I love it when people ask me questions. Questions make me think. Questions force me to re-examine myself. Questions help me grow.
One of the things I’ve always loved about being Presbyterian is that we tend to be a people who aren’t afraid to ask questions. I especially love questions which don’t have quick, simple answers. There are the classics… “Why do bad things happen to good people?” And “If Jesus is the only way, then what happens to the people who never hear about Jesus?”
But questions of all variety intrigue me as well. The men in my Bible study know that it’s easy to get me off topic. Just ask a question, and off I’ll go. I can’t resist a good question. I even did a series of sermons called “Hard Questions.” We struggled with issues like, “Why is the world such a mess?” and “Why is God testing me?” Wrestling with those problems makes rethink my sometimes simplistic and naive affirmations. Struggling with those questions helps me to grow in my faith and in my life.
Jesus used questions in his ministry. “Who do you say that I am?” His answer to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” led to one of his greatest stories… the story of the good Samaritan. And it was on the cross that Jesus asked one of the most powerful questions of history. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
My love for questions has led to my upcoming sermon series. Beginning this Sunday, and for the two weeks after that, I’m going to deal with three questions which Adam Hamilton, a Methodist pastor in Kansas, has suggested that every Christian should be able to answer. The questions Hamilton asks are, “Why does a person need Jesus?; Why does a person need the church?; and, “Why does a person need your particular church?”
Over the next three weeks, I’m going to offer my answers to those three questions. But here’s my real hope. My prayer is that each of you will be answering those questions in your own life as well.
As much as I love questions, I love finding answers. The answers can’t be superficial or simplistic… those just lead to more questions. But answers do exist.
So help me out with my sermons. Why do you think people need Jesus? Let me know what you think.
Dr. Lane Alderman
Roswell Presbyterian Church