Is God Real?

Join us as special guest Lee Strobel presents a message based off of his new book, "Is God Real?"

Scripture References & Transcript

I was gonna say how glad I am to be here, but I gotta be totally honest and tell you I’m glad to be anywhere after what happened to me at Little Rock, Arkansas. I went to Little Rock to speak at a charity event, and this pastor picked me up from the airport, we’re driving to the event, we’re chatting along the way. He said, yay. He said, I, I told the young woman in our church, I said, Lee Strobel’s gonna speak tonight. She said, oh, the guy who wrote the case for Christ, is he still living <laugh>? So, I’m glad to be anywhere, glad to be alive after that, but, uh, especially glad to be here. My wife, Les and I came up from Houston where, uh, we moved from Castle Rock, um, gosh, what was it? About eight years ago, down to Houston to be near our two oldest grandchildren.

And, uh, we missed Castle Rock. We missed this area. And so, um, I started a new center at Colorado Christian University, and we’ve got a place up here in Castle Rock now. And, and, uh, so this is our church. When we’re in town, this is the place where we worship. And, uh, we love this place. We love Curt and the team and, and, uh, and, and all, as we Texas say, all y’all who are part of the church, I’ve learned to talk Texan now. So it’s, it’s all y’all. We’re glad that you’re here. Anyway, I wanna begin by telling you about a statistic. I’m kind of a trivia nut. I like trivia. And about a year or so ago, a guy came up to me, he was a, a tech guy, and he said, I’ve discovered something really unusual. I said, what? He said, I’ve discovered that 200 times a second around the clock, somebody on planet Earth is typing into a computer search engine.

Basically, the question is God real, 200 times a second around the clock. And I, I was struck by that because it just shows a great curiosity and interest in this issue because it’s really, when you think about it, this is the ultimate issue of life, is God real? So much depends on this. So much hangs on this. In fact, you could go to an atheist professor, um, William Provin, uh, I believe he was from Cornell University. And during a debate with a Christian, he was quite candid. This atheist was quite candid. He said, look, let’s be honest. If there is no creator, then there are several things that flow out of that. First of all, that means there’s no evidence for God. Second, it means there’s no life after death. Third, it means there’s no absolute foundation for right and wrong. Fourth, there’s no absolute meaning for life.

And fifth, it means people really don’t have free will. So, so look what, look all this hanging on this question of whether God is real. And yet in recent years, fewer and fewer Americans believe that God is real. When Les and I met back in 1966, uh, uh, 98% of American adults believed that God is real. 98%. Now, you know what the number is? 81% lowest in American history. And if you ask, are you sure that God exists? Only about six outta 10 say, yes, of course you see the starkest numbers among generations. Z younger people, the so-called post-Christian generation among them twice as many of them profess to be atheist, as in my generation. So there’s these troubling trends, and yet at the same time, there’s some positive trends that are happening as well. Did you know that three out of four Americans say that, uh, they would like to grow spiritually?

And 44% of Americans say, I’m more open to God today than I was before the pandemic. In fact, I have a friend named Shane Pruitt. Shane’s ministry is to travel the country and to talk to young people at colleges and at high schools, talk to them about God. And he said this to me, he said, Lee, I’ve personally seen more college students and teenagers start following Jesus Christ in the last three years than in the previous 18 years combined. So there’s some positive trends as well of people who are responding to this question. Is God real? And concluding that yes, he is. And I can know him personally, I can experience him. And so I’ve written, my new book is called Is God Real? And in that book, through interviews with experts, scholars, I mean world class, uh, intellectuals, uh, I build the case for God being real from science, from history, from philosophy, and in a way that I can understand it.

And if I can understand it, anybody can understand it. And so I try to build this case. And then I deal with two of the biggest objections to God being real. Number one, if God is real, why is there so much suffering in the world? And if God is real, why does he seem so hidden? And so the book actually comes out on Tuesday on Halloween. Um, but I don’t call it Halloween if this is my, uh, granddaughter Brighton’s birthday. So I call it Brighton Day. But anyways, it comes out Tuesday. But we actually have a few copies here. Um, and I’d love to sign one for you or maybe there’s a friend that you would like to give a copy to. So maybe someone who’s spiritually curious or a doubter or a skeptic, I’d be glad to write them a little note of encouragement.

