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  • Edwin Shank

He came Down... to lift us Up

Welcome to Food for the Soul!

Now what? Where do I start? Can someone remind me why I thought sharing faith was a good idea? It's certainly not going to be easy!

These and other less-than-helpful thoughts were niggling ever since I took the plunge and committed to answer some questions about our faith.

But a few days ago, even as I wondered where to start, the answer arrived in a question sent by one of you. "Do you all believe that Jesus is the Savior?"

Suddenly I knew... this was the place to start!

I'll admit, this question did catch me a bit by surprise. I guess I assumed that most of you knew that we Mennonites and other plain people are Christian believers. So yes, absolutely, we do believe that Jesus Christ is our Saviour.

But in retrospect, the question is perfect, because maybe that point is not as well understood as I thought. And what better place to begin a faith blog than with the founder of our faith?

But please bear with me. Jesus Christ is the "author and finisher of our faith," but I feel like I should provide a little background. Because without an understanding of two other foundational points, one could legitimately ask, "But still, exactly why do you believe in Jesus?"

So let me explain.

Our 1st Core Belief is in the existence of God himself. We simply believe "that he is." To our people, "In God we Trust" is not just a saying on a coin or a cute slogan on our wall. Our communities and families and churches truly and fully believe in God, and we are not ashamed to say so and to live so.

We believe that he is the intelligent designer, the mastermind creator as well as the controller behind this beautiful earth, its ecosystem, our solar system, the entire universe, and everything else that exists, including us. Our people believe that God deeply loves and cares for the humans that he has created on this earth, and we often refer to God as "our Heavenly Father."

Our 2nd Core Belief is that the Bible is our Heavenly Father's written direction to us. We believe the Bible and refer to it as God's Word. We read it. We study it. We discuss it with each other and our children and accept it as the special way that God has chosen to communicate his truth and instruction to us in writing. The Bible is truly the operating manual for our lives.

I cannot overstate our people's sincere trust in the truth and authority of the Bible. We truly do believe it is the inspired message from God. We collectively and personally are passionately committed to follow all of our heavenly Father's words of wisdom, and his loving instruction. We know he only wants what is best for us. And it is in the Bible that he tells us what is best for us.

If you ever wish to comprehend our people's faith, you will need to understand this. Our total commitment to obey and apply the wisdom of God himself as shown to us through the Bible explains almost everything about the way we live. We sincerely do our best to apply God's principles to every area of our church life, our family life, our school life, our social life, and business life. We do not get it perfect, but we do give it our full-hearted best.

Do you see why I had to explain these foundational beliefs first? It is through our faith in the Bible as God's Word that we have faith to know our Father God Himself and then learn about his Son Jesus.

It's this Jesus who is the Holy Hero of the Bible.

In fact, the core message of the Bible is that Jesus Christ is the only beloved Son of our loving Heavenly Father-God who was sent down to this earth to save us from our sins, to teach us how to live, and to set up his Father's "Kingdom of heaven" on the earth. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven," Jesus taught his disciples to pray.

This Jesus was the wealthy, privileged, only-son of the heavenly God-King. As the son of God, he never had a trouble, a care, or a moment of suffering in his life. He had all the riches, all the power, all the prestige, and all the armies of heaven's angels at his command.

And yet, at the request of his Heavenly Father, Prince Jesus left all his riches and honor behind. He came down to this earth on a secret undercover mission. He came down to outwit and destroy the evil powers of darkness. He came down to rescue us humans who had messed up our lives so badly that we could never ever hope to recover ourselves.

And not only that... Jesus came down to teach us how to live.

He came Down... to lift us Up!

Blessings to you.

Your Mennonite Christian friend,

Edwin Shank

P.S. We welcome your questions! There is no such thing as a dumb question. Feel free to reply to this email. We can't commit to personally answer each one, but we do promise to read them all. Your input, questions and feedback will definitely shape future posts. And, you never know... we might get back to you with a personal answer too. We'll do our best!


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