Unanswered Questions #4

At the Edge, we did a two part questions night. I'm going to use this space to answer some of the questions we didn't get to that night.

Question: "How do you know that Christianity is the correct religion?"

Answer: Another way people often ask this question is how do we know that Jesus is really the only way to God? What about Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Scientology, Wicca, etc.?

It's tough, because Christians come off as really obnoxious and narrow minded when we discuss this issue. Most of the other religions, except for Islam, say you can believe almost anything as long as you really believe it. Islam says that their way is the only way as well, but that's another issue. So, how do we know Christianity is right?

It depends on what you mean by "know". If you're talking about "scientific proof", there isn't a foolproof way to show it. Religion is based on faith, and following Jesus is based on faith. So, what do we know in this discussion?

Jesus was a real person. Some people have tried to prove He never existed, but we have way too much historical proof that He did. We have written records of what He said and did that are reliable. So, Jesus claims that He is the only way to heaven and to God. (John 14:6 and other places). We see what Jesus taught, the question is, was He telling the truth or was He lying.

That's where the faith comes in. We have to decide if He is really God or not. But even this isn't a blind faith. You can see Jesus at work in your friends life, or in my life. Does what we say and do add up? You can talk to Him yourself, and He will answer. He shows Himself to us in our lives each day if we look for it.

You see, the real difference between following Jesus and all of the other stuff is Jesus is the only God who comes for us. All the other religions tell us how to get to God. Jesus says He came, and still shows up today, for us. It's a great question. Keep looking and seeking in your own life. He will show you what is true.

Unanswered Questions #3

At the Edge, we did part one of a two part questions night this past Tuesday. I'm going to use this space to answer some of the questions we didn't get to that night.

Question: "How do I have a casual conversation about Jesus without saying something awkward like "Are you a Christian?" that's totally awkward, don't give that as an answer."

Answer: This is a really well thought out question! Okay, clearly we all agree that going up to a friend or a stranger and jumping into a conversation about faith and Jesus can be awkward, and usually is a complete turn off to everyone involved. I don't encourage people to do that outside of God very directly telling them to do it, and that RARELY EVER happens.

So, if we are supposed to share our faith with other people, how do we do it without being fake and pushy? There are a couple of pieces to this. First, do you believe what you know about Jesus is good news? Really, do you believe it's great news, or do you think it's okay and you're going through the motions to make someone (parents, friends, grandparents, small group leader, etc.) happy? You see, if you aren't really convinced in your heart that what Jesus has done for us is great news, you can't share that with someone else and have them see that it's good news. So, do you really believe that God saving you is an amazing thing? If not, then you have to start there, in your own life, before you ever go talking to your friends. I'm not saying you have to have a bunch of answers or anything, just when you think about what Jesus has done for you, does it make you grateful to Him?

Once you've gotten this one down, then you need to look at your life you're living. Are you living a life that is different from people who don't follow Jesus? If your life looks like everyone else's life in the things you do, the jokes you tell, the language you use, the way you treat other people, the mean things you do and say, how you treat your parents, etc. then that's gonna be a problem. If your life matches everyone else, then Jesus isn't really in charge of your life, and you aren't yet free of all of the junk around you. Again, you don't have to be perfect, but are you heading in His direction, or are you following along with everyone else? If your life looks the same as everyone else's, there's nothing for you to offer other people.

Okay, so now you have thought it out, and are convinced that Jesus' saving you is really good news. You're committed to trying to live life His way, with all of your mistakes and blunders, you are moving in His direction. Now what? You pray for your friends, that God will work in their lives, and that if He wants you to speak to them, He will open up a spot that is natural. He can do it, when you are following Him. You'll be playing Xbox, or going to Ritters or something, and your friend will talk about how hard life is, or how hurt they are at how their boyfriend/girlfriend is treating them, or how their family life stinks, and you can talk about the difference Jesus makes when you face that stuff. If God is working in them, He will lead to where you can talk about how much Jesus loves them, how He died for them, how He came back to life for them, and how things can be better if they follow Him. It may sound crazy, but it really can go like that.

Hope that helps some!

Unanswered Questions #2

This Question is from our Senior High Questions night on March 28, 2010. It's a great one.

QUESTION: "If we found out about a good friend or classmate having sex or things close to it, does this make our opinion of them change? Should it?"

Great question! The Bible is pretty clear that we are to be forgiving and full of grace for other people just like God is towards us. He forgives us for everything we ever do that is wrong, and expects us to forgive just like He does. So clearly, we can't hold a grudge or look at someone in a arrogant way because of things they are doing wrong.

How if affects your opinion of them depends on a few things. Is your friend someone who is following Jesus? If they aren't, then they are living by a different set of values than someone who is following Jesus. If your friend is following Jesus, what have they said are their personal values about sex? The Bible is clear about us saving sex for marriage, but does your friend know what the Bible teaches? Have they understood it for themselves? Have they previously decided that they were going to save sex for marriage and now they are changing their plans?

All of this plays into how we show them love and help. You need to be involved in your friends life, and you need to point them towards Jesus and His truth as much as you can. But it's not your job to convict them of what they are doing wrong. God will work on that, and they will listen or not based on their own heart. You need to pray with them and for them, you need to offer them grace, and you need to speak the truth to them, but do it in love. That's a tall order. It means you will need to be praying for wisdom, grace, courage, and mercy a lot. You'll probably need someone else to help you love them and care for them as well. It's tough to face these things alone.

Will it cause you to lose trust in them? Possibly. And that may be a deserved result. If they are clear about what God says, and have decided to pursue this relationship anyway, they are going to push God away in the process. They may not be as trustworthy or close to you as they would be if they made the decision to follow Jesus' direction on all of this. So it will definitely affect your relationship, and it may get rocky because of all of this.

So, be patient. Pray like crazy. All big changes begin with prayer. Love them AND speak truth to them at the same time. Talk it out with someone you trust. It's worth it.

Unanswered Questions #1

At the Edge, we did part one of a two part questions night this past Tuesday. I'm going to use this space to answer some of the questions we didn't get to that night.

Question: "Won't it be boring when God recreates the world and you live forever?"

Answer: That is an amazing and awesome question! I totally get why you're asking this question. When we think of hanging out with God, we start with what we believe about God. It all starts with the world around us. We look at people, and we notice that the older people get, the more boring they seem to be. If you're 13 years old, people who are 16 are cool, some people in their 20's know how to have fun, maybe one or two people in their 30's still remember having fun, and from 40 years old and up, people just seem to work, worry, and slowly bore themselves to death. If that's the case, and God is the oldest being ever, he must be more boring than listening to Ross' made up stories about his make believe girlfriends. I get that understanding. I really do.

BUT, God isn't boring. That is key to understand. Think about it this way. Picture the coolest art you can (a painting, a video, a song, etc.) The person who made that art has way more inside of them than that one song, video, etc. They are way more creative than the amazing thing they made.

Ok, now think about the most exciting, fun, incredible person you know or that you can dream of. Who made them? Obviously, God did! If He can make someone like that, how much MORE creative, exciting, and fun must He be?! He's freaking amazing! And we have the opportunity to hang out with Him, to get to know Him, even to become more like Him forever! That's the cool part about Heaven. It's not all clouds and harps (I don't even like harp music). It's all about Him, being around Him, having Him teach us how to live and exist. It'll be amazing.

So, no, forever with God won't be boring. This life is like the time you spend waiting in line at Kings Island. You're with friends, you've got a reason to be in line, and the time matters. But Heaven, that's like riding the Diamondback after waiting in line for a while; it's exciting, heart racing, and makes you want to do it again.

Hope that helps.
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