By the way, all the money that is gathered goes to the church. Doesn’t go to me, it goes to the church. So, um, uh, and I hope, I hope as people read this book, it’ll deepen Christians. It’ll deepen their faith and their understanding to understand not just what we believe, but why we believe it, why we believe it. ’cause we live in an increasingly skeptical culture. And we’re likely to be challenged in our faith in the coming years in a way that previous generations have not been. So in all, there are about 20 lines of evidence and arguments that point toward the truth of the Christian message. But honestly, I mean, I was an atheist much of my life and what I know now about two areas of science would be enough in my opinion, to convince me that God is real. Let me tell you about those two areas of science where we’ve had discoveries.

This is just in the last 50 to 80 years that make belief in God today more, um, reasonable so to speak, than any time in history. So what are the two areas of science? The first area is called cosmology. Fancy word, all it means is the origin of the universe. Where did everything come from? And for centuries, scientists believed that the universe is eternal. It had always existed. But thanks to persuasive philosophical arguments as well as a whole bunch of scientific discoveries in just the last few decades about the expansion of the universe, virtually every scientist on the planet is now convinced that the universe began at some point in the past. It had a beginning. At some point in the past, the famous, um, cosmologist Alexander Linin, who’s a director of the Institute of Cosmology at Tufts University, put it this way. All the evidence we have, all the evidence we have says the universe had a beginning.

In fact, he and two other cosmologists have developed a theorem that says at any verse, any universe that is expanding on average throughout its history, must have had a beginning. In fact, get this, if our universe is really just a tiny part of a much larger multiverse, this theorem says even the multiverse must have had a beginning at some point in the past. Well, why is it important? Why is this significant that the universe had a beginning? Because it leads to the validation of an argument that was first suggested by Islamic, um, scholars in, in medieval times, but now is supported by scientific discoveries and been prop, uh, popularized by a friend of mine, Dr. William Lane Craig, who got his PhD in this area. And here’s how it goes. Simple argument for the existence of God, first, whatever begins to exist has a cause. Now think about that.

Do you know of anything that comes into existence? It didn’t have a cause behind it. No, of course not. In fact, even David Hume, the most famous skeptic of history, said, I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause. So first, whatever begins to exist has a cause behind it. Second, scientists now all agree the universe began to exist, therefore, the universe must have a cause behind it. The Bible talks about this, the very first verse of the Bible. Genesis one verse one says, in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He brought them into existence. In fact, the phrase Heavens and earth is a Hebrew figure of speech called a mim. And it simply means God created everything the universe at the beginning. So in light of that, based on that, we can draw some conclusions about what kind of a cause can bring a universe into existence.

First, he must be transcendent because he exists apart from creation. Second, he must be immaterial or spirit because he existed before the physical world was created. Third, he must be timeless or eternal because he existed before physical time came into being. Fourth, he must be powerful given the immensity of the creation event. Fifth, he must be smart considering the precision of the creation event. Six, he must be personal ’cause he had to make the decision to create. Seventh. He must be creative. ’cause look at the universe. I mean, it, it, is there anything more creative than that? Eight. He must be caring or loving because he’s so carefully crafted a habitat where you and I can flourish. And then number nine, the scientific principles of Occam’s razor says there would be just one creator. Occam’s razor is a principle that says you don’t need to manufacture causes, uh, to, once you find a cause that establishes an effect, you don’t have to multiply causes.

So basically, Occam’s razor is a scientific principle that says, in light of this, there would be just one creator. So look at those qualities. Transcendent spirit, eternal, powerful, smart, personal, creative, caring, unique <laugh> that is a description of the God of the Bible. Go to the page of the Bible. That’s him. That’s a description of the God of the Bible. In fact, since there is just one creator, this rules out polytheistic religions like Hinduism, which claims there are many gods. And since the creator is separate from his creation, this rules out pantheistic religions because they believe that everything is God. And since the universe is not cyclical, this contradicts eastern philosophies and the origin of the universe contradicts ancient religious presumptions that the universe is static. So we can go a long way with just this one argument from science, from cosmology. We can go a long way toward establishing that God is real and he matches the description of the God of the Bible.

