Why Jesus Came

100 Billion Times

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100 Billion Times

I had to share this song as it ties into so much of the evidence for God that I’ve shared here. Knowing God by faith involves both the mind and the heart and this song really grabs both for me. It’s a little long but I think it’s worth the listening/watching to the end. I hope it speaks to you as it does me.

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30 Years Ago Today I found Hope, Peace, Purpose and More

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30 Years Ago Today I found Hope, Peace, Purpose and More

There aren’t too many things in life that so drastically affect your life that 30 years later you’re still talking about it and still can’t get over it. In 1987 I was sixteen years old. My life wasn’t going that badly but it wasn’t particularly good either.It was empty and without purpose and I really didn’t have much hope of it getting better. That all changed, though, on April 1, 1987.

On that day a man named Fred McGill, who was a third-degree black belt in Karate, did an assembly at my high school. He broke boards with his forehead and demonstrated his skills with nunchucks and a sword. He also invited everyone to a further demonstration that night. I enjoyed what I saw so I went that night, not knowing that it would be the most pivotal night in my life.

You see, what I didn’t know was that Fred was also a youth pastor, and while he gave an even more impressive karate demonstration that night, he also took some time to tell us about the most important part of his life. He told us about his relationship with Jesus Christ. I had grown up in the church but for the most part it just seemed like a drag to me. In the last couple of years leading up to this night I really didn’t know if I believed in God at all. I wasn’t daring enough to go so far as to say I was an atheist, but I really had no place for God in my life and didn’t see why anyone would want to.

But that night a light bulb came on for me as Fred explained who Jesus was and why he had come. The Bible says that Jesus is God himself and that he came to earth to die on the cross so that we could be forgiven of our sins and have a personal relationship with God. I had always seen the cross at the front of the church growing up but never really understood what it was all about. I heard clearly for the first time that while I had sinned against God (something I certainly wouldn’t deny) he loved me so much that he was willing to die for me so that I could know him. Then he rose again from the dead and lives forever. If I would just believe who he was and what he had done for me, placing my faith in him, he would forgive me off all I’d done wrong, and, with that out of the way, I could begin a personal relationship with him.

It was so hard to believe that God loved me that much but I knew that I wanted to get to know him. So that night I prayed and told God that I believed in what he had done for me in Jesus and I asked him to forgive me and to come into my life. And now today, 30 years later, I am so happy that I did. What a change that brought to my life. While before my life was empty, it was now filled with God’s love. It also gave purpose to my life, to get to know God better and to share his love with others. I also found peace, knowing that my sins have been forgiven and that my life is in God’s hands. And because Jesus rose again and conquered death, I always have hope, no matter what I face.

I am so glad that I was open to what God was saying to me that night and that I placed my faith in him and invited him in. I remember that a couple of weeks after that night I was thinking that I was so happy about this turn of events in my life and I was hoping that it wasn’t just some phase I was going through, that it wouldn’t just fade away and I would be back to my empty life. Well that hasn’t happened and I’m quite sure now that it never will.  It’s not that I don’t ever have any doubts. Every once in a while I do wonder if it couldn’t just all be wishful thinking and that it’s not really real. But then I think about all the evidence there is and the reasons for the hope that I have, along with the difference it’s made in my life these 30 years, and I’m certain that it’s much more than just wishful thinking.

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this all day. I want to thank and praise God for it. It’s also my hope, that as God used Fred McGill in my life, that he might use me in yours. May you experience God’s love that is greater than anything! If you don’t know him yet and you hear him speaking to you, may you be open to what he’s saying and may you place your faith in him and invite him in. If you do, today will be a day you will never forget.

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Tacos, Timelines, Significance and Hope

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Do you ever feel small and insignificant? I want to tell you that you’re not. I hope you’ll take a few minutes and read this.

BOGO Bonus

I went to Chipotle with my wife the other day for BOGO tacos. The tacos were great as I expected but I also got something I didn’t expect, something I want to share. Little did I know that BOGO would really stand for, Buy One taco and Get One blog post. You see Chipotle puts some writer’s thoughts on their drink cups, along with some artwork, something to think about while you eat your lunch. It’s their Cultivating Thought Author Series. The title “Two-Minute Entreaty” on my cup caught my eye. It was written by Anthony Doerr.

Anthony uses an illustration. He says, “Tattoo Earth’s 4.5-billion-year timeline onto your arm, shoulder to fingertip.” On this view of the Earth’s timeline your upper arm will only have meteorites, magma and acid rain. Life won’t begin until your bicep and it’s all single celled life until your wrist. He says that creatures that are finally big enough to see will crisscross the back of your hand and dinosaurs are around the joints at the end of your fingers. Human life fits on the sliver of fingernail at the end of your longest finger. He says…

“We are each no more than a spark, a mote illuminated for a split-second as it passes through a beam of light.

