Category Archives: Education

Is the Resurrection Fact or Fiction?

Every year the media focuses on Easter and its significance for followers of Christ. Questions are raised about Christ’s life, death and his resurrection. “Was he the King of the Jews?” “Did he walk the Earth after his resurrection? Was he truly the Son of God?” Certainly, followers of Christ live by faith; but is there also conclusive proof of Christ’s resurrection throughout the Bible, outside the Bible and throughout history? “If there is no resurrection from the dead,” said the jailed Apostle Paul, “then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is our faith (1 Corinthians 15:12).”  Hopefully, my research will help you draw your own conclusions.

The most powerful argument for the existence of Christ is changed lives as seen recently in the movie and book, The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel. He, like CS Lewis, was an atheist. Being a successful investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune and an author, he decided to do his own investigation after being threatened by his wife’s conversion.   He found the proof for the resurrection to be overwhelming.   My own life is also an example. I was raised a Lutheran, but became an agnostic at the age of 17. I thought smart people don’t believe in God.  I have always been moved by nature though, and looking at a sunset one evening during my freshman year at Northern Illinois University, I told God if he was there, he could have my life. But he had to prove to me that he really existed and was not a figment of my imagination. That night I met my husband and the adventure began.

I had so many questions but the answers came one at a time as I searched the scriptures.  If you are feeling like something is missing in your life, could it be because you were created for so much more——a relationship with the living God? “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:12).”  Not many people are willing to do the research.  They look everywhere else, but rarely study the words of Jesus, his disciples and the prophets.  If Christ was the Messiah and there is such a thing as abundant life here and life after death, wouldn’t you want to know?  The next job, the next vacation, the next house—- is that what will fill your life? Pascal once said that there is a God-shaped vacuum in each of us, and it can only be filled by a relationship with Him who knows and loves each of us. Yes, faith is important but the following essay will give facts from my research. With a Master’s degree and 60 hours beyond, research comes naturally.

To begin, the most powerful arguments are the prophecies concerning Christ’s first coming and his crucifixion.  No person could possibly script his life to fit where he would be born, how he would die, and where and how he would be buried.   These prophecies can be found throughout the Old Testament.  But for the sake of brevity, we’ll center on two books.  First, the book of Isaiah which was written in 740-680 B.C. Isaiah was born into an upper-class family where he rubbed shoulders with royalty and gave advice concerning foreign affairs of the nation.  He also attacked the social ills of his day like many of us who are concerned about the welfare of our nation.  He viewed these social abuses as symptoms of spiritual declension. To give you a flavor of his writing, see Isaiah 1: 23. “Your rulers are rebels and companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts.  They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.” Today, we can throw our corrupt politicians/governors in jail.  Unfortunately for Isaiah, who lived most of his life in Jerusalem, his outspoken words got him martyred by being sawed in two while inside a hollow log (Hebrews 11:37) under the reign of Manasseh. Here are the statements of a God inspired man. When reading Isaiah 53, you would be reading the lyrics for Handel’s Messiah.  Many of these verses will resonate with you.

  • “He was despised and rejected by men-a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53.3
  • “But he was pierced for our transgressions.  He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him and by his wounds, we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all……he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Isaiah 53.5-7
  • “He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” Isaiah 53:9
  • “After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life, and be satisfied:  Isaiah 53:9
  • “For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:12

The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered on January 28, 1949. The whole Old Testament was discovered except for the book of Esther. The book of Isaiah was relatively intact and is 1000 years older than anything found previously. The Isaiah scroll dates back to the second century B.C. which would make it impossible to falsify to fit the life of Christ...  The Dead Sea Scrolls also called the Qumran scrolls (Qumran is the main location in the Dead Sea area where the scrolls were discovered) demonstrates unequivocally the fact that the Jews were faithful in their transcription of biblical manuscripts.  The Jewish writers were extremely conscientious about copying the biblical text, and memorization was a key component of their education.  The Old Testament books from Qumran are those which we find in our Bibles. Comparing today’s scripture to those found in the Dead Sea Scrolls speaks of the accuracy found in the text.     

The second book I examined was the book of Psalms which was also found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The following are some of the prophecies of the Messiah.

  • “All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads; He trusts in the Lord let the Lord rescue him.  Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” Psalms 22: 7-8
  • “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint.  My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me…my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; Psalms 22:14 (Medically this is an accurate description of what takes place when a person is crucified.)  
  • “They have pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.  They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” Psalms 22:16
  • “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” Psalms 69:21
  • “Because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy one see decay.” Psalms 16:10

There are hundreds of prophecies concerning the coming Messiah which Jesus has fulfilled.  Here are a few more.

  • Bethlehem was named as the birthplace of the Messiah seven centuries before the event.  “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)
  • “See your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9
  • “They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” Zechariah 12:10

I have only touched lightly on this topic. Research has uncovered documents by historians like Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, and others. Historian Gary Habermas details a total of thirty-nine ancient sources documenting the life of Jesus.  We have also uncovered material by first century Christians which dates back to shortly after Christ’s resurrection—–with no time for legend to develop. But the biggest change is what happens to a person’s life when he or she truly follows Christ. I welcome questions and discussion on this all-important topic.

