Thursday, 9 February 2012

Questions

These are some of the questions people were asking in the recent Soul Cafe/Jam Club combo event at St Peter's (in no particular order) and my brief answers.  I hope it's helpful! 

What's your favourite singer (male and female)?
Male: Tim McIlrath from Rise Against.
Female: Brody Dalle from The Distillers. 

What happens when you pray that God would look after you in a situation, but what you want to happen, doesn't and you don't feel as though you're good enough?
This is a big one and I'm sure a short answer won't completely solve this but here's three quick thoughts...
1. Find people you can properly talk to, trust in and rely on who can also help you with the challenges you face. Everyone needs this!
2. God promises to hear our prayers and wants us to trust him in every situation (Psalm 66:16-20).
3. This world is full of trouble but it doesn't mean we're to blame (John 16:33) and if we've asked Jesus to forgive us then we really are forgiven (1 John 1:9).

Are you in love with someone?  If so, who?
Yup.  My wife, Chrissi (that's a relief)! 

How do we know the Bible's true?
Lots of reasons but the main one for me is Jesus.  With over 300 very specific prophecies in the Old Testament about the Messiah (God's chosen rescuer), the mathematical probability of one man fulfilling them all is so unlikely that there's only ever been one and Jesus is it.  And the evidence for the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead is overwhelming.  There are loads of other things that convince me too but like I say, Jesus is the main one.  Without him fulfilling all those prophecies, it would all be made up rubbish. 

Why do women have to suffer childbirth and why were women less respected in old fashioned days?
The Bible says that when people first sinned against God, there were many consequences and one of these was great pain in childbirth (Genesis 3:16).  In the same verse, God says that another negative consequence would be that women would be 'ruled over' by men and I think we see sexism in almost every culture since. 

Are Jaffa Cakes a biscuit or a cake?
Both! 

What do you think God looks like?
The Bible says that God is spirit (John 4:24) and so he doesn't really 'look like' anything.  The exception is Jesus because that's where the Bible says God became a physical human being (Colossians 2:9).  The Bible says Jesus looked like a normal man (Isaiah 53:2). 

Is The Big Bang real?
Short answer: I don't know.  I don't know enough about science to say really.  What I do know is that it's illogical to say the universe came into existence uncaused or that it's possible to get something from nothing.  That's not science and it's bad logic too. 

What were you like at high school?
I was into 90s gansta rap (like Public Enemy and Cypress Hill), had a flat top and was generally a bit of a loser.  I was even in a rap duo called 'Hip-hopular' and we were partners in rhyme!  I trusted and followed Jesus and had some amazing friends, family and great youth leaders who helped me a lot! 

Why doesn't God stop wars or getting people killed?
It's precisely because God loves us that he allows us to choose to not love him back and to choose things that do us and others great harm.  If he stopped us at every turn, we'd be puppets and if he pre-programmed us to only choose good, we'd be robots.  Neither would be capable of real love.  Instead, he made us human beings in his own image (Genesis 1:27) to love him back and by doing so he opened himself up to great personal pain (Luke 13:34) but also opened up the possibility for us to really know him intimately (John 15:15).  One day, for those who trust and follow Jesus and have been forgiven through him, there will be a new world free from suffering, war, death and everything else evil (Revelation 21:1-5). 

Why are there natural disasters?
More 'natural' disasters than you might think are actually caused by human beings exploiting the planet but even so, this world is broken and doesn't always behave the way it should.  In some cases it's killing us.  The Bible says when sin came into the world, it wasn't just people that were effected but it's the world we live in too (Romans 8:20-21).  Sin broke it. 

Who is your favourite actor/actress? 
Probably Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man, Hook, Tootsie, Kramer vs Kramer, Meet the Fockers). 

What does God think of other religions like Muslim and Jewish?
God loves people but that doesn't mean everyone's believing the truth about him.  Truth matters.  It's not true because of human tradition (2 Timothy 4:3) or popularity (Colossians 2:8).  Absolute truth (truth that is true for all people in all places at all times) is true because it's true and God must surely be by definition the biggest absolute truth there is.  It's no good agreeing with everyone's ideas about him because if there's any truth at all, then they can't all be right.  Let's love people but pursue truth. 

Do you think religion starts wars?  If so, why do we use it?
Religion starts wars and religion can be an embarrassment to the people in them.  That's why I would say I'm not part of a religion but simply that I follow Jesus.  Jesus is never embarrassing to me and he never started any wars.  Let's stop talking about religion and start talking about Jesus. 

Why does everyone speak different languages?  Wouldn't it be easier if everyone just spoke English?
The Bible says that when God made people he told them to fill up the earth (Genesis 1:28) but for a while, they did the opposite and gathered all in one place (Genesis 11:4) so to stop this, God gave them all different languages and they went their separate ways to fill the earth like God wanted (Genesis 11:8-9).  So global diversity is what God wanted all along and it's all part of the fun and frustration of being human beings! 

What's your fave soap on TV?
I only watch DVDs and online stuff but love West Wing, The Wire and Sopranos. 

If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?
I'd be more like Jesus and specifically, I'd be better at listening and caring.

More questions and answers