And you? Your grandma’s toffee bars, your CD collection, your treehouse, your best-ever Halloween costume, every regret you’ll ever have, every dream you’ll ever dream, every mouth you’ll ever kiss (or wish you had)—they’ll all ride the microscopic edge of your fingernail, a tattoo so thin you’d need an electron microscope to glimpse it.”

Further, he rather casually says,

“File your nail and you’ll wipe out your entire family tree, and Shakespeare and ancient Greece with it.”

He acknowledges that the picture he’s painting with his illustration might make us feel rather small and hopeless but he does have an encouraging message for us that he ends with…

“I say, Be big. Big-hearted, big-witted, big-eyed. See, try, love, read, make, paint, and taste everything you can while you can.
You still have some hours left. Go.”

I don’t know about you, but his encouragement didn’t do much to give me hope after the bleak, hopeless and purposeless picture he had just painted. You’ve still got some hours left. Go do some stuff while you still can, before your life falls away like nail filings. As insignificantly it started, your life will end. End of story.

What leads me to share?

I mean no disrespect to Anthony Doerr. He’s entitled to his view of the world and a lot of people agree with him. But after reading his entreaty I wanted to share one of my own because I believe that there is much more hope and purpose and significance for us in this life than what his view allows.

Now some of you might think that a big issue for me with his view is about the age of the Earth. The view that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and humanity has only been around for the last little bit might make us feel small but I don’t think that’s the issue. That doesn’t matter that much to me. I don’t think the significance of our lives is dependent on whether the tattoo of Earth’s timeline goes back to the top of your hand or the top of your shoulder.

To see your significance you instead need to turn your hand over and look at your palm. Look at it right now and imagine that you’re looking at the palm of Jesus. What do you see there? I see the hole that was put there as he was nailed to the cross.

You and I can know that we are significant and so very valuable in the grand scheme of things because the one who made the earth, and us, was willing to come and even give his life for us so that we could know him. He loves us so much that he died for our sins so that we can be forgiven and have a personal relationship with the one who made us in his image.

My Entreaty

So here’s my entreaty. Don’t look at your finger nails, instead look at the nail holes in Jesus’ hands. That’s what shows you your significance and getting to know him gives us purpose and hope in life. And as we get to know him and his great love and hope, he wants to use us to share those with others.

I believe that you have a lot more than just some hours left and it’s my hope that you will find and live the life that God has given you in the love and hope of Christ.


If you haven’t read my blog before and you should think that I hold this view of the world that I do just because it makes me feel better than Mr Doerr’s view, I encourage you to read some more while you’re here because I have been presenting the reasons for the hope that I have in Christ. I believe that the evidence is convincing that God made the universe and life and that Jesus really came and died and rose again as the Bible says. I encourage you to explore the evidence and see what you think.

You can read Anthony Doerr’s full entreaty here.

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Is Religion a Source of Evil?

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Questions, Why Jesus Came | Leave a comment

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Is Religion a Source of Evil?

Some have said something like, “More wars have been fought and more blood has been shed in the name of God than any other cause. Religion is the greatest source of evil in the world.”  But is that true?  The facts show otherwise.

Though one can point to witch hunts, crusades and religious jihad, as Greg Koukl has said, the historical facts show that the greatest evil has always resulted from the denial of God, not the pursuit of him.

Dennis Prager notes that in the 20th century alone, “more innocent people have been murdered, tortured, and enslaved by secular idealogies – Nazism and communism – than by all religions in history.”

According to the Guiness Book of World Records, mass killings of unimaginable proportions resulted not from religion, but from institutionalized atheism.  There were 66 million wiped out under Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev; between 32 and 61 million Chinese killed under communist regimes since 1949; one third of the 8 million Khmers – 2.7 million people – were killed between 1975 and 1979 under the communist Khmer Rouge.

And notice that these massive numbers don’t even include the approximately 6 million Jews and millions of others killed by the Nazis during World War II (something which is fresh in the hearts and minds of my family as we visited the National Holocaust Museum while in Washington D.C.)  While some would claim that Hitler was a Christian, I believe the facts show otherwise.  While Hitler was raised in the church and gave lip service to God while rising to power, once he was in power he sought to eliminate the church and replace it with worship of him as the Fuhrer. (See http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/churchhistory/godandhitler/)

As Koukl says, “The greatest evil has not come from people zealous for God. It has resulted when people are convinced there is no God they must answer to.”

