What If It’s True…
Warning…this is going to be a long post, but if you’d like – play the video while you read.

This past weekend, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ (aka EASTER)…the Christian Superbowl! I don’t know about you, but our service was absolutely incredible. Nationally known visual artist, Tom Clark, painted a unique 6’x8′ canvas during each of six services. I wish you could have seen it…amazing! Here’s a sample image from his website:
I noticed one of four types of people at church this weekend: 
  1. Those who were showing off their new Easter outfit. I’m just kidding…kinda.
  2. Those who always come to church for Easter…I mean, that’s how their mama raised them!
  3. Those who were invited and giving the church/Jesus thing a shot. 
  4. and finally, those who were there to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ!
Regardless of why people were there, it was definitely a weekend to celebrate (by the way, if you’d like to listen to the message, click HERE). Did you know that half of the world’s population believe that Jesus rose from the dead as the son of God 2000 years ago? And I won’t try to challenge your faith if you believe otherwise, but I have a hard time believing that he was just a prophet or just a great teacher or just a great healer, etc. 

C.S. Lewis once said, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg–or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.” It only seems logical that Jesus was one of three things: a lunatic, a legend, or the Son of God. And if Jesus was a liar…or if he didn’t really rise from the dead, why would so many people die for their beliefs? It just doesn’t make sense. 

In the days leading up to the resurrection, the Pharisees did everything they could to prevent Jesus from disappearing. Matthew 27:62-65 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard. 

And yet…he still rose. Matthew 28:1-7  After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
Truth RS
Following the resurrection, Jesus made ten specific appearances. And of course, there are plenty of people that have tried to discount those appearances.
  • Hallucination theory: no one really saw Jesus – they were just hallucinating. I think this theory would work if he hadn’t appeared to hundreds or thousands of people at one time. Come on now, those would be some incredibly powerful brownies. 
  • Swoon theory: Jesus didn’t really die – he simply passed out. Once he was taken to the tomb, he woke up, moved the incredibly large stone and just got out. I have a hard time believing this theory. Considering how beaten down Jesus would have been at the time of the crucifixion, even if he had passed out, his body would have been entirely too weak to move the heavy stone from the tomb. 
  • Twin brother theory: Jesus was hiding a twin brother. When Jesus was crucified and died, only then did this twin brother emerge and proclaim that he was Jesus. This just sounds ridiculous – you mean to tell me that in 31 years of life, Jesus kept a brother in hiding? 
Every single one of the disciples, minus one, died as a result of their beliefs – eight of which died as martyrs (beaten in some way) and at least two who were crucified. Click HERE for details. And I don’t know about you, but had the entire thing been a hoax, I certainly wouldn’t have died for it…I would have surely said, “look, I know where the body is, just don’t kill me!” That didn’t happen…and the disciples along with hundreds of thousands of people over the past 2000 years have died for their beliefs.

I don’t have a good explanation…I wasn’t physically there, but I am not ashamed of what I believe as the truth, because it has changed my life…and it has set me FREE!

To be honest, I grew up in the church. I was an active member of my youth group, attended weekly bible studies, served in youth ministry, etc. As I shared several weeks ago, I turned my back on God sometime during college- I still believed (even went to church whenever I was home from college), but there was no way of knowing the difference between me and any one else. Over time, I pulled further and further away until I was looking for love and acceptance in all the wrong places. I’m sure you’ve heard this story before…I wanted to be cool, so I found myself looking for approval through the lens of drinking several nights a week and dating guys who had little respect for me…heck, I had little respect for myself. My skin, self-respect and bank account took major hits. I tried to find contentment in worldly things…I thought I would be happy if I were just part of the “cool crowd,” if I had the latest new clothing, etc. I quickly realized that my life was full of drama and that I was lacking the life that God designed for me. Fortunately, this time in my life only lasted a short time…I clearly had it all wrong.