But then we can, we can amplify that a bit by going to a second area of science. And that’s physics. Physics, physics refers to the numbers that govern the operation of the universe. And one of the most striking discoveries of modern science, and again, this is just over the last 50 years or so, one of the most mo uh, amazing discoveries of modern science is that the numbers that govern the operation of the universe conspire unexpectedly in a extraordinary way so that the universe can support life. In other words, the universe is finely tuned on a razor’s edge in a way that defies mere chance and is better to explain as the work of a creator. Lemme give you an example. Let’s say you’re up in veil up in the mountains and it’s a summer night and you go outside and you look up and you’re expecting to see a sky full of stars.

But on this night you don’t see a sky full of scars. You look up and you see 50 to a hundred giant dials in the universe, giant dials. And each dial could be calibrated to one of trillions or trillions of possible settings. And yet every one of these dials is perfectly calibrated so that life can exist in the universe. Friends, that is the picture of our modern universe that is given to us by modern physics. Let me tell you about a few of these dials. One is the force of gravity. Everybody knows what the force of gravity is, right? You drop something, it hits the ground. Well, the force of gravity happens to be set at the exact right, um, value so that life can exist. How precise is it? Imagine a ruler that goes across the entire known universe, 50 billion light years, a light year.

You know, you know what a light year is? It takes, uh, light what goes 186,000 miles a second. How long would it, how far would it go in a year? How about 15 billion years? How far would light go? That’s how wide the universe is. 15 billion light years. So imagine a ruler across the entire universe, broken down in one inch increments that represents the plausible range along which the force of gravity could have been set anywhere along that ruler. And yet it’s set at the exact right place so that life can exist. Now what if you were to change that setting one inch compared to the 15 billion light year width, the universe, if you did that, intelligent life would be impossible anywhere in the universe. That is how precise, just that one value is set. Another example is the strong nuclear force. This is the, uh, force that binds the nucleus of atoms together.

Well, what if you were to decrease the strong nuclear force just a little, little, little bit, decrease it by one part in 10,000, billion, billion, billion, billion. If you did that, all we would have in the U universe would be hydrogen. No life would be possible. Or one of my favorites. The ratio of the electric electromagnetic force to the force of gravity. There’s a certain ratio that has to exist. This is one of the dials. How finely tuned is that it is finely tuned to one part in 10,000 trillion. Trillion trillion. Well, can we even understand that? Well, one physicist said, I’ll give you an illustration of how finely tuned that is. Imagine taking the North American continent and piling dimes all over the continent. 238,000 miles high to the moon. Okay? You got that picture. All of North America pile with dimes that go to the moon.

Now imagine a billion North American continents with dimes piled up to the moon, 238,000 miles. Now imagine taking one of those dimes and spray painting it red and then mixing it among all these dimes. And there’s billions of continents piled up to the moon and then taking one person at random and blindfolding them and saying, you can travel among these billion continents, but you can only reach in one time and pick out one dime. What are the odds you would pick the red dime? Well, the odds are one chance in 10,000 trillion. Trillion, trillion. That’s the precision to which this dial is set. It is absolutely mind blowing. Um, I, I interviewed a famous physicist about this and I said, um, he, he said, you know what? We, we physicists have a term for this and the likelihood that it could have happened by chance.

I said, oh, you do? What? What’s the term he said, ain’t gonna happen <laugh>. It’s just beyond the idea. This could have happened by chance. I mean, everything’s so perfectly finely tuned. In fact, so dramatic is the evidence that Dr. Kista, uh, uh, Sakowski, she was a professor at MIT of physics. She was the president of the Association of Women in Science. This is what she concluded. The exquisite order displayed by our scientific understanding of the physical world calls for the divide. In other words, all you can do is point to a creator, a supernatural creator. Now, how do atheists get around this? Well, they get around it by saying, well, what if we’re not the only universe? What if they’re actually an infinite number of invisible universes that we don’t know about? And if you spin the dials an infinite number of times and an infinite number of universes, well just by chance they’re gonna come up right in one universe.

And that’s our universe. We’ve won the cosmic lottery. That’s, that’s what they would say. There’s a problem with that. There is absolutely no physical evidence of any other universe, of any infinite number of other universes. In fact, the German theoretical physicist, um, one of the most famous ones, Sabine Huss Felder, who by the way is an agnostic herself. She called this theory quote, a waste of time from a scientific perspective. She said, it’s an idea that’s more popular with the media than it is with scientists. Oxford philosophy Richard Swinburne was more blunt. He said to postulate a trillion, trillion other universes rather than one God, in order to explain the orderliness of our universe seems the height of irrationality. Besides, if one universe requires an explanation, then an infinite number of universes require an even bigger explanation. And that points even more powerfully toward the existence of God.

