Doubting Jesus? Even some Disciples…

The Great Commission in the book of Matthew is one of the most well known and most-preached sections of the Bible. It gives us our marching orders; Jesus tells us what we are to do with our lives: make disciples of all nations. That seems like an overwhelming task! Thankfully, Jesus says that he will never leave us as we do this.

When studying the Great Commission, however, I like to start a few verses prior to verse 18, the traditional beginning of the passage.

“Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!” – Matthew 28:16-17 (NLT)

When Jesus rose from the dead, there was much doubt amongst the people. After all, who rises from the dead? What’s fascinating to me is that even among the disciples there was doubt. Even among those who followed Jesus closely for the three years of his ministry had doubts about Jesus and his resurrection.

If the disciples, who now are seeing Jesus face-to-face, had doubts about Jesus and his claims, how much more can we expect people today (including those in the church) to have doubts about Jesus?

When people think of doubt, they often link it to a lack of faith. But in fact, the definition of doubt is to feel unconvinced or uncertain about something. So, is it necessary for followers of Christ to be completely doubt-free? I don’t think so.

When Thomas doubted Jesus, did Jesus rebuke him? No! He gave him evidence so that he might believe. I believe God still works that way today.

When we have doubt, it shows that we are thinking critically about things. It shows that we are not blindly following. So instead of hiding out doubt, we ought to use that doubt to motivate us toward researching our faith and getting to know more about it, thereby getting to know more about Jesus.

There are certain things that we are guaranteed as followers of Christ, and things we need not doubt. One is our salvation. We can have assurance of our salvation. If we have placed our faith and trust in Christ, we can be assured that Jesus will not leave us. 1 John 5:13 says “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Our eternal destiny is not something that we need to wonder about – the Bible is written to give us assurance.

But what about our other doubts? I would argue that the best way to deal with your doubts is to share them with other followers of Christ. We have been united in a community of faith, and we are to help one another learn and grow in the faith. One way we do that is by being honest with others about what we’re struggling with. Sharing your doubt is not a sign of weakness – rather, it shows that you are always learning and thinking and willing to admit that you may not have all the answers.

One author who does a phenomenal job answering doubts is Lee Strobel. He has written a number of books, beginning with The Case for Christ. Strobel started as an atheist who set out to discredit Christianity. As he studied the facts, however, he became convinced of the truth of the gospel and gave his life to Christ. As a result, he has shared his story and evidence with millions, and has helped many people overcome their doubts.

So today, if you have doubts, don’t worry – you are in good company. Share your doubts with other followers of Christ and lean on each other during these seasons. Don’t silently suffer and allow your doubt to eat away at you and your relationship with God. Think of your doubt as a gift from God, inviting you to know him more and more. Doubt is only wrong if you don’t allow it to motivate you to action.

 

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7 Things YOU Can Do this Easter to Help Guests Feel Welcome

Easter is Sunday! Are you ready?

This Sunday is Easter, and Easter is traditionally one of our largest attended services of the year. Here are 7 things that EVERYONE can do to help make this Sunday a grand success.

1. Please use the invite cards to invite the people you have been praying for. If you need additional cards, let me know and we will get you what we can.

2. Invite people even if they weren’t on your original list! The Easter Egg Hunt after the service is a big draw for families. Use social media to spread the word!

3. Continue to pray! Pray for those you are inviting, pray for those that others are inviting, and pray for those who may come in without a specific invitation – maybe they will read our newspaper articles or received a door hanger this past Sunday.

4. Be a one-time member of the First Impressions Team on Sunday. We need EVERYONE to help focus on the first time guests this Sunday. Think about their situation – first time in a new church – how would you want to be treated? Let’s forgo some of our usual fellowship to really make sure that guests feel welcome. Ask them about themselves. Tell them why you attend HCC! Do this both before and after the service.

5. Stay for the Egg Hunt, and cross the street! The families that come will no doubt stay for the egg hunt across the street. While the kids are hunting, the parents are often left standing alone. We need YOU to help them feel welcome and help them make connections. It will also be a great time for you to check out our remodeled Children’s Church room!

6. Be a one-time member of the outside greeting team! For Easter only (at this time) we would like to have 3 people outside to welcome and direct new families. There will be a person in each parking lot and one on Marshall. The purpose of these outside greeters is just to give a friendly smile/wave to people, and to let people know that we care about their experience from the moment they arrive, not just once they step in the door.

Finally,

7. Be ready to give up your seat. When you see people coming into the auditorium on Sunday, think about where they want to sit. Most guests want to sit near the back and on the aisles. If those are your traditional seats, consider moving around a bit. Also take note of empty seats between you. If there’s not room for the family that just walked in, YOU be the person to move so that they can sit down together.

Easter Sunday is not about Hays Christian Church. It’s about something much bigger and more important: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. What you and I do on Sunday, however, may have a direct impact on whether or not a person is open to hearing the message of the gospel. If they have a terrible time finding a seat, if no one talks to them, if the church is dirty, or any number of other things, that can turn them off to hearing about what we’re all there for. Don’t underestimate your ability to point people to the Savior this Sunday!

Thank you for being an important part of our Hays Christian Church family! I look forward to seeing you and all of the first time guests this Sunday!