Are Some Jobs More Spiritual Than Others?

Being a mom is a thankless calling.

So often, I find myself reheating my coffee, shuffling across the kitchen floor hoping to steal a few moments to myself to perhaps read a verse of scripture or wash a dish, when I hear the usual chorus of my life rising from the adjacent room… there’s the, “I had that first!” followed by the (insert act of violence here) and then, without fail, the dreaded wailing of a toddler wronged.

It’s in these moments I think, “oh Lord. Send me to the slums of India, the back alleys of Taiwan, the underground church of China… just anywhere but the living room.”

Are Some Jobs More Spiritual Than Others

 

I hope I’m not the only mom who sits, feet firmly planted on my carpet, nursing yet another baby, folding yet another towel, settling what feels like the seven millionth squabble of the hour, looking out my window and feeling as if it’s all such a waste for the kingdom. Why, oh Lord, would you give me the personality I have, the gifts I have, the desire to reach the unchurched, only to call me to the depths of the playroom?

I’ve yet to be part of a church community that did not, at some point, pray over missionaries that were being sent to a land, far, far away. And, as I’ve swayed in the back with a colicky baby I’ve looked on at the missionary couple with a tinge of envy. They’re really doing something for God! I think. And I am just relegated to this life of meaningless domesticity.

I’ve since realized that I had somehow created a spiritual hierarchy of work in my mind… a false hierarchy. Part of the scandal of the reformation in the 1500s, was that it completely redefined the concept of “work” for the believer. No longer were monks, nuns, and priests alone at the top of the spiritual pyramid. Now, the reformers said, all good work is holy work. In fact, it was Martin Luther who said, “God himself will milk the cows through him whose vocation it is.” No one’s occupation is more or less holy than the pastor or missionary or city maintenance employee next door.

In Tim Keller’s “Every Good Endeavor” he points out one of the main problems with my (or anyone for that matter) assigning spiritual value to a particular occupation. The church receives conflicting messages regarding the nature of work. We are to evangelize our coworkers, promote social justice, be excellent workers, create beauty, impact culture, have a joyful heart, be satisfied, or make loads of money to then be generous. The problem, Keller says, with these messages is that it isn’t possible for us to do all of them simultaneously which is confusing to Christians.

So, they’re left to simply picking whichever aim suits them or their particular wing of evangelicalism and judging those who don’t measure up. And, furthermore, I have noticed in my own experience in the Church, each local church perhaps defines spiritual work differently. I have been a part of churches that champion the stay-at-home mom’s role, unknowingly inflicting guilt on the working mom. I’ve also been a part of churches that emphasize the importance of global missions, leaving those of us serving locally to feel as if we somehow aren’t measuring up.

In Tish Harrison Warren’s, “The Liturgy of the Ordinary,” she admits the following:

“It is hard for me to believe that checking email could ever be a place of prayer. I want God to call me to other things, things that feel more important, meaningful, and thrilling. But this work, in this hour, is a living prayer that I may ‘go in peace to love and serve the Lord.’”

I love that the apostle Paul challenges us in 1 Corinthians 10:31, that, “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” He takes something small and simple, eating and drinking, and challenges us to glorify God in the seemingly insignificant. If God cares about the “small” actions that make up our day, then can one not argue that He also cares about the “small” vocations in which some of us find ourselves?

I don’t need to serve another master… the other master that tells me to jump through this hoop or go to this country in order to be a true servant of God. I only need to serve the One Master who has called me to where I am. If I truly believe that the Lord has, as according to Acts 17:26, determined my allotted time and place of living, then I can truly believe that it is not without purpose.

I don’t need to serve another master… the other master that tells me to jump through this hoop or go to this country in order to be a true servant of God. I only need to serve the One Master who has called me to where I am. Click To Tweet

 

So, I resolve to carry on. I resolve to wipe the nose, change the diaper, load the dishwasher, serve my neighbor, and pray for those blessed feet that carry the news of the gospel to the unreached places that I may not ever go. My feet may be restless at times, but they are planted. If you are of the same afflicting (restless feet that are planted), let this lead you to prayer. Pray for those whose feet may go but, also, pray for the opportunities in front of you. What you are doing is holy work. What you are doing is gospel work.

