Evidence of the Resurrection Part 1

resurrection

Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

Acts 2:32 (NLT) 

32 “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this.

First of all, let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and blessed Easter.  Jesus is risen indeed!  However, I am aware that there are those in this world that do not believe this fact…yes I said fact!  Therefore, over the next few weeks I would like to share something I found regarding this fact.  What follows was written by Christian Apologist Josh McDowell, a man who came to faith in Christ by trying to disprove Christianity, and now spends his life sharing the truth of the Gospel.  Here is what he had to say, “For centuries many of the world’s distinguished philosophers have assaulted Christianity as being irrational, superstitious and absurd. Many have chosen simply to ignore the central issue of the resurrection. Others have tried to explain it away through various theories. But the historical evidence just can’t be discounted.  A student at the University of Uruguay said to me. “Professor McDowell, why can’t you refute Christianity?”  “For a very simple reason,” I answered. “I am not able to explain away an event in history–the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”  How can we explain the empty tomb? Can it possibly be accounted for by any natural cause?  A QUESTION OF HISTORY 
After more than 700 hours of studying this subject, I have come to the conclusion that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is either one of the most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted on the minds of human beings–or it is the most remarkable fact of history.  Here are some of the facts relevant to the resurrection: Jesus of Nazareth, a Jewish prophet who claimed to be the Christ prophesied in the Jewish Scriptures, was arrested, was judged a political criminal, and was crucified. Three days after His death and burial, some women who went to His tomb found the body gone. In subsequent weeks, His disciples claimed that God had raised Him from the dead and that He appeared to them various times before ascending into heaven.  From that foundation, Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire and has continued to exert great influence down through the centuries” (http://www.leaderu.com/everystudent/easter/articles/josh2.html)

Stay tuned for part 2 next week.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

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Open Doors

by his wounds

Greetings In The Name of the Lord:

1 Peter 2:24 (NLT)
He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.

One of the most amazing things about the cross is all of the doors it opens for us. Peter tells us that that Jesus, “personally carried our sins in his body on the cross.” He didn’t have someone else take care of it for him, but he did it himself. This shows us how Jesus cares intimately for each one of us. However, the real point to all this was what resulted from Jesus personal sacrifice for us. Peter says he did it “so that would could be dead to sin and live for what is right.” He did it so that we could be dead to sin. In other places in Scripture we are told that we can say “No” to sin. It was Jesus who made this possible! Jesus opened up a new door that had previously been closed to us. Paul says, “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives” (Rm. 6:4, NLT). Jesus opened up a door so that we could change; so that we could be different. If it hadn’t of been for his death on the cross this would be an impossibility for us. Another door that Jesus opened for us on the cross is the door of healing. Peter reminds us of the prophecy spoken by Isaiah about the Messiah, “By his wounds we are healed.” Jesus opened up the door of miraculous healing. It has been my incredible honor to experience this first hand in my ministry. I have personally witnessed several people miraculously healed. It is by Jesus wounds on the cross, and leading up to the cross, that this is possible. He opened up the door to our healing. What doors has the cross opened for you?

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

 

Come And Die

Blue Cross

Greetings In the Name of the Lord:

Galatians 6:14 (NLT)
14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.

In his book, The Cost of Discipleship, Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote: “The cross is laid on every Christian. As we embark upon discipleship we surrender ourselves to Christ in union with his death. We give over our lives to death. The cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life, but it meets us at the beginning of our communion with Christ. When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” As we focus on the cross in these last few days of Lent we need to ask ourselves, “What effect has the cross in my daily life?” We can answer that question by saying, “Well, it saved me from my sins.” While that answer is correct in one sense, but in another sense it falls woefully short as a whole. The cross most definitely saves us from our sins and gives us the hope of eternal life. However, it ought to mean a whole lot more. Yet in order for this to happen we need to allow it to take root in our lives and have its full effect. What I mean by that is this, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to crucify our old nature and allow our new nature to be resurrected. Just as Jesus surrendered himself to death on the cross, so we should surrender our lives and allow the Holy Spirit to put those things in our life that need to change. While this may terrify us, we need not look upon that as a negative thing. As Bonheoffer puts it, “The cross is not the terrible end to an otherwise god-fearing and happy life.” You see, while the cross means death, it also brings life. We may have to surrender things that we hold dear in this life, but in the end those things bring us spiritual death. However, allowing those things to die brings life that cannot be taken from us. The question we need to ask ourselves as we approach Good Friday is, “What part of me needs to be crucified by the cross of Christ?”

In Christ,

Pastor Mark

Centrality of the Cross

Blue Cross

Greetings In the Name of the Lord”

1 Corinthians 1:18 (NLT)
The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.

The season of the church year that we are now in is called Lent. For those who either didn’t grow up in the Church or are from a faith tradition that didn’t stress this season, it is a time encompassing the 40 days before Easter. During this time we focus on the sacrifice of Jesus and in doing so we often “give up something for Lent” to follow the example of Jesus who sacrificed everything for us. However, we also focus on the cross of Jesus. All religions of the world have a symbol that is associated with their religion. For example, the Jewish religion has as it’s symbol the Star of David, which is in the shape is of a hexagram, the compound of two equilateral triangles. The hexagram has been in use as a symbol of Judaism since the 17th century, with precedents in the 14th to 16th centuries in Central Europe, where the Shield of David was partly used in conjunction with the Seal of Solomon (the hexagram) on Jewish flags. The Islamic faith, on the other hand, uses the crescent, depicting a phase of the moon. As Christians, we too have a symbol that is associated with our community of faith, and that symbol is the cross. In the early days of the Church, however, this was not the case. As Bible scholar Craig Keener points out, the “Romans regarded crucifixion as a death appropriate for slaves; Jews also saw it as shameful (Deut. 21:23). Those viewed as “saviors” were normally gods, kings, wealthy benefactors or miracle workers. Roman society was built around power and status; power was concentrated in the male head of the household, in wealthy and aristocratic families, and so forth. Associating power with a crucified man—the epitome of weakness—thus made no more sense to ancients than it does to modern people outside Christ” (Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993). It wasn’t until about the sixth century that the cross became the universal symbol of the Christian faith. Another Bible scholar, John Stott, illustrates why the cross has become the symbol of the Church. He stated, “the fact that a cross became the Christian symbol, and that Christians stubbornly refused, in spite of the ridicule, to discard it in favor of something less offensive, can have only one explanation. It means that the centrality of the cross originated in the mind of Jesus himself” (John Stott, The Cross of Christ, 31). It was the focus of Jesus entire ministry, and in fact, his entire life on earth. Consequently, as Christians, it becomes our focus too. It shows the power of God, but also the lengths he was willing to go to save us from our. As the old song says, “At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart rolled away. It was there by faith I received my sight, and now I am happy all the day.” During this Lenten season let us focus on the cross of Christ and all its implications for our lives on earth.

In Christ,

Pastor Mark