Tag Archives: Jesus

Video

His Story: Lee Strobel

Another Wannabe Missionary is temporarily detained by final examinations. She is very thankful that other people post stuff that is better than what she could come up with anyway. She will also quit speaking in 3rd person and face the exams, which may or may not kill her, with courage. I will be back!

(For more by Lee Strobel, check out Investigating Faith.)

Worshipping God?

This post was written in response to the questions “Can all religions be correct and just worship one God in different ways?  If so, does it matter how I worship God?” which were sent in by Lincolnshirepeasant.  If you have a question which you would like answered, feel free to email me at wannabemissionary@gmail.com.

To explore these questions,  I would like to take you down a memory lane.

I was in 9th grade. It was 9am. Monday morning.  Social Studies class.  My best friend, who was more into the social scene than the academic side of school, was sitting beside me in class. Monday morning, 9am...and, my friend, was in class. 

In case you are starting to doubt the credibility of my story, I will have you know that my friend would never skip this class.  Why? Because she had a crush on the dark, young-ish, physical education teacher who taught us Social Studies. He also happened to be married, but that did not keep her from sitting at the back of the class and giggling, nor me from teasing her ruthlessly. Yes, we were immature, in case you were wondering.

My friend thought our teacher was nothing more than a good-looking jock. And maybe that is all he was, but I doubt it.  I learned some stuff in that Social Studies class, and not just about the awkward social interaction between a giddy 9th grade best friend and a very weirded out teacher.

In between giggles, I heard the teacher say something about warship. I was confused.  I mean, I knew that I was a bit distracted, but just a second ago he had been talking about culture, and I was not really following the jump to “warship”.  The teacher kept talking, and I kept not-really-understanding until all of a sudden it hit me: the teacher was referring to worship. At first, I thought he was just pronouncing it wrong.  However, I happened to be that kid who liked to test the teachers.  So I asked him a question about worship. His response revealed that he did not have a clue what he was teaching.

And as I racked my brain for ways I could monopolize on the opportunity created by my teacher’s ignorance, I stumbled upon a second epiphany. I did not really know what worship meant either.

So what is worship?

While I am sure that we could ask a lot of people and get many different answers (or befuddled looks of confusion), I would like to offer a couple of thoughts.

Worship is not about you.

Worship is not about the worshipper.  Worship is an act of adoring, honoring, revering or admiring. The important one involved is the recipient, not the worshipper.  If the worshipper maintains the focus, then it is not really worship.  Think about worship like giving a compliment.

Worship requires us to focus on God instead of ourselves.

A good compliment focuses on the recipient.  A compliment which draws the attention back to the person giving the compliment, is not really a compliment at all.

Because worship requires the one who is worshipped to be kept in mind…

The One who is worshipped must be known.

The person who gives the compliment needs to know about the recipient in order to compliment them.  The better you know someone, the more able you will be to compliment that person in a meaningful way.  Likewise, worshippers need to know about who they worship. Worship which is directed towards someone who is unknown does not really mean much.

This brings us to the question of whether or not all religions can be correct and worship the same God.  While I personally believe that there is one God, I do not believe that all religions can be correct about Him, because the gods which are professed by different religions are so completely different. How could such contradiction be worshipful?

Is it really a compliment if it is not based on truth?

The other risk you run if you do not know who you worship is that you may not be worshipping the God who you need to be worshipping.

In Exodus, God tells his people to quit worshipping others: “ You shall  tear down their altars and  break their pillars and cut down their  Asherim 14 (for  you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God).”

Worshipping God seems pretty important, yet…

Worship is humanly impossible.

You need God’s help to worship. Worship is by faith; faith must be received. Worship involves obedience; direction must be provided.  When God directs, he must also provide the strength to do what He wills. Worship has a cost. It requires  sacrifice. We are good at being self-centered; we need help to become God-centered.

Abraham is a man who really got worship. You can read his story here.

I am not saying there is one specific way to worship.  I believe that there are many.  The important thing is to worship God on his terms, not ours.

Are we really worshipping God if we are only willing to do what we want?

Anyone can choose to worship Jesus.

In one of my favourite passages, Jesus speaks to a Samaritan woman and says,  “22 You worship what you do not know;  we worship what we know, for  salvation is  from the Jews. 23 But  the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father  in spirit and  truth, for the Father  is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that  Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes,  he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”

That about sums it up right there.

It does not matter who you are.  You could be a Jew or a Samaritan, a hot-shot jock teacher or a giddy teenage girl. If you choose to believe in Jesus and want to worship Him, you will be able to.

