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What Is the Meaning of Life

Chris Holland
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Chris Holland

Chris Holland is speaker/director of It Is Written Canada. 

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  • February 14, 2015
    11:00 AM
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I'm all right. It has stood the test of time. God's Book the Bible still relevant in today's complex world it is written. Sharing messages of hope around the world. I'm I'm I'm friend I'm so glad you made the choice to join us today and it is written. You know life is full of questions people ask questions we come up asking questions what are we going to do that day. What time should we have woken up. What time are we going to eat lunch. But then there are bigger questions of life. What is the meaning of life. Philosophers and scholars alike have wrestled with this question for ages asking question after question after question. If the challenge they face is often they just continue to ask questions and never find an answer. But today on it is written we go beyond questions to find answers and I am so glad to have joining me today John Bradshaw speaker director for it is written International. John so glad to have you here in Canada. Really good to be here Chris thank you for having me. Now John you are with. It is written international and we're going to talk about that in just a moment but you've been doing a little traveling lately where where have you come to and from to get here in Toronto. Well we were just in Phoenix Arizona before that in Malaysia East in Malaysia. Beautiful place. Not too long before that we were in parts of Europe. Get around a little bit. But the point is not traveling for traveling sake it's to take the Bible and share Jesus and help people finances. That's right now some of our viewers might be a little confused because it is written Canada. It is written International. There's a little bit of history there John. How are these ministries similar yet different. Well about sixty years ago a man named George Vandeman began an organization called it is written and was inspired by God to head north of the border and meet up with a man named Henry Feyerabend a legend a giant in the Christian world who then began. It is written Canada so we're with cousins or brothers or something but I'm glad I'm glad we connected our roots go back to the same place. Absolutely. Our roots go back to the same place. Two separate organizations we operate in Canada for that Canadian audience. It is written International has a broader scope by going around the world but headquartered down in the U.S. just outside of Chattanooga Tennessee with a distinct mission as well and so I'm so glad that we can partner together and work together to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus and lead to wonderful. Now John you know as we talk about pastors and preachers one of the things that's very interesting is there have been a great deal of news stories done on pastors who preach the gospel. But then you find out there are life outside of their preaching doesn't match what they've been saying. It's painful it is very very painful and so I want to take just a moment to actually part of the show. This this show where we ask the question What is the meaning of life. I want to take a moment just to get to know you a little bit. John did you did you come from your mom a preacher and preaching the gospel from infancy. Tell us a little bit about where you are with your beginnings and and your your start in life. I was raised but whatever. Raised in New Zealand. OK And you know so you know New Zealanders feel a strong kinship to Canada and Canadians where we're both part of the British Commonwealth and we have some similar terms and frames of reference and and we think warmly of Canadians you know. So I was born and raised in New Zealand and had the benefit of being raised in a church going home. OK Now you said church goer I sense that you going to make a distinction to help us understand what you mean by church going home. Yeah you know what I'd like to be able to say a Bible believing home but that's not really true. We were religious and we went to church every Sunday and church was a very very big part of our lives no question and dad who led by example did the very best he could but it wasn't a place that was especially Christian. OK You know we did our thing in church was what you did on Sunday or perhaps on other days. It was religiosity but it wasn't anything that really went to the heart and converted the heart we were followers of the church no doubt but I'm not sure we were followers of Jesus. I think a lot of people can relate to that. What happens is people get jaded. Yes they said Boy this really isn't anything I go through the motions but that's all the emotions are going through me so that where I was raised in a church we were proud of that we were committed to that but that's all it was you know and I can relate to that I grew up in a home where we were also church going people now I know at a very young age I became disillusioned with the church because of some things that had happened. Where did your course of life take you as you were in this church going home. Were you seeking for answers was it just something that you did or where were you at in life. How did that affect your life and I really started questioning young I was very involved very young and I was an all. It's a boy in my church which meant that during the church service I says to the priest you know we had good priests we have anything scandalous take place and that can happen in any denomination I know but we knew that we had we had good priests as far as we knew good guys great nuns why should I have related to that I could relate to that mostly you know good people you know good salt of the earth people. But I started having questions about when I was being taught. We would hear various things spoken from the altar from the what I guess you'd say the pulpit but as I thought about the metin seem to ring true you know even even contradictory things and so as a kid I'm saying this just doesn't add up. You know we were taught not to ask questions but the questions are there unless you just flip that switch you going to keep asking the questions. I decided they had to be a way to find answers. They just had to be and