Sue Schuerr (sschuerr@gmail.com) or www.lifewithlarry.org

Top Secrets during World War II/Oakridge

In 2008, I started a book club and we have become dear friends while reading many historical fiction and non-fiction books. We recently read The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan.  It took place during World War II. Women came from all over the US to a town that was not on the map. Today, we call it Oak Ridge, Tennessee which is located near Knoxville in the Cumberland Gap Mountain range. Everything was top secret. Little did they know that those working there were  instrumental in ending World War II. I had a friend who grew up in Oak Ridge. She wanted to talk in her church about her new faith in Christ and asked Larry and I to join her in the Spring of 1978. I knew her parents were scientists but little did I know that they were also involved in the Oak Ridge project. I lost track of my friend Cynthia but was determined after reading this book to contact her. After years, we have connected and here is what she said about the experience first hand.
I was very excited to receive your letter and catch up a bit on you and Larry. First of all, yes, my parents were part of the beginnings of Oak Ridge.  My father, Boyd, was tasked with research that would help dispose of the waste from nuclear reactions.  However, he never spoke of what he was doing to anyone outside of the Lab, even to my mother.  Secrecy was very much a part of the work that was going on in the three different laboratory facilities.  The town was entirely surrounded by barbed wire fences.  Each worker entering the city had to show an ID that indicated that they had received security clearance at some level.  I remember the big billboards at each of the gates that reminded people entering and exiting to guard their speech.  
To the outside world, there was no Oak Ridge.  My grandmother in Ohio could not call us directly on the telephone.  The phone operators would tell her that there was no such place as Oak Ridge, TN. I think she had to ask for the phone center in Knoxville, and they transferred her call.  My parents discovered after the war was over that one of their women friends was an official spy for the government.  He job was to report anyone who at parties, etc has “loose lips.”  The woman’s husband was the most surprised of everybody when her spying was revealed. 
It was a wonderful city to raise a family.  With the high percentage of very educated scientists who were moved there, these was a high priority on education.  So, the schools were excellent.  Also, because we were a closed city, there was a strong sense of community.  Volunteerism was huge, especially in the area of the arts. We had our own symphony orchestra, theater group, playground programs for children in the summer, and a well-stocked library.   Neighborhoods were close and supportive of one another.  The wives in my neighborhood got together frequently and played canasta.  I do remember as an elementary student responding to air raid drills.  We were to leave our classrooms and squat down in the halls.  It was an accepted possibility that we would be bombed.  There…enough about Oak Ridge.  I hope your reading group finds some of what I’ve written interesting.
I’m looking forward to visiting Oak Ridge in the near future. The wild flowers are suppose to be the most beautiful at the end of April. We are in Oak Ridge right now April 26, 2016 and getting ready to explore the history of this town and to bike the beautiful paths along the river.

Why Have We Been Given Two Ears and One Mouth?

Why Have We Been Given Two Ears and One Mouth?   123

  “We have been given two ears and one mouth so we can speak less and listen more.” This was a quote in our speech book at Cary Grove High School.  I learned this lesson by the mistakes I have made in communication in the past. My husband pointed out that I often asked a person a question and then when they were responding,  I’d start a conversation with another person at the table. How rude was that and yet I didn’t even realize I was doing it.  Fortunately, I heeded Larry’s words and worked at changing this behavior. “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers”—Proverbs 16:20. Now that I’m a senior citizen, it’s time to express what I have learned in life. If I hadn’t been an English/Speech teacher, I probably would have been a journalist. When I wrote for the Compassion and Justice ministry at Willow, I had the opportunity to interview  people from various walks of life. I found my sweet spot doing this. I looked at everyone as I would look at an interesting book and asked myself, “What can I learn from this person and what makes them tick.” “When having a conversation with someone, think of them as the most interesting person in the world. Being curious will take you away from being judgmental as well,” said Robyn Hatcher.

Toastmasters has also helped me be a better listener.  I have to remember—“It’s not about me.” Listening properly means fully engaging instead of jumping in when the speaker takes a breath and bringing the topic back to me. This is also a wonderful way of making great friendships. It doesn’t mean you don’t express yourself;  instead,  it means waiting to hear them through. Larry had a very difficult day on a climbing trip in Montana. When he returned, he told a friend about it—- ” This was the most difficult day of my life– second to basic training as a Marine..”The response from the listener was, “Let me tell you about my retirement plan.” There wasn’t even an attempt at asking why it was the most difficult day.

But how often do we catch ourselves only thinking of our own needs and not the needs of others? “Friends are those rare people who ask how we are, and then wait to hear the answer,” said Ed Cummingham.

So how can we all get better at the art of listening?

Here’s an anacyrom  that will help. EARS

E=Engaging-Be interested in your friend’s thoughts and opinions.

A= Acknowledge-Acknowledge the speaker-Put away distractions.

R=Repeat what the speaker said in your own words so the speaker can clarify or correct any misunderstanding.

I hope this has been helpful for you. Please respond on my website www.lifewithlarry.org to post what you have learned about the subject.  My New Year’s resolution is to get better at this most important art of good listening.