Men's Sunday School

Terry teaches the Men's Sunday School class. Following is a statement of faith he wrote in 2018 about his search for Truth.

Seeking Truth

I grew up a big fan of science. Honestly, I still am. I was skeptical of anything that couldn’t be “proven” by hard evidence. I was a defender of logic and reason. I was a straight-A student. I was book smart. I liked sci-fi, fantasy, and unexplained mysteries. I was a “nice quiet guy,” a rule follower, a risk avoider, a loner, an introvert, not a drinker, not a partier – a stereotypical nerd.

Along the way, I learned “about” religion - and went to church occasionally - but my commitment wavered, and doubts kept nagging at me. A couple years ago (I’m 50 now), thanks to my wife, I started attending church regularly after a long gap. I already had a great deal of Bible knowledge, but it was mostly academic. I don’t know what changed, but within the last year, the Gospel spoke to me personally.

Last Sunday, my pastor challenged us to share a statement of faith. So what do I believe? I’ll try to put it in my own words. It took me all week to write this, and it end up changing from a short paragraph into 1,145 words. So, if you have about 8 minutes to spare, I invite you to keep reading.

There is one God. He created everything. He is the God of the Bible. God created mankind in his image and gave us an immortal soul.

God’s law is the source of our morality. Unfortunately, humanity is inclined to violate God’s law. We have free will to either honor and obey him or not. We all fall short of God’s perfection. Our good deeds don’t outweigh the bad.

Because God is perfectly just, he cannot let sin go unpunished. The penalty is eternal separation and suffering in a place called hell. That may not seem loving at all; but because he is merciful, God provided a way for us to spend a joyful eternity with him instead. For those who reject God and his gift of forgiveness, he respects their free will by not forcing them into his presence or into an unwanted relationship with him. Sadly, most people will reject God and be lost forever.

But, the good news is that God is inviting you personally, no matter how sinful or undeserving you may think you are, to take the narrow, less-travelled road that leads to life. Find hope in the fact that God sent his son Jesus Christ to earth as a man who lived a perfect life and died a brutal death to pay the penalty for your sins and mine. Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and he is alive today.

You are saved through your faith in Jesus. When you accept this, God will start transforming your life. With the help of the Holy Spirit, you will constantly strive to turn away from sin and head in a new direction. You won’t be perfect, and your life won’t be trouble-free, but you will want to follow Jesus. And following him basically means being devoted to God and loving your neighbor – which means every person on this planet, including your worst enemy.

If you find all this hard to believe, I’ve been where you are. I’m still growing in my faith, but I’ve found it’s more reasonable to believe in God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ than not. I could recommend lots of great books that explore physical, scientific, historical, and philosophical evidence that supports Christianity, but you ultimately must be willing to believe in things that can’t be seen. (By the way, I highly recommend Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.)

You would not betray your intellect to believe in God. We all have a natural thirst for more than our human experience can satisfy (you know that deep down feeling that something is missing in your life); and I believe that represents an intuitive need for God.

Keep seeking the truth. Don’t be close-minded. Don’t automatically dismiss the miraculous. Think about how improbable it is that life and the universe came from nothing. I don’t have enough blind faith to believe that a bunch of atomic particles, elements, chemicals, light, and energy gradually or spontaneously ordered themselves into life and then evolved from a common ancestor into all biological kingdoms, phyla, classes, orders, families, genera, and species. Doesn’t it make as much or more sense to believe in a common designer? You can see his fingerprints everywhere, if you are willing to look for them.

Obviously, I don’t expect you to take my word for it. But I think you owe it to yourself and those you love to sincerely spend some serious mental and emotional energy to do some deep soul searching. And while you’re seeking answers, don’t be discouraged or turned away from Christianity by the hypocrisy of “religious” men or women who don’t practice what they preach or seem to be selling a faith of false promises. If you put your trust in humans, they will always let you down at some point. Plus, be aware that there are strong forces in this world that will try to derail your quest for the truth and try to convince you that God is a delusion.

Go to the source. Get a Bible, and before you start reading, ask God (even if you’re not sure he’s there) to open your heart and mind to discover the truth. Doubt is natural. Use your God-given curiosity and intellect to examine the evidence, ask hard questions, dig deeper, and seek to understand. Visit a church (or many churches). Talk to your Christian friends. Read some books on the subject. Don’t wait another day to start. We are not promised tomorrow.

I pray that this message plants a seed of faith in someone searching for meaning and purpose or someone struggling with doubt. If you have questions, feel free to reach out to me.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I know who to turn to for guidance. For several months now, I developed the habit of getting on my knees in the morning and praying the Lord’s Prayer. You can find it in Matthew 6:9. At first, I just recited it, and that was it. But as time went on I would add more and more, basically just speaking to God, thanking him for the good things, asking for guidance on issues I’m dealing with, confessing where I’ve messed up, and praying for family, friends, and those in need. It’s been good for me, and I recommend that everyone consider making this a part of your life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV

From my heart to yours,

Terry Reed 

 
  September 2020  
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