It's easy for Christians to forget how baffling a single Bible verse can be to someone who has not grown up in the church. Our evangelistic efforts should leave others contemplative, not confused.
Here are eighteen terms worth defining when talking with individuals about Jesus Christ.
God is not hiding or trying to elude us. In fact, the Bible says God actively pursues a relationship with each person. So, how do we seek God? Compare how we seek wealth, prestige or romance...we read up on, work hard, set priorities, and surround ourselves with others who will help us achieve our goal. To seek God, we make Him our first priority in life; read the Bible, pray, trust Him, and learn from others. When we pay attention, His activity in our lives is unmistakable.
Even when He was on earth, Jesus was . . .
We can do the same thing with ideas. We can begin reflecting, thinking about particular things. We might take a thought to focus on, but we're not sure what we're going to do with it. In the process of talking and knocking things back and forth, we can discover some things to be true we didn't know were true before.
This, by the way, is why it's very important for you to be open to concepts you have not come to firm decisions on. I hope you will only come to firm decisions on things because you have proper warrant. You might hold tightly to a theological view, but I hope you do so only because you have good reasons to hold to it. There are probably many things in your life, as there are in mine, that you believe without having really good reasons. You're working with the best reasons you have so far, but it may be that something will change your mind. There's no reason why you ought not believe in it, but you shouldn't cling . . .
"I married only to get away from home, to get a house of my own and to be independent," admitted a young woman named Jane. "My parents tried to talk me out of it, but you always think you know better."
Jane thought she was breaking from her parents. In reality, her marriage was only a contest to prove she knew best. She failed to develop a close bond with her husband, however, and "after six months I knew it was a mistake even before my baby was born." Shortly afterward her marriage dissolved.
The names change, the circumstances vary, but the tragedy remains the same: Up to half of the marriages in America eventually end in divorce. Why? One Christian leader states: "All of my counseling in marriage and family problems can be categorized on the basis of these three situations: failure to truly leave the parents; failure to cleave to the one partner; or failure to develop a unified relationship."
Leave. Cleave. Unify. The prophet Moses, the . . .
What do "Bewitched", "I Dream of Jeannie" and Genesis 1:1 have in common? Quite a lot!
I got this crazy picture in my mind the other day. I don't even know what causes these thoughts to come to mind when they do. I imagine there are times the Lord does that. But other times, who knows what causes those things to come to mind? This picture in my mind's eye was off Jeannie, from "I Dream of Jeannie" fame. Remember her? Remember how she used to blink her eyes and make her magic happen? About that same time I was thinking about Samantha on "Bewitched." What would she do? She'd wiggle her nose. (I wonder how many of you just did that.) She would wiggle her nose and then she'd make her little magic happen.
I got to reflecting about whether in their minds--of course they are fictitious characters--but if in their minds they were really doing something magical with their noses or eyes when they did that. In other words, if Samantha had not wiggled her nose do you think she could have still accomplished her magical feats? I imagine so. Or if Jeannie didn't blink her eyes do you think she could still have accomplished what she meant to accomplish? After all, she was a genie, wasn't she? She could do that kind of thing.
In other words, it doesn't seem like there was anything magical in their actions. If there were then all of you out there who just wiggled your nose would have had something magical happen. But nothing did, so it's not in the wiggling . . .
1. "No, I love you too much."
The Lord of the universe isn't under obligation to say yes" to every prayer. That's a good thing considering some of the things we request!
But sometimes God says no" to our most heartfelt requests. Have you discovered this to be true in your own life? I certainly have. When my friend Diane started losing her hearing. When my mother-in-law came down with polio. When my nephew contracted AIDS.
I would be known as Luis Palau Jr. if it weren't for the fact that God said no" to my most earnest childhood prayers. Shortly after my tenth birthday, my father, Luis Palau Sr., contracted bronchial pneumonia and died ten days later.
Death became, to me, the most undeniable reality under . . .