Friends, if all we had, if all the evidence there was, was the evidence of cosmology and physics, speaking personally as an atheist, I would say that would be enough to convince me that God is real. I dunno about you, but it’s, I find it just though, and there’s a lot of other areas we could look at biochemistry and, you know, set those aside. Just these two areas I think is enough to make the case. But then what about, how do we know it’s the God of Christianity? I mean this, this is all kind of a general creator. How do we know that the God of Christianity is true? Well, now you have to go to the evidence of history, the evidence of history, and to look at the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why? Because Jesus, in a variety of different ways, made transcendent and messianic in divine claims about himself.

He claimed to be the son of God at one point. Uh, he got up before a group like this and he said, I and the Father are one and the Greek word, therefore one is not masculine, it’s neuter, which means Jesus was not saying, I and the Father are the same person. He was saying, I and the Father are the same thing where one in nature we’re one in essence. And how did the audience understand what he was saying? They picked up stones to kill him. So he said, you, you’re just a man and you’re claiming to be God. So Jesus claimed to be God. But so what I could claim to be God, Kurt could claim to be God. Anybody could claim to be God. But if Jesus claimed to be God died and then three days later rose from the dead, that’s pretty good evidence.

You tell the truth, right? That’s why the resurrection is foundational to to faith. It’s why the apostle Paul says in one Corinthians 15, verse 17, if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, you’re still in your sins. What was he saying there? He was saying, look, if the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not an actual historical event, you are fully justified in walking away from the faith. That is how foundational it is. Well, you know what the good news is? History can be investigated. I mean you, how do we know anything is true from history? ’cause there are techniques you can apply and you can investigate history to try to determine is it telling me the truth about the resurrection? So let me just mention four words that begin with the letter E that summarize the evidence for the resurrection. ’cause Easter begins with e and is a good way to remember it first, E stands for execution that Jesus was, was truly dead after being crucified.

Now, there’s no dispute among scholars in the field, including skeptical scholars, that Jesus was truly dead after being crucified. Uh, why? Because we have no record anywhere of anybody ever surviving of full Roman crucifixion. In fact, no less of a source than the Journal of the American Medical Association. A scientific secular peer-reviewed medical journal carried an investigation into the death of Jesus. And this was their conclusion. Quote. Clearly the weight of the historical and medical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead even before the wound to his side was inflicted. As I say, this isn’t controversial among scholars. Why? Because most of what we accept as being true from the ancient world, like a fact about the ancient world, we believe is true, is based on one source or maybe two sources of information. And yet for the death of Jesus on the cross, we not only have multiple early first century accounts in the New Testament, we’ve got five ancient sources outside the Bible that talk about his death.

The evidence is so strong that even the atheist, new Testament scholar, Gair Ludeman said quote, Jesus’, death as a consequence of crucifixion is indisputable, indisputable. So the first E is for execution. Jesus was dead. The second E stands for early. We have early reports or early accounts that Jesus rose from the dead. In other words, reports that come virtually immediately after his death reports that he rose. Why is that important? Because I used to think like a lot of atheists that the resurrection was a legend. And I knew it took time for legend to develop in the ancient world. As one scholar said, the passage of two generations of time is not even enough for legend to grow up and wipe out a solid core of historical truth. So it took time for a legend to develop. And yet this blew my mind when I learned this.

We have a report of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, including named eyewitnesses and groups of eyewitnesses, including 500 people who saw him at once, a report that has been dated back by scholars to within months of his death. I mean, this is a news flash from ancient history far too quick to be a legend that developed over the many, uh, decades after his life. You can read it for yourself if you want. Later in one Corinthians 15, Paul writes it and um, it’s actually a creed that was developed in the earliest church right there in the first century. Um, first Corinthians 15, starting at verse three. So, and that’s just one early report. We’ve got others in Matthew, mark, Luke, John, the book of Acts, all of which date back so early they were circulating during the lifetimes of Jesus contemporaries who would’ve been all too happy to point out the heirs if they were making this stuff up.

