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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You want proof? Changed lives.

Some people need to see in order to believe.

They need proof.

That's so true, especially when it comes to a belief in God.  A belief in Jesus Christ.

Well, the proof is in the "pudding" as the cliche goes.

The proof is found, I would suggest, in the lives that are changed by a relationship with Jesus.

In his book, "Has Christianity Failed You", Ravi Zacharias points to one of the greatest proofs for the truth of Christ and the reality of his resurrection - what I have just written -the lives of people who have been changed by a relationship with Christ.

Zacharias writes, "During the course of nearly 40 years, I have traveled to virtually every continent and seen or heard some of the most amazing testimonies of God's intervention in the most extreme circumstances. I have seen hardened criminals touched by the message of Jesus Christ and their hearts turned toward good in a way that no amount or rehabilitation could have accomplished.

I have seen ardent followers of radical belief systems turned from being violent, brutal terrorists to becoming mild, tenderhearted followers of Jesus Christ. I have seen nations where the gospel, banned and silenced by governments, has nevertheless conquered the ethos and mind-set of an entire culture."

Then in his own words Zacharias lists examples of Christ's power to transform lives:

In the middle of the twentieth century, after destroying all of the Christian seminary libraries in the country, Chairman Mao declared that … Christianity had been permanently removed from China, never to make a return. On Easter Sunday in 2009, [however]  the leading English language newspaper in Hong Kong published a picture of Tiananmen Square on page 1, with Jesus replacing Chairman Mao's picture on the gigantic banner, and the words "Christ is Risen" below it.

I have also been in the Middle East and marveled at the commitment of young people who have risked their lives to attend a Bible study …. I have talked to CEOs of large companies in Islamic nations who testify to seeing Jesus in visions and dreams and wonder what it all means.

The British author A. N. Wilson, who only a few years ago was known for his scathing attacks on Christianity … celebrated Easter [in 2009] at a church with a group of other church members, proclaiming that that the story of the Jesus of the Gospels is the only story that makes sense out of life and its challenges. [Wilson said], "My own return to faith has surprised none more than myself …. My belief has come about in large measure because of the lives and examples of people I have known—not the famous, not saints, but friends and relations who have lived, and faced death, in light of the resurrection story, or in the quiet acceptance that they have a future after they die."

Matthew Parris [a British atheist who visited Malawi in 2008] wrote an article titled "As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God." [Parris wrote], "I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa …. I used to avoid this truth … but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it."

Wonderful stories of changed lives.

You and I as followers of Christ can testify to the same thing this Easter Season - Jesus has changed my life.  I'm no longer as I was before.  I am a new person.  Thinking new thoughts.  Acting in a new way.

I encourage you today, that if you are wanting someone close to you, a friend, a family member, someone at work, to know Christ - share your story - and let the "proof" of your changed life be the tipping point for someone who is seeking.

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