The Case for Christ

“The Case for Christ” is adapted from the book of the same name published in 1998, which has since gone on to sell more than 14 million copies worldwide.  This is the true story of newspaper reporter Lee Strobel’s journey from atheist to Christian.  I was a big fan of the book and frankly worried it would not make a good movie because most of the book is based on Lee’s research of the resurrection which I thought could make for a long and boring second act.  The screenwriter, Brian Bird, did a masterful job of weaving three stories together which helped to dilute the tedium of Lee’s research.  The screenwriter also made Lee’s interviews with experts into interesting scenes further mitigating the boring nature of a search for facts.  I found the writing overall to be quite good.  The dialogue between Lee and his wife was especially compelling for me.  In addition, the actors playing Lee and his wife did an outstanding job; and combined with the good writing, this made the whole story a moving experience.

I will admit the early scenes contain some fairly heavy handed preaching, something I would find contrived and overdone if I did not know this is in fact, a true story.  It is possible those scenes could have been done better, but I’m not sure how.  I can tell you that the other 90% of the film is very balanced and far less dogmatic even though it has a clear point of view.

This is a great film to watch with someone who is on the fence about moving closer to God; it’s a good conversation starter. At the very least, anyone watching this film will come away with a clear understanding of why Christians have trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

 

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Finding God on the Internet

Google reports that thousands of people search the Internet every month for “how to become a Christian” or a variation of that phrase.  And millions more search for other related terms as they use the Internet in their search for God.  Many people who have avoided God for many years tend to turn to the Internet when they finally decide to seek out more information on the Bible and the Christian faith.  It may be they are embarrassed to finally admit they need a spiritual connection in their lives.  It may be they simply want to make this journey on their own.  Whatever the reason, the Internet has become a place for many to seek out a deeper understanding of God, the Bible, and the value of attending a Christian church.

Internet Resources

Just about every church has a website these days and there are many other Christian organizations with websites that detail all aspects of the Christian faith.  Some sites are dedicated to helping unbelievers find God and others are designed to be used by believers as a faith sharing tool.  There is no question the Internet has become a tool many Christian believers are using to help God seek and save the lost.

What You Can Do

The Bible tells Christians to be ready to answer questions from unbelievers and many believe that God gives believers opportunities to share their faith from time to time.  One way to always be ready is to explore some of the Christian websites by doing a search of your own.  Pretend you are an unbeliever searching for the love of God and type in some search terms you might use to find the spiritual connection you are looking for.  It may also be a good idea to ask members of your church to recommend any sites that might be good resources for unbelievers looking for God.  Keep track of the sites you find that are valuable and organize them in some way so that you’ll be able to share them easily when the opportunity presents itself.

A good place to start your search is Global Media Outreach.

Let God be Your Guide

Sometimes it’s difficult to see what God has planned for our life.  We often feel we are going in the right direction, following what we believe is the path God provided, but it’s still unclear precisely where we are going.  Many times in the Bible, God directs individuals step by step.  If you truly have faith in God you will gladly follow Him without worrying about the final destination.  You can be certain God has a plan for your life, but He may not want you to know the details because He wants you focused on Him and not on that plan.

Walking With God

Many believers are anxious to serve God and get busy developing church activities that are designed to achieve God’s purpose without spending any time talking with God to see exactly what it is He needs.  Any plans for God should start with a loving relationship with Him.   By walking with God in a loving relationship, you will clearly see where He is working already and you can then join Him there, rather than trying to figure out for yourself what God needs.

God Working Through You

Without question, God wants that loving relationship with you far more than He wants you busy doing things for Him.  Love comes first with God.  Once that relationship is established, God will guide you toward specific things to do for Him.  In this case, God will be working through you to fulfill His goals.  You won’t need to figure out which way to go, which plans to make, or which event to schedule; God will guide you step by step.

Love God.  Love Your Neighbor.