 

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By | 2018-01-31T02:27:03+00:00 January 28th, 2018|0 Comments

How to Play Church (Part 2)

L]ast post we discussed that if you want to play church you need to have:

  1. Unity that is Superficial

  2. Sympathy that is Skin-deep

  3. Love that is Self-Centered

We derived all of this from 1 Peter 3:8. Today, we will continue on with this theme and also get into 1 Peter 3:9. So, do you want to play church? I hope not! But if you do, you need to have:

A heart of stone

If you want to play church then be impervious to the needs and trials of others. “Oh they are going through that situation? Well, what’d you expect, that’s the type of person he is.” Or “I simply can’t be inconvenienced at this time.”

If you want to play church, look at your fellow church member beaten up in the ditch and simply pass by on the other side. After all, you’ve got your own interests to attend to.

What if you don’t want to play church? You need a GENTLE HEART

We are given this in regeneration. When we are born again our heart of stone is removed and is replaced with a heart of flesh.  How do I know if I have a heart of flesh? Do you have compassion for the needs and trials of your church family? Do you, like Peter says, have a tender heart? Notice that none of these are ‘suggestions’. We are actually commanded to have a tender heart!

How to Play Church Part 2

A mind that is smug 

If you want to play church then be prideful. Think how lucky God is that you are on His team.
If you want to play church then adopt the world’s mindset that you are #1.Those who play church only want to help if they get the starring role or at least the recognition.

You want to play church? Think about how important and vital you are to God’s work in the church. I mean, if not for you, would there even be a church? Every business meeting needs to feature you. Every event needs to be approved by you. Don’t they understand how much money you give to the church? These are the types of things you need to do if you want to play church.

What if you don’t want to play church? You need a GODWARD MIND

You need a mind that sees God in His proper perspective. If you want to cultivate humility look at the cross. Jesus didn’t just have to die for ‘those people’. He had to die for you. That’s the reality of your sin against a holy God. A proud Christian is an oxymoron. What do you have to boast in? The only reason a Believer is who he his is because of the grace of God and nothing more. What do I have to boast in? Nothing but the cross of Christ.

If not for the grace of God I’d still be in the miry clay. I am nothing. Christ is everything.

Also, think about this: It is impossible to have dissension in a church if everyone, as Peter says, has humility of mind. Pride is an evil vice. Don’t let Satan puff you up. Look to the cross.

 

A life that is spiteful

We finally move from 1 Peter 3:8 to v.9: Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

If you want to play church, look for ways to repay people for the wrong they’ve done to you.

Run them down on Facebook. They didn’t come to your kid’s birthday party, don’t take your kids to theirs. If they wanted your help they should have asked. Those people don’t deserve your kindness after all they’ve done to you!

If you want to play church, live that way.

What if you don’t want to play church? Have a GRACIOUS LIFE

A gracious life isn’t merely ignoring the evil someone has done to you but even beyond that, it is blessing them.

The guy cuts you off in traffic. A few miles down the road he’d pulled over with a flat tire. Ha! Serves him right! Scoot over a little and hit that puddle near him to soak him to the bone!

Nah. A gracious life blesses. You cut me off, and I change your tire. That’s Christianity.

 

An Imitator of Christ

I hope you’re not in the category of a person who is ok with playing church. Have you noticed anything about these 6 things we’ve discussed? A Godward mind, sympathy, love, compassion, humility, graciousness….What do you notice about those? – I see Christ in them.

Christ who came to glorify God, who had sympathy upon our condition, who loved us enough to lay down His life for us, full of compassion and humility and who did not return our own evil upon us but rather came to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found…

As verse 9 says, if you are a Christian you were called of God to obtain a blessing, namely eternal life. Instead of God justly crushing you in your sin, He called you to look upon His Son and live, to trust Jesus and as a result, we begin cultivating these same qualities within us because we have a new nature. We don’t want to play church! Rather, we want to imitate Christ. That is our desire. This isn’t ‘legalism’, it’s Christianity 101. These qualities are actual graces the Holy Spirit produces in us because we are born again.

So, take some time to meditate on 1 Peter 3:8-9. Consider whether or not your life is characterized as one that plays church or as one that imitates Christ. No, we aren’t perfect in our imitation. But that’s why 1 Peter 2:24 is included in this section of Peter’s letter: He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree… What a glorious gospel promise for you! And why did Christ do that? That we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.