so what age are we talking John how old are you as you're going through this questioning and seeking in your mind. Well I'll tell you I remember being nine years old. It's kind of young and as an altar boy we'd be in the church and the priest would say. We can rejoice because grandad is in heaven today. Great and then we go to the cemetery for the burial just thirty minutes later and the same priest would say and now we commit grandad's body to the grave where he will rest until the resurrection when the saints shall hang on a minute. Is he in heaven or is he in the ground. How can he be two places at once. For instance he can think these thoughts are and then and I don't mean to rag on my old church I thank God he lead me that direction but then we have something like a confession. And now these were good fellows these priests but you know the poor old priest was propping up the bar the night before the local hotel drinking as much whisky as he could as he could and now I'm telling him. He's saying to me tabs although I absolve you I wondered and then I think one that really struck me as a child praying to saints. I wondered about that I want to show where those saints were because the priest would already confuse me good and proper. But if you if you lost something you would pray to St Anthony if you starting a journey you pray to St Christopher if you wanted to excel in piano you prayed to St Cecelia and I was wondering why the middle man. Why can I not go straight to God. So so these were just some of the questions they were myriad others and I said I'm gonna find this must make sense because as it was it made no sense and so I think it's important for us and important to share with our viewers. It's OK to ask questions rather than we should ask questions and so you're asking all these questions. But here's the key we need to go beyond questions and find answers. So you're nine years old and you're going through this process of adolescence growing up asking questions. At what point do you find or at what point do you start to find answers to some of the dances I satisfied in my own mind for instance. I hope I'm not getting too specific but I was taught that if you are a bad person you didn't go to heaven and you burned for ever and ever and ever and ever in hell. Yes And you know that's quite a picture to have of God If it's an accurate picture so be it. Sure but I wasn't satisfied that that could be accurate and so I resolved in my mind. No no no it's not that it must be something else on. I'm in my early teens working through this and there are there are other questions as well. But it was a little bit lighter through the intervention of a brother of mine who shared a book with me that I started to read I was in my early twenties. OK And I read it. I found I found this. Keep in mind this wasn't just a doctrinal thing. Sure we were told OK the message I got was if you are good you go to heaven if you are bad you go to hell or maybe Purgatory which didn't seem like a picnic anyway. I couldn't be good I couldn't be good and I was I just felt dead and then there was no way I could be good enough to go to heaven and I didn't like the idea of a god it was going to consign me to hell so my search wasn't just for the correct formula. I had my correct nice search also was for an experience that really made sense. Yes couldn't be good enough to go to heaven. So how in the world do I get there that has to be away and thank the Lord he showed me the way and that is one of the keys. John you talk about this not just looking for doctrinal it's not just an intellectual clarity that you are seeking but you are seeking something and I remember as a young man myself sixteen years old. Seeing and hearing things. But what was actually happening. Far from what I saw and heard. And so what we're talking about is something that yes we answer the question and it's in our mind but it comes out more practically in how I live and how I interact with others. You know a lot of people have the answers but but but it isn't transformed their life in Jesus didn't come out of the world just so we could check the right boxes and score one hundred percent on the test S. he came into this world so our hearts could be made new so we could be transformed to be to be connected to him so that his life could flow through our life you know like like like a dialysis patient the old blood goes out and comes back and claims then and Jesus kind of does that he takes our old life and gives us back it clings to life through His blood through his death for us. So that experience is vital otherwise were actors in a play and many of us bad actors. Yes. And so you're asking these questions but you want more than just these intellectual doctrinal answers you want real life answers. You really want to know what the meaning of life is you know so you can actually live it out and you talk about Jesus living through you. Is there a moment or a period of time where Jesus really begins in to enter into your life in a special way to really transform your thinking and your action. Honestly Paul you know he was on the road to Damascus and he traces it back to that one moment I think I think sort of I think sort of many of us you know it's a gradual experience in the light just gets brighter and brighter but I remember sitting in a bar in London England reading a book the book was encouraging me really to give my life to Christ. And and I thought What am I going to do. One of my going to do and I've either got to go with God or turn my back on God He was calling a loud and clear and I thought I would take this book. I I looked across the the room you know and I saw a place where the wall in the floor came to get us out. Throw this book right now and it be all over and I could go back to my old life which was which is kind of fun. It wasn't like I had nothing. But I realized I remembered what the nuns taught me. I remember when they shared with us what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul. So I could go with God and I would have to have given up on my old life it wasn't a very savory existence. I could go with God and give up on that or hang on to the old life. Yes and then get to the end of the line and say you know I don't have what I really wanted and that eternal life and that's to live a life of integrity before God I'll tell you something that really impacted me. It's a little strange for a