Usually, when you hear or read those words, you may think that some kind of offense has occurred. Not so with this post. In fact, this is the new title of my blog postings. I'm preparing to write a blog that speaks more to personal responsibility than to particular offenses. In this first blog (in a long time) I'm writing about how I made the decision to become a Christian case-maker.
Do you know the story of the "perfect storm?" There was a movie made about it. The perfect storm was actually three storms coming together to form one huge over-the-top storm. In my case, it was more than three "storms" that God used to make me bring about some life changes.
The storms in my life were spread over several years. The earliest I can remember came about while I was helping a church form a church planting team. During one of the sessions, someone asked a question they encountered while they were evangelizing. The question was about the reliability of the gospel accounts. The uncivil question was asked as, "How can you believe that crap?" That particular incident caused me to question how well I could defend the reliability of the New Testament.
The next storm happened when a friend's child returned home during their first semester of college. They'd been confronted with Frederick Nietzsche in one of their literature classes. It rocked their faith, and when they asked me how to reason through the philosophy Nietzsche presented, I was without an answer.
These were but two of many"storms" that challenged me. Perhaps the most significant one that pushed me over the edge was thinking of my then newborn grandchild. I thought, "what kind of world will she grow up in?" My wife, Joanne, joined me in the question. In fact, one night, we stayed awake talking about what we could do about the world that our grandchildren would grow up in.
We had a good marriage and at the time, I was pastoring a small but committed group of people. I was just past age fifty and we thought we didn't have to do much to make it to the "end." However, one night I couldn't sleep thinking about the world we were living in and what it would be like in twenty years. As Joanne and I spoke, we thought we had enough gas in our tank to make it to the end or to the next step, but could we live with ourselves? Could we go to the end knowing we could have done something more?? The most important question we had to ask was, "What would Jesus think about all this?" I took it personally.
From the night Joanne and I spoke, I couldn't think of anything else. In fact, we continued to have conversations looking for what we could do. I had read one or two books on apologetics but didn't know the movement that was taking place around the world. Although this was the later nineties, there was already significant men practicing apologetics. There was also a band of emerging apologists who were graduating from at least two seminaries.
I began to look for places to take courses or go to seminars. I started to buy books by Ravi Zacharias, Josh McDowell, and others. One name that kept appearing in the bibliographies was Norman Geisler, and I took notice of it. When I received a brochure to a seminary in North Carolina, Norm Geisler's name was listed as the co-founder and president. At the time, Ravi Zacharias was a visiting professor and probably was the cause for me to receive the brochure.
Within 14 days, Joanne and I sold our home, packed up the cars, a truck and two dogs and moved to Charlotte, NC where I attended Southern Evangelical Seminary. Initially, I enrolled in the certificate program, but was admitted to the academic program after passing my courses with straight "A's." I plowed through my degree in two years and began ministering to make a difference wherever I could. This was all the result because I took it personally.
So, the question to you is: Do you see the state of the world we live in? Do you see our country, our culture? There is a lot happening that appears to be out of control. There is much that we can do nothing about. There's probably not a lot you can do about it, that is, not until you take it personally . . .