It does not matter where you are.  You could be on a mountain, in a church, or sitting in front of a computer screen.

All that matters is who He is.  You can depend on Jesus to help you worship in spirit and in truth. 

Do you worship anyone or anything?  How do you do this?

Relationship with God?

This post was written in response to the question “How can I have a relationship with God?” which was sent in by Dan.  If you have a question which you would like answered, feel free to email me at wannabemissionary@gmail.com.

 

Dan, your question is a great one.  I think many people wonder about Jesus, especially around times like Easter and Christmas, because they think that it is important to go to church on these days. While going to church can be good, it can also be confusing.  Different churches have their own culture, and if you are not in the church all of the time, the new culture can make you feel foreign and lost. I know what it is like to sit in church and not understand what is going on.  It is disappointing.  It is frustrating. And it sometimes does not help you answer the questions which really need to be answered.

To answer your question, I will first share with you a brief explanation of how I started my relationship with God.  I will then give you some pointers in how to grow in that relationship.
My relationship began the day that I realized that I did not deserve to know God. Someone explained what the Bible said in simple terms to me:
1. God loves humans and wants to have a relationship with us so that we can have full spiritual life.
2. We separate ourselves from God by choosing to follow our own ways instead of his. This is called sin, and results in disconnection from God, or spiritual death.  Once our relationship with God is broken, we have no way to get it back ourselves.
3. God chose to come to earth as Jesus, live a life which had no sin, and then take the death that we all deserve on the cross.  He showed he was God when he came back to life after 3 days. He died for everyone, so anyone who wants to have a relationship with God can just accept that Jesus made the way for that, and ask God.
4. We must choose to accept Jesus for ourselves. No one can do it for us.  It is our choice.

I chose to pray to receive Christ.  I told God that I have separated myself from God and gone my own way.  I told him that I do not have a way to make myself right.  And then I said that I believe that Jesus is God, that he came to earth, that he was without fault, that he died the death that I deserve, and that he came back to life on the third day.  I thanked him for doing this for me, and asked him to help me start a new relationship with God.

If you want to start a relationship with God, know that He is waiting for you.  It does not matter what you have done in the past.  He loves you.  You can pray the same thing that I prayed if you want.  What matters is the attitude of your heart.  If you want to know God, I encourage you to pray now.

If you have chosen to do that, I am excited for you!  If you have chosen not to do so, I encourage you to consider what is keeping you from believing in Jesus.

Once you have chosen to receive Jesus, your new life with God can start!  I promise you, it will be exciting if you are willing to let God direct you.  Here are some ways you can get to know Him more:

1. Pray, which is just talking with God. That is a really great way to grow in your relationship.

2. Read the Bible.  I suggest you start by reading about Jesus life in the book of John (you can find it here: biblegateway.com).  Find friends who can help you understand it.  You can count me as your first friend who wants to do that!

3. Tell others about your decision.  Maybe others want to have the same hope.  Or maybe you can find friends who already have faith, and can help you understand more about God.  You can find such friends at some churches.  Just make sure it is a church which believes that it is by Jesus’ grace that we are saved.:)

What are your reasons for believing in Jesus, or not?

This God-Guy Jesus

His Story: Jesus

This is a story which has been told millions of times. There has probably been more written on Jesus than any other historical person. Sadly, not everyone has access to knowledge of Jesus.  In many countries, to know Jesus is illegal, and can mean certain death. This reality makes celebrating Easter (the death and resurrection of Jesus) a freedom and privilege.

I could write Jesus’s story again.  As a Wannabe Missionary, that is probably what I should do.  Afterall I am 20-something, and therefore confident (aka cocky) that I could write the best, most animated rendition of the story of Jesus. But I am not going to.  Instead, I will share with you some ways the story has already been shared.

This Jesus Movie follows the Gospel of John in the Bible.  Exactly.  Word for word.  You could read along if you like. That is the good news.

The bad news is…how can I say this nicely?  The movie is old and we are stupid. The events which are depicted are from a time and place that we often do not understand very well.  However, I think it is good to watch the movie and just note questions for further explanation. Try not to be too critical, since cultural misunderstandings can really get us riled up.

The Passion of the Christ is technically a much better film.  It also uses a bit more liberal artistic license. The gore really comes alive when it is on screen instead of written in a book.

There is just this one thing about  Jesus that I would like to flesh out.

It is a little strange to see Jesus in stone...

