Lazaroo for ATHEISTS

 

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.

Why?

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.

Sound familiar?

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.

Why?

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.

Personally.

Just you and Him.

1on1.

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.

That’s it.

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?

Wow.

Oh, wow.

Fair enough?

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.

You haven’t.

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.

It does.

 

So.

Are you ready?

Awesome.

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.

In Him,

Steve

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

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What is Lazaroo?

Take Me Deeper

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.

18 responses so far.

  1. paula Says:

    Just reading the comments and it amazes me, why people go out of their way to be so argumentative. There are plenty of sites out there that I disagree with but why start posting hateful stuff no one is going to change there mind. If you open a site that is not to your way of thinking, then choice to close it, not bash it.

  2. Steve Says:

    One of the great reads for inquiring minds remains C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” – http://amzn.to/I5bDNY

    If you’re looking for an encounter with a former atheist and brilliant mind who has the deft writing ability to make these issues accessible to the intelligent layperson, this book will rock your world – as it has for millions of other readers.

    Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien (“Lord of the Rings”) were close friends. Both authors served on the English faculty at Oxford University, and both were active in the Oxford literary group known as the “Inklings”.

  3. Steve Says:

    Hey, Tommy – thanks for joining the conversation. Sometimes, my atheist friends espouse the belief that no one but a pseudo-scientist would ever conclude that Jesus is God and that the Bible is nothing less than God’s authentic, credible love letter to humankind.

    This helps me understand that my still-skeptical friends have read on only one side of this debate – or at least that their exposure to great Christian thinkers and scientists is somewhat limited.

    For those who would appreciate hearing from a world renowned scientist and former atheist, I recommend Francis Collins’ excellent book: “The Language of God.” http://amzn.to/HKth7k

    Another helpful book written by Collins and published just last year is, “The Language of Science and Faith – Straight Answers to Genuine Questions” coauthored with physicist Carl Giberson, who holds Master’s and PhD degrees in Physics from Rice University: http://amzn.to/I7igLV

    Most of us outside the scientific community were introduced to Collins when Time Magazine featured him on its cover, as the man who led the Human Genome Research Institute team that (along with J. Craig Venter’s team) cracked the genetic code: http://ti.me/IB4DpS

    Collins is currently Director of the National Institutes of Health – named to his post by President Barack Obama.

    This accomplished scientist is an American physician-geneticist, noted for his discoveries of disease genes, before he was asked to lead the Human Genome Project. He holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Yale University and an M.D. from the University of North Carolina.

    Among his numerous awards and honors, he was elected to the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. He’s a recipient of the prestigious Kilby International Award. In 2007, he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And, in 2008, he was awarded the National Medal of Science.

    I mention his credentials because these things are important to atheists, doubters and skeptics who have genuinely open minds. It reminds them that people of significantly higher intellectual capacity and achievement than their own have reached the intellectually satisfying conclusion that God exists, that Jesus is real and that the Bible is reliable.

    In short, you don’t have to park your brain at the curb in order to become a Christian.

  4. Steve Says:

    Thanks to all who are weighing in. Once you’ve closed your mind on a subject, it’s really hard to open back up, isn’t it? I understand, guys.

    Isherwood, I noticed your reference to Lee Strobel as a “loon.” That tells me you’re probably not directly familiar with him.

    Strobel is a former atheist and skeptic – an award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune and New York Times best-selling author of more than twenty books. You may have seen him interviewed on numerous national TV programs, including ABC, Fox, PBS, and CNN.

    Strobel was educated at the University of Missouri and Yale Law School. He was a professional journalist for 14 years at The Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, winning Illinois’ top honors for investigative reporting (which he shared with a team he led) and public service journalism from United Press International.

    It was only after a nearly two-year investigation of the evidence for Jesus – during which he fully employed his skeptical, investigative journalism skills – that he became a Christian.

    Isherwood, it’s one thing to say, “I’ve read Strobel’s books and disagree with his conclusions.” Fine. That’s the kind of response that arises during mutually respectful, sincere and honest debate. But surely – given Strobel’s education, experience, secular marketplace recognition and extensive body of work – dismissing Strobel as a “loon” is unjustified.

  5. Batman Says:

    It worked! I’m a believer!
    Just kidding.
    I’ve unsubscribed and will now return to my regularly scheduled broadcast – already in progress.

  6. Batman Says:

    Steve – Atheist here. Doin’ your thing at the request of a family member. I’m thinking that this can’t be for real! One of my verses a few days back was from Job – where God allowed the devil to murder Job’s children. Out of all the bible stories, I struggled with this one the most (as a believer). To see it in this context? I’ll take it as a message directly from God that he’s cool with me NOT believing in him. (Your lazaroo from a day or two ago – how can I take that in any other way than dirty?) Basically – two weeks into your Lazaroo program and I’m not moved, I’m not impressed, I’m just not. buying. it. Sorry. Good luck with your mission to convert athiests into Christians. With your verse selection, you’ll need it.

  7. Tommy Garrett Says:

    In fact, “atheism” is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a “non-astrologer” or a “non-alchemist.” We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.