You are healed spiritually, Believer. You don’t have to play church. Go live for Him.

If you are not a believer, you need to heed the warning in 1 Peter 3:12 –

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

This is quoted from Psalm 34:15 and is the reality of those who refuse to bow the knee to Christ. The Lord’s face is against you. The call for you today is not merely to ‘stop’ playing church. It goes deeper than that. The call to you is to lay down your rebellion and flee to Christ as your only suitable and all-sufficient Savior.

You see, playing church is a ‘fruit’ problem of a greater root problem, namely unbelief. But if you will have Christ today, He will not cast you out. Repent and believe the gospel.

Read Part 1 >>

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By | 2018-02-04T09:04:24+00:00 January 25th, 2018|0 Comments

How to Play Church (Part 1)

It’s cute when children play pretend. I can remember buying Christmas presents for my children only to have them throw the expensive toy aside and jump in the cardboard box and imagine it’s a train! Unfortunately, children aren’t the only ones who like to play pretend. The problem is, when adults do it, it’s not quite as cute. And when it comes to playing pretend in church, it can be downright disastrous for your soul.

So, it is my hope that as you read this post, and the following one, that you are a person who doesn’t want to play church. If you don’t, then we need do the opposite of these 6 points I’m going to give you. Today, we will examine the first of those 3 points.

First, let’s look at a passage of Scripture in 1 Peter 3:8-9

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

Peter exhorts his readers to live out the reality of what God has worked in through the gospel (see for example 1 Peter 1:3, 23). Living out these verses is how we don’t play church. It’s how we adorn the gospel in Christianity. It’s not ‘doing’ in order to earn God’s favor. Rather, it is living in light of the fact that our sins our atoned for in Christ and that by grace alone we’ve been born again and are living out the realities of a new heart, a new nature, and new desires. Anything less than that is just playing church. So, how do we play church?

By having:

  1. Unity that is Superficial 

Peter says we are to have ‘unity of mind.’ Unity and harmony in the church is something that has always been an issue. Otherwise, the New Testament writers wouldn’t address it! So, the solution for those who simply want to play church is to build unity around something else. Maybe music. Maybe an affinity like western culture. Maybe race.

Don’t think that ‘unity’ in and of itself is the unity Peter is referring to. Lots of lost people are unified. But the point is, that’s all superficial. The world can be unified by things other than Christ. Go to your local sports bar and see people unified around things other than the gospel. Big deal.

If you want to play church, have unity that is superficial. Unify around friendliness, or a dynamic youth ministry. Keep that as the center if you want to play church.

But, if you don’t want to play church, we must have GOSPEL UNITY.

This unity of mind Peter speaks to us is a unity and harmony in Christ (think Philippians 2:5). What does your church want to be known for? I hope the answer is Christ. That’s what we are striving for at our church.  I don’t want to be the young people church, or the Senior Saints church or the hymn church or whatever. I want to be known for Christ. 

It is only Christ than can keep a church from disunity. Don’t play church by having someone/something else at the center.

 

  1. Sympathy that is Skin-deep

Not only does 1 Peter 3:8 tell us that we need to have unity of mind, but also sympathy. So, if you want to play church then have a sympathy that only shows in your face. A skin-deep sympathy says “Oh, I’m sorry about that,” but doesn’t do anything to alleviate the pain. Paul says: ‘Weep with those who weep’ (1 Cor. 12:26). If you want to play church, give someone a pat on the back and go about your day.

If you don’t want to play church then GENUINE SYMPATHY is required.

It’s not a ‘hate that for them, but not my problem’ attitude. Rather, the local church is a family. The gospel produces a kindred spirit in us whereby when someone else goes through pain, we go through it too. It’s sympathy that actually hurts both for and with the other person. We walk through pain together because we were never meant to go it alone. God is building His family. No, you can’t ‘feel’ exactly what someone else is going through but you can hold them, cry with them. bring them a meal, etc.

 

  1. Love that is self – centered

For many people in the Bible Belt church has become like Burger King. It’s about me, myself, and I. I want church my way. People choose churches for what the church can provide them. This is a consumeristic mindset isn’t it? And guess what? The customer is always right.

