Black and Yellow Butterfly on a Leaf

Ravi Zacharias: Speaking for Jesus, our Creator

Ravi Zacharias-flickr

This is an article I wrote two years ago, but the only thing that’s changed is instead of having raised a few pennies for RZIM, my total is over $81. It’s still one of my favorite podcasts, and they still bring Jesus as Creator into the mix. Just the whole ministry is super careful not to drive away either Christians who think God used evolution and/or millions of years to “create” or those of us who know better!

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I use GoodSearch to find things on the internet, and now it’s time to tell you who I support with this program!  Ravi Zacharias has been preaching and speaking around the world for many years about Jesus, humanity and the need for a Christian worldview to make sense of our lives.  When I was about 12, I saw him speak at a church on the north side of Chicago and I’ve been interested in him ever since.

His sermons are one of my favorite things to listen to on iTunes while I do my chores.  Dr. Zacharias has an unusual ministry that focuses on the very smart and “wise” people of the world.  He speaks and works at Cambridge and Oxford in England.  He has spoken to many of the most powerful people in the world, people whom most Christians never have a chance to talk to.  He uses some very big words and big ideas, but his whole focus is on pointing people to Jesus Christ and the life and meaning He offers to everyone.

I’ve noticed over the past few months how often the beginning of Genesis comes up in his speeches and I know it’s not an accident.  If we let go of God as Creator and Adam and Eve as our first parents, we lose all of the foundation of our worldview.  Life becomes just a squishy mess that we can mold however we want to, but that can’t support us in hard times.

The last two weeks the podcast has been a recent speech that Dr. Zacharias gave to a group of young people attending some sort of Bible school (at least that’s the impression I got from his closing comments).  It has a lot of big words, but the main ideas he shares I think all of you who are at least 11 or 12 should be able to understand, and all of us who are turning into or already are grown-ups need to hear.  They had to split the speech into two parts so here are the links:

Effective Apologetics in the 21st Century (part 1 of 2)

Effective Apologetics in the 21st Century (part 2 of 2)

Let me know what ideas struck you the most!

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.  Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. I Corinthians 23-29

God, You’re too Harsh!

The parable of the talents, as depicted in a 1...

The parable of the talents, as depicted in a 1712 woodcut. The lazy servant searches for his buried talent, while the two other servants present their earnings to their master.

Jesus told this parable where He was the master and we the servants: Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate.’ Matthew 25:24 NLT

It wasn’t easy deciding whether this was a topic to cover on a blog “for kids”, but the more I run into arguments against worshipping and loving God, the more I realize our kids need to have answers, and soon.

What is it unbelieving people are telling us about God? “Atheists” like Richard Dawkins spend an awfully lot of time talking about how horrible the God of the Bible, the only real God, is. If they really believed God was invented by people, why work so hard to smear His character?

Eagerly they seek out the goriest accounts in the Bible seeking to prove God is too disgusting to deserve our worship. It seems the only kind of God they would consider worthy is a spineless softy who let everyone get away with murder (literally).

Interestingly, these people never touch the worst case of “genocide” in the history of the universe, Noah’s Flood. They don’t dare take that one seriously, or it would give us the opportunity to point to the mountains of evidence for the Flood having really happened.

So how can a God-fearing believer in Jesus respond to such a low blow? Let’s see how Jesus, the Master, responded to the fearful servant in the story:

Parable of the Talents

Parable of the Talents

But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate,why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ Matthew 25:26,27 NLT

Did he claim to be a kind and gentle master? Not at all. He accepted the accusation and turned it back on the servant. “You knew I was like this, so why didn’t you meet my expectations?” That’s not what we would have said! But it’s what Jesus claimed.

What’s more, here are the consequences for the servant’s bad attitude and fearful actions:

“Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 25:30 NLT

Our God, the God who is, makes a terrifying enemy indeed! But there’s something else going on. Remember who the guy is? He is one of the master’s “servants”, but doesn’t have the master’s protection. He isn’t part of the family.

This tells us every person on earth, no matter what their attitude about God is, still is one of Jesus’ servants. He gives them “talents”- skills, opportunities, and character traits to help them accomplish God’s work on earth. They are expected to return a profit for Jesus’ kingdom no matter what.

Here’s the bottom line. God made everything, including all people. He gets to decide when a person is to die or live. If we ignore Him, thumbing our noses at His rules and mistreat His creation, God will eventually say, “enough is enough.”

tombstone shadows

tombstone shadows (Photo credit: Rick Payette)

That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. Psalm 104:28,29

God isn’t “pro-life” the way we are called to be. He does love all of us, but there comes a point of no return:

 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.” Luke 19:42-44 NLT

God was, is, and will be terrifyingly mean to those who hate Him. But, He offers each and every one of us a way to find protection-  by hiding ourselves in Him through Jesus’ life and cleansing.