Pastor’s Message September

Knowing Jesus or Knowing about Jesus

 – What’s the difference?

September 1

Isn’t social media wonderful for staying in touch? Watch a video of your nephew’s first step. Share your grandmother’s recipes. Make personal contact with your best friend on his birthday. Monitor your classmate’s battle with cancer.

Even though separated by a distance, you carry your friends and family around with you in your pocket or purse.  But it’s not the same as being there in person, is it? There’s no substitute for holding your mom’s hand at the clinic when she gets the bad news, or sitting by your dad’s side at the funeral. A relationship is more than following a news feed, it’s being an eyewitness to history and experiencing it.

What kind of relationship do you have with Jesus? Most people know the facts about his life, as told to them by parents and preachers. In Nazareth, the people knew who Jesus’ parents were. They heard reports about his preaching and his miracles, and they were thrilled to have him come for a visit. But they didn’t know him as well as they thought. He announced, “No prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4:24). And when Jesus started to tell them what needed to change, the people of Nazareth tried to kill him.

September 2Just knowing the facts about Jesus doesn’t change my behavior or attitude. Just following the story with my head won’t make me feel ashamed of my sins and lead me to trust him as my Savior. And it certainly won’t get me to heaven, because knowing about Jesus isn’t the same thing as knowing Jesus. Knowing Jesus means taking to heart what he says about my sins. Knowing Jesus means there’s nothing I can do to make this relationship work, but that he makes it all possible. Knowing Jesus means experiencing his love and forgiveness. Knowing Jesus means walking with him through the darkest days of my life. Knowing Jesus means a relationship that never ends, no matter how bad the news is.

How can you be close to someone who lived so long ago? Read the eyewitness accounts written in the Bible. Put yourself in their place and apply what they saw and heard to your own life. Stay in touch with your Savior by regularly reading and listening to God’s Word, and speak to him in prayer. Join together with other Christians to grow in your knowledge about Jesus and what he means for you.

It’s true: No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.

Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God?

Written by: Ron Carlson

During a question and answer session at a recent speaking engagement, a university student asked me, “Why do you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God?”  Now this is a very interesting question and probably one of the most important questions any Christian could ask themselves.  What is so special, so unique about the Bible that Christians believe it is literally the inspired word of God?

September 3

In answering this student’s question, I encouraged him to consider the following facts about the Bible:

First, the Bible is not just one single book.  This is a more common misconception than many people realize, especially with people who do not come from a Judeo-Christian background.  Rather than being a single book, the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books, which is called the canon of scriptures.  These 66 books contain a variety of genres: history, poetry, prophecy, wisdom literature, letters, and apocalyptic just to name a few.

Second, these 66 books were written by 40 different authors.  These authors came from a variety of backgrounds: shepherds, fishermen, doctors, kings, prophets, and others.  And most of these authors never knew one another personally.

Third, these 66 books were written over a period of 1500 years.  Yet again, this is another reminder that many of these authors never knew or collaborated with one another in writing these books.

Fourth, the 66 books of the Bible were written in 3 different languages.  In the Bible we have books that were written in the ancient languages of Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic; a reflection of the historical and cultural circumstances in which each of these books were written.

And finally, these 66 books were written on 3 different continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe.  Once again, this is a testament to the varied historical and cultural circumstances of God’s people.

Think about the above realities: 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents.  What’s more, this collection of books shares a common storyline- the creation, fall, and redemption of God’s people; a common theme- God’s universal love for all of humanity; and a common message- salvation is available to all. In addition to sharing these commonalities, these 66 books contain no historical errors or contradictions.  God’s word truly is an amazing collection of writings!

After I had shared the above facts with this student, I offered him the following challenge: I said to him, “If you do not believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, if you do not believe that the Bible is of a supernatural origin, then I challenge you to a test.”  I said to the student, “I challenge you to go to any library in the world; you can choose any library you like, and find 66 books which match the characteristics of the 66 books in the Bible.  You must choose 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, written on 3 different continents.  However, they must share a common storyline, a common theme, and a common message, with no historical errors or contradictions. If you can produce such a collection of books, I will admit that the Bible is not the inspired word of God.”

The student’s reply was almost instantaneous, he emphatically stated, “But that’s impossible!”

“But that’s impossible!”  It truly is impossible, for any collection of human writings.  However, the Bible passes this test.  The Bible contains 66 books, written by 40 different authors, over 1500 years, in 3 different languages, on 3 different continents, with no historical errors or contradictions.  The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, bears the mark of Divine inspiration.