Jesus - God, guy, and statue?

Historically, it is not difficult to understand that Jesus was a man. However, the reason why so many people have faith in Jesus is because they believe he is also God.

Why believe that Jesus is God?

 1. Jesus claimed that he is God. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” He told people that their sins were forgiven.  They knew what this meant.  No one but God could forgive sins.  They knew that Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah (Savior) who God had promised to send to them.

2. Jesus died because of who he was. But much like today, many people were not willing to let Jesus be the leader.  In fact, those who were in power were threatened by Jesus.  So they plotted to kill him.

3. Jesus came back to life. Humans are always defeated by death.  Jesus did die, but he came back to life, showing that He has power over life and death.

So because Jesus said that He was God, and backed up his words by his actions, I choose to believe him.  Since I have chosen to accept Jesus’ death and resurrection as the way to have friendship with God, I have had a full life!  But that is a another whole story…

This post was written in response to the question “When people talk about Jesus sometimes..I’ve noticed they call him “God.” Why?” which was sent in by Brandi.  If you have a question which you would like answered, feel free to email me at wannabemissionary@gmail.com.

If you want to read the whole story of Jesus life for yourself, visit biblegateway.com.

What are your thoughts?

Billy Graham meets TED (!)

I am a nerd.  I like science. I am a geek. I like technology.  I have spent ( some people say “invested,” I lean towards “squandered”) the past two years of my life on education, so I have to like TED. And you have likely figured out that I like faith a lot.

so when Technology, science and faith are all wrapped up into one TEDTalk by one of the most renowned missionaries of all time (!)…

…I get “a bit” excited. But instead of running around, jumping up and down, screaming and doing a happy dance, I have decided to share the video which caused my elation with you. You are welcome.

Let’s face it, there are not very many people who need a wannabe missionary to introduce them. But even if there were, Billy Graham would not be one of them. Billy Graham has introduced millions of people around the world to Jesus over the past 70 years. Gaining respect from people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, and many presidents, Billy Graham’s reach has been wide.

We will let him speak for himself.

 What can we learn from Billy Graham?

How to keep people from stealing bikes and Jesus

As I pulled up to the library on my bike and started locking it to the rack, I had an epiphany (perhaps a slight overstatement). I realized that my bike would be there when I came back, but not because of the flimsy lock which I was attaching to it.  No one would take my bike because

my bike does not look like it is worth stealing.

I wonder how often this is true of our faith?  How often do we make faith in Jesus look undesirable?

Perhaps this is why Paul says to the Philippians,

14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[c] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life…So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

What are some ways that we make faith look bad?

Questions?

I really need to start thinking up more clever names for these things.

This name is so plain.  So blah.

So unlike all of the AMAZING QUESTIONS we are going to explore!

Without further ado, here are your questions!

  1. How can I have a relationship with God?
  2. So who the heck are Adam and Eve? All I know is that the story includes an apple and snake. Besides that, I am CLUELESS.
  3. When people talk about Jesus sometimes..I’ve noticed they call him “God.” Why?
  4. Can all religions be correct and just worship one God in different ways?  If so, does it matter how I worship God?
  5. Is attending church on sundays necessary, so long as I try to live my life in a moral manner?
  6. If I live my life justly, with a love for the people and things around me but do not recognize God, would this stop me from entering heaven?
  7. Who made/how was the Bible made?
  8. How did “they”(bible makers/creators) come up with the names for like…the different chapters?
  9. Why do people argue about whether or not Jesus died for our sins, where he died, when, how it happened, etc?
  10. Does the Bible say where humans and everything came from?
  11. If we were all made in God’s image then why so we all look so different?
  12. God, or Jesus, or both, I don’t know, planned our lives before we lived it. So why would he make people lead miserable lives?
  13. I don’t understand how being gay/lesbian/bisexual is “sinning” or why they are “going to Hell.” I think it just says a man laying with a man is wrong in the Bible, I’m not so sure though. Boys lay together at sleep overs, they lay together in boyscouts. They lay together, side by side.

Just so you know:

  • All questions are donated. The founding contributors are Brandi and friends.
  • You are welcome to send in questions too.  Really. I will take those questions off your hands.
  • The numbers do not mean much.  They are pretty much there to make this look legit. If there is a burning question which needs our attention, it will be bumped up. We are going to get ’em while they are hot!

Thank you for contributing to the Question Bank.

Nope, I don’t like that name either.

Do you have an idea what we should call this thing? Do you find it easy or difficult to ask spiritual questions?