Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bethany Bullet - February 17, 2015

God works in conversation!  Even in the lives of the Children of Israel when He manifests His presence in a pillar of fire and smoke, when He did mighty deeds like open the sea and make a path on dry land, when He kept lions at bay and used giant fish to deliver a prophet; God’s primary means of proclaiming Who He is and What He had done or would do was conversation.  So too in the Life of Christ, when a stroll on the surface of the sea, a feast formed out of a few fish or a toast made possible by the miracle of water to wine, God’s primary means of proclaiming the coming Kingdom and His children’s redemption was conversation.  So to in our world!  God works through conversation.  For us as Christians that means being in worship, being in the Word, and being in prayer; but it also means conversing with those, “Who do not know or have not heard.”

Fortunately for us, there are a few questions (this list is certainly not conclusive) that the un-churched might very well ask us.  We don’t always need to begin the conversation but we need to be ready to engage in it when the time comes. 

Below is a list of potential conversations and re-sources for you to read and thus prepare to engage by speaking the truth in love. You can listen to last Sunday’s sermon as a podcast through Bethany’s website but included in this Bethany Bullet are the basic talking points that were addressed in the message. 

Is the Bible even reliable and isn’t the Resurrection just a fable? 
  • The New Testament is a historical document rooted in history. 
  • Archeology has validated names, places and dates of the New Testament record and never proven any assertion false. 
  • Extra Biblical material (texts and writings from non-Christians) both Jewish and Roman historians verify that Jesus was a real person who was crucified and that the early Christian community (first followers) believed that He had risen from the dead. 
  • Other works of antiquity that provide what we believe to be true history from Caesar to Aristotle have been found in the dozens (copies) dating within several hundred to sometimes nearly a thousand years after the events.  The New Testament has been found in tens of thousands of manuscripts and portions of manuscripts dating to within decades of the events.  The message of the New Testament (Jesus’ life, death and resurrection) is the most reliable event of the entire ancient world. 
  • New findings, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, have only validated that the Scripture we possess is what the authors of Scripture wrote.

For more information read: 
The Case for Easter or The Case for Christ (Zondervan publications) by Lee Strobel          
Reasons (Living Books) by Josh McDowell
Is the New Testament Reliable?  (IV Press) by Paul Barnett

For deeper readings:
Faith Founded on Fact (Nelson publishing) by John Warwick Montgomery
Eyewitness to Jesus (Doubleday) by Carsten Peter Thiede
The God Who is There (IV Press) by Francis A Schaeffer

How can you believe in God with all the evil in the world? 
  • Evil is not always the result of the Maker.  
    • How many works of art are stored behind glass and guard?  If stolen or defaced this is not the cause of the artist. 
  • The very concept of evil presupposes the concept of holy.  
    • Can’t claim something is evil unless there is the polar possibility “the divine.” 
  • The Christian freely acknowledges that evil exists, we confess that we are the cause, and we believe that God is NOT the source of suffering, but the source of strength midst suffering.

For more info read:
When God Doesn’t Make Sense (Tyndale) by James Dobson
Shattered (Tyndale) by Frank Pastore

“The Truth Project” Lesson 3.  You can borrow this from Bethany.

For deeper study:
The Problem of Pain (MacMillian) by C. S. Lewis

Doesn’t science make faith useless and silly? 
  • The most commonly accepted understanding of how the universe came into existence is from practically nothing to the vastness of what there is in a rapid time from an instantaneous event.  Called the Big Bang.  
    • Genesis doesn’t seem to be that out of whack now does it? 
  • Darwin was convinced that if the fossil record grew without discovering transitory stage or the cell was found to be complex, his theory would all but collapse. 
    • Since his theory the fossil record has grown dramatically, with no ‘missing links’ and the cell has been discovered to be very complex.

For reading:
Reasons for God (Riverhead books) by Timothy Keller

“Expelled” by Ben Stein
“The Truth Project” lessons 5a & 5b

                        Answers in Genesis (https://answersingenesis.org)
For Deeper Reading:
Darwin’s Doubt (HarperOne) by Steven Meyer
                        The God of Science (Exposition) by Frederick E. Trinklein

Why should I go to church when it’s just full of hypocrites? 
  • There is a difference between a hypocrite and being repentant. 
    • Sorrow over sin committed doesn’t mean one can’t discourage them be committed again.  
    • Being a sinner doesn’t invalidate ones call for godliness!  
  • Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites not because they were sinner nor because they called people to godliness, but because they condemned others for sins that they, themselves were committing and though they were committing them they claimed to not be guilty of them!

Dennis Prager and Ravi Zacharias websites for great discussions on the meaning of hypocrisy as well as many other things 

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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