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Did Jesus Commit WHAT???

Who would SAY such a thing? Why would you give a book this title? Obviously, these are questions we need to respond to based on some of the comments (like those below) stated by Christians on social media where we have advertised this book.
  1. "New title please."
  2. "I get why you wrote the book because of campers' questions. But the title? Good luck selling it with that title and people not knowing it was a question, and you answered it."
  3. "Okay … really? This might be the dumbest thing I’ve seen in a few years."
  4. "This is stupid"
  5. "Who would suggest such a thing? Christ laid down His life as a sacrifice. If your friend took a bullet for you, would you spend the rest of your life telling everyone your friend killed himself, or would you tell everyone of how he saved your life out of his great love?"
I have spent at least two decades of my life teaching and leading middle school-age young people, and one of the most pertinent lessons I have taught them is how to season their speech with grace. A poster that I used resonated well with this topic, and I believe it provides a needed framework for what we post on social media, especially concerning the work God is trying to do through ministries such as Reasons for Hope.
Let me begin by answering the opening questions:

WHO would say such a thing?

Teenagers.

Every question in this book came from the mind of a young person who was attending one of our ministry’s speaker events. Our speakers often begin their sessions with the youth by passing out 3x5 cards and asking them to write down any questions they have that are keeping them from being totally sold out to Jesus Christ or questions they’ve been asked or have wondered themselves that they don’t have a good answer for.
Now, please reread the comments above. If I were a teen, especially the one who asked this question in the first place, I would feel justified in believing that adults don’t want to hear my hard or awkward questions, that they want to keep faith in a tidy package and sit comfortably in the status quo of Christianity. So why would I bother asking questions at church if I’m going to be made to feel “dumb” or “stupid” for asking a question like this one?

WHY would you give a book this title?

WHY? Because we desire to answer any question the younger generation has, providing solid biblical and even extra-biblical evidence to show them why they can absolutely depend on God and His Word to meet their needs. Honestly, it’s time for us adults to get our heads out of the sand and seek to understand the minds and needs of the younger generation—the ones who are walking away from the church in droves.

The Minds of Teens

Many years ago, I received some invaluable advice regarding relationships and meeting your audience's needs: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. Without exception, when I have sought to understand the person I’m talking to, negotiating with, or writing for without considering my opinions or viewpoint first, the results have been nothing short of a win-win for all parties involved.
You see, that’s excellent advice because it is exactly what God tells us in His Word. We should not be favoring things that cater to our own interests but serving others by seeing their needs and interests and bringing them Jesus at a starting point they can access. That’s the mind of Christ—serving others with grace and truth.

Philippians 2:4,5
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 4:7
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
    and whatever you get, get insight.

So, if my target audience is teens and reaching them for Christ, I need to be in tune with what they are actually saying and asking. Question 2 in the list above acknowledges that the question came from a teen, yet in the same breath, dismisses the title as nonsense.

Isn’t it time for adults to stop making teens feel that their questions are “ridiculous, dumb, or lacking faith”?

One of the reasons young people are walking away from the church is because their questions aren’t being answered. They do not feel they have been seen, heard, or given answers to their questions from the church, so they take another option: they listen to what the world has to say. And trust me, the world is ready to give them answers—answers that often lead to their exodus from their faith community.

Please Read It for Yourself

It’s easy to criticize something you don’t care about or understand. So if I could prompt you to “seek first to understand,” I’d like to offer you the opportunity to read the first chapter of this book, which provides the response to the title question. Just click HERE. May you be encouraged to share it with others and to become a part of our mission to train and equip the younger generation to stand boldly on the Word of God.

Encouragement, Not Criticism

Our calling and passion are to come alongside young people and their parents to address their hard questions, empower them to know why they believe what they believe, and fortify their spiritual foundation. Every question in our “Did Jesus … ?” book is a question that represents the young adult population—not just one individual. We have compiled hundreds of questions to date and will continue to produce books that share the answers to their questions from a biblical worldview.
As I conclude this blog, my challenge to the naysayers would be, “How about joining us in getting these products into the hands of those seeking answers instead of criticizing and downplaying the questions?”

Ephesians 4:29, 32 NIV

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Be kind and compassionate to one another….

Please stay tuned for a future cover update! We're not changing the title, just adding some clarifying touches to help the reader. Stay bold!
Teens are asking tough questions . . . like the one in this title. We've pooled our resources to help you provide them with answers to some of their deepest questions regarding faith, God, social issues, and the Bible. Click HERE today to order your copy of Did Jesus Commit Suicide And 27 Other Questions Teens Are Asking (that adults want to know, too!).
Author Bio:
Holly Varnum, Director of Curriculum Development at Reasons for Hope, joined us in September 2021 to launch curricular materials to support many of our media resources. With degrees in education, curriculum and instruction, and educational administration, she comes with over three decades of experience in working with teens and adults in camp ministry, teaching and administration, and curriculum writing (A Beka Book, Focus on the Family, and Answers in Genesis to name a few). In addition, God has provided her with a well-rounded educational perspective through service in Christian schools, charter schools, public schools, homeschooling, Christian camps, and local church ministry. She has been a classroom teacher, instructional coach, administrator, camp counselor, Sunday School teacher, ladies’ Bible Study teacher, and conference speaker and looks forward to using her passion for God’s truth within the context of Reasons for Hope.

Her hobbies include cooking and baking, hiking, camping, traveling, and working on do-it-yourself projects. Holly and her husband, Paul, also enjoy any time they can spend with their three grown daughters, two sons-in-law, and three grandchildren (with a fourth on the way!). They live in the beautiful state of Maine, and yes, they eat lobster (properly pronounced “lobstah”) whenever they get a chance!
 
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