The Children’s Sermon

On Easter Sunday, the minister was giving the children’s sermon. He reached into a bag and pulled out an egg. He asked the children if they knew what was inside.

“I know,” said one boy. “Panty hose!”

Forgiving Your Enemies – Sharing with an Atheist

I was discussing religion with my atheist friend, Minister Zhao, in China. He said one thing that was very difficult for him to understand about Christians, is how we can ‘turn the other cheek.’ Mr. Zhao said it is extremely hard to imagine loving and forgiving your enemies.

If we’re honest with ourselves, even Christians have a hard time with this commandment from Jesus Christ. But what I told Mr. Zhao is something you can share with non-believers you know, who may struggle with the same question.

When Jesus commands us to love and pray for our enemies, it’s with the understanding that we can’t do it on our own. We can only accomplish this if we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, who empowers us to forgive those who have hurt us.

In Ephesians we’re told that Jesus Christ gives “incomparably great power for us who believe.”

This is something that non-Christians don’t have, so they really can’t fully forgive their enemies. That’s why it’s so powerful when people watch us forgive those who have hurt us. Our ability to forgive is what sets us apart from the world, and gives glory and honor to Jesus Christ.

The Athiest in the Woods

An atheist was walking through the woods, thinking to himself,

“How beautiful the animals are!”

“How majestic the trees are!”

“How powerful the rivers are!”

As he walked along the river, he heard rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned and saw an 8-foot grizzly bear charging towards him. He ran along the path as fast as he could, but when he looked over his shoulder, he saw that the bear was closing in on him.

He kept running, but when he looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. Then he tripped and fell on the ground. The bear was right on top of him with his right paw raised to strike him. At that instant, the atheist cried, “God help me!”

Time Stopped.

The bear froze.

The forest was silent.

A bright light shone upon the man and a voice from the sky said, “You’ve denied my existence for all these years and have taught others that I don’t exist. You’ve even credited creation to a cosmic accident. Why would you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Are you now a believer?”

The atheist looked into the light and said, “Well, I would be hypocrite to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but could you, maybe, make the BEAR a Christian?”

“Very Well,” said the voice.

The light went out.

The sounds of the forest resumed.

The bear lowered his right paw and brought both paws together. He bowed his head, and said: “Lord, bless this food which I am about to receive from Your bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen.”

His Name is Jesus – Sharing with an Atheist

I remember a fascinating story I read about Billy Graham. It happened about 15 years ago, when Dr. Graham was visiting China. While he was there, he spoke at churches in Beijing and in Shanghai. As usual, Billy talked very clearly about Jesus Christ, the cross, and the resurrection.

One Sunday morning, after Billy had finished speaking, an elderly Chinese man came up to him. He had apparently walked 600 kilometers to hear him speak that day!

Through an interpreter he asked Dr. Graham, “What was the name of that man who died on the cross that you told us about?” And Billy said, “His name was Jesus.” The elderly Chinese man said, “I’ve always believed in Him, but I never knew His name.”

I think this man essentially was saying that God had revealed Himself to his heart, but he just didn’t know the details yet.

Romans 1:18 says “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities … have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”

It’s thrilling to think that God reveals Himself to people all over the world. When we’re sharing the Good News, we can rest assured that Jesus has already been at work in the listener’s heart. We simply need to share the truth of His work in our own lives.

God’s Progressive Revelation – Sharing with an Atheist

How do you respond to a person who says that he can’t believe in God until there’s proof that God exists? During my discussions with my friend, Mr. Zhao in China, we talked a lot about this issue, since he’s both an atheist and a scientist. I shared with him that God has, in fact, revealed Himself to the world, in three distinct ways.

First, God reveals himself through creation, the beauty of the world. The whole world speaks of the Lord’s glory and power. When you look at creation, you get a picture that God is almighty, that He loves beauty, and that He is creative.

Secondly, God has made Himself known through His Word, the Bible. The written, inerrant Scriptures are another part of God’s total revelation to man.

Finally, God revealed Himself personally through Jesus Christ. The Book of Colossians says that Jesus “is the visible image of the invisible God.”

So when a scientist wants to look at something concrete in order to understand it, Jesus says, “Look at me and you’ve actually seen God.” If you’re talking with someone who is asking for proof of God, try explaining these three ways that God has already revealed Himself to the world.