We Don’t Celebrate Easter Because of the Bible

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We Don’t Celebrate Easter Because of the Bible

Why do we celebrate Easter? Why do Christians believe that Jesus rose from the dead? A lot of people might think that it’s just because the Bible says so. That there’s really no other reason to believe it, but the Bible says so and Christians just believe what the Bible says. Therefore, if you don’t think that the Bible is the authoritative source of truth that should be accepted without question, you might not think that there’s much to consider about the historical resurrection of Jesus. Think again.

I’d like to remind us that the Christian church came into existence and began celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead well before the Bible as we know it came to be. There were the Jewish scriptures, the Old Testament, but the church started, based on the belief in the resurrected Jesus, before the New Testament was written. What’s more, the church was already changing the world before the New Testament writings were gathered together.

tombThere isn’t a Christian church that believes in the resurrection because of the Bible. There’s a Bible because eye witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection started the Christian church in the first half of the first century and later wrote the New Testament. The very early church didn’t believe in the resurrection because of the Bible, they wrote the Bible because of the resurrection. The disciples were convinced that they saw the risen Jesus with their own eyes. Their lives were transformed because of that fact and the world was changed because of the testimony they shared and gave their lives for.

I encourage you to check out the evidence for the resurrection here on the blog. You might also want to check out Andy Stanley’s message here.

I want to wish you a Happy Easter because I believe that Jesus really rose from the dead and we have great hope in him!

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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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Do You See The Resurrection Like The Easter Bunny?

Posted on by Reasons for Hope 315 in Evidence for the Resurrection, Hope, Misconceptions | Leave a comment

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Do You See The Resurrection Like The Easter Bunny?

With Easter being tomorrow, is the way you see the resurrection of Jesus like the way you see the Easter Bunny? The Easter Bunny is a nice idea meant to give those who don’t know any better something to look forward to and to be happy about. As we grow older we come to see that this couldn’t be real. (Santa Claus at least seems more believable to me now, at least he’s a man not a bunny who does this!) We come to see that the Easter Bunny was made up, with good intentions to be sure, but made up nonetheless.  So what about the resurrection? Is that really any different?

4-5 resurrection investigate


Historical Reality or a Made-Up Nice Idea?

At this point in your life how do you really view the resurrection of Jesus? Is it a historical reality or just a nice idea that was made up, with good intentions likely, to give those who don’t really know better something to look forward to and be happy about?

Like we did with the Easter Bunny when we didn’t know better, did some people in the past believe something when they didn’t know better, that we today, with all that we’ve learned scientifically, can no longer believe to be real? Could a man rising from the dead be real to an intelligent person today?

I think a lot of people might wonder that today and some have already decided that it isn’t really believable. Sure it might give some hope to those who don’t know better, but it isn’t real.

Challenging Some Assumptions

We might be tempted to think that the people in the ancient past who believed and passed on the idea of the resurrection were kind of like us as children believing in the Easter Bunny. They didn’t know any better. Without having learned the things we’ve since learned, they were more gullible. We might think that it was easy for them to believe that Jesus rose from the dead. They were just told it and believed it without even questioning it.

But were they really like that? Were they so gullible and easily swayed? I say that they were not. Yes, we’ve learned some things about how things really work but they were no less intelligent people than we are. It’s a bit arrogant for us to believe that they were so gullible. Even Jesus’ inner-most circle of disciples didn’t believe it easily at all.

Even 2000 years ago people didn’t believe that people could just rise from the dead. Before going to the cross Jesus repeatedly told them that he was going to die and rise again. But did they believe it? No, this went in one ear and out the other. When he was crucified they were disillusioned. This man they had followed and thought was the Messiah was dead and gone. They didn’t wait expectantly by the tomb, waiting for his resurrection like he had told them. No, they fearfully went into hiding, wondering what they were going to do with their lives now.

The women went to the tomb on Sunday morning, not expecting to see Jesus risen, but to prepare his body for it’s final resting there in the tomb. But they found the stone rolled aside and Jesus’ body was gone. They were told that he had risen just as he said. So the women ran back to tell the disciples the news.

And did the disciples just easily accept this, after all it’s what Jesus had said would happen? No. Luke 24:11 says, “But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.” Do you still think they were gullible? Some of us today might believe it easier than they did, having seen Jesus do miracles and having told them this is what would happen.

Many Convincing Proofs

Thankfully God knows that we can find things hard to believe, whether thousands of years ago or today. Jesus knew this. He knew that people don’t just easily believe that someone rose from the dead. And while he would have been pleased if they had just taken him at his word, he provided the evidence that they needed to be able to believe.

He appeared to them and let them examine the nail holes in his hands and feet and where the spear had been thrust into his side. He ate food with them. He walked with them. And it didn’t just take one appearance to convince them. You may not realize this but he spent forty days with them convincing them.

Acts 1:3 says, “After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

They didn’t believe easily. They wouldn’t find the Easter Bunny to be any more believable than you or I do, and they wouldn’t have found the resurrection to be any more believable than people today would, except, Jesus appeared to them and presented evidence that their intelligent minds could no longer deny.

And because they were so convinced in this way, their lives could never be the same again. God had entered the world in Jesus Christ. He had died n the cross for their sins and for ours, and he had risen from the dead! And so they went from hiding, cowering in fear, to going out and boldly telling everyone what had happened, because how could you keep news like this to yourself?!

The Evidence is There for Us Today

Jesus doesn’t appear to you and I today to convince us, but the historical evidence is there for us to explore. I encourage you to read a series of posts I presented on this evidence a couple of years go.  There are five minimal facts of the resurrection that almost all scholars accept, even the skeptical ones. 1) Jesus Died By Crucifixion, 2) Jesus’ Disciples Believed that He Rose and Appeared to Them, 3) The Church Persecutor Paul was Suddenly Changed, 4) The Skeptic James, the Brother of Jesus, was Suddenly Changed, and 5) The Tomb was Empty.

Put together these facts of evidence present a case that I cannot deny. I believe that no other explanation can explain the facts other than that Jesus Christ did indeed rise from the dead.  See what you think.

Happy Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!

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Tacos, Timelines, Significance and Hope

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

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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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