John 3:16 – For GOD so loved ME, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Like I’ve said before…until you’re ready to fully rely on God and trust in him, GOD is going to stay out of your life and let you live it however you see fit. But, the moment you decide to have a more active relationship with him, he’s going to rock your world. So, if you’ve ever been where I once was and you are searching for more out of life, I encourage you to start reading the bible…I’d start with John. Our minister suggests trying it for 30 days – if you don’t like it, quit. And don’t get it twisted…I am FAR from perfect, but I have no desire to go back to the life I left behind.
With that said, our church (and subsequently my messages following) is starting a new series called “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.” The series is meant to offer answers and biblically compelling reasons for a confident faith. Topics will include: 
  • Creationism or Evolution?
  • Are Heaven and Hell real?
  • Does Satan really exist? 
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Is Jesus really the only way?
It’s likely to be controversial and test our faith, but I’m really looking forward to it…and I look forward to sharing it with you. Have a great day!
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49 COMMENTS

    I love that quote by C.S. Lewis. His Chronicles of Narnia are all deeply focused around his belief in Christianity (my favorite being A Horse And His Boy). Did you know that he, like you, also went through a phase moving away from Christ, and really questioned his faith? He rediscovered God in his adulthood, and it changed his life.
    Okay, so clearly you can tell I really love C.S. Lewis! Sorry for the ramble.
    I always find that the resurrection of Christ requires the most faith out of us, more than any other mysteries of the faith. I think it’s because like you said, there isn’t any wiggle room for alternate explanations. Either you fully believe that he was resurrected, or you don’t. But it would be hard to imagine so many people over so many years dying for someone who wasn’t the Son of God.

    As you know, I love Nichole Nordeman’s music. She writes from the heart and is so brutally honest about Jesus Christ and our life with Him.

    Love the photo!!! Great presentation of the truth.

    Our message this weekend was wonderful, as well. Our pastor pointed out the various responses of John and Peter at the tomb and it was a view I had never heard!!! Our pastor also dug into some of the reasons why Jesus resurrection was true. It was AMAZING!!

    I love the C.S. Lewis quote. I have heard and read it several times and it is so true. It has to be one or the other.

    I’m so glad I stopped packing to read your post!

    BIG SMILE!

    BIG AMEN!

    Love the videos and photo! Love the message of TRUTH that sets us FREE!

    Hugs and prayers for your week!
    XOXO

    ROCK ON and SHINE ON Ashley! So proud of you for sharing this series!

    Love this shot of you. What a fantastic message. I think we all have our times in life that we wander a bit, but we always come back to the truth. Oh, and I love Nichole Nordeman. I even exercise to her. lol.

    Great post Ashley!

    That particular C.S. Lewis quote is one of my favorites.. although I find more and more C.S. Lewis that I want to commit to memory!

    I agree with your first commenter, with the exception th at Lewis became an atheiest.. J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis’ good friend, helped bring him back to Christ! Amazing, huh?

    Beautiful post and beautiful image. I too am not ashamed to believe and have faith. He is real, and He lives.

    Powerful post! Long, but full fof evidence and insight into why He is the only one that can set any of us FREE! Hugs :O)

    I love C.S. Lewis. Great quote. I must admit, I was not a good church goer this year just because of many weird reasons I feel uncomfortable sharing publicly. Although I am starting my routine back up starting next Sunday. But I went to church Saturday and Sunday for Easter and it felt really invigorating to be back. Easter is also a time for new beginnings– a time for people to return to Christ.

    Have you heard of the shroud of Turin? It’s pretty amazing stuff. Physical evidence of Jesus’ body– the linen that was laid over him in the tomb. Google it- really is amazing. And shows physical evidence of a crucified man.

    Our church did a very similar series a little while back. It was really awesome. I know you’ll enjoy it.

    Those “theories” crack me up.

    Great post full of truth. Like the videos. I am still amazed at the awesomeness of God thru Jesus.

    Glad you shared this with us.

    What a great message. I agree completely. My life has been similar to yours. I grew up in church was very active in youth and other ministries. I turned away from God in my early twenties. I had it all wrong as well. I am so Thankful for a forgiving God and that I serve a RISEN Savior! Praise the Lord!

    I think I’ve said it before but, I’ll say it again, you, my friend, have a gift. You minister and speak truth through your writing and it is clear to me that God is using you in this manner! This was a powerful post and convincing..not to mention convicting. It sounds like your upcoming services are going to be AWESOME! Keep sharing, shining and who knows…you might be bringing people to Christ and not even knowing it! God be glorified!

    “You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” James 2:22

    I’m excited that you are networked to almost 1,500 people and you just Proclaimed Christ! (well you do multiple times), but you did it well! And Ashley- this I believe is an example of Faith! And I PRIASE MY JESUS for you!!!!!!

    Thanks for sharing your faith and walk. Blessings!

    Awesome post Ashley and thankyou so much for standing up for Jesus through your blog writing.

    (((hugs)))
    Rosie

    A wonderful endeavor to pursue, Ashley. I’ll certainly enjoy reading these posts. And thank you for not feeling inhibited in sharing the faith journey.

