S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T T-A-L-K T-O T-E-E-N-S
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s plenty of stuff, important stuff, they just ain’t never going to teach you in school. And if you limit yourself to what you learn in high school and college, you’ll be in trouble big time.
They’re not going to teach you that there’s a price attached to your sin so big you can’t ever pay it off. That you are a creation of a holy God, and not some evolutionary product of chance happenings. That you will one day face this Creator of yours to be judged for dirty deeds and rebellion.
They’re not gonna teach you about this place called Gehennah, the Lake of Fire, commonly referred to as hell. Not a nice place, this Gehennah. No happy campers there. Just lots of people sitting in, not around, the campfire.
A prison of hopelessness. The kind that makes you feel real bad. Like a thick, clammy fog that surrounds you from all sides and never goes away. No second chance, no way out, just a forever of feeling real bad.
And they’re never going to tell you about heaven where there’s nothing but happy campers, guys that got it made. A fun place, this heaven. If you ever arrive, you won’t want to go anywhere else. Not ever.
And they certainly won’t tell you about Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords. They’re not going to tell you about the One who bore your sordid sins on His body on the cross, the One who paid your ticket into heaven, the One, the only One, who can change you from the inside out and make you something you’re not ashamed of.
Like Josh McDowell. Jesus changed Josh’s life when he was a second year university student. Listen up as he tells his story …
I thought most Christians were idiots. I’d met some, I used to wait for a Christian to speak up in the classroom so I could beat the professor to the punch in tearing him or her up one side and down the other. I thought that if a Christian had a brain cell, it would die of loneliness. I didn’t know any better.
But these people challenged me over and over [to examine the claims of Christ to see if they were valid]. Finally, I accepted. But I did it out of pride, too refute them. I didn’t know there were facts. I didn’t know there was evidence a person could evaluate with his mind.
After much study and research, my mind finally came to the conclusion that Jesus Christ must have been who He claimed to be. In fact my search to refute Christianity became the background for my first two books. When I couldn’t refute it, I ended up becoming a Christian. I now have spent 13 years documenting why I believe that faith in Jesus Christ is intellectually feasible…
I believe I am a walking testimony that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and lives today…I was compelled to conclude that my arguments would not stand up, that Jesus Christ was exactly who He claimed to be – the Son of God.
It came to the point where I’d go to bed at ten at night and I wouldn’t fall asleep until four in the morning. I knew I had to get Jesus off my mind or go out of my mind! I always have been open-minded, but not so open-minded that my brains could fall out.
Being open-minded, on December 19, 1959, at 3:30 p.m., during my second year at the university, I became a Christian.
Somebody asked me, “How do you know?”
I said, “Look, I was there.”
That night I prayed four things in order to establish a relationship with the resurrected, living Christ. He since has transformed my life.
First, I said, “Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for me.” Second I said, “I confess those things in my life that aren’t pleasing to You and ask You to forgive me and cleanse me.” (The Bible says, “Though your sins are as scarlet they will be white as snow.”) Third, I said, “Right now, in the best way I know how, I open the door of my heart and life and trust You as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Change me from the inside out. Make me the type of person You created me to be.”
The last thing I prayed was, “Thank You for coming into my life by faith. It was a faith based not upon ignorance but upon evidence and the facts of history, and God’s Word.
I’m sure you’ve heard religious people talk about their “bolt of lightning.” Well, after I prayed nothing happened. I mean nothing. I still haven’t sprouted wings! In fact, after I made that decision, I felt worse. I literally felt I was going to vomit. I felt sick deep down.
“Oh, no, McDowell, what’d you get sucked into now?” I wondered. I really felt I’d gone off the deep end – and some of my friends agreed.
But I can tell you one thing: In six months to a year-and-a half, I found I hadn’t gone off the deep end. My life was changed!
I was in a debate with the head of the history department at a Midwestern university, and I said that my life had been changed. He interrupted me with, “McDowell, are you trying to tell us that God really changed your life in the 20th century? What areas?”
After 45 minutes of my describing the changes he said, “Okay, that’s enough.”
Another area that started to change was my bad temper. I used to blow my stack if someone just looked at me cross-eyed. I still have the scars from almost killing a man my first year in the university. My temper was such an integral part of me, I didn’t consciously seek to change it.
One day, I arrived at a crisis, only to find my temper was gone! And only once in the last 21 years have I lost my temper. (But when I blew it that time I must have made up for about six years.)
And there is another area of which I am not proud. But I mention it because a lot of people need to have the same change in their lives through a relationship with the resurrected, living Christ. This is the area of hatred.
I had a lot of hatred in my life. It wasn’t something outwardly manifested, but there was a kind of inward grinding. I was ticked off with people, with things, with issues. Like so many other people, I was insecure. Every time I met someone different from me, he became a threat.
The one person I hated more than anyone else in the world was my father. I despised him. To me he was the town alcoholic. If you’re from a small town and one of your parents is an alcoholic, you know what I’m talking about.
When we had friends over, I would take my father out, tie him up in the barn, and park the car up around the silo. We would tell our friends he had to go somewhere. I don’t think any person could hate someone more that I hated my father.
Maybe five months after I made that decision for Christ, a love from God through Jesus Christ entered my life. It took that hatred and turned it upside down. It was so strong, I was able to look my father squarely in the eyes and say, “Dad, I love you.” And I really meant it. After some of the things I’d done, that shook him up.
When I transferred to a private university, I was in a serious car accident. With my neck in traction, I was taken home. I’ll never forget my father coming into my room and asking, “Son, how can you love a father like me?” I said, “Dad, six months ago I despised you.” Then I shared with him my conclusions about Jesus Christ.