Protestant preacher I guess to trace it back to the. But something that meant a lot to me was above the altar in our church was a crucifix. Yes a life sized crucifix not was a pretty sanitized crucifixion. Sure a few drops of blood on the brow and a little little drip down Jesus' side yes a spot of blood on his feet where the nails went through undoubtedly the crucifixion wasn't quite like that now. Yet every time I went to that church and saw that Jesus on the cross with this kid that I knew he had died for me. Yes and I knew he loved me and that spoke to me. I couldn't shake it off. God who loved me Jesus died for me to doubt that ungrateful if you would give me a dollar. Jesus gave me as a life. What could I do here. So that really spoke I would sit in the bathtub realizing I can't turn my back on the reasons I doubt my hand I pray to pray I say OK we'll do it your way and what that meant was from now on the Bible would be to God for my life. Whatever it said Whatever it meant I would go that direction but had some learning to do I wouldn't get it all right first time around. But if you'll guide me I'll follow you according to your word Lord and he did. That is phenomenal John you know that sounds like a book that maybe you need to be writing converted in a bath tub. Yeah I I And you know and I think it's important for our viewers because I too had a similar experience. There are key moments because sometimes we hear people talk about their Christian experience and there's this great moment where where everything comes together. But we have to understand you know Proverbs four eighteen is that is that very important and you made reference to it the path of the justice as a shining light that shines brighter and brighter unto a perfect day. And so sometimes that process is a slow process where these these key moments and so you have this bath tub moment shall we call you where you make a decision. I'm going to live my life by whatever the Bible says. What does that take you want John. Well if I was going to follow the Bible then I knew I'd need to I need to be part of a church. I had prayed a prayer I am never going back to church again until you show me the truth. Be careful be careful if you pray that America's got to call you on it. What's it worth to you. So I realize that if I was going to go to church I should follow the Bible and worship on the day that the Bible designates as the Sabbath that's the seventh day I knew that I knew that I had asked that question as a little kid. OK And and even conferred with my mother who to this day does not go to church but she said yes it's the seventh day of the week. Wow Have a look at Saturday. Well that's different but different doesn't bother me. You know sure it is different for the sake of different. OK but but if you're following God you don't want to be going down stream of the stream is heading toward a waterfall. So so I got on the telephone and I called the operator and I asked him this in London England for the phone number of a Seventh Day Adventist Church in fact asked for the same there in his cathedral. How did I know they didn't have cathedrals these people and their tribe began I began with a church that worshipped on the seventh day sabbath. I figured if I'm going to follow the bible let's follow the Bible and I didn't know enough to know all the arguments against following the Ten Commandments. Sure you know I did I didn't know that people get sophisticated about telling you why it's OK to disobey God why that one doesn't matter I don't know any of it but I said to the Lord I'll stop here and it's up to you to decide what you want to do with it. What would a fresh experience you know. You know Jesus talked about becoming like children and that's how children are you know until they turn teenagers then they begin then with that one word question why. But. What a young a young child you know go do this go do that go here go there and they do it because they're committed to being obedient to their parent and in the same way you make a decision to be obedient to God no matter where he takes you and you know you've mentioned a number of different topics that we won't address in this show or even in the next shows we're going to be doing together. And so our viewer if they're interested in getting some resources they can go to our website it is written canada dot ca and there they can find resources to find some of these topics that you've been discussing. So the Lord leads you to the Seventh Day Adventist Church you've been studying your baptized and then what happens John because it seems as if your life was not placing you on the course toward the priesthood nor to be a pastor. So what happens that gets you on this course. Well like every kid in the Catholic Church I entertain the idea of being pretty sure my dad had seven children he was confident that at least one of them would be a priest or a nun. Yes Now he has a couple of months who are nuns but he didn't even know that at the time actually. So I thought about it for about. Now ten seconds and I realized that wasn't the life for me and I also realized I wasn't old enough to be one of these holy guys or so when I when I gave my life to Christ and purposed to follow the Bible I never had any idea that idea to be a minister of the gospel because that was for the for the very holy very interesting thought I didn't know what I was going to with my life really after that I couldn't go back to the UK My background is in broadcasting I was a radio broadcast OK broadcasting and assorted foolishness. Sure I couldn't go back there. My life had to change. So what I do I really wasn't sure but long story short I ended up at a little a little training course teaching people. Or to share their faith and and then someone said Would you like to work as an evangelist. Amazing just like that and in fact the question was asked on a piece of paper and I almost said not because I thought Who am I to say that's what I'd like to do. I mean that said not a delusion of grandeur but a delusion of holiness. I couldn't say I am holy enough to hold the Bible and preach the gospel but I thought to myself it would look rude I mean someone would say What's his problem that he wouldn't do this if we asked him. Yes So I said well OK I'll be willing if you and so they called and said you know we'd like to give you a shot at this and it was then that I realized this is what I was