An open letter to intellectually honest Doubters, Skeptics, Agnostics and Atheists:
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Lazaroo 30-day challenge to atheists. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
This is it.
I’m eager to lay out for you the unique details of this challenge, but first I owe you a glimpse into my motives.
I expect you’ll be taken aback at this, but because it’s true, I’m going to take a risk and say it anyway:
I really love you.
I’m not sure I can fully answer that. It’s just there. I didn’t put it there. I didn’t try to work it up. It just is. Real and strong.
My best guess is that God put it there. How else can I explain this tender, compassionate, heart-gripping affection for people I’ve never met? For what it’s worth, I suspect what I’m feeling is only a tiny drop in the ocean of God’s love for you.
In addition to what feels like this sort of miraculous infusion of God’s love for doubters, He’s also set me up in a couple of other ways.
There was a time in my life when my childhood faith was challenged by my university professors. During that extended period, I plunged deep into the bottomless pit of unbelief. I felt what you now feel. Looking back, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy that stark, cold, haunting emptiness, that overwhelming sadness, that stifling, bleak despair.
Perhaps you’re used to it, by now. You may even call it “normal.” It is only when you come in out of the cold and experience its stunning contrast to the amazing, healing warmth of a daily 1on1 relationship with Jesus that you will be able to look back and recognize the frigid temperatures in which you were once fighting desperately to survive.
When in the course of my everyday life I run into my doubting friends, see them bundled up against the cold and ask how they’re doing, they almost always say something like, “I’m great! Why do you ask?” At such times I’m reminded that they honestly believe everyone else is shivering, shaking and shuddering, just like they are.
It’s the reason an ancient Eskimo accustomed to sub-zero temperatures could poke his head out of his igloo into a frigid day that had shot up all the way to ten degrees Fahrenheit and declare it, “warm.”
I’m saying it takes one to know one. Even though the last thing you want from me is pity, I can’t help it. I’ve been where you are, I’ve felt what you feel. And I hurt for you.
The other avenue through which God has increased my love for you is my broken heart. Some of the people who mean the most to me – including members of my own family – are at this very moment ice-picking their way along frozen cliffs of disbelief. On the surface, they appear to be fine. But underneath, I know all too well they are disoriented, hypothermic and utterly lost in arctic mountain ranges of bone-chilling doubt.
The deep ache of fear for their safety never leaves me. Not a day goes by without Judy and me pleading for their lives. “Please God! Be merciful to them! Help them find their way back home to You! We beg You, God – don’t let them fall!”
So that’s my bias. As you can tell, when it comes to this issue I’m not exactly a disinterested bystander.
Now that we have that background out of the way, let’s get to it.
During the long, wintry months of my own season of doubt, I read deeply in the atheist/skeptic/agnostic literature – and have continued to do so ever since. Over the years, I’ve spent countless, fascinating hours in stimulating debate with my atheist friends, family members and total strangers.
But here’s the ironic thing I’ve discovered. Inevitably, all that sophisticated reasoning, scientific pontificating and brilliant intellectualizing comes down to something very raw, basic and incredibly simple. Sooner or later, my doubting friends are going to throw down this challenge:
“Give me one shred of indisputable, empirical evidence that there is a God. Just one. Then I’ll believe.”
At that point in the debate, some of my Christian friends become incredibly frustrated. They say things like, “You haven’t listened to a thing I’ve said. It’s like you’re deaf and blind! If your observational/reasoning powers aren’t strong enough to lead you to God based on the proofs I’ve provided – coupled with the staggering amounts of evidence God has stacked up all around you – I honestly don’t know what else I can say.”
Ammunition belts empty, their emotions spent, both sides stare at each other, utterly baffled. Eyes wide, they shake their heads in disbelief over the bullheaded stupidity of the other person.
End of debate.
I beg you: Don’t let it end that way.
If it’s pure, unvarnished Truth you’re after, you absolutely cannot let that be the end of your search.
Because debate can take you only so far.
It’s like a guy who brings his girlfriend to a theme park, hurries her to the rollercoaster in the middle of the park and excitedly exclaims, “This is the most thrilling rollercoaster ride on the planet!”
Unimpressed, his girlfriend shrugs, rolls her eyes and says, “Looks boring to me.”
They go back and forth – debating the rollercoaster’s height, the steep angle of the first drop, its maximum G-Force, how many people are standing in line to ride it, even the severity of the wording on the warning signs and the quality of the bass thump in the hard rock music that’s being piped out.
In fact, they can debate all day long and not be any closer to solving their argument until…you know exactly where I’m going with this, don’t you?…
…until the girl climbs on board, straps herself in tight and takes that ride for herself.
Unless she’s willing to do that, it’s all theory. Just talk. Nothing but conjecture.
It’s only after she has conducted the scientific experiment of actually riding the rollercoaster that she can form a personal opinion based on rock-solid fact.
You might be surprised to learn that is exactly what God invites you to do:
“Taste and see that the LORD is good.”
God doesn’t hate you for asking questions. He’s not mad at you for being confused by the swarm of clever atheists and hypocritical Christians with which Satan has managed to surround you. He’s willing to come all the way down to you and meet you right where you are.
Just you and Him.
Jesus invites you to take a test drive before you buy.
“Yeah, right…” you may be tempted to say.
But that’s just your doubt talking. This is an invitation to put your doubt to the test.
Are you game? Hey – you’ll never know till you try.
I challenge you to conduct a 30-day experiment to find out if God really exists and if Jesus is exactly Who He claims to be.
