1. How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Truth
Once upon a time, there were two groovy rasta-looking dudes known as Milli Vanilli. (One wasn't named Milli and the other Vanilli, silly. They were known collectively as Milli Vanilli because someone somewhere decided it should be so.) These two friendly fellas were both superstars in their own right, and when their wonder twin powers activated, they took the collective shape of a monster dynamic musical entity the likes of which... the likes of which. From this disco union festered a string of international dance hits including the smash single, "Girl, U Know It's True," (don't act as if you've never heard of the song, you know you listen to it secretly, even now.) Milli Vanilli toured the world and elsewhere. Life was their oyster. And then.. the roof caved in.
Alright, enough of the slap-happy, attention-grabbing, introductory wise-acreage. I'll get to the point. God made everything, he spoke the universe into being, and nature continuously sings his glory and proclaims his truth. We ourselves are animated clay. We are the work of God's hands. He knit us together in our mother's wombs, he knows the number of hairs on our heads, and he loves us with such unfathomable fury that he sent his only son Jesus to save us from ourselves.
You see, God is perfect, and he graciously gave us a choice. He said, "You can either serve me, or you can serve yourselves." (Without this choice, we would have just been a bunch of boring old robots.) But we were selfish and instead of serving our creator, we acted like a bunch of jerks, we turned from God, and we worshipped ourselves. Some of us even took a vote and conveniently decided, "there is no actual right and wrong (per se), there is no external God (per se); these are just mythical constructs which a bunch of non-modern people made up a long time ago." God weeps in the dark for us.
NEWS FLASH: Jesus is not a myth, he is not a ghost, he is not a cosmic theophony. God came down from heaven to earth and walked among us two thousand years ago in the form of a man, Jesus. People touched him; he ate fish and burped; he even went to the bathroom. Yes, he was real. This really happened. Jesus loved everybody, even the selfish, conceited, broken-hearted people who didn't understand him. It was for those people that he died. He died for me. He died for you. He suffered and died in our stead. He was punished and crucified for our arrogance and foolishness so that we might not die, but that we might live forever in him.
Because Jesus died for my sins, and because God has given me the faith to accept Jesus as my Lord and savior, I no longer have to pay the price of my sins with my own blood. I no longer have to be separated from my Heavenly Father for eternity, I cannot die. Jesus was the first person to overcome death, and through him is our only way to eternal life. Jesus killed death. Two thousand years ago in Jerusalem, Jesus rose from the dead. He actually, literally did. They never found his body. Its bones and flesh do not exist in any form anywhere on this planet. Right now Jesus is with God in heaven, and he is with the Holy Spirit in the hearts of all who sincerely confess, "Jesus Christ is Lord."
And Jesus is coming back soon to gather unto him all who have accepted his saving grace, and to justly waste the chaff who haven't. In order to claim Jesus' gift of love and redemption, all you have to do is honestly pray something to the effect of, "Jesus, I believe you died to wash away my sins. Thank you for loving me. I claim your free gift of eternal life. I need you, I want you, I love you. Come into my heart and make me more like you." Once you pray this prayer, you become a child of God, Jesus comes into your heart , and then, "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus your Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
The above truths are not my truths, they are not the church's truths, they are not man's truths; they are God's truths. They are contained in a book called the Bible which is the inerrant, God-breathed word of the Lord. Its individual books were written by the Holy Spirit through various people, and God totally controlled the forces which shaped its creation. The Bible is not a limited text. (Limited text; limited shmext.) The Bible is the blueprint of the universe. Through the Bible, the Holy Spirit will reveal God's will to you if you earnestly pray and desire to know God's will (and sometimes even if you don't).
Furthermore, Jesus' gospel "is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God... For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block for the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength" (I Corinthians 1:18, 21-25).
The above truths are not true because I want them to be true or because I am able to recognize their truth. God was here a long time before I was, he's here in this room with me right now, and he'll be here long after I complete my petty posturing and return to dust. I am his creation and it is immensely mind-blowing that I even exist at all. Thank you Jesus for the privilege to love and serve you.
Ultimately, Jesus' love is not just an argument; it is an action. So far, God's love has changed me fro a jerk to a recovering jerk, from a self-righteous sinner to a recovering self-righteous sinner, and from a fool for myself to a fool for Christ. Here is the good news -- God loves you, right now, wherever you are, and he has a wonderful plan for your life. It is true. Jesus is alive and he wants to live in your heart and to bring you closer and closer to our promised pure joy. Believe it.
Next issue, I really will talk about the rise and fall of Milli Vanilli; also about my roommate's leaf collection, Paul Simon's "Song about the Moon," and the wonder that's keeping the stars apart. All this and more on the next Regis and Cookie Show. But first things first. There is nothing more important to me that Jesus Christ. If I forget you, Lord, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth, Lord Jesus, if I do not consider you my highest joy.