The love of God is all you need to find your way in this world.  If you love God with all your heart, and demonstrate that love by also loving your neighbor as yourself, God will see your honest spirit and shower you with a love that surpasses all others.

 

“Experiencing God” is a great book that will get you pointed in the right direction.

Step One – Salvation

The first step in serving God is to know who he is.

God

The extraordinary complexity of the earth and all of its components, including all forms of life and all of the amazing forces of nature that work together in harmony, cause me to conclude there had to be a designer and creator.  It’s impossible for me to believe the human body simply developed by pure chance.  The way our mind works, the way our bodies adapt and perform, is clear evidence there had to be a designer and a creator.

The Bible

Manuscript evidence confirms the Bible we have today is a near perfect copy of the original documents.  Hundreds of prophecies found in the Bible have been literally fulfilled, many with astounding accuracy.  The New Testament writers were so convicted by their experience and so committed to sharing their eyewitness accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, they did not recant their story even in the face of death.  Most of the Apostles were killed for their faith.  I believe these men actually did witness the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  That miracle alone is enough for me to believe the Bible truly is the Word of God as Jesus said.

God’s Law

God supplied us with a conscience to discern good and evil.  I accept the Ten Commandments as the foundation of God’s Law and as a tool to reveal my God-given conscience.  When I am told in the first commandment to have no other God, I am struck by the vision of others who worship money, power, and other lustful desires as their god, and how destructive that can be.  The second commandment which tells us not to idolize the things of this world rings true in my conscience.  The third commandment reminds us to hold God’s name in reverence and that feels right in light of the fact that I believe He is the awesome Creator of the universe.  The commandments go on to tell us to set aside a day to worship God, to honor our parents, not to murder, not to commit adultery, not to steal, not to lie, and not to covet anything that is our neighbor’s.  All of these commandments fit into my God-given conscience without any hint of objection.  I believe that is because the commandments and my conscience are both creations of God.

Sin

No one can read the Ten Commandments without saying they have broken at least one.  The Bible makes it clear that if you hate someone it is equivalent to murder; because God considers what’s in your heart to be as important as your actions.  Likewise, the Bible also says that if you lust after another you have committed adultery.   The Bible also goes on to say if you have broken one commandment you have broken them all.  I believe we are all sinners and even though we may be fully committed to following God’s law, we simply do not possess the ability to live a righteous life.  For whatever reason, God has not provided any of us with that power.  The clear teaching of the Bible tells us that becaue we are sinners we are doomed to die and suffer eternal torment separated from God, unless we seek Salvation from the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

Why God Created Us

I believe God created us because He is the creator.   His mission is to help us grow and be like Him, living an eternal life by His side.  The Bible clearly states that there is only one God.  God is an eternal being who has always been and always will be.  In all eternity, the time we spend here on this earth is but a moment.  God has provided us with this moment to grow in knowledge and wisdom.  Everything we encounter in this life is to that end.  The first and most important lesson we must learn is that we are nothing without God.  We need to look in the mirror of God’s law and realize we don’t even come close to His righteousness; however, God has provided us with a way to achieve that righteousness through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Salvation

Achieving the righteousness of God is a simple matter of faith.  The punishment for our sinful nature is death.  Jesus Christ died on the Cross as payment for our sins and anyone can receive the free gift of eternal life, in Heaven with God, by placing their faith in Jesus, trusting Him as their Lord and Savior, and turning from sin with a heart that is focused on being a true follower of Jesus Christ.  There is nothing you have to do to receive God’s free gift of Salvation other than honestly believe in God and seek to follow Jesus with a pure heart.

Knowing Jesus

The most powerful evidence that there is a God and that the Bible is truly the Word of God comes after you’ve taken this step of faith and committed your life to Jesus.  At that moment, your eyes will be open and your mind will be set free from this world.  Everything that I stated above will then be made real to you through that transformation.  The path to that experience is traveled with an open heart, open mind, careful study of God’s Word, and sincere prayer.  This is not religion – this is a personal relationship with God and it is available to all.