    Insightful and inspirational as always my dear! I had never heard of the twin brother theory?! One of Jon’s co-workers made a rude comment to Jon, calling Easter “zombie day” because people believed he woke up from the dead so he must have been a zombie. I’m sad that some just don’t get it. I’m not ashamed of my faith at all, I just feel bad for those who can’t accept that He is the Savior! And then they make fun of those who do:(

    What an AMAZING post!! Thank you for getting me totally fired up and inspired this morning!!

    You have an absolutely wonderful blog and ministry!! Thank you for sharing!! :)

    Love the photo, great post, gets a hearty AMEN!! from me! :D

    Great post! Our pastor just did a great sermon on Easter about how great and important evidence is, some people don’t believe because they don’t want to believe. Just like the pharisees who had all the evidence in the world. if you want you can listen to it here.

    http://www.sgconline.org/index.php?fuseAction=lists.item&listID=1&listItemID=1251

    Ashley,

    This was incredible. I love that quote by C. S. Lewis too.

    Thanks so much♥

    Wonderful post. Truly.

    I am looking forward to the coming weeks. :)

    Marla @ http://www.blueskiesphotoblog.com

    Great photo! One of my absolute favorite verses! It seems so often we think Christianity is about rules and regulations when it is about freedom–to shine, break free from sin, to let go of control–so much! Christ rose again to set us free!

    Wonderful and thought-provoking post Ashley.
    Beautifully written!

    My faith and beliefs are…well, I can only describe them as different…but I wholeheartedly admire you and your faith and your committment to that faith. Opening your heart and self to something bigger than ourselves is hard, but you do it so well.

    Just a wonderful post! I know i tell you time and time again but I just love your blog and your writing and your photography! you are amazing!

    love that self shot of you too!! :)

    Well said. I think your faith is stronger now because you have lived without and now you know the difference. It is both comforting and humbling to know that God is there, just because we ask him to be.

    Beautiful shot and post!

    Beautiful post and I LOVE that photo of you and the quote is perfect!!

    I’m liking those topics your church picked and interested to see how much in depth they will go in their explanations.

    Love that S&aS shot!! Clever!!!
    Have a good one!!

    Wow Ashley! I love how you put this with such warmth and spirit. I love the energy at Easter Service. So much heart and rejoicing – such renewance! Gives me chills. I was really bummed my two step-daughters missed Church. They LOVE Jesus! But their mom does not attend Church, her & her sister are apathetic, and she wanted to give them their baskets and candy instead. Hurts my heart! But that is why she stays in my prayers.

    GREAT, GREAT post! <3

    Great post. Nice to see your writing.

    Beautiful post Ashley- I certainly have some set in stone thoughts on each of those questions.

    I love the photo of you too.

    Beautiful, thoughtful post. I had to laugh when you called Easter the Christian Superbowl. I couldn’t agree more!

    Thank you for sharing your faith and commitment to it.

    Great post, Ashley. I love that you share about your faith.

    I read that C.S. Lewis quote on another blog this week, too, and I found it very convicting — as is your argument here. I admit, my faith is not always-rock solid. I have my doubts. But posts like this do indeed move me in the right direction. Thank you!

    Simply put, beautiful and humbling.

    Thank you…Tiffany

    Lovely shot! We did a sermon series on some of the same topics and it was really good.

    I love Nichole Nordeman and C.S.Lewis. I have been blessed stopping by.
    Love your creative photo and spirit.

    Love that your church is covering those questions. As a Christian, I get asked the ‘why do bad things happen to good people’ often. I LOVE that pic of you. Did you make that – lens cap?

    Great message.

    What an amazing post. I love that song too. Thanks so much for sharing. I am learning to give it all to God. I can not change what has happened all I can do is look to God for strength. Can’t wait to hear from that new series. Thanks again!

    what a great post! I always look forward to your posts! Love CS lewis

    I love the way in which you deliver such powerful messages. You have a gift at sharing his Word and I’m so grateful you have a platform to do it. I have to admit the “those were powerful brownies” line made me LOL.

    Great post!

    This is my first time to visit your site, and also to enter the ‘Snapshot & a Scripture’ challenge. Your post is riveting, and so touched my heart! And your photography is amazing! What an encouragement you are to so many! Thank you for sharing this, and, I’ll definitely be back …I’m a follower now, too!

    Bless you, Ashley! :)

    Beautiful beautiful beautiful and I look forward to hearing more about these faith topics!!


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