I’ve been wanting to write a blog about church last Sunday, but have been busy trying to get things set to start a new job. I have been so stressed out about getting my references to respond and receiving a formal offer for the position, but now things are looking like they may work out today. The company should have received my last reference this morning, so I hope to hear from them with good news today. I finally feel a sense of peace, so I wanted to relax and write while I still have a little free-time.
During the sermon entitled “A Stranger Becomes Known” the lesson was based on Luke 24:13-35 when Jesus first appears to the disciples after the resurrection and they do not recognize him. The things our preacher Jody Alderman said related to the verses were good, but what stood out most to me is Jody said: “We don’t control Jesus—Jesus is working in the world.” And when someone says “They have found the Lord”, he said “Jesus is/was not lost—we are/were.”
It was communion Sunday and I got to serve the congregation for the first time. (I had served the youth during their summer “Teens Love Christ” retreat a few summers back, but this was my first time serving the church.) I really enjoyed the experience, seeing everyone and saying “His blood poured out for you”. I loved lowering the cup so children could reach it and smiling at my friends and those whom I don’t know their names. I thought it was cool how Jody said that the servers would give them the bread because Christ gave his grace and forgiveness to us and we cannot take it by taking the bread.
On the third day, Jesus had not revealed himself yet, and the disciples were bummed out because they had been so sure that he was the Messiah but he hadn’t done what he said he would do. However, they finally recognized Jesus later that day on what we now call Easter when he broke the bread to serve them. The disciples had thought “the crucifixion was the end, but it was only the beginning”.
Jody also told the story about a reporter asking an abbot about the Christian experience. The abbot replied that “You fall down, you get back up. You fall down, you get up. You fall down, you get back up.” Jody said we can’t get stuck. We need the resurrection. Jesus wants to unstick us and the resurrection is the whole point of the story—the heart of the gospel. He asked “We have heard it, but have we experienced it?” The crucifixion and resurrection were God’s deliverance of Israel.
Next, in Sunday school, we finished our study about world religions rounding it out with Christianity. The preacher in the video (Adam Hamilton) that went with the series talked about the reasons that he is a Christian and what we should say if someone asks why we are one. I thought it would be good to have ideas of what to say, so I took notes.
- The eye witness accounts
- The picture God created—Jesus spending time with sinners
- The Christian ethic and Jesus calming the waves. Jesus washing the disciples’ feet like a slave. Jesus naked and bleeding on the cross with a crown of thorns on his head and the compelling picture that brings to mind. How Jesus was raised from the dead in triumph. To the speaker, that is the most compelling picture of any religion.
- The price Jesus paid on the cross and its power
- The hope in Christ with life after death
- Our own experience of Christ—the peace, joy, meaning and richest moments we have experienced with and through him
- How it relates back to faith and how you can be a better spouse, parent, sibling, friend, etc., because of having Christ in your life
- Refusing Christianity is like getting an invitation to a party but choosing not to go. But, what if someone doesn’t get the message in a language he or she understands or never got the invitation at all like small tribes in remote areas who have never been exposed to missionaries or the story of Christ? The speaker and I believe that God is love. Jesus on the cross prayed for his Father to forgive them, “because they know not what they do.” The preacher comforted me in saying he thinks God has a way of applying the merits of those who have never been exposed to the Gospel and looks at how they have lived their life—their works—whether they were like Christians even though they did not know Him.
- The speaker on the video left us with the question, “What will you say when you face Him? What will He say to you?” I believe if you are exposed to the Christian message and God and Jesus as how I perceive them but refuse to accept them, that it means you will be sent to Hell.
- I hope that you believe. I know there are a lot of questions that I have had and still have, but if we truly want the answers, we can find them out. It’s hard to comprehend how “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Especially, when we are so unworthy of His love. But, it is true. I hope you have faith or can develop it, because faith is believing without seeing and trusting in the Creator, a Father, who loves us so much He sent his own son to die for us so that we could be reconciled to Him and our sins forgiven, so that one day we can live eternally in Heaven with Him. Peace out