Tuesday, 17 June 2008

An Inconvenient Truth

I recently had the privilege of watching the documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth', which portrays Al Gore's presentation on Global Warming. It is an excellent presentation, and should not be missed - if only so that you can tell your grandchildren why you did nothing about global warming. The facts conveyed in it are undeniable, for a serious searcher of the Truth. All around us, we can see the signs of a world in trouble.

Over the past decades there have been many natural disasters - earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, hurricanes, floods, droughts, storms. If one watches the news, however, it hits you that these are coming with increasing frequency. Not just more of one type of disaster, but almost daily there is a new occurrence of one or another disaster. All of these disasters are purported to be symptoms of the phenomenon Global Warming.

Even in my native country, South Africa, there is evidence of this turbulence closer to home. If you have been to the beach - especially along the Eastern Cape coast - you may have noticed some really stinky pink sponges. These sponges are evidence of a faulty sea ecosystem. They are the cleaners of the ocean - much like a vacuum cleaner, or filter - and are 'supposed' to be really deep down in the ocean, GLUED to rocks. But now, we find them washed up on a beach after a storm, stinking us out of the place. They are NOT supposed to be there. Rather, we should have seaweed. Has anyone noticed the lack of seaweed lately? Yep, we get these stinky sponges instead. THEY would appear to be almost all that's left along our coast - apart from kelp - and even they are not where they're meant to be.

Does anyone remember the movie, The Day After Tomorrow? I watched Al Gore's presentation, and I realised that, although the time frame in the movie is likely much reduced, it is based on none other than hard-core, scientific, FACT! OUCH! Something like that should make us think twice. But does it? Most of us are so busy with our lives, trying to keep pace with the important business of our lives, that we do not have time to spare a thought for the world we live in. And guess what - if it dies, we do to!

The Day After Tomorrow talks in the beginning of an iceberg bigger than the size of Rhode Island breaking off an ice shelf in Antarctica. Listen to this. The movie was released in 2004, four years after just that happened. Read the following, extracted from Wikipedia (for those of you who question the merits of Wikipedia, a fact is a fact is a fact):

Iceberg B-15 was the world's largest recorded iceberg, with an area of over 11,000 km² it was larger than the island of Jamaica. It calved from the Ross Ice Shelf in March 2000, breaking up into several pieces in 2002 and 2003.

For interest's sake, Rhode Island measures in at 3144 km squared, which is nearly a QUARTER the size of the iceberg.

In 2002, the Larsen B Ice Shelf disintegrated, following the Larsen A disintegration of 1995. Both of these events are attributed to global warming effects on Antarctica, where the temperature is rising by 0.5 degrees centigrade a decade.

So, do we have a problem, or do we have a problem?

All this is very well, and troubling - but there's an even greater, 'inconvenient' truth, that many people forget. Yes, some of you may have guessed what I'm getting at.

THERE IS A GOD OUT THERE - and He's coming BACK!!!

There was once a man who lived on this earth - somewhere around 2000 years ago. He lives in the Middle East, in and around Jerusalem. He said things that people had never heard before, and did things that people had never seen before. Lame people started running around. Blind people started seeing. Deaf people began to hear. Dead people came alive again. Sick people became well again. This man taught that we must each love our enemies. That we must stop disobeying his father, and that we must ask for forgiveness.

But what was even stranger - this guy seemed to know he was going to die. And he kept saying that he would only be dead for three days. He had twelve disciples, and none of them believed him. They told him off, in fact - something he didn't like. Then one day, when he had been talking to some person they couldn't see - someone who this man called 'Father' - one of the disciples, who had been given a huge amount of money, came up to this man, and kissed him. Suddenly there were Roman Soldiers everywhere in this peaceful garden, and they captured this man. They took him off to Jerusalem. They beat him, questioned him, and tortured him. None of the disciples could bear to stay around. They had believed in this man. He had done such great things. But now he was just another man, incapable of defending himself against these mighty soldiers.

Then the next day, the Roman Soldiers took him out to a hill outside the city. There were two other criminals with him, and they each dragged a cross to the hill. There, they were nailed onto the crosses, and stood up in the ground, for all to see. Naked and bloody, they stood there. This man, this had-been leader, and two criminals. This man must have done something really wrong to get himself nailed up there. But he didn't seem to really mind being there.

Then he said some really funny things. He said "Father, why have you forsaken me?", and then later, just as he died, he cried out "It is finished!" What is finished???

Well, that was the end of the story. He was taken down from the cross, and put in a tomb that one of the rich locals had said he could have. Then, three days later, one of the women who had been his disciple went to the tomb - but it was empty. An angel asked her why she was looking for the dead, because this man was not dead - he was ALIVE!

Over the next few weeks many people, including his disciples, saw this man. Suddenly they understood what it was that he had been saying to them for the last three years. Suddenly they realised that all that they had been taught was not in vain. Suddenly they realised that this life was not important - except to tell others what they had learnt. And what had they learnt?

That this man, who's name is Jesus, was God. That He had loved each person on this earth SO MUCH that, instead of staying in heaven, He came down to earth, to live amongst us, to show us the way to heaven. He came that the whole world may know, and believe, that He is the One who created the world, the universe, and each one of us. He came that the whole world may believe in Him. He came that the whole world may repent from their disobedience, and instead love and obey Him.

But - do we?

Are we really prepared to obey Him? Are we really willing to love Him? Are we really prepared to give up our lives - our cushy, material, earthly, lives - for obedience to Him? And what does this obedience require? In Luke 14:33b, Jesus says, "... any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple."

What does this mean?
Must we give up our possessions? Yes, if God wants it.
Must we give up our time? Yes, if God wants it.
Must we give up our friends? Yes, if God wants it.
Must we give up our family? Yes, if God wants it.
Must we give up our money? Yes, if God wants it.
Must we (gasp) give up our lives? Yes, if God wants it.

Are we prepared to do these any of these things? Are we prepared to make the greatest sacrifice - tell the whole world the GOOD NEWS: that Jesus had redeemed us for eternal life, and that to reject Him is the stupidest thing that we can do - at the cost of our own lives?

But why should it be at the cost of our own lives? Because people don't like to hear it. They don't want to know about Jesus, His death, His resurrection, and His redemption. But why?