And so, if you want to play church, be a consumer. Have love that is self-centered. Put your needs and your preferences above everyone else. Don’t gather with the church and think “How can I serve” instead think “How can I be served today?” “How can I be recognized today?” How can I make sure everyone knows how important I am?

That’s exactly the mentality you need to have – if you want to play church

What if you don’t want to play church? You need a GENETIC LOVE. What do I mean? Look at the word Peter uses to describe the type of love we are to have for one another:  brotherly. This is familial. Again, the church is a family. Our love for one another is not centered on self. It flows in and through Christ. I put my needs, and preferences on the back burner to serve you.

Brotherly love pertains to ‘feeling’ don’t get me wrong. But it’s also expressed in action. It’s laying down our rights and our preferences for others inside the church. It’s choosing to love one another even if you don’t feel like it. It’s understanding that Peter commands us in this letter to have brotherly love for one another, so case closed. If you want to play church, ignore that command. If you don’t, embrace it.

We aren’t done with these verses yet, but that’s enough to simmer on for today! Take these points seriously and consider whether or not you are playing church.

Read Part 2 >>

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By | 2018-01-31T02:27:05+00:00 January 24th, 2018|0 Comments

Failing The 2017 Reading Challenge

I almost did it. I came so close. And yet, as the year dies, defeat looks me in the eye. Yes, I had many challenges fighting against me — several months rendered useless because my time was monopolized by ministry, and three months not even being home. But I had overcome them, I made up for what was lost, I was almost there, I almost made it — but didn’t. I didn’t complete my reading challenge. I only read 45 out of the 52-book goal that I attempted.

But all dramatics aside, my reading challenge wasn’t a failure in any sense. There’s never not a good time to read, and my commitment gave me a goal and accountability to be intentional about picking up heavy tome. Or slim e-reader, as the case may be.

Top Christian Books of 2017

Looking back now, I ran into some interesting adventures in Literary land.  I had a hurdle initially trying to even organize and label all the titles I read. Where do I file The Great Divorce? As fiction, or Christian living? How do I define The Story of Reality? I also read many things I didn’t enjoy this year (I’m looking at you, Steinbeck), things read solely because they are on the List-Of-Things-You-Are-Supposed-To-Read. I wonder if the List-Writers have ever read anything themselves. Yet, I also gave myself rein to read some light things solely for enjoyment. I found some new favorites. Good Christian dystopian fiction does actually exist. (There’s a sentence I truly believed I would never see.) I even read a book that hasn’t been published yet, as an alpha reader for a friend.

But the easy part of being a reader is the actual reading. The impossible part is answering the inevitable question. “Which was your favorite?” And I have forty-five to choose from. So, instead of attempting the impossible, I shall instead pick the cream of the crop, making both my task and my suggestions a bit more manageable.

So without further ado, here are my top 10 books from 2017

 

 

1: This Changes Everything: How the Gospel Transforms the Teen Years, by Jaquelle Crowe

This was my first book of the year, written by a first-time author, who just happened to be one of my first supporters in getting my first article published on Rebelution. So perhaps I’m a bit biased when I say this book is magnificent. But I’m not the only one. Winning both TGC’s award for best first-time author, as well as Christianity Today’s award of merit for best Children and Youth Book, This Changes Everything reminds us that we can’t just give God part of our life. Every single aspect of it, He declares dominion over; and what He lays claim to, He makes change to. I personally stayed up far into the night finishing this book in one sitting, because it was so very good!

 

 

2: One Thousand Gifts; A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Areby Ann Voskamp

I recognize that there are varying opinions on this book. But if nothing else, it reawakened my delight in the beauty that God is, and the beauty that should be our writing when we speak of Him.

 

 

3: Out of Time Series, by Nadine Brandes

Remember when I claimed good YA dystopian novels do exist? Remember when I claimed that good Christian YA dystopian novels exist? Well, here we are. I don’t remember why I picked up A Time to Die, but I remember doing so with the mindset of, “Well, this is Christian, so it’s probably going to be just some clean, cheesy, tolerable dystopian clichés with a few Bible verses thrown in.” Wrong. My expectations were subverted. The stakes were serious. And faith living in a dystopian future was handled thoughtfully and well.

