Christmas is this week. Maybe you have a tradition of opening presents, going to a church service, or reading the Christmas story. This Christmas I encourage you to at least think about the birth of Jesus and to do that I thought I would share this video from The Bible Project. This video shares the story of Luke 1-2 which depicts the birth of Jesus. Whether you want to learn about the birth story, need a refresher, or want to dig in deeper this video is for you.
Next week is the last post of the year. I’ll be posting what I learned from blogging this year and what you can expect as we head into 2020. Until then Merry Christmas and remember to #sharethestory.
If you don’t know I am currently working towards my Master’s Degree. One of my requirements is to take classes in the biblical languages (Greek and Hebrew). This past semester was my final language course ever. After struggling for the past five semesters I completed my Hebrew sequence with a 93%. Today’s post is my final paper for the class. If you choose to read it thank you and if not the message of the Psalm can be understood as: God is the one who reigns in creation, in chaos, and if you let him your life.
This review is for Narrative Apologetics by Alister McGrath. It is published by Baker Books and was just released on October 15th. This book was offered to me for review and all thoughts are honest and my own.
You can purchase this book by following this link: https://amzn.to/2OFKubR.
This week is a special. In America we will celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving, for a lot of people, means family, friends, community, and a time to remember what we are thankful for. We can be caught up in the prep and planning for the dinner or in the tradition of football and parades that we forget why we celebrate at all. I was in class this past week and our guest lecturer ended our meeting with prayer. It was in this prayer that I was reminded of what Thanksgiving should really be about.
In the Church you often hear the phrase that we are supposed to share the Gospel, but what does that mean. Do we give a copy of the New Testament to people? Are we just supposed to share the life of Jesus? What exactly does sharing the Gospel mean? My name is Brandyn Jaymes. I am a digital storyteller with the goal of sharing the story of God through teaching, conversation, and authenticity. Today we are going to look at sharing the gospel because it may mean more than we are normally taught.
This post is about how to share the story with others. Another way to say this is how to have faith conversations. I’m Brandyn Jaymes a digital story teller, a Bible college grad, a youth pastor etc. with the intent of sharing the story of God through teaching, conversation, and authenticity.
Stories are the language of humans. They are how we communicate ideas with others. That is why sharing the story is the big theme of this blog. Sharing stories is not just an idea I came up with because I thought it would be fun. Instead, if we look to Jesus, we see that he shared his truths using stories, a lot of stories. The stories Jesus told are given the title of parables.
I believe that having questions and being able to think critically about our faith is a good thing. Our God can stand the questions and in most cases has given us answers to those questions. However, there are a lot of popular shows, music, and people that are seeking to ask questions and often times we see wrong answers to those questions. Popular shows are portraying faith and eternity in a worldview that doesn’t match the Bible some examples are The Good Place or The Handmaids Tale. These shows are still great but we can’t form our theology around them.
This week a song rated high on the YouTube trending page. I had never heard of the song or artist but the title and the thumbnail caught my eye. This song asks the questions people today are asking about faith. So, watch the video, linked below, and then I’ll try and answer or comment on a majority of his questions. I do also want to state that in his lyrics he claims to be a believer and I am not here to judge that.
1. His imagery
Before commenting on the lyrics, I should point out that He is portraying a version of Jesus who is about to be crucified. I don’t quite understand why he chose to play Jesus or how it relates to his questions, but there is a line later on that might connect to this imagery.
2. The point of love
He asks what the point of love is and says “every time I’ve showed it I was broken and it’s forced me just to only want to hate.” Well, I could say a lot about love, but here is what John says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).
3. One God multiple religions
Religion is a way we try to understand and be with God(s). Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are unique in their view that there is only one God rather than other polytheistic religions. We read in the Bible in Deut. 6:4 “the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” It is a matter of where faith, or lack of faith, falls.
4. Return of Jesus
He asks why is the return of Jesus taking so long. Well, we don’t know the day or the hour. In fact, even Jesus doesn’t know when he will return. The truth is that he will return and that we are to be prepared (Matt. 25).
