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Family, Faith and Favorite Things
In April 16 Issue
By Linda Stephens, Columnist

Favorite thing…. Singing in a choir. My home church had choirs for all ages… grade school children all the way to adults. In junior high our choir practiced on Thursdays afternoons. A mother would pick several of us kids up from school and drive us downtown to church for choir practice. Mr. Bill Lowe, the choir director taught us many things about music…how to read music, how to breathe properly using our diaphragm, how to blend our singing with each other and how to hold our books so we could see the music and watch him at the same time. Mr. Lowe grew my love for church music and choir singing. The choir at RSUMC will perform (sing) their Easter Cantata, "Then Came the Morning" on Good Friday evening , April 22 at 6:00 PM.

The public is invited to hear this wonderful singing program of Easter Music. The music and narration are beautiful- some songs are familiar and some songs are new. The message we sing of Christ's resurrection is awesome. Come join us and hear one of my favorite things…. music sung by a choir.

Easter is the occasion where Christians around the world celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Is the resurrection of Jesus a myth or is it history?

Our belief that Jesus died and rose again is based on solid historical evidence. Norman L. Geisler writes a powerful article in Decision Magazine(April 2011) laying out the facts about the resurrection of Jesus. "According to the Bible, we have certainty (Luke 1:4) and convincing proofs (Acts 1:3) that Jesus actually died on the cross and physically rose from the grave three days later.

Evidence for Christ's Death. Few things have greater historical certainty than that Christ actually died on the cross. Consider the following evidence:

The nature and extent of Jesus' injuries indicate that He must have died.

The nature of the crucifixion assures death.

Those at the cross heard Jesus' death cry. (Luke 23:46)

The professional Roman executioners pronounced Jesus dead.

The piercing of Jesus side with the spear is proof that He had physically died before the piercing. (John19:34).

The Bible records that blood and water came out of Jesus'side, which is medical proof that a person has already died.

Pilate made sure Jesus was dead before he gave the corpse to Joseph to be buried. (Mark 15: 44-45)

Jesus was wrapped in about 75 pounds of cloth and spices and placed in a sealed tomb for three days. (John19:39-40, Matthew 27:60).

If Jesus were not dead by then, which He clearly was, He would have died in the tomb from lack of water, food and medical treatment.

The earliest Christian writers after the time of Christ affirmed His death on the cross by crucifixion. These included Polycarp, a disciple of the apostle John, Justin Martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew and Josephus, the Jewish historian of the time of Christ. Also a Roman historian Cornelius Tactitus and a Roman writer Phlegon confirmed it.

Now the question is asked- "Can we trust the records that bring us these facts?" The answer is a powerful yes-for many reasons. First, the records are both biblical and non-biblical, written by believers and non-believers. As for biblical records, we have some 5,700 manuscripts of the New Testament beginning with a gap of only one generation from the original text. Most books from the ancient world survive on only 10-20 manuscripts that are separated from the original on average by nearly 1,000 years!

Second, there were at least eight writers on the 27 books of the New Testament. Most other events from the ancient world had only one or two writers. Even critics admit that these New Testament writers were eyewitnesses or contemporaries of the events. Further, the noted British manuscript authority Sir Frederic Kenyon affirmed, "The last foundation for any doubt that the Scriptures have come down substantially as they were written has now been removed. Both the authenticity and the general intergrity of the books of the New Testament may be regarded as finally established." ( " Bible and Archaeology", page 288)"

But the best is yet to come and that is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. There is no other religion whose god came back to life after he died. The God of the Christian faith did so. Jesus Christ rose from the grave, like He said He would. There is overwhelming evidence to support the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ that I'll share with you next week.

Budget Cuts. Sometime last week on the news I heard that the sticking point in the budget negotiations was the funding of Planned Parenthood.

The Democrats and President Obama wanted to continue to give this abortion provider $363 million dollars of tax payer money. The Republicans did not. Planned Parenthood likes to promote it services as "women's health care".

This is totally false. It is a huge abortion provider that makes millions of dollars. In 2008, Planned Parenthood had 9,433 prenatal clients, made 2405 adoption referrals and performed 324,000 abortions. Now, that's pretty obvious their business is abortions.

It is immoral to give tax payer money to this organization. Planned Parenthood also spends around $1 million dollars per year to elect "pro-choice" or pro-abortion Democrats. (Source Family Research Council)

I haven't read it yet, but on the Family Research Council's website is free down load about this horrible organization titled:" Planned Parenthood, What every Teacher, Woman, Community Leader and Elected Official Needs to Know."

The African American community should especially be up in arms about Planned Parenthood, as they target black communities and minorities.

Thanks again for reading my column.

I appreciate you folks that tell me you read it. In closing here's one of my favorite quotations from John Wesley: "Do all the good you can; By all the means you can; In all the ways you can; In all the places you can; At all the times you can; To all the people you can; As long as ever you can."

Till next week.

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