 

 

4: Wars of the Realm Series, by Chuck Black

And while we’re on the subject of good Christian fiction that refuses to play to our expectations of Christian media and stereotypes, let’s talk about Chuck Black. If you haven’t read his Kingdom or Knights of Arrethtrae series yet; then sir, get thee to a library. Easy reads but none the less intriguing for it, The Wars of the Realm explores spiritual warfare from an interesting perspective — one of a non-Christian protagonist.

 

 

5: A Practical Guide to Culture: Helping the Next Generation Navigate Today’s Worldby Brett Kunkle and John Stonestreet

“What is cultural success? It’s a life lived like Hans and Sophie Scholl, deeply engaging the moment in which God has placed us and courageously navigating the threatening currents, knowing that we serve a cause, and a God, far greater than ourselves.” An excellent and expertly handled overview of life in our 21st Century, which you can read my full review of here.

 

6: Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Lifeby Douglas Wilson

Is this the book recommended by all writers for all writers? Yes, yes it is. Does it deserve such acclaim? Yes, yes it does. I received it on Christmas, read through it the very next day, and promptly placed it on my read-every-year shelf.

 

 

7: What He Must Be: If He Wants to Marry My Daughter, by Voddie Baucham

If there’s anything more exciting, terrifying, confusing, and frustrating than navigating relationships and trying to find a spouse, I must not be old enough to know it. What He Must Be lays out some guidelines and challenges for young men in what they should be aiming for, young women in what they should be looking for, and parents in what they should be training for. To quote one of my favorite phrases from Pastor Baucham, “If you can’t say Amen, you oughta say Ouch.”

 

 

8: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, by Nabeel Qureshi

You may have heard of Nabeel’s passing this last year, and read some powerful tributes. But much more powerful is his story. Part autobiography, part documentary of the clash between Islam and Christianity,Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus is a thought-provoking, laughter-making, tear-inducing journey following Nabeel to his conversion, with a convicting look at our own complacency and lack of passion for the Gospel. If you only read one biography, one book on Islam, or one book on apologetics in 2018, make it this one.

 

 

9: The Weight of Glory, by C. S. Lewis

This list would be amiss if I didn’t include at least one C. S. Lewis. I read five different books by Lewis this year; yes, I slacked off quite a bit. Even though I didn’t finish Weight of Glory before the end of 2017, it’s one I’ll always recommend, as I read through it yearly. It is not only an ever-masterful discussion of what glory really means (with thoughts on friendships, living in light of eternity, and others in the essays included with it) but also the book that made me sit back with eyes full of wonder and think “I want to be able to do that. To make beauty with words.” Also, it’s by C. S. Lewis. Enough said.

 

 

10: Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, by Gregory Koukl

This is a book I recommend for everyone. Absolutely everyone should read it. And as all of my friends will tell you, I recommend it all the time. (To the point where it’s now an ongoing joke in our group.) Do you want to be able to engage people well? Read this book. Do you want to be able to understand and love others well? Read this book. Do you want to be able to deftly handle your apologetics? Read this book. Do you want to comfortably and gracefully have conversations about faith with others? Read this book. But perhaps I’m being too subtle with my hints. Seriously, you should read Tactics.

 

There were dozen of others books I’d like to talk about, but as Douglas Wilson taught me this year, know where to end.

Did you complete the 2017 reading challenge? What were your top books of the year?

 

By | 2018-01-31T02:27:13+00:00 January 20th, 2018|0 Comments

The Miracle of Dry Bones

The Miracle of Dry Bones by Rebekah B

The Miracle of Dry Bones by Rebekah B

What would you do if God brought you to a valley full of bones, and asked you if those bones could live?

This is what happened to the prophet Ezekiel.

“The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:1-3)

Can you imagine being Ezekiel in that situation? There he stood surrounded by lifeless, dry, bones that where clearly very dead, and the Lord says to him, “Son of man, can these bones live?” How would you respond, and what would you say? How can something that is already dead live again?

These are the questions that my earthly mind asks, the questions that perhaps Ezekiel asked within his heart as he stared out over a seemingly hopeless situation. Yet, despite the doubts that he may have had he responded to the Lord’s question simply, and without hesitation.

