Friday, 28 March 2008

The second question - How can I know God?

Asking how you can know God is probably the second most important question after asking whether or not he exists. If you asked the UK public, the answers given would be incredibly varied. Someone might tell you that they find God in themselves, or in nature, another might say that they find God in a particular tradition or ceremony, some people might even tell you that God is so far above us, that we can't really know him at all.

The Bible says otherwise, John 1 tells us of a character called the Word. The Word was both God and was with God. He was in the beginning with God, and through him all things were made. Later on in the chapter, it becomes apparent that this Word is Jesus Christ. But why does John use this Word codename for Jesus? It's probably to do with what words do - they communicate a message. The Word came from God to communicate a message.

Later in the chapter, we are told that a man called John (the Baptist) was sent by God to witness to this Word as he came into the world. Here the Word is referred to as the true light which comes into the world to enlighten everyone. Why does John use this Light codename for Jesus? What do lights do? They reveal and enlighten things. The True Light came from God to reveal and enlighten.

A few verses on, in verse 14, we are told that the "Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." When Jesus came into the world he came full of grace and truth.

But why was this necessary? Surely we can find out about God on our own without any help from Jesus? A helpful illustration is to think of yourself being locked in a room. There are no windows. There are no doors, and thus no keyholes to look through. You have absolutely no idea what is outside and you can't hear anything because the walls are so thick. Where are you?

You might think that the room you're in is in the middle of a jungle - because it just feels like your in jungle. Your friend who is sitting next to you might disagree, he thinks that you're in the middle of Manchester - again, it just feels like it is. But you can't prove anything, one might be right, but there's no way of knowing as there's no evidence. The only way to find out what's outside the room would be for someone outside to break in and tell you. Its impossible to know otherwise.

This is what this part of John tells us Jesus did - verse 18 says "no one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known." Jesus broke into our world to show us God and make him known.

So, if we want to know about God, we have to look to God to tell us rather than to listen to what people tell us. The Bible makes the staggering claim that Jesus is God - look at verse 1 of this passage - and thus if we want to know God we need to look at Jesus.

Where can you look at Jesus? A good place to start is one of the written eyewitness accounts of Jesus' life in the Bible. Mark is a good bet if you haven't read the Bible before. If you haven't got a copy of the Bible, there are a few options: there are a few websites on the internet that have all the text online, or if you are in a university, look out for the CU (United Kingdom), GBU (France, Spain, Italy), SMD (Germany), OSM (Austria) as they'd be more than happy to give you a free copy and meet up to read it with you.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Seven

The IFES European Evangelism Conference 2008 is over :( I'm back home in boring old England so I thought I'd share seven highlights of the conference. I'll elaborate on some of them in the coming days when I'm slightly less tired.



  1. Easter - celebrating that Christ has risen with 2000 brothers and sisters that I've never met from every bit of Europe. Being excited by the fact that as Christians, we have not only a new legal standing before God the Father - we are forgiven because of Jesus' death, but that he has actually changed our hearts - we are now alive in his ressurection.
  2. Looking at The Creation, The Exodus, The Exile and Return and the Coming of Jesus in the Bible with Charlie Hadjiev every morning. One word: wow. Look out for some blogging on this in the very near future!
  3. Becky Pippert (author of Out of the Saltshaker) showed us how that because of God's love for us we are to love others and love the world. Again look out for much blogging!
  4. Meeting so many other students from around Europe who just want to see their campuses hear the gospel and believe in it.
  5. The hilariously random Eurovision style meeting leaders and people on the stage. Quotes including e.g. "Come on!" "1,2,3... Yeah, yeah yeaaaah!" "You can sit down now!" "DEATH WHERE IS YAW STANG?!" "Actually I think it was the grace of God!" -- I guess you just had to be there...
  6. Hearing about the work of other IFES national movements from students in those countries and being excited about what God is doing in universities around Europe - God has definitely not forgotten Europe.
  7. Snow snow snow!!!!

Friday, 14 March 2008

Something useful for your internet browser

Those friendly people at Tyndale House have designed and released a Internet browser toolbar to help students study the Bible better. I'm in the process of installing it now, so can't really comment, but it looks pretty useful. Amongst other things, with it you can search and translate ancient and modern languages, search for book and articles and look up bible passages. It can be downloaded here.


Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Because of Love 2008

I just mentioned that I was looking forward to a certain IFES conference which will be happening over Easter in Linz. Hopefully, this video will help you see why! Please be praying for all the many thousands of students and graduates who will be there, that God would use this conference to build us up and equip us to take the gospel back to our universities!


Three days and counting....

The Easter vacation is upon us. Three whole weeks of university free bliss (apart from all the studying for my finals...) in three days time! Here's what I'm most looking forward to


Cross

  1. Celebrating in and reflecting on the amazing events that took place in and around Jerusalem roughly two thousand years ago that mean that I (and millions of others around the world and back in time) are made right with God - firstly, the punishment we deserve for ignoring God and living as if we're the most important thing in the world was paid for at the cross, secondly, we are now not only made right with God, but we are his adopted sons and co-heirs with Christ, thirdly, this wasn't because we've done anything to deserve it - quite the opposite, God loved us so much that when we were his enemies, Jesus died for us - it is by his grace alone. The list of Easter time amazing-ness goes on and on... for more info on what I am very excited about, read Romans 3:9-26!
  2. Seeing my family! Haven't seen my family since Christmas, and am looking forward to seeing them again!
  3. Seeing friends! I've not seen some of my best mates since a very cold and disappointing New Years Eve in London where we failed to see any fireworks...

    DSCF2441

  4. Getting into some good Christian books! I'm planning on reading Pierced for our Transgressions and then hacking through A Call to Spiritual Reformation. It's pretty ambitious, seeing as I have a terrible habit of getting half way through books and then not getting any further...
  5. Because of Love - IFES European Evangelism Conference in Linz, Austria. Heading out to a part of the world I've never visited before with a bunch of like minded students from across Europe who also want to see their campuses hear the good news of Jesus. Its going to be ace!

Friday, 7 March 2008

Fantastic news

Fantastic news from the recent UMCU Grill a Christian event. God is great!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Bloggery Silence

I apologise for this! Have got rather a lot on my plate right now, but will blog again in a few days. :)