 

Step Two – Know the Word of God 

American Red Cross

The Red Cross has been serving God by serving others fro many years.  Here’s an excerpt from their website:

Each day, thousands of people – people just like you – provide compassionate care to those in need. Our network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world.

We roll up our sleeves and donate time, money and blood. We learn or teach life-saving skills so our communities can be better prepared when the need arises. We do this every day because the Red Cross is needed – every day.

The Red Cross is not a “faith-based” organization.  There is nothing about God in their mission statement:

Mission Statement

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Nevertheless, the work they do serving others is without question serving God.

 

Visit the Red Cross website to find out how you can help.

World Vision

World Vision has been serving God by serving others for many years.  Here’s an excerpt from their website:

World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

We pursue this mission through integrated, holistic commitment to:

  • Transformational development that is community-based and sustainable, focused especially on the needs of children.
  • Emergency relief that assists people afflicted by conflict or disaster.
  • Promotion of justice that seeks to change unjust structures affecting the poor among whom we work.
  • Partnerships with churches to contribute to spiritual and social transformation.
  • Public awareness that leads to informed understanding, giving, involvement, and prayer.
  • Witness to Jesus Christ by life, deed, word, and sign that encourages people to respond to the Gospel.

 

Visit the World Vision website to find out how you can help.

Compassion International

Compassion International has been serving God by serving others for many years.  Here’s an excerpt from their website:

Compassion International is a child-advocacy ministry that pairs compassionate people with those who are suffering from poverty. The ministry releases children from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty. The goal is for each child to become a responsible and fulfilled adult.

Compassion’s work has grown from modest beginnings in South Korea in 1952 when American evangelist Rev. Everett Swanson felt compelled to help 35 children orphaned by the Korean conflict. Today it is a worldwide ministry where millions of children are now reaping the benefits of one man’s clear, God-given vision.

 

Visit the Compassion International website to find out how you can help.

Samaritan’s Purse

Samaritan’s Purse has been serving God by serving others for many years.  Here’s an excerpt from their website:

The story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) gives a clear picture of God’s desire for us to help those in desperate need wherever we find them. After describing how the Samaritan rescued a hurting man whom others had passed by, Jesus told His hearers, “Go and do likewise.” For over 40 years, Samaritan’s Purse has done our utmost to follow Christ’s command by going to the aid of the world’s poor, sick, and suffering. We are an effective means of reaching hurting people in countries around the world with food, medicine, and other assistance in the Name of Jesus Christ. This, in turn, earns us a hearing for the Gospel, the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

As our teams work in crisis areas of the world, people often ask, “Why did you come?” The answer is always the same: “We have come to help you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our ministry is all about Jesus—first, last, and always. As the Apostle Paul said, “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5, NIV).

Mission Statement

Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God’s love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Visit the Samaritan’s Purse website to find out how you can help.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity has been serving God by serving others for many years.  Here’s an excerpt from their website:

Habitat for Humanity partners with people in your community, and all over the world, to help them build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. With your support, Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and for their families. Through our 2020 Strategic Plan, Habitat for Humanity will serve more people than ever before through decent and affordable housing.

 

Visit the Habitat for Humanity website to find out how you can help.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army has been serving God by serving other for many years.  Here’s an excerpt from their website:

Since 1865 the Salvation Army has been serving God around the world.  They are serving in 128 countries around the globe.  They will assist approximately 25 million
Americans this year.

Here’s how the Salvation meets local needs:

Assess the Need

FIRST, we assess the needs of each community in which we serve. We work to understand the obstacles, hardships, and challenges native to the area’s particular population.

Build the Programs

NEXT, we build local programs designed to offer immediate relief, short-term care, and long-term growth in the areas that will best benefit the community.

Invest in the Community

THEN, we offer the local programs to the local community, working to continually optimize their efficacy via spiritual, physical, and emotional service.

 

Visit the Salvation Army website to find out how you can help.