God is not a Ford Bronco - November 22, 1994 

Some of my clearest memories back in the fall of 1984 was driving around to dealerships with my older brothers and my dad test driving automobiles. I can remember that my dad wanted to buy a car, but not just any car, he wanted a Bronco, yeah! He wanted to go 4x4'ing, and he wanted what he called, "a real dad's car."

And it's funny how it worked, if you think about it. My dad started with a general preference: a Ford Bronco. As he looked around and went to different dealerships, he tried out different options: air conditioning, sunroof, fm/stereo/cassette, etc. The point is, he shopped around and decided which features he liked, and placed together a package to buy.

Do you realize that so many of us pick a belief-system the same way we buy a car. We think that we can check out God, figure out the benefits, and then make our decision. I am not saying that we should not check out all the options; we should. But we should not chose what to believe or what not to believe based on if we like it or not. The issue is not whether or not we like Jesus' message. The issue is: Is he the truth? Please persevere with me. Thank you for hearing me out.

When reading the Word of God, it is the most arrogant thing any human being can do to read it to discover whether or not they approve of what God has done. You see, God has an agenda, and in his unfathomable amount of compassion, he has told it to us through the Bible. Now, if the Bible is not the word of God, Christianity is useless and the worst lie ever created by human beings. It is not intelligent to say that Christianity is okay for some people. It is either from God, and God's power for salvation (Romans 1:16), or it is useless and Christian believers deserve pity on the same level that a toddler deserves pity as he stays up waiting for Santa Claus.

Point blank: there is enough evidence to hold a rational and intelligent faith. Want to hear? Well, there are over 330 prophecies that Jesus Christ of Nazareth fulfilled. Yes, he may have gone out of his way to fulfill some on purpose, but there are many he could not have controlled, (his birthplace, time period, lineage, and more). And he fulfilled every single prophecy of the Old Testament. He fulfilled every single one. Just maybe, maybe, there is more to Jesus than we all thought. Wouldn't it be great if it were true? Well, it is great. It is true!

I'd be glad to go over this evidence with anyone who wishes. To Ben Locke: thanks for your second forum article, but you have yet to contact me. Perhaps instead of making assumptions about my personal character, you may want to pick up a phone and call me (862-8427). Just maybe, Ben, I am not who you think I am. And more importantly, Jesus is not who you invent him to be. He's real. So Ben, if you'd like to talk, please contact me and I'll buy the coffee. I'll even buy you a blueberry bagel. Why not? Let's move on...

You see, God knows that we have doubts. He knows it is difficult to believe in him. I myself remember what it was like looking at a Bible and wondering what it all meant. But the good news is that he has provided good evidence to believe. Be challenged: before you throw out God, check out the evidence.

In short, our parents may have lied to us, our teachers may have lied to us, our ministers may have lied to us. Here's the truth: God will never lie to us. Let's stop pretending. Let's let God heal our lives. He is so real everyone I wish I could shout it louder. And when we realize that the Word of God is his Word, then we'll realize that he is trustworthy.

Please let's stop treating God like a Bronco. When looking for a Bronco, you chose based on the features you like. If you want white-walled tires, you get 'em. Don't want blue? Want Red? Sure. No, God is not a car and the Bible is not a dealership. God is who he is and not what we invent.

One huge reason Jesus came down to earth, died on a cross, and proved who he was by rising again was so that we wouldn't have to try to figure out who God is. God has told us who he is. He is the risen Christ.

God is not for us to approve or disapprove; he is not on the cover of this month's 'Consumer Reports.' Whether we like what's in the Bible or not is not the point. Let's get to the point. The point is: is it true? Is there evidence? Will you check it out before you decide?

The Bible was given to us so that we could know who God is, and God is our Father. He loves us but we have a problem. His Word says we reject him. His Word says we keep him out of our lives. And his Word says he will not force us to love him. Hey, these aren't my ideas that I think are cool. What I have been talking about all semester comes from God. In a sense, I have been plagiarizing from the Bible. Nothing I have said comes from me. It all comes from those pages, those reliable pages.

It's our move, our choice. God sent himself as Christ to take our justified punishment. God gave us Jesus not so we could approve, but so that we could receive him and invite him to live in our hearts. He will live in your heart if you ask him to. He is real and there is good reason to believe it. It's not crazy and it's no fluke. It is the greatest thing ever.

The point is: you have tremendous power: you have the power to reject the Son of God. You have every right to tell Jesus to take a hike and spit in his face. And you can pretend that he doesn't exist. The truth is: whether you believe he exists or not does not change at all that he exists. God is not for us to judge. He is for us to receive and trust. Please say no to the pain, no to the guilt, and no to separation from all that is good forever by not rejecting him. Be convinced that you can trust his Word. Receive him and know the truth.