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Fact or Fiction?
Many of you may not know this about me, but for the past 3 years I have preached on Sunday mornings at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. During my hour long service the Gospel is preached and many lives are changed, people giving their lives over to the healing, cleansing, and saving work of Christ. One of the most enjoyable times for me is the question and answer portion where I open it up to any questions regarding God. Many people attend the service who are not Christians, in fact, I have many professing atheists or agnostics that come to church and I look forward to them engaging with me during the question and answer time. This week an important question was asked; “You don’t really believe the stories in the Bible do you?”
Before I get to the answer we have to lay a foundation. This is an essential question to anyone’s faith. Can you believe what is written in the Bible or is it just a collection of bedtime stories that we tell children before they go to bed, a sort of Aesop’s Fables with a good moral application? How can a person be expected to believe that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead if they can’t believe that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish? I think it is more than reasonable for a person to doubt the validity of the Bible but what is unreasonable is for a person never to pursue their doubts about the Bible. The Bible rests completely upon it’s claim that it truly is the Word of God. It cannot be “mostly” true, if part of Scripture is wrong what’s to prevent all of it being that way? Scripture is simply either Fact or Fiction.
So I asked the gentleman to give me an example of a story he did not trust. “Noah’s Ark” he replied. “You actually believe that the whole earth was covered in water? I think that’s completely absurd.” My answer was rather straightforward, “What about the people who were living 4 miles from the coast in Japan last week, I’m pretty sure they thought it was absurd that a wall of water 30 feet high swept away their homes, cars, places of business and for some their very lives.”
You see, the fact of the matter is that we dictate to God what we feel is possible or not. The Bible tells us for 40 days the flood kept coming upon the earth. Think about that for a moment, 40 days of rain, floods and tsunamis. I saw the power of one tsunami over the course of an hour, can I even begin to fathom what the earth would look like after 40 days of that type of devastation? Yes, you can believe the Bible. And for a book that has been constantly under attack for the last 2,000 years, I think it’s made a pretty strong case for itself as Fact, not fiction.
(Please pray for those still suffering from the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11th. You can read the story of Noah’s Ark in Genesis 6-9.)
One of the easiest ways for someone to see culture captured in a microcosm is for one to make their way down to the local theater and catch a movie. My wife and I decided to have a little date night and watch “Battle: Los Angeles” (I know…she’s awesome) and see what the newest installment of Hollywood’s take on “end of the world” scenarios would entail. Basically, the movie involves earth being attacked by an unknown alien force systematically wiping out humankind. All that stands between life and annihilation is a small squadron of Marines that eventually bear the burden of being the last hope of mankind. Surprisingly, what I ended up taking away from the film was one rather nagging question, where is our hope?
Think about this for a moment, how does Hollywood attract the crowds week after week? By giving people the one thing which they lack so much in every aspect of their daily lives…hope. For most of the movie I couldn’t help but feel dread completely overwhelming me, we were outgunned, outmanned and completely outmatched. Yet, at that moment when I felt all was lost came the faintest glimmer of it…hope. And rightfully so, why would anyone watch a movie that wasn’t brimming with hope? Take your favorite movie and remove every aspect of hope from it and what does that leave you with? For most, a haunting silhouette of everyday life, a life replete with problems and pain but lacking in any true hope.
The very real truth of the matter is this, life without hope is truly not life at all. And as a movie without a hero becomes unwatchable, so life without hope becomes unlivable. So the question is this, where is your hero and what is your hope? The hopes of men are fleeting and the heroes of men are merely mortal but there is One in whom all our hopes should lie. The One who bore the burden for all mankind, the very Son of God who was nailed to a tree, to be our hero, to be our Savior. Jesus Christ, whose death brought life and whose life brings hope.
Everything is about to change…