“Dad, I let Jesus Christ come into my life,” I said. “I can’t explain it completely. But as a result of that relationship, I’ve found the capacity to love and accept not only you but other people just the way they are. “
Forty-five minutes later one of the greatest thrills of my life occurred. Somebody in my own family, someone who knew me so well I couldn’t pull the wool over his eyes, said to me, “Son, if God can do in my life what I seen him do in yours, then I want to give Him the opportunity.” Right there my father prayed with me and trusted Christ.
Usually changes take place over several days, weeks, or months…even a year. My life was changed in about six months to a year-and-a-half. The life of my father was changed right before my eyes. It was as if somebody reached in and turned on a light bulb. I’ve never seen such a rapid change before or since. My father touched whiskey only once after that. He got it as far as his lips and that was it.
In the last 20 years or so Josh McDowell has been busy trying to convince teens like yourself that accepting Christ is a very sane thing to do, speaking in more than 800 universities. The scepticism that often awaits him dissipates as he presents the facts of history regarding the life of Christ, especially His resurrection.
Yes, I said facts. You see, Josh McDowell, when he was opposed to Christianity (“I thought most Christians were idiots”), when he was looking for ammo to humiliate Christians, discovered that Jesus Christ REALLY DID rise from the grave. And He REALLY DID fulfill prophecies spoken thousands of years previous. And He REALLY DID predict the details of His own death. And He REALLY IS who He claimed to be, the very Son of God.
Hey, he wasn’t taught this in school! Schools don’t teach you what you really need to know. Sorry, but that’s, the way it is. High school and college tend to draw you away from, not closer to, God and reality. In many places in North America it is actually ILLEGAL to teach Christ! So I’m going to tell you stuff you just ain’t gonna hear in class. Listen to some people who know:
THOMAS ARNOLD, professor, author of the three volume History of Rome: “I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God has given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”
BROOKE FOSS WESCOTT, English scholar: “Taking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ. Nothing but the antecedent assumption that it must be false could have suggested the idea of deficiency in the proof of it.”
Didn’t hear that in history class did you? But could it be that Jesus really, REALLY rose from the dead? Is there true, genuine, for sure evidence? Listen up:
JOSH McDOWELL: “One man who was highly skilled at dealing with evidence was Dr. Simon Greenleaf. He was the famous Royal Professor of Law at Harvard University and succeeded Justice Joseph Story at the Dane Professor of Law in the same university. The rise of Harvard Law School to its eminent position among the legal schools of the United States is to be ascribed to the efforts of these two men. Greenleaf produced his famous three volume work, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, which is still considered one of the greatest single authorities on this subject in the entire literature of legal procedure.
“Greenleaf examined the value of the historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ to ascertain the truth. He applied the principles contained in his three-volume treatise on evidence. His findings were recorded in his book, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice.
“Greenleaf came to the conclusion that, according to the laws of legal evidence used in courts of law, there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history (emphasis mine).”
JOHN SINGLETON COPLEY, one time British solicitor-general, attorney-general, High Chancellor, High Steward of the U of Cambridge, recognized great legal expert: “I know pretty well what evidence is; and I tell you, such evidence as that for the resurrection has never broken down yet.”
LORD DARLING, one time Lord Chief Justice of England: “no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true.”
Some people figure the resurrection didn’t happen because it just couldn’t happen. I mean, the dead tend to stay dead. Don’t they?
DR. JOHN WARWICK MONTGOMERY, author: “The only way we can know whether an event can occur is to see whether in fact it has occurred. The problem of miracles, then, must be solved in the realm of historical investigation, not in the realm of philosophical speculation.”
MONTGOMERY: “It passes the bounds of credibility that the early Christians could have manufactured such a tale and then preached it among those who might easily have refuted it simply by producing the body of Jesus.”
RON SIDER, historian: “If the Christians and their Jewish opponents both agreed that the tomb was empty, we have little choice but to accept the empty tomb as a historical fact.’’
PAUL ALTHAUS, University of Erlangen, Germany: “The resurrection could not have been maintained in Jerusalem for a single day, for a single hour, if the emptiness of the tomb had not been established as a fact for all concerned.”
KENNETH SCOTT LATOURETTE, historian: “Never has Jesus had so wide and so profound an effect upon humanity as the past three or four generations. Through Him millions of individuals have been transformed and have begun to live the kind of life which he exemplified…Gauged by the consequences which have followed the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus have been the most important events in the history of man. Measured by His influence, Jesus is central in the human story.”
Hmmm. Central to the human story. Hmmm. Through Him millions of individuals have been transformed. Then WHY is the life of Christ not taught in history class? Why is it that His profound teachings are ignored? Hey, the answer – the real answer – is on page. six.
satan. That invisible rat. The one most of your teachers would say doesn’t exist. satan the deceiver, the liar. The Bible says “whose minds (including yours) the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
Listen up! I will tell you one more time: If you reject Jesus, you will die in your sins. You will spend an eternity in that place of very unhappy campers. Jesus said, “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?” Until now you have been following the blind. Educated, cultured, impressive – but BLIND!
Turn to Jesus while there is still time. Come to Jesus in prayer. Humble yourself. Ask him to wipe away the stain of your dirty sins.
Ask Jesus into your heart and life.
And e-mail me a call so I can share your joy.
NOTE: Josh McDowell’s testimony was taken by permission from his book. The Resurrection Factor, published by Here’s Life Publishers, available at Christian bookstores.