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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Nobska Lighthouse on Cape Cod,
among our favorite views!

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"Fact or Faith?"

"If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain" (1 Corinthians 15:14).

By now many of you have heard the latest buzz attack on the Christian faith.  A "researcher" has supposedly discovered the burial place of Jesus, bones and all.  A "documentary" film will be shown on the Discovery Channel and since it is produced by a famous Oscar-winning director it "must be true." 

On the news last night it was presented as a definitive conclusion, a final nail in the coffin of that relentless pesky Christian Faith. The choice was presented between fact or faith, a catchy news slogan and surely all reasonable people will go with "fact". The report even mentioned DNA evidence without elaborating on how concocted such evidence would be.

Early this morning Jesse, my Amish neighbor, called me when I was preparing this message and I answered the phone declaring, "Jesus is Alive!"  (I was pretty sure it would be Jesse at 6:30.)  I told him about the story and when I mentioned the DNA evidence he started laughing. So did I!

One of the benefits to aging is perspective. In my lifetime the attacks against my faith in general and the resurrection in particular have been ongoing and persistent.  Studying history we find they are not at all unique to our age. Only days after Christ's resurrection the stolen body story was circulated. Every Easter we have new or recycled reports by "scholars" with  research attacking the Biblical teaching and traditional understanding of our faith. (Every Christmas there are "newsworthy" articles with the latest views concerning His birth as well, generally discounting what we are taught in the Bible.)

The entire chapter of 1 Corinthians is a powerful defense of the resurrection. What a despairing statement the Apostle Paul makes in our daily text.  "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain."  Despairing but true; the Christian faith is absolutely dependent upon a resurrected, living Savior.  Although we could still glean some ethical teaching from Jesus while He walked on the earth His resurrection is at the very heart of Apostolic preaching and teaching.

But what I have really been pondering is the simple "fact or faith" equation.  These theories and conjectures have come and gone even in my lifetime. Yet if it's an attack on a traditionally held position it's usually framed as a "fact" proposed by "scholars" who have done extensive "research".  I purposefully place the key words in quotation marks since the emphasis is in how conclusive their views are presented. What reasonable, modern, educated person could deny these findings? 

Well, I'll keep believing. I also predict that this latest "fact" will come and go and another will replace it.

We all live life by faith.  My faith is in Jesus Christ and the authority of the Holy Scriptures. I join millions who for the last two thousand years have followed Him. 

But the secularist "unbeliever" also lives by faith.  I recall several years ago when a noted secularist made the emphatic statement to the effect "When I die it will just be my physical remains that will slowly decay, that's all there is."  Whether or not secularists admit it, this is a statement of faith!  He hadn't died when he said this (although if I am not mistaken he has by now).* Since he hadn't been on the other side of death he didn't know as fact what it was like however emphatic he was!

God has ordained that we live by faith. The Scriptures declare that "The just shall live by faith" and "Without faith it's impossible to please God." Our faith is not blind nor unreasonable, but is solidly backed by what Josh McDowell calls "Evidence that demands a verdict."  The attacks will continue as long as we live on this side, but let us continue wholeheartedly to believe and faithfully serve the Lord!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, our faith is anchored in Your Son, Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who died on the cross and was resurrected on the third day.  The cross and empty tomb are symbolic of the Christian faith and without them our Christianity is in vain.  We place our compete faith in the finished work of Christ and the inerrant Scriptures that make us wise unto salvation. Thank You for releasing us from sin's effect – its guilt, power, condemnation and eternal damnation.  Amen.

Several songs come to mind that we would like to share from other sites:

"I Believe In A Hill Called Mount Calvary."  This is one of my very first favorite songs from way back in the early seventies when I turned to the Lord. This is from a Romanian Church in Dallas!
"My Faith Has Found A Resting Place" Brooksyne's suggestion
Short sample (contemporary choral version)
Longer sample (very traditional version)
Yesterday's featured song, a more recent contemporary style, also goes along well with this theme.   You can listen to the entire song referred to in today’s message on the artist’s website as well as other music on his album.  The song we particularly enjoy is titled “My Savior, My God” and is track #9 on this page.  You can also watch a video of the original artist and his band singing this song on this page.  This artist really shares his music and his site has also posted the lyrics and his personal reflections on the background of the song.

* Some reader may be able to refresh me here. Carl Sagan was emphatic in his beliefs and has died but I am not sure this was his statement.  It was rather widely reported as I recall, probably about 10-15 years ago.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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