Here’s how it works:
1. Click on the link at the top of this page and get Lazaroo every day for 30 days.
2. Read the Bible verse I send to you and pray the prayer.
Sixty seconds and you’re done.
You’ve got that much time to invest in the ultimate destination of your eternal soul, don’t you?
What if 30 days from now you say, “That was boring. I felt nothing. I gave God His chance and He didn’t show up”?
Then you can look any Christian in the eye and say, “Been there. Done that. Don’t think so.”
On the other hand, what if sometime during the next 30 days you encounter…
…The Presence of God?
Okay. But here’s the deal. You can’t do this halfway. That’s not even close to a real test. That would be like the girl getting on the rollercoaster with her mind already made up.
You can’t afford to do that on this one. We’re talking heaven and hell, here – as in, everything or nothing.
You don’t dare screw this up.
Here’s how God puts it:
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
So if you’re going to run this test straight up, that’s the way you have to play it, okay? That means when your Lazaroo shows up each day, you’ll -
First, read the verse aloud. Yeah, I know – so make sure you’re alone so you can do it without embarrassment. Why aloud? Because God says faith comes by hearing His Word.
Next, pray the prayer aloud. Well, why not? What have you got to lose? That’s what one of God’s all-time favorites David did and God heard him.
But please, please, please:
Don’t just “read” the verse and prayer. Don’t merely go through the motions. Don’t fool yourself into thoughtlessly rattling it off, thinking you’ve done something.
This isn’t a hoop to jump through, a base to tag, a box you check each day, so you can deceive yourself into thinking, “I’ve done the god thing.”
Instead, lock onto each day’s verse and ABSORB it into the pores of your skin.
INHALE its life-changing power into your lungs.
Allow it to wash over you, cleanse you and DRENCH you, as though you had just stepped under the full blast of a hot shower.
Do that and those holy words direct from the mouth of God will open you up all the way to the depths of your soul and prepare you for unprecedented life-change. Why? Because –
“The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
After you’ve imbibed the verse, you’re ready to pray Lazaroo the way it was meant to be prayed.
But for God’s sake, don’t just “say” the prayer.
Fervently PRAY it!
EXHALE the full power of the verse you have just breathed in.
Fiercely eliminate every distraction, block out every satanic intrusion and focus on the meaning of every single word. Pour everything you’ve got into it. Jesus urges you to –
“Love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind and with ALL your strength.”
You haven’t done the stuff till you’ve released your shrunken heart from its cold, cramped, dark, dank jail cell and burst out into the full, bright, warmth of God’s enveloping love.
If you want to discover whether or not there’s a God on the other side of your brass ceiling of unbelief, you’ve got to understand His mindset:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm —neither hot nor cold —I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
Just so you know. That’s the Personality of the God you’re hunting: Full-on or nothing. It’s like He’s saying –
“Look. If you want to find me – really want to find me! – I’ll show myself to you. But if you’re just, like, ‘sorta interested…’ or, just, like, “kinda glancing around,’ forget it. I’m not going to play games with you. This is real. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
“Are you in, or not?”
Whew. That’s why when you pray the Lazaroo prayer, you’ve got to take it all the way down to the very marrow of your bones. I mean, you’ve got to open a vein and bleed it from the deepest depths of your heart.
Pray it as though your very life depends on it.
Are you ready?
Getting started is pretty simple.
1. Once you’ve signed up to receive your Daily Lazaroo, use the comment section below to let the Lazaroo community know you’ve begun.
2. Keep us posted each day to let us know how you’re doing.
3. If you have questions along the way, ask! That’s what we’re here, for.
At the end of your 30-days, this is where you’ll report out your results:
Itook the Lazaroo 30-day Challenge and I…
◊Remain convinced there is no God.
◊Think there might be a God, but I’m still not sure.
◊Believe God does exist.
◊Would like to put my trust in Jesus as my Savior.
And just so you know – solely in the interest of full disclosure – you’ll have a lot of us in Lazaroo praying for you every single day during your 30-day run.
But that’s not cheating! If God doesn’t exist it won’t make an ounce of difference, right? ;-)
Hey – thank you. I’m so proud of you for doing this.
If you take the Lazaroo 30-day challenge full on, no-holds-barred, nothing held back, here’s what I predict:
I believe God is about to take you on the rollercoaster ride of your life.
Oh, and one more thing.
Win, lose or draw, I will love you still.
So will God.
P. S. If you’re a Christian visiting this page, don’t get nervous. God is totally cool with sincere people investigating the reality of His existence and the reliability of the Bible. Besides, let’s get one thing clear: I am absolutely not saying my puny 30-day challenge will convince anyone of anything. Lazaroo is only a flawed, imperfect tool we’re inviting our doubting friends to use…to encounter the Living God.
But please do this: If you have a friend, coworker, family member or anyone else you care about who has doubts about God, send them here! Give them this chance!
Who knows? God may do for your friend what He did long ago for a man named Samson who won a great victory using nothing more than the jawbone of a donkey. God loves to use unlikely tools to accomplish amazing things! He may be pleased to work through this donkey’s jawbone called, “Lazaroo” to forever transform your friend’s life.
Daniel 1:1-20; Judges 7:36-39; Malachi 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; Psalms 34:8; Jeremiah 29:13; Hebrews 4:12; Romans 10:17; Psalms 3:4; Mark 12:30; Revelation 3:15-16; Judges 15:14-17
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.