Well, it is 1999, but do you know why? Before we get to that, how about a little mind-stretching quiz? Here is how it works. I will mention an event in history and you tell me how many years ago it occurred as of the event's anniversary this year. Pen and paper or calculator are OK for figuring. You can consider yourself correct if you come within 10 years of the correct answer. Here goes.
1. How many years ago did Rome fall to the Barbarians?
2. How many years ago did Marco Polo visit China?
3. How many years ago did Gutenberg invent the moveable type printing press?
4. How many years ago did Columbus land on San Salvador?
5. How many years ago did Martin Luther post his 95 theses?
6. How many years ago did the English defeat the Spanish Armada?
7. How many years ago did the Pilgrims land in New England?
8. How many years ago did America declare its independence?
9. How many years ago did Alexander Graham Bell invent the telephone?
10. How many years ago did the last Astronaut leave the Moon?
-- Now an easy one --
11. How many years has it been since Jesus Christ was born?
(Scroll Down for Answers)
So here is the point: you likely didn't have any problem with the last question because the birth of Christ is the defining event of the measurement of time. Our accounting of years follows the Gregorian calendar. The idea that the birth of Christ should be the line of separation between years B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini, Latin meaning "in the year of the Lord," indicating the Christian era) was originated by a fellow named Dionysius Exiguus A.D. 532. Actually old Dionysius didn't get it quite right because Herod the Great (mentioned in Matt. 2) died in 4 B.C. so Christ's birth was a bit before that time.
So every time you write a check or date a document you are attesting to the fact that Christ is central to our way of reckoning time. It also underscores the fact that Christianity has shaped western civilization. But shouldn't it also remind us who are Christians that He is central to our lives and that He is about the business of shaping us? Allow me to pass on a couple of ideas to assist you in doing this. First you need to determine what is the hub of your life. What is it that motivates you above all, what is it that captures your attention at random moments? Another test to help you see what it is that your life orbits around is the dollar test. Jesus said that where your treasure is that is where your heart is (Matt. 6:21), so you may ask where and for what do you willingly spend your money. Secondly if you determine that something else might be in the place where Jesus should be, let me encourage you to work on your personal relationship with Him. One of the grand truths of our faith is that God is not some distant, unseen force. He is a real person and a person you can know and have a relationship with. He is a Savior that you can love, and count on, and one who is always available. Think of Him in terms of a dear friend, speak to Him often and allow Him to speak to you through His Word. Work on making your life with Him real, fresh and exciting. This pursuit will enable you to keep Christ as the core of your being: the joy and rewards are beyond words, don't miss the blessing.
So the next time you take pen in hand and write the numerals "1999" remember to keep Christ as the central focus of your life and times.
1. 1589 years, (A.D. 410)
2. 1276 years (A.D. 723)
3. 559 years (A.D. 1440)
4. 507 years (A.D. 1492)
5. 482 years (A.D. 1517)
6. 411 years (A.D. 1588)
7. 379 years (A.D. 1620)
8. 223 years (1776)
9. 123 years (1876)
10. 27 years (1972)
11. 2003 (4 B.C.)
If you have eleven right you have too much time to read history books. If you got 6 or more you are a true history buff. If you got 4 or 5 correct you are about average. If you got 3 or less correct you need to make a trip to the library
Pastor of Small Group Ministries
©1999 Bible Center Church
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