So we have an execution. Jesus was dead. We have reports of his resurrection that come so soon after his death. I don’t think you can write ’em off as being a legend, but that’s not all we’ve got. We’ve got a third word that begins with letter E and that’s the word empty. We have an empty tomb. Jesus’ body, according to the historical accounts, was laid in a tomb belonging to Joseph Vera Matha. Remember the Jewish Council? It’s sealed. Matthew tells us it’s guarded and yet it’s discovered empty that first Easter morning. Now, we could talk the rest of the day about all the evidence that the tomb was really empty, but I’m just gonna give you one fact. ’cause to me this is conclusive and that’s this. Even the enemies of Jesus admitted that the tomb was empty. Everybody admitted it. How do we know?

Because we know from sources inside and outside the New Testament that when the disciples began proclaiming that Jesus had risen, what the enemies of Jesus said was, oh, well, um, the disciples stole the body. Now think about that. They’re conceding. The tomb was empty. They’re trying to explain how it got empty. See what I mean? It’s like if you’re a teacher and a student comes up to you and says, the dog ate my homework. That student’s admitting, look, I don’t have my homework, but I can explain what happened to it. The dog ate it. It’s the same thing. So everybody in the first century, explicitly or implicitly is admitting the tomb of Jesus was empty. That’s not the issue of history. The issue of history really is how did it get empty? You go through the usual list of suspects. The Romans weren’t about to steal the body.

They wanted Jesus dead. The religious leaders of the day weren’t about to steal the body. They wanted Jesus to stay dead. The disciples weren’t about to steal the body. They didn’t know the motive. They didn’t know the means and they didn’t have the opportunity. Friends, we have seven sources. I found seven sources from the ancient world, six of them outside the Bible that tell us that the disciples live lives of deprivation and suffering as a result of their proclamation that Jesus had risen, they had nothing to gain by this. They suffered, they were willing, clearly willing to die for their proclamation that Jesus had risen. Why? ’cause they heard it on CNN that he’d risen. No ’cause their parents told them no ’cause they heard it on Sunday. No, they were there of all human beings who ever lived. The disciples were there. They touched them, the resurrected Jesus. They ate with them. They talked with them. Of all people who ever lived the disciples knew the truth and knowing the truth, they were even willing to die for it. How some of ’em did die gets a little lost in the midst of history. But their willingness to die is well supported by seven ancient sources.

And then finally the fourth word begins with the letter E eyewitnesses. Not only was Jesus tomb discovered empty, but over a period of time, Jesus appears alive in a dozen different instances to more than 515 people, to skeptics and doubters as well as to believers, to men, to women, to groups, to individuals, indoors, outdoors, daytime, nighttime. People talk with them. They touch them, they ate with them. And think, remember I said earlier, we’re lucky in ancient history if we have one good source to confirm a fact or maybe two sources to confirm a fact. Get this for the conviction of the disciples that they encounter the resurrected Jesus. We have no fewer than nine ancient sources inside and outside the New Testament confirming and corroborating in the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the risen Jesus friends. That is an avalanche of historical data.

And in my book, one of the great resurrection scholars, historians in the world, Dr. Michael Laona, PhD, university of uh, Pretorian in South Africa. Uh, I interview him and he he elucidates all these nine sources. I’ll go through ’em really quickly for you just so you’ll know what they are. But he goes through all the detail if you’re interested. But, um, the first source is that creed that I mentioned, that very early report about the resurrection with named eyewitnesses, including skeptics whose lives were transformed form the eminent historian Dr. James DG Dunn said about this creed, quote, this tradition we can be entirely confident was formulated as tradition as a creed within months of Jesus’ death. This wasn’t some later legend that developed. This was a news flash. Second, we have Paul’s testimony about the disciples. Paul encountered the risen Christ. He then met the apostles. And you know what he says in one Corinthians 15, verse 11.

He says, I’m saying I encountered the risen Jesus. They’re saying the same thing. So he confirms that the disciples encountered the risen Jesus. Third, um, we have the words of Peter as recorded in the Book of Acts. Even skeptical scholars will accept the book of Acts as being a historical account of the spread of the early church and what’s the central proclamation of the early church, the resurrection of Jesus. And here we have Peter himself in Acts two, verse 32 saying to a crowd, God has raised this Jesus to life, to which we’re all witnesses. And how did they respond? Did they say, Peter, we don’t know what you’re talking about. No, 3000 people that day said, Peter, we know you’re telling us the truth. What do we do? They repented. And the church was born. So we have Peter’s account. The next four accounts are the gospels, Matthew, mark, Luke, and John.

