Have you ever been to a movie and have something in the movie throw you back to an event or time in your life that you had long forgotten? If you have then you know a little of how I felt last night as I watched The Case for Christ with Kelli. To put some perspective on this, I’ve been a Christian for some forty years. I serve part time, as family pastor at my local church. I was on staff with Young Life (a Christian organization that loves on teens around the world) for nearly twenty years. And my wife and I founded this ministry, Axis Ministries, to coach, encourage, and strengthen families with Truth and Grace… the truth of God’s word and the grace of Jesus’ love.
So, I can safely say to you, I love Jesus and have chosen to devote whatever years I have remaining to sharing the love of Christ with all that will listen. But last night brought back memories of a different season of my life.
When Kelli and I first married, almost thirty-five years ago, I would have rightfully called myself a Christian. However, I had some doubts… a lot of questions… a lot of faith issues when it came to Christianity. I was always a science guy. I was a pre-med major, always assuming I’d eventually become a doctor. I had spent years wrestling with the whole question of evolution versus creation. Eventually I came to the conclusion that creation made a whole lot more sense to my science mind than evolution. But my journey wasn’t over!
In the early days of marriage, while I was trying to make it in business, I was also trying to grow a family. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but there were some really hard days. PLUS… I had my own issues God was still working on in me personally. I don’t think I have to worry about a spoiler alert, if you are going to see the movie, my guess is you know the punchline for the story.
There is a line in the movie, that reminded me of this chapter of my life. For those that don’t know, the movie is a true story, about a reporter named Lee Strobel. Lee is an atheist. His wife becomes a Christian and his world is turned upside down. Strobel doesn’t even know where to begin when it comes to dealing with his wife’s new “cult”. A co-worker of his, a Christian, tells him – start with the resurrection. If Jesus wasn’t resurrected… it’s a house of cards. In case you aren’t familiar with this:
And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:14
Suddenly I was thrust back to a chapter of my life I had long forgotten. When I too thought, “I’m just not sure I believe the whole Easter thing?” While I would never have called myself an atheist, I certainly was skeptical and at the very least unsure, of my faith. I wasn’t nearly as driven as Lee Strobel to unearth the truth. Instead, I bought a 12 cassette (yes, you read that right… cassette – Google it) series by Josh McDowell called “Evidence That Demands a Verdict”.
It contained hours of information and evidence and facts about the bible and the Christian faith. And, a section on the resurrection. I finished that course and was changed forever. Yes, God still had a lot of pruning to do in me (sadly, He’s still having to prune away!), but I never looked back and never again doubted the validity of the bible or the miracle we celebrate at Easter.
My one regret after watching the movie… I wish I would have had more conversations about my intellectual faith journey with my kids. I have amazing kids and I trust the Lord with each of their lives, but I do wish I would have been more intentional in this one area.
Which brings me to the point of why I wrote this blog. Take your kids to the movie and talk with them about Lee’s journey. It is Good Friday as I write this. I’m going to take my younger kids to church and I’ll have the privilege of serving them communion. For many, communion is simply a ritual the church does, with little meaning. This Easter I’m especially reminded, that some 2,000 years ago, a man named Jesus, sat down with his twelve friends, and shared a meal. What happened next, changed the world, and changed my life.
May you enjoy a most blessed Easter with your family and loved ones. We would love to hear about your faith journey. Do you believe that Jesus died and rose again? If that isn’t true… then as Lee’s co-worker said… it’s a house of cards.