This is a time of great change in Nortel and in the world. The Internet has fed globalization, and has fed off it as well. The first great wave of Internet investment has roared in, crested, and is now receding. Will Nortel be left stranded like a beached whale as a result, with us and our families all looking on? None of us knows the answer for sure. However, there is a way to be protected no matter what happens.
Think back to another time in history when a new communications technology was revolutionizing the world. I’m not talking about railroads. We’ve heard quite a bit lately about how people over-invested in railroads when they were new, and then lost a lot of money when the investment wave broke. Rather, I’m talking about the printing press.
The printing press changed the course of history because it changed the course of Christianity. It was first used to print the Bible, and Bibles were put into the hands of the people. Emphasis changed from the authority of the church to the authority of Scripture.
Today another even more fundamental shift of emphasis is underway in Christianity. The emphasis is now on the authority of the Spirit. The central message of the Bible is that a true and life-changing personal spiritual experience is absolutely vital. The meaning of the Bible is now being put into the hearts of the people. The Internet will fuel this process, and will in turn be fuelled by it. For example, this article is being communicated via Internet email, and its purpose is to help people unlock the meaning of the Bible during this difficult transition period.
On the night before he was crucified, Jesus told His followers, “But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14: 26-27)
Why should we trust the words of Jesus any more than those of anybody else who ever lived? This entire question hinges on the claim that Jesus rose from death. That claim is what has distinguished Christianity from everything else since its beginning, and is the only real reason we’ve ever even heard of Jesus in the first place. If Jesus did not rise from death, then Christianity is a lie and the sooner we move on from it the better. But if Jesus really did rise from death then he must be supernatural, and/or have supernatural power behind him. Since it is easy to see that his character was good and not evil, we would then need to trust him. Did he really rise from death?
Time and space do not permit me to cover this topic in depth. Other writers have done so, far more capably than I can. One of the most recent is Lee Stroebel. He was a very hard-nosed and successful court reporter in the United States who was challenged to investigate thoroughly whether or not the claims of Jesus are true. He was also an atheist who spent 2 years on this investigation. He ended up becoming a Christian and writing a book called “The Case for Christ.”
I encourage everyone to do a similar exploration. One possible place to start is by reading Stroebel’s book. But let me give the gist of the argument in favour of Jesus. From that starting point, attempts to extend it will show if it has weaknesses and attempts to refute it will show if it has strengths. But in either case, a thorough and detailed examination is the key to discovering the truth.
The argument is two-fold. First, the Bible records about Jesus are backed up by so many manuscripts, written comparatively soon after his death with close agreement between all of them, that we can safely conclude they were written by his original followers or their close associates. Second, those followers claimed to be eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection, and most of them chose death rather than the alternative of renouncing their claim as untrue. People have often been willing to die for what they believe, but they have never been willing to die for what they know is a lie.
How would it help us and our families with the possible loss of our jobs if we were to go through all the logic and then find ourselves in a place where we concluded Jesus really did rise from death? Would the peace of Jesus really help us if we lost our jobs?
Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) He was talking about a personal spiritual experience, not just about food.
The peace of Jesus is powered by a personal being who knows all about us, cares infinitely deeply about us, and is willing to help us navigate all the twists and turns of life. That personal being can dwell in the centres of our own innermost beings. We can feel His presence. He can bring us peace even in the most difficult of circumstances, and he can also work to change our circumstances. He is called the Holy Spirit.
How do we attain His peace and experience His power in our lives? Well, we cannot do so without first considering for ourselves whether these are real. That process is different for every person. If we conclude at some level that they are real, then we need to put our conclusion to the test.
The exact test methodology is also different for every person. Yet at bottom, it’s always the same. It’s a particular form of prayer.
We all do wrong things, both by choice and by nature. “By nature” means that even if we don’t choose to do one wrong thing, sooner or later we’ll choose another – that’s just the way we are. The Bible says Jesus lived a perfect life and His voluntary death therefore paid the penalty we each deserve for all our wrongdoings. As a result, we can be forgiven. We can ask Jesus for His forgiveness, thank Him for it, and ask for the Holy Spirit to come and dwell in our innermost beings – to direct the circumstances of our lives and our responses to them, and bring us peace. That is the true protection against uncertain times.