Uh, these are historical biographies intended to be written to report what happened. There are nine appearances of the risen Jesus reported in the four gospels. I went to one of the leading authorities in the world on the gospels. Um, not only a professor for decades in this area taught at major universities around the world, written 40 books on this topic. And and I said to him, can I trust the gospels? And this is what he said, Lee, there’s every reason to conclude that the gospels have fairly and accurately reported the essential elements of Jesus’ teachings, life, death, and resurrection. They’re early enough, they’re rooted into the right streams that go back to Jesus and the original people. There’s continuity, there’s proximity, there’s verification of certain distinct points with archeology and other documents. And then there’s the inner logic. And then we have evidence from outside the New Testament from Clement and Polycarp.

Who were they? They were guys who actually sat under the teachings of the disciples themselves. They listened to what Peter said. They listened to what John said. And they wrote letters back then. And guess what they said in those letters? The, I’m paraphrasing, but you can read it in the book, the exact quotes. They, they said, you know why they have so much confidence these disciples because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. ’cause it’s true ’cause they encountered the risen Lord. So here we have nine very early ancient sources testifying to the conviction of the disciples that they encountered the risen Jesus. How strong is that evidence? Does it only convince evangelical Christians? Lemme tell you about the most successful lawyer in the world when I was a law student at Yale. He was my hero. When I heard about this man, I thought, oh man, I wanna be like him someday. Um, he was the most successful defense attorney on the planet. Uh, get this. He won 245 murder trials in a row as a defense attorney, either before the jury or on appeal. Nobody had ever done that. He wa he was, he was a legal genius. He was knighted twice by Queen Elizabeth. He was appointed the supreme court of his land. And he was a skeptic about the resurrection of Jesus.

’cause he was a guy who knew how to find loopholes. He was a guy who could take what looked like an airtight case against his client and find all the flaws, all the problems. This was a guy who understood how to tear apart a case. And he didn’t believe in the resurrection till somebody said to him, sir Lionel, his name was Sir Lionel Ku. He said, sir Lionel, you’re the greatest lawyer in the world. You’re in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful lawyer. Have you ever taken your monumental legal skill and applied it to the historical record of the resurrection of Jesus and just come to an informed conclusion? He said, well, no, I haven’t, but I will. And so sir Lionel luck, who spent years taking his incredible legal acumen and applying it to the historical record, and I’ll recite to you one sentence he wrote to summarize his conclusion, quote, I say unequivocally, that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it’s so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof, which leaves absolutely no room for doubt.

This from the most successful lawyer who ever lived. Well, I came to the same conclusion. I spent two years as an atheist investigating the historical data, using my journalism training, my legal training, to try to come to a conclusion until November the eighth of 1981 when I sat down one last time with all the evidence I accumulated. And I reviewed it one last time and I stepped back and I said, wait a second. In light of this avalanche of evidence that points so powerfully toward the truth of Christianity, it would take more faith to maintain my atheism than to become a Christian. The scales just went like that. And that’s when I concluded that Jesus didn’t just claim to be the son of God. He backed up that claim by returning from the dead. And I didn’t know what to do next until Leslie pointed out a verse to me, John one 12, which says, but as many as received him to them, he gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in his name.

And so I looked at that verse and I I thought it forms an equation of what it means to become a follower of Christ. Believe plus receive equals become. So I said, okay, I believe based on the data that Jesus claimed to be the son of God, he backed it up by returning from the dead. I believe it, but that’s not enough. The Bible says even demons believe that. And they shudder. There’s another step. Believe plus receive. Receive what? Receive this free gift of forgiveness and eternal life that Jesus purchased on the cross when he died as your substitute to pay for all of your sin. And when you receive this free gift of his grace, then you become a child of God. And so I got on my knees and I poured out a confession of a lifetime of immorality that would curl your hair.

And at that moment I received complete and total forgiveness through Jesus Christ. And I became a child of God. And as I grew in my faith, as I was baptized, as I became part of a great church like this, as I learned to read the Bible with fresh eyes, I learned to worship. As I learned to pray, God began to change my life. He changed my values, he changed my character, he changed my morality, changed my worldview, changed my philosophy, changed my relationships, my parenting, my marriage. I mean all these things over time changed for the good.

