The Case for Christ - The Film - Playing April 7th

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A seasoned journalist chases down the biggest story in history--is there credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the son of god?

Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith, Lee Strobel, former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, cross-examines a dozen experts with doctorates from schools like Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis who are recognized authorities in their own fields. Strobel challenges them with questions like: How reliable is the New Testament? Does evidence for Jesus exist outside the Bible? Is there any reason to believe the resurrection was an actual event?

Strobel's tough, point-blank questions make this Gold Medallion-winning book read like a captivating, fast-paced novel. But it's not fiction. It's a riveting quest for the truth about history's most compelling figure. What will your verdict be in The Case for Christ?

"Lee Strobel probes with bulldog-like tenacity the evidence for the truth of biblical Christianity."--Bruce M. Metzger, Ph.D., Professor of New Testament, Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary

"Lee Strobel asks the questions a tough-minded skeptic would ask. His book is so good I read it out loud to my wife evenings after dinner. Every inquirer should have it."--Phillip E. Johnson, Law Professor, University of California at Berkeley

Hear all the messages being preached at GGCPHILA

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God bless you and please, if you're in the area stop by for a visit!

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Day Two - The Drawing into Prayer

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"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" John 6:44

"Prayer is the drawing and pressing of the impressed image toward its Original, which is the Triune God." - Abraham Kuyper

It is all important that it be understood that the act of prayer originates from the Spirit of the Father drawing to seek Him in prayer and not our own will and endeavoring. There is nothing in mortal man that prays. He has no prayer in himself. Man ought to pray but the truth is he cannot, nor does he wish to or see the value of prayer; for he does not even know what prayer is. Man is only aware of the world he lives in and what he wants for himself, by himself because his spirit is un-regenrate, dead. Man is bound to himself and finite in his understanding not seeing The Eternal. The carnal man, whether believing or not, lives only in the sphere of his own pain, joy, sin and success. He cannot by himself know any thing outside of his limited sphere of senses - yet he is very aware of the cosmic loneliness within not even knowing how to enquire for remedy.

The Bible begins within the opening chapters God with seeking and calling lost man, "Adam, where are you?", Gen 3:9. It is in this moment that God's compassion is stirred for man's blind plight trapped in fear and He begins to draw him with bands of love, Hosea 11:4. This drawing is mystical and cannot be described by words, but it is beautiful and attracting. It was the attractiveness of Jesus when He prayed in Luke 11:1 that drew his disciples to ask - "teach us to pray".

It is that sweet Word from the Father Himself that speaks directly to the innermost tabernacle of a man saying, "seek My Face". When our heart responds "Thy Face will I seek" as David said in Psalm 27.8, we are drawn to Himself in mutual desire for communion.

It is to become our discipline to hear His whisper "seek My Face" as we would tune our ears to hear the cooing of the morning dove on a branch outside our window. When there is no desire or urge to pray, do not try to will it but do as the Shulamite as she mused on her lover and their previous engagement. She called for her beloved, "Draw me, we will run after thee", Song of Sol 1.4. She waited in her chambers in stillness waiting for her beloved's voice to call her out.

Prayer that is willed is not prayer but can easily become spiritless recitings of heartless words. Prayer is to be the breathing out of the breath of love towards He who draws us with bands of love. This kind of prayer is as easy as breathing because it's a prayer of the heart - the heart that God has given us to know Him, Jer 24.7.




Week One - Preparation: Deep calling to the Deep | Day One: The Need for Intimacy

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"Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts" Ps 42.7

"When we sing, 'Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,' we are not thinking of the nearness of place, but of the nearness of relationship. It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for a more perfect consciousness of the divine Presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts." --A.W. Tozer

We live in a fast paced world ever accelerating in information and social media relationships, yet people's need for intimacy is accentuated by the lack of real relationship leaving many, many in a growing sense of loneliness, disconnected from their circles of meaningful relationships. People have become more increasingly as isolated islands in the vast sea of humanity - talking and texting; speaking to others but not being heard, hearing and not really understanding.

Society has become comfortably accustomed to meet at an arid and shallow plain and exchange something physical or even soulish while the unseen heart cries out of it's depth for the intimate and meaningful.

Intimacy that we are craving for cannot be met at the physical plane only nor at soulish level (of the mind, emotions, the will the conscience or identity of the soul). Our physical body is aware only of people and the world we live in and it's media, mentality, fashion, food, entertainment, news, career, etc. Our Soul is only self conscious of it's inner psychic noise of fear, shame, guilt and what it wants, knows, feels or determines.

The intimacy we were made for can only take place at the spiritual level. Where the depths of the Spirit of God calls out to the depths of the spirit of a person.

This is what Job was pleading for when he said "Even today is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. Oh that I knew where I might find him! That I might come even to his seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me. There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered forever" Job 23:2-7. Job wanted to be deeply known, deeply heard, deeply understood.

David yearned for this intimacy also in Psalm 42.7 when he said "deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts." The Hebrew word used here for "waterspouts" is "sinnor" which refers to a water shaft hollowed out of stone, a water tunnel. It describes water that flows through the water tunnel suddenly and quickly, creating a rushing sound of turbulent water.

For there to be that intimacy that we so deeply desire there must be first the drilling down through the stone of the physical world-consciousness, deeper still through the soulish self-conscious, until there is the breaking through to that spirit inside of us. Then and only then can the refreshing waters from the depths of God 's Person fill our thirsty soul, Psalm 42.1-2. This is that moment when His Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we belong, that we are not lost orphans but sons. This relationship and nearness that we experience in prayer is a nearness that is closer to us than our very soul, our very memory, and our very breath. We can hear His whispers, He has no need to shout for He is closer to us than we are to ourselves. This is true intimacy. This is the sum of all that we need.