Summary: This post-911 message was designed to inform people about the five classic religions, giving enough information for them to make a choice...
[This sermon is contributed by Hal Seed of New Song Church in Oceanside, California and of www.PastorMentor.com. Hal is the author of numerous books including The God Questions and The Bible Questions. If you are interested in The Bible Questions Church-wide Campaign, please visit and watch Hal’s video at www.PastorMentor.com.]
Let’s pray. – Lord, most of us who have grown up in a performance-based society find the truth of that drama very hard to fathom. God, could it really be that we to you, even if we’re not good looking or smart or popular? Could it be that you really love us just for who we are? My prayer this morning is that you would bring clarity to this question. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Good morning everybody!
Just out of curiosity, are their any mountain climbers among us?
Have you ever heard of “Hill-huggers disease?” How about “Crab hands”?
Prior to moving here to start New Song, the Seed family lived on the western slopes of the Colorado Rockies. We had lived there for 4 years, and during that time we learned that one source of bragging rights for every Coloradan is how many 14,000 foot peaks they have climbed.
There are 42 of them in the state, and people who have done all 42 of them are held in very high esteem.
Personally, I had climbed none of them. But two weeks before Lori and I were going to move away, I got the fever to climb at least one of those mountains.
So I went to a friend of mine, told him what I wanted to do, and asked if he’d be my tour guide. “Sure!” He said. So on the appointed day, we drove to the base of one of the most famous mountains, Long’s Peak [picture]
After hiking all morning, we came to the base of the boulder field, at about 13,000. From there, the hike becomes a climb. But, the sun was shining, I was working out regularly, so I felt great as we pulled our bodies up and over one boulder after another after another after another.
Finally, 300 feet from the summit, we burst through a rock formation called, “The Keyhole,” and all of a sudden, we were looking out on the other side of the mountain.
It was then that I developed Hill-Huggers Disease.
The view as spectacular. Between that, the step climb, and the lack of oxygen at 14,000 feet, my breath was taken away.
Actually, I think what took my breath away was the spectacular 2000 foot drop just in front of us.
Once we passed through the keyhole, my friend led me onto a 10 inch wide trail on the side of the ridge. We were less than a quarter mile’s walk from the summit, but I couldn’t go on.
My claws were dug into the side of the mountain, and I couldn’t get them out. Looking down, all I saw was air, and a valley way below. Looking ahead, there was this thin trail that led me farther and farther from safety. All I could think of as I was leaning into the peak was, “every step you take, you’re going to have to retrace on the way back.”
So my little hands became crab hands and just stood there hugging that hill. I can still remember thinking to myself, “There has got to be another way up this mountain.”
I said real calmly to my climbing partner, “Are, are you you sh-sure there is no other way up this mountain?”
“Yep.” He said. “I’m sure.”
“There’s no other way?”
“No.” He said, “By August you can climb the chimney, by right now there is ice in all its crevices.”
I looked around and tried to release my bear hug on the mtn., but I couldn’t do it.
So now you know the truth about me. I’m a hill hugger. I’ve got crab hands.
And I bring this up because, as a result of the disaster that befell our country on Sept. 11, all kinds of people are asking questions about the paths they’re climbing up these days.
For the past two weeks, we’ve been looking at the path up the mountain called, “Islam.”
The 19 terrorists involved in the 911 horror are all thought to have been Muslim fundamentalists, climbing their way up the mountainside of Islam to get to Islamic paradise.
The fact that they were all religiously motivated has not only put the fear of God into all of us, but has also sparked a lot of curiosity about the Islamic faith.
What does their mountain look like? And what steps do they need to take to climb it?
We looked at those questions in some depth the past two weeks, and that mode of thinking made a lot of us wonder, “What about the other religions of the world?” If Muslims believe in a Five Pillar Path, what do other people believe in?