A question Sheila and I are sometimes asked is, ‘Why did you sell your home and choose to live such an itinerant lifestyle as missionaries?’ The following is by way of a reply.
There was a movie called ‘Contact’ that was dedicated to atheist and writer Carl Sagan. In the movie an atheist scientist (acted by Jodi Foster) attempts to convince a disbelieving Senate Committee that she has met aliens in outer space. She says, and I paraphrase,
“I cannot prove to you what happened, but what did happen was so beautiful and life changing that I will spend the rest of my life trying to share this experience with others”.
A great line, but it is just a fiction. Despite the efforts of sci-fi writers and others to convince the world otherwise, there is no evidence of any instance of contact between aliens and mankind. Nor is there any evidence that ‘aliens’ exist anywhere in the vastness of creation.
On the other hand there is a vast body of hard evidence for another ‘contact’. This is attested to by the fact that over the past 2,000 years, there have been millions who have experienced and witnessed to having met the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Hard evidence, not a fiction dreamed up by someone, not a subjective experience of one or two individuals, but a reality attested to by the lives (and sometimes deaths) of millions of human beings.
Do not mistake this factual experience with religion. The reality of the resurrection of Jesus and the ongoing experience of meeting him is about relationship and not about ‘religion’. Religion has hijacked it and tried to contain it, structure it, analyze it, quantify it and make rules about it. Nevertheless despite this continual attempt to smother it the life changing vibrant reality of a daily life lived in relationship with the risen Christ continues. This is so despite the constraints that are sometimes put upon it, especially by those so called Christians who espouse it without having experienced it.
Karl Marx said that those who promote a cause without understanding it do it the most harm. The cause of Jesus Christ (to restore the love of God into the life of every human being) has suffered great harm for this reason.
The reality of the resurrection of Jesus has been experienced again and again over the years by millions of people. The apostle Paul recounts his own experience of this in chapter 26 of the book of Acts. For Sheila this life-changing meeting happened 24 years ago, for me (Max) the initial meeting took place 31 years ago.
Four weeks before my life changing meeting I shared some information about Jesus with two Christian friends (Bruce and Joyce Humphrey). The information came from a book called, ‘Holy Blood, Holy Grail’ which has the same theme as ‘The DaVinci Code’ i.e. that Jesus did not die on the Cross. I clearly remember that on the day before my life changing experience I said to those same Christian friends,
“People who say they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ are crazy. After all he has been dead 2,000 years hasn’t he?”
The next day, at around 8.30 am on Friday 6th May 1983, I met the risen and living Jesus and, like the apostle Paul and millions of others throughout the past two thousand years, I was changed. I no longer doubted that Jesus is God who was made flesh and dwelt among us. I no longer doubted that He suffered and died to pay the price for our sins and that He rose from the grave defeating death and brought eternal life to all who would believe.
Both Sheila and I were changed and born again to new life by the experience of meeting the resurrected Jesus.
Jesus is alive; we know that to be the truth. Jesus said, ‘The truth shall make you free’ and we are free indeed. The whole of our Christian life is summed up in these words:
“We cannot prove to you what happened, but what did happen was so beautiful and life changing that we are spending the rest of our lives trying to share this experience with others”
So that is the answer to the question and why we sold our home, left our jobs and have spent the past twenty years traveling the world. Not for a fiction but for a fact.
The beautiful and life changing experience of the resurrected Jesus is a daily reality as we walk with Him, and our desire is to share it with you. Our desire is to encourage you to seek, to find and to meet the One whose nail-scarred hands are reaching out to you in love.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his own Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”