born for. My sojourn in broadcasting. It wasn't for that it was for this god developed in me certain abilities you know. Yes And so now I can speak for him. I know I've got something new to talk about and that's where it began there's been no looking back. Thanks a lot and fun too. That is amazing and you and I have met several years ago and your journey takes you through pastor and you're an evangelist then your pastor several churches and you're in your experience is international and then you are led to it is written International where you are this young Catholic boy who hears the voice of God to be obedient no matter what the cost. To follow that path and now you're preaching the gospel to thousands often on television across the world sharing the message of hope. Well encourages me. God has a work for everybody. For someone sitting in front of a camera or standing in an auditorium preaching for others it's mission work living in a hut getting malaria or losing loved ones that type of thing. For others it's. Share in Jesus in your neighborhood while you work as a dentist or while you are a homemaker while you drive a bus. The important thing is that you find what God has for you because God has something for him it's like that's what the body is made up of many different parts. I'm thankful the Lord has led me to what he had for me and I want to encourage people everywhere I go to find what God has for them. Yes And God has something for that and also it might be that not everybody's journey is the same as mine. However if a person will pray show me the truth God will God will and he will lead that person from wherever they are to wherever to wherever. Not I want that person to be but when God wants that person to begin their action imagine fulfilling your God your God determined destiny. Yes Imagine you have to get to the end your life and say you know at least for a while there at least at least while it mattered I was with God wanted me. That's right and you can get there. Light is better than never and if you cry out to God and say OK what is it where do you really want me. You stop playing church games. It won't be business as usual. It will be God's special plan for your life. I came to Canada the first time years ago. I was on my way to England as many young New Zealanders do in New Zealand go to England earn pounds then them having fun and then you go home and get on with life. We went to the U.K. via Canada. We flew into Toronto Star into Vancouver from Oakland and then on to Toronto and we had some interesting experiences. It's really interesting to know that once I gave my life to God he would bring me back to Canada. Yes but to talk about something worthwhile. Absolutely you know. We we found ourselves in some places in Toronto that just surprised us and we said this isn't where we thought we were and we had it you know the old life. Yes but now this is the new life it's something I can leave Canada with my head held high saying while I was there we did something worthwhile. Yes God is enabled me to cover some of the old ground but in a way that honors him. Absolutely a good one and you know we ask this question What is the true meaning of life and I think we find it and you summed it up well in saying we find what God wants for us and we follow it no matter what. John it's hard to believe we're out of time. I'm wondering if you would pray for us today that our folks would find what that God given thing is in their life. I'd love to let's pray Father in Heaven you are good the Bible says God is love that's so true. It says that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Thank you for the hope we have in Jesus. Thank you that you have a purpose for us. I want to pray you know because they were somebody seriously reaching out to you and saying show me you purposefully leave me in your life. Bless us all that we will find Christ meaningfully truth practically and then we will find you totally and completely now and in eternity. I pray and thank you in Jesus' name amen. Hi everyone. Are you using chia seeds as the add in your daily heating to your feet. Tiny one of the necessities the eats but they pack a huge nutritional punch. In fact they have regarded as a super food. They are high. In dietary fibre and in omega three fatty acids which are essential to good health and are delicious stories the protein when soaked in liquid the themes form a gel much like flax seeds do you can sprinkle the seeds on your food at them to smoothies or make a pudding like the Chia putting I'm making today. This recipe is from the wonderful cookbook going raw byte you Ditto witness all the recipes incredibly easy and delicious. All you need are they have a cup of chia seeds two cups of nut milk. I'm going to use almond and two tablespoons of a godly nature or honey and a dash of cinnamon. So let me show you. Put the chia seeds in a little dash of cinnamon some of the honey and you can sleep in it you know to your liking and then the not milk are you going to stir that and let it sit for about ten minutes and then you're going to stir it again and then you're going to put it in the fridge for four to six hours or overnight and then you can garnish with a little bit more of the cinnamon and one in the morning this is what you're going to have it's going to be gelatinous and it'll keep for about two to three days in the fridge. It's delicious and it's also good for you enjoy it in good health for you next time. I'm. A friend we talked about finding your God given purpose in life. I want to offer you the Discover Bible lessons where you can find his purpose for you. Here's the information you need to request Today's up or just log on to W W W dot it is written in canada dot ca That's W W W dot it is written canada dot ca for Canadian viewers. The offer will be sent free. A postage paid for viewers outside of Canada shipping charges will apply if you prefer you may call toll free at one eight eight eight call I.W. or if you wish you may write to us. It is written. Box twenty ten. Ottawa Ontario L one eight seventy four. John thank you so much for joining and sharing your story today. Thank you dear friend. I want to invite you to join us again next week where I'll be discussing another Bible topic with John. Until then remember I'm if this is written man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

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