Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Man Who Changed Everything

Two hundred years ago, the most influential person on earth was Napoleon, Emperor of France.  He had managed to conquer most of Europe.  But then he met his Waterloo, as they say, and I can’t think of a single way his life directly influences us today.  One hundred years ago, arguably the most influential man on earth was Kaiser Wilhelm II, the ruler of Germany.  His nation was the prime mover that caused a regional conflict in the Balkans to turn into World War I.  Wilhelm died in exile, and today, very few people know much about him.  Who is the most influential person in the world today?  You could make the argument that it's the late Steve Jobs, who pioneered so much of the technology that has changed the way we live.  But there will be new and greater innovations in the years to come.  Someday--probably soon--we’ll look back on the name of Steve Jobs the way we today look at the name of Marconi, the inventor of the radio. 

Now consider this: There was a man who lived over 2000 years ago whose life directly impacts this planet in too many ways to list.  History is literally divided into everything before Him, and everything after Him.  To this day, putting His face on a magazine cover--any magazine cover--virtually guarantees a 50% spike in circulation.  Even people who are not believers in His divinity are astonished at the range of His influence.  For just one example, here’s a quote from HG Wells:  “A historian like myself, who doesn’t even call himself a Christian, finds the picture centering irresistibly around the life and character of this most significant man…the historian’s test of an individual’s greatness is ‘What did he leave to grow?’  Did he start men to thinking along fresh lines with a vigor that persisted after him?  By this test Jesus stands first.” 
            All this year, I am preaching on the theme, “Who is this God?” We’re talking about the attributes of God according to Scripture.  We’ve already seen that God is holy.  But according to Scripture, God became a man named Jesus.  That means that for 33 years, God lived in flesh on this Earth.  So the best way to know Him fully is to study the life of Jesus.  Starting this Sunday--Feb. 12-- and continuing until Easter Sunday, that is exactly what I will be doing.  The title of this series is, “The Man Who Changed Everything.”  I strongly suggest that you study the Gospels—Matthew through John—during this series.  If you’d like to read something supplemental, I recommend the book Who Is This Man? by John Ortberg, from which I will be using some quotes, stories and ideas.  I will be focusing on some of the ways the life and teachings of Jesus still impact the way we live today, 2000 years later.  I hope you will invite friends to this series, especially friends who haven’t yet decided what they believe about Jesus.  But the series isn’t only for them. I have discovered, over and over again, that the richest, most exciting and fulfilling thing I can do is get to know Jesus better. If you will go on this journey with me, it will bless your life…and may change it forever.

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