What’s more, even when violence and hate are carried out by those claiming to be of God, that does not necessarily mean that that hate can be laid at the feet of God or that religious faith.  There are evil people in all walks of life and, speaking of Christianity in particular, since violence and hate are not religious duties for Christians  and are not a part of the teachings of Christ, then violence and hate carried out by someone claiming to be identified with him, cannot be blamed on him, as he would condemn it.

JesusOnCross_01We live in a fallen, sinful world.  I know that I am selfish and sinful.  I’m thankful that Jesus gave his life on the cross for us to take care of our sin problem.  He loved us so much that, though we have sinned against each other and God himself, Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins and rose again from the dead so we can be forgiven.  Now out of gratitude and love in return, I and large numbers of others, though we do fail, seek to live in his ways and share his love with others.

And so in this fallen world I pray that you will look to him, for he is our hope.  He is the reason for my hope and I believe he is he hope of the world.  One day when he returns, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).


Souces: Tactics by Greg Koukl; Ultimate Issues, July 1989 by Dennis Prager

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He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Claims and Acts of Jesus, Evidence for the Resurrection, Why Jesus Came | Leave a comment

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He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!

After looking at the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection I believe that the traditional Easter greeting is appropriate.  On Easter one person says, “He is risen!” and the other responds “He is risen indeed!”.  I believe that response is more than just a statement of faith on the part of that person, I believe that it’s the best explanation of all the facts we’ve looked at surrounding the claim of Jesus’ resurrection.

4-5 resurrection investigate

Opposing Theories

Ever since the first time the resurrection of Jesus was proclaimed, opposing theories have been put together to explain away the resurrection.  Rejecting the supernatural, alternate ways have been posed to explain the facts by natural means.  But any theory, for or against, has to account for all five minimal facts I have presented the past five weeks.

The first opposing theory given was that the disciples stole the body.  This accounts for the empty tomb but doesn’t account for the disciples actions which show that they really believed he rose and appeared to them and they were willing to die for that belief.  Nor does it explain the sudden change in Paul and James, which they said was because the risen Jesus appeared to them.

Others have said they were just hallucinating when the disciples thought they saw Jesus but groups of people don’t share hallucinations.  Plus, while they might have been in the frame of mind, in their grief, to hallucinate seeing him, Paul and James wouldn’t have been in that same frame of mind.  What’s more this doesn’t account for the empty tomb.

When Natural Explanations Don’t Work, Consider the Supernatural

empty tomb (1)Of course we should always start by looking for natural explanations, but when none are found and the evidence is strong that something actually happened, we should be open to considering the supernatural.  This is certainly true when a supernatural explanation is at home.  Jesus lived a sinless life and was an amazing moral teacher.  He claimed to be God and to be the way to God the Father.  He told people to trust in him for their eternal salvation.  What’s more he backed up those claims with his miracles and he said that when he was killed he’d rise from the dead.  After that he was crucified and then appeared to and convinced friends and foes alike that he had indeed risen.  If someone claimed that John F. Kennedy rose from the dead that would be out of place, but with Jesus such a claim is right at home.

But Why?

Jesus’ death and resurrection makes even more sense when you understand the purpose.  The Bible says, and most of us would admit, that we’ve sinned against God.  Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”.  Jesus said that’s why he came.  He said he came “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mt 20:28, Mk 10:45)  Jesus came to give his life for us to pay the penalty for our sins.  Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   Jesus can offer us eternal life because he died in our place to pay the death penalty for our sins.

Why would Jesus do this for us?  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  God is the one we’ve sinned against but he loves us so much that he was willing to become a man and come here so that he could pay for our sins himself.  This way he can be just, seeing that the penalty for sin is paid, and we can be forgiven.  Jesus’ resurrection from the dead shows that the price for our sins has been paid in full.

Jesus Has Done This for You – Have You Accepted His Gift?

In his great love Jesus endured a horrible death for you on the cross.  He is God, though, as he claimed, and the grave couldn’t hold him.  He rose again from the dead, victorious over sin and death.  Now he offers you forgiveness and eternal life with him.  You can be made right with God and have a personal relationship with him through Jesus.  But that’s not automatic.  He doesn’t force himself on anyone.  You have a choice to make.  John 1:12 says, “to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.”

Have you believed in and accepted the risen Jesus as your savior?  If not and you want to, just pray and thank Jesus for what he’s done for you.  Tell him you believe that he is who he said and that you believe that he died and rose again.  Ask him to forgive you of your sins and tell him you want to have a personal relationship with him, getting to know the one who loves you more than any other.

If you do that sincerely you can be sure that you have eternal life.  1 John 5:13 says, “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.”  What’s more you can be sure that he will come into your life and help you to live for his glory out of thanks for what he’s done.

If you make that choice today please let me know.  Email me at mark@reasonsforhope315.com.

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