5. Hurt and Pain
Why is there hurt and pain? That is a question we struggle with all the time. The short answer is that we live in a broken world marred by sin. It is imperfect, but we are to care for others and show love. Often times we focus on Jesus coming only to save us from our personal sin but he also came to redeem the world and we have to wait for the work he did to reach fulfillment.
6. Black or White
What is the race of God? This question doesn’t matter. We read in Galatians that there is no longer Jew or Greek, male or female, slave or free. All humanity is created in God's image.
7. Heaven or hell
He asks where he will end up, well, salvation is a free gift of God it is not of works. If you accept Jesus Christ as your savior and believe that he died and rose again heaven is the answer. We shouldn’t forget though, that James tells us our faith without action is dead. We can’t just say a prayer once and then live like our life hasn’t been changed.
Also, a common answer to this question, when a Christian asks, is that if they are concerned about offending God their heart is in the right with God.
8. His Dream
I said we would come back to the imagery and this is what I meant. He says, “I had a dream that I was walking with the devil I don’t remember how it feels but I swear that I remember the smell looked me right into my eyes and told me everything I wanted could be mine if I gave up and decided to sell but I said I’d rather die then get mine now I’m here no fear one man with a story to tell.” This alludes to the temptation of Jesus (Matt 4). With the video images and this allusion, I am very nervous. It seems very blasphemous.
9. Where is God
This question deals with faith. We don’t know God is with us unless we trust the Bible. We read over and over again that God is with us, he will never leave us, he will never forsake us.
10. No religion but spirituality
It is very popular to say I hate religion but love Jesus (thanks Jefferson Bethke). But, God is the one who instituted the Jewish religion. He is the one who gave instructions on how to sacrifice, when to worship, and how to pray. Christianity is founded on the same understanding. To say no religion but spirituality is a Gnostic form of thinking and can lead to heresy.
11. No church but family
I hate this one! I plan to do a whole series on this, but the truth is that the church is a family but it is more than that. The church is the body of Christ. The church is the bride of Christ. The church was bought with the blood of Christ. Never underestimate the church. Don’t disregard the church due to hurt or disagreements.
12. Telling sin to another sinner
This is a catholic rite. Confession is typically thought of as telling a priest your sin and then having them absolve you. However, anyone who believes the bible should also confess sin to other sinners. In James 5:16 it says, “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another.” This is also a part of being the church.
13. Don’t want to read the book but want to hear God
He is speaking of the Bible. He wants to hear God speak to him but doesn’t want to open the Bible. The Bible is God’s word. It is alive and active and it is useful for life. We hear God speak by reading the word he has given us.
14. Speak to a man you haven’t seen
God indeed came in the form of a man but he is also God and that didn't change. Be careful not to downplay His divinity. But to answer this question we look to Jesus’ own words. John 20:29 says, “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”” This is the point of faith
15. Faith without hope.
You can’t. The story of Christianity is all about hope. Hebrews 11 tells us that faith is the evidence of things hoped for.
16. Fear God
He says in this song, “I’m supposed to fear you but you ain’t said s**t so maybe you who actually fears me?” And we have a third strike. He dresses like Jesus, he compares his dream to Jesus being tempted, now he says God fears him. Yikes. If you understand who God is that fear is a reverence. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. The sheer power he holds should have us quaking. That is why no one in the entire Bible sees God. He is too holy.
17. God didn’t make religion
Go back to my point about this from earlier.
18. No lies No death
No more death will happen. But to want to bring back people from the dead is a mistake. Also to ask for them back and to say let their souls find rest is an impossible request. It is appointed for man to die once and after that judgment.
19. I’m still a believer
Questions are great to strengthen faith. We can ask questions and still have faith.
I hope I answered these questions well. There is a lot to grasp from this song and I didn’t even scratch the surface. A lot of these questions are what people are wondering today and maybe you have similar questions. I’d love to know what questions you have about faith or this post so leave a comment with your questions below and let's have a conversation.