  8. Tommy Garrett Says:

    The problem is that the teachings of the Bible are so muddled and self-contradictory that it was possible for Christians to happily burn heretics alive for five long centuries. It was even possible for the most venerated patriarchs of the Church, like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, to conclude that heretics should be tortured (Augustine) or killed outright (Aquinas). Martin Luther and John Calvin advocated the wholesale murder of heretics, apostates, Jews, and witches. You are, of course, free to interpret the Bible differently–though isn’t it amazing that you have succeeded in discerning the true teachings of Christianity, while the most influential thinkers in the history of your faith have failed?

  9. Nancy Says:

    Hi Steve,

    I checked out Strobel on a youtube video and I could see in his face, hear it in his voice that he truly believes. But then so do I. My husband found a video that might be of interest to those who have a more empirical approach to this existence of ours.:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyrnH1Rurt4

    It warms my heart to watch it because it will make sense to those who understand and require facts. Then more people will be able to experience the love and protection of our Lord. I believe that this has the potential of creating a better life on earth for all of us.

  10. Isherwood Says:

    Lee Strobel is a loon who has misrepresented science in such a way that only the True Faithful (TM) buy his baloney. Anyone presenting his work as science clearly doesn’t understand science.

    You’re welcome to it. When you make an effort to understand real science, including the methodology that allows it to provide worthwhile explanations for a phenomenon, you’ll see through the likes of Strobel.

    Until then, we see what we want to see. And Jesus himself didn’t say a damned thing that you can relate with any degree of certainty whatsoever. That is the absurd confidence of which I speak… not an insult, an observation.

  11. steve Says:

    Hey, guys – I love seeing the passion that fuels your beliefs. Jesus Himself said He’d prefer us to be hot or cold, rather than lukewarm (Revelation 3:15-16).

    Quick recommendation: “Case for a Creator,” by Lee Strobel, former atheist, who calls on his skills as a former Chicago Tribune award-winning investigative journalist to interview leading scientists on some of the latest scientific data: http://www.amazon.com/Case-Creator-Journalist-Investigates-Scientific/dp/0310241448

  12. Nancy Says:

    Well, now I see that insults are all that you have at this point in time. There is nothing else that I can say to you without becoming an active participant in this ridiculous disparaging exercise of yours.

    Just so ya know, though. I haven’t been to church in many years and the last time I was there on a quasi-regular basis there was no talk of quantum physics being intertwined with creation.

    My relationship with God flows directly through Jesus, not the church or any mortal. I understand what Jesus tried to tell everyone, do MY best to abide by that and I seek/SEE the evidence of Jesus everywhere, including within you. That is why I took this opportunity to talk to you.

    I have to believe that some silent observer got something valuable out of this.

    Peace.

  13. isherwood Says:

    “I expect that with further scientific endeavor and intellectual discourse you will eventually find evidence of intelligent design and then if you are fortunate enough to learn to open your mind you will be able to discover faith.”

    I rest my case for absurd confidence. Oh, and your snide remark about quantum physics demonstrates a serious lack of understanding on your part. Try not to rely so much on the tidbits of real science your clergy share with you. You look silly doing so.

  14. Nancy Says:

    Oh, no offense taken.

    I am completely aware that all of us are at different levels of understanding and we all must be tolerant of each others current level of awareness.

    What you are referring to as “absurdly confident claims” is faith. Perhaps we just have a different vocabulary. I do not discount scientific endeavor and intellectual discourse, my goodness this is how we grow in understanding. Isn’t it? But I do not use adjectives such as absurd to describe them.

    I expect that with further scientific endeavor and intellectual discourse you will eventually find evidence of intelligent design and then if you are fortunate enough to learn to open your mind you will be able to discover faith.

    Have you ever heard of quantum physics? Science is now right up against having to deal with the intelligent and creative forces of the universe. i.e.: God. Try to keep up.

    No offense.

  15. Isherwood Says:

    Nancy, when faith such as yours comes at the cost of real understanding of the universe, of human scientific endeavor, and of true intellectual discourse, it is exactly a load of bunk. Beliefs are not due respect. People are. Only when the religious understand that distinction will we move forward as a species.

    You may make all the absurdly confident claims about your deities that you wish, just don’t ever expect others to consider them more than the mythology of bronze-age goat-herders. No offense.

  16. Nancy Says:

    Well, God did give us free will and I am so happy for that. Without free will the two comments listed above mine would not have been possible. But to say that believing this story of salvation through Jesus Christ is a “load of bunk” is really uncalled for.

  17. dedra shaw Says:

    I believe there is a higher power, a god who created our universe but I have doubts about the whole Jesus Christ thing.

  18. Isherwood Says:

    What a load of bunk. I know hundreds of atheists, and they’re all happy, moral people. The description you paint of darkness and despair was a result of you and your circumstances, not disbelief. If you want to talk of intellectual honesty, at least try to get your stereotypes pinned down a bit better. Most atheists have more to live for than most religious people. We value *this* life far more.

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