

How can you worship a God that promotes slavery and genocide?

1 Peter 3:15 says to always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

Read the Bible. Study the Bible. Give hope to those who have none.  If the believer however refuses to admit the Bible as evidence, then what data will you be able to give for the hope you have?

For answers to a few of the questions I have provided please check out the following links:

Did Science Kill God? John Lennox at UCLA

Did Jesus Rise From the Dead? Yale 2014. William Lane Craig

Life’s toughest questions – Ravi Zacharias

Is God a Moral Monster? – Dr. Paul Copan

Why Can the Bible Be Trusted – Sean McDowell

Yes, Of Course Homosexuals Can Go to Heaven, but Can They Still Be Intimate?

Homosexual marriage is a hot social topic these days and since Christians are perceived to be the smiley face pairindividuals who have the biggest problem with this issue, they are frequently invited to share their views on the subject.  So if you don’t know, homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible.  For the holier than thou heterosexuals, lying is also a sin as is adultery, pre-marital sex, drunkenness, murder, theft and so on.

Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  We are all sinners!

I John 1:8 – “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”

Have liars gone to heaven? Yes.

Have adulterers gone to heaven? Yes.

Have thieves gone to heaven? Yes.

Have rapists and murderers gone to heaven? Yes.

In short, if I repent of my sins and believe that Jesus died to pay my penalty then I can go to heaven.  Even if I were a murderer, rapist, arsonist, drunk, idolator or had sex with other men, if I repent I will receive my resurrected body.  Yes, homosexuals who believe in Christ will be looking down from Heaven on righteous men who don’t.

I think we’re not answering the correct question though and that question is, “How can homosexuals live a life for God and still be intimate with their loved one?”  If men and women really are born gay then why is it a sin for them to fall in love with one another, marry, and enjoy the same intimacy God intended for married heterosexual couples?  Let’s be clear, any sex, heterosexual or otherwise, outside of marriage, is a sin.  That’s something many throne sitting Christians forget when judging homosexuals.  Their premarital or extramarital sex is no more tasteful to God than homosexual sex.  Read my post, “7 Reasons Why God is Such a Buzzkill About Sex.”

But what of married homosexuals?  Certainly they should be allowed all the intimate fruits of marriage?  The Bible is fairly clear that marriage is between a man and a woman, not between a man and a man or between a woman and a woman.  If gays are born as such and they can’t get married or have sex outside of marriage then what are they to do?  Just go without sex? Here I contend is the crux of the problem.  If homosexuality is a choice then the answer isn’t a difficult one.  Stop having homosexual sex and engage in heterosexual sex with your spouse of a different gender.  Ah, but if homosexuality isn’t a choice has God cheated gays out of intimacy for reasons not obviously apparent to them?

What then should homosexuals do about sex, just not have any???  Yes, that’s what I’m saying but trust me, I say this with great sympathy and personal understanding.  Our notion that sex is our right and that we should crave it all the time comes from the world, not of God.  We’ve grown so accustomed to filling the holes left by lust, stress and depression in our lives with sex rather than with God that we have no notion we can do without it.  Sex as God intended it, is between a married man and woman.  Not between two fifteen year old sweethearts who are in love.  Not between two romantic sixty year old divorcees who are in love.  Not even between two engaged Christian missionaries out in the field.  I say this not to condemn anyone but to make it clear that not only homosexuals are getting the short end of the stick.  I understand that the world is tough and sex is comforting.  I understand that for many of you, intimacy is an act of love.  At the end of all things though, God’s rewards for us will make sex look like a day at the dentist so take comfort in that and try to trust him.  Understand though that if you do stumble God will always forgive those that ask for it.

Jesus died for every one of us.  He loves every one of us.  Jesus’ second commandment was to love our neighbor as ourselves and that includes everyone.

Let’s stop asking who doesn’t get to go to heaven and start celebrating who does.

If You See What God Sees, You Might Flood the World Too.

The flood wasn’t an event God just allowed to happen it was a cataclysmic event God made happen. How can we worship a being that would kill innocents? What about the children and infants? Did they too deserve to die?

John 3:16 tells us that God loved us so much that he sent his only son to die for us. Romans 8:39 explains that nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love that God has for us.

So why flood the world? Why kill those that he supposedly loves? One reason is God’s omnipresence. We understand that God is all knowing and all powerful but have you considered the ramifications of being all seeing and ever present? God sees every act of good will, love and charity but he also sees every lie, theft, rape and murder. During Noah’s time the Bible tells us that every inclination of man’s heart was only evil all the time.

In modern times each and every year Satan’s machinations minimize the impact of the sins we Number of homicidescommit. Lying has become tolerable, lust natural, adultery promotable, homosexuality acceptable, promiscuity wonderful, rape non-prosecutable, drunkenness generational and abortion debatable. The impact of these sins is not watered down for God however. God feels the pain of these offenses to no lesser a degree than if each one plagued you personally. We are all God’s children and as much as you love your children so too does God love us. Therefore every lie, rape, murder, molestation, destruction, and fornication committed against any man, woman or child in this world is experienced by God as though his very children were being destroyed.

Look at these following statistics:

• 437,000 worldwide intentional homicides were committed in 2012 – UN Office on Drugs and Crime (That’s 49 deaths an hour!)
• Every 2 minutes an American is sexually assaulted – RAINN
• 1,583 kidnappings took place in Mexico alone in 2013 which doesn’t include those unreported.
• By 2008 rates, one in four American women will have an abortion by age 30 – Guttmacher Institute
• Studies vary but in the U.S. alone an estimated 10-15% of women and 20-25% of men had sex outside their marriage.
• 20% of women and 5-10% of men reported being sexually abused as children – W.H.O.
• Estimates vary but the porn industry is suggested to produce $97 billion a year globally which doesn’t of course include all those who watch it online for free.

No part of the world is too remote or off limits to God. Right now as you read these words one of God’s children, a man who is both a son and a father is being murdered but you will never feel his last gasp or even hear of his death. God though feels this individual’s terror in real time and he will experience the anguish of his family members long after the person has departed. Do you hear that? One of God’s daughters is screaming. Through tears of panic and pain she claws and fights. Men are raping her. Do you feel her terror? No? God does. We’re not done yet. Two children have just locked themselves in their bathroom. They climb into the bathtub, pull the curtain shut and shiver in one another’s arms. Their drunken father pounds on the door looking for someone to beat on. To where do they escape? Do you want God to intervene or should he stay out of our lives? Miles away a young woman who hasn’t seen her family in years sleeps on a filthy carpet. Her bruised wrist is chained to a cinder block in the basement of two men who abducted her from a mall years earlier. Do you know what degradation she endures every night? Can you hear their boots coming down the steps? Does your heart pound through your chest as hers? Do you want to know what thoughts slither through these men’s minds? Do you not believe Jesus is weeping?

When you uncover your spouse’s lies and betrayal you fully experience despair and anger to a degree not before comprehensible. When your child is hooked on drugs your hatred for the dealer cannot be measured and the sorrow for your child knows no depths. When your child is snatched from the streets your wrath boils over and your heart is filled with murder. You cry out for justice!

Every second of every day, month, year, decade, century and millennium God sees all and feels all. We curse and shake our fists at trivial inconveniences yet we judge God’s wrath despite the evil he witnesses. We know so little about how our brothers and sisters across the world suffer at the hands of the wicked! Non-believers curse God for his justice but I say, “thank you, Lord for being so patient.”

Nahum 1:3