So here’s my question. What do you do with that? What do you do with all this? I here’s, here’s what I suggest is logical and rational. You know, when I came to faith, sometimes when a person comes to faith in Christ, they talk about a rush of emotion. I didn’t have a rush of emotion. You know what? I had the rush of reason. This is the most logical step I could take based on the evidence. And so I think we can fairly conclude God is real. That’s the good news. But the even better news is, but can be adopted as his son or daughter to have a relationship with him in this world. And then when we die, that he would fling open the gates of heaven and we’d have a relationship with him in a perfect way for eternity. That’s the better news. That’s the greatest news of all.

So let me end by just saying, I know for most people here, you’ve already done this, you’ve already received this free gift of God’s grace. You become a child of God and you have confidence in that. And I say that’s great, but I hope because we live in a skeptical world, ’cause our kids and our grandkids are growing up in a skeptical world, I hope that you’ll take seriously what the Bible tells you as a follower of Jesus in one Peter three 15. You are to always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have and to do it gently and respectfully. So in other words, I hope you learn why we believe what we believe. So that number one, it’ll deepen your faith. And number two, it’ll, it’ll give you more, um, what’s the word?

Encouragement to be salt and light, to share this with other people. And so if my book would help in, in that, I hope it does, I, my hope is you read the book, it deepens your faith and then you give it away to somebody who’s a spiritually doubter. You know, maybe a son or a daughter has gone away to college and now comes home and says, I don’t believe anymore. You know, read the book yourself. Give it to them for Christmas. You know, so that they can understand that our faith is not built on make believe, wishful thinking, mythology or legend. It’s built on a solid foundation of truth. But then finally, I’ll end with this. Maybe you’re here because someone invited you to come. And the honest truth is you don’t know where you stand with God. You, you’re not. It’s ambiguous you, you’re not certain.

Um, the first verse I memorized as a new Christian is from First John. It says, these things were written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God in order, you may know that you have eternal life. God doesn’t want you in a sense of apprehension or anxiety or confusion about where you stand with him. He wants you to know for a fact, he wants you to have a relationship with him in this world and to know with confidence that when you leave this world, you’ll spend eternity with him. Do you know that? Are you confident in that? Are you sure of that? Well, if you’re not, I couldn’t come all the way up here from Houston and not give you an opportunity in a prayer of repentance and faith to receive this free gift of God’s grace. So let me just, let me just, I’m not going to ask you to do anything weird. Just why don’t we just bow our heads and close our eyes. And if you wanna take that step just in your heart, you don’t have to say it out loud. God knows your heart. Just in your heart say these words, say Lord Jesus as best I can, I do believe that you are the son of God,

That you proved it by returning from the dead. And right now, I confess the obvious, which is that I’m a sinner. I know that I’ve done things. I knew they were wrong before I did ’em. I did ’em anyway. I’ve sinned. I’ve fallen short of how you want me to live. And I confess that and I turn from that. And right now in an attitude of repentance and faith, I reach out and I receive your free gift of forgiveness and eternal life that you purchased for me on the cross when you died as my substitute to pay for all of my sin. Thank you Jesus, for loving me so much that you endured the torture of the cross so that we could be reconciled forever.


Me to live the kind of life that you want me to live because from this moment on, I am yours. And now, father, we know from John one 12 that anyone who prays a prayer of repentance and faith like that and receives this free gift of grace through your son Jesus Christ, that you have now adopted them as your son, as your daughter. And they can begin a relationship with you in this world that will be the greatest joy of their life and have the confidence and when they pass from this world, they’ll enter your world forever in a perfect relationship with you. You Father, thank you for the truth of this faith. Thank you. We don’t have to put our trust and legend make believe, wishful thinking, but we have a faith that is buttressed by reality.

And I pray, father, that you would use this church, you would use all of us who are in it to be strong salt and bright light to an increasingly skeptical culture. Help us be like that city on a hill that Jesus talked about in Matthew Chapter five, A city on a hill that cannot be hidden. May we be a searchlight to the world, shining your message of hope and grace and love and forgiveness in eternal life far and wide. We pray for a blessing on each person here. And we pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ. Who is our forgiver and who is our leader, and who is our very, very best friend. And all God’s people said, amen. God bless y’all.