Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What Do You Believe? Atheist; Skeptic; Believer - August 13, 2014

Titus 2:7 (New Living Translation)
7 And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.

2 Timothy 2:25 (New Living Translation)
25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

There is nothing better than the example of a changed heart and life to act as a witness to the truth and validity of Christianity. For many of us it was a wonderful Christian witness, whose life and example led us to embrace and follow Jesus. As we study the truth of Christianity, we will also look to a source whose desire to examine these truths were due to a close personal example.

"For much of my life I was a skeptic. In fact, I considered myself an atheist. To me, there was far too much evidence that God was merely a product of wishful thinking, of ancient mythology, of primitive superstition."
"Let's face it: even a cursory examination of the evidence demonstrates convincingly that Jesus had only been a human being just like you and me, although with unusual gifts of kindness and wisdom.

But that's all I had ever really given the evidence: a cursory look. I had read just enough philosophy and history to find support for my skepticism- a fact here, a scientific theory there, a pithy quote, a clever argument. Sure, I could see some gaps and inconsistencies, but I had strong motivation to ignore them: a self-serving and immoral lifestyle that I would be compelled to abandon if I were ever to change my views and become a follower of Jesus."

"It wasn't a phone call from an informant(reference to an earlier story)that prompted me to re-examine the case for Christ. It was my wife.

Leslie stunned me in the autumn of 1979 by announcing that she had become a Christian. I rolled my eyes and braced for the worst, feeling like the victim of a bait-and-switch scam. I had married one Leslie- the fun Leslie, the carefree Leslie, the risk-taking Leslie and now I feared she was going to turn into some sort of ...repressed prude who would trade our upwardly mobile lifestyle for all-night prayer vigils and volunteer work in grimy soup kitchens.

Instead I was pleasantly surprised- even fascinated- by the fundamental changes in her character, her integrity, and her personal confidence. Eventually I wanted to get to the bottom of what was prompting these subtle but significant shifts in my wife's attitudes, so I launched an all-out investigation into the facts surrounding the case for Christianity." - Lee Strobel(Excerpts from The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus)

Atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, is a former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune, is a New York Times best-selling author of nearly twenty books and has been interviewed on numerous national television programs, including ABC’s 20/20, Fox News, and CNN.

Lee was educated at the University of Missouri (Bachelor of Journalism degree, 1974) and Yale Law School (Master of Studies in Law degree, 1979). He was a professional journalist for 14 years at The Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, winning Illinois’ top honors for investigative reporting (which he shared with a team he led) and public service journalism from United Press International.

After a nearly two-year investigation of the evidence for Jesus, Lee received Christ as his forgiver and leader in 1981. He joined the staff of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL, in 1987, and later became a teaching pastor there. He joined Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, CA, as a teaching pastor in 2000. He left Saddleback’s staff in mid-2002 to focus on writing. He is also a contributing editor and columnist for Outreach magazine. (Bio from www.leestrobel.com)

From the above noted and other books by Lee, we will gain the benefit of his journalistic approach in examining the truths for what we believe.

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