“I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

But then the Lord says,” Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.'” (Ezekiel 37:4-6)

“How Lord?” I asked as I read this passage, “How can something so broken, so hopeless, and so lost be made new? How can what is cast aside and deemed impossible become possible?” Then it struck me, we are the dry bones.

We are dry bones that are broken, helpless, and robbed of the life that He has so graciously given us because of our sin.

Yet, He loved us enough to give us another chance, a chance that would bring us back to life but would ultimately cost Him his. In this passage the Lord is showing us that nothing is too big or impossible for Him, and that we are never too far gone for His love.

His love breaks the chains that enslave us to our sin, addiction, depression, lust, pain, heartbreak, etc. We are lost without Him, His love, and the grace that He so graciously pours out over us day after day.

He could have left us where we were, but He didn’t. Instead, He chose to breathe the breath of life back into our thirsty bones, and tenderly put us back together into the people that He created us to be.

We were bones once broken, dry, hopeless, lifeless, godless, and worthless, yet now we are proof that God is stronger than death, stronger than sin, and stronger than what is perceived in this life to be impossible.

By | 2018-01-31T02:31:12+00:00 November 18th, 2017|0 Comments

Help Us Jesus, You’re Our Only Hope

Help Us Jesus, You're Our Only Hope by Shaun McDonald

Help Us Jesus, You’re Our Only Hope by Shaun McDonald

“And what would you like to be when you grow up?” the first grader was asked.

“A dinosaur!”

“Well, little one, you can be whatever you put your mind to.”

“…”

Is that really true? The last time I checked I am not able to transfigure myself, make myself taller, or give myself any special abilities. Even more, try as I might, I cannot seem to change the very basics of my personality. I am a strong leader with an indecisive bent. I am a sensitive lover with an Irish temper. I am ambitious with a need for safety and security. How do I become someone else?

We all know the answer to this. We don’t. As a matter of fact, I don’t believe we were intended to either. Scripture tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14 NIV) Of course that doesn’t mean that God was afraid He’d break us when He made us; nor does it mean that He was afraid we’d break the world. The fear is referring to a very careful, very intentional creative process. His eyes were squinted and His brows were furrowed as He knit each one of us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). And what He knit together wasn’t just good – it was wonderful – and it was you, and it was me.

The narrative that undergirds our young people is not one that gives them more freedom, but rather more anxiety. Depression, anxiety and bi-polar medications are going out the door like Tylenol once did. Suicide rates are at an all-time high, and the age keeps dropping. This narrative has been promoted by Disney for years and our homes, school systems and even churches have all bought into it. Be what you want and don’t let anyone tell you it’s not right, best or possible. I mean, a bunny rabbit arresting a lion… really?

What has happened is this. Little Eden wants to be a famous singer one day, but the poor girl can’t sing. To keep in step with the narrative, her parents, teachers, and even her pastors keep telling her what a beautiful voice she has and how she should “improve” it with some lessons. Sadly, we all know Eden can’t sing. That’s why everyone has a love/hate relationship with Simon Cowell. He says what we all know to be true but have been taught not to say. Meanwhile, poor Eden is getting more and more frustrated because she just can’t land a gig! Eventually that leads to depression because she feels like a failure, which leads to bitterness because the world just doesn’t understand, which leads to another all-too-young obituary.

I know, that’s a little heavy. How about Little Jude? Jude just wants to be a boxer. The only problem is that Jude is only a little guy and he hates getting punched. Not only that, but he is too soft and sweet to want to fight anyone. Or how about Olivia? She wants to be a chemist someday. Unfortunately Olivia cannot do math. I mean… cannot do math. So, to help her achieve her goals, her parents get her the best help available. She has tutors, private classes, and even one-on-one aids in her class to help her get better at what her brain just doesn’t seem to want to do. The result? Not only does Olivia never gets into the program she wants to because she cannot do the math on her own at the level required, but she spent all those years as the “special kid” who needed all the extra help to become something she was not created to be – good at math. And who does she have to blame?

As a last example, let’s take Lorna. Lorna was told that she has to make a good income to be happy. To do so, of course, she needs a college degree. So Lorna chooses the degree she thinks will set her up for the most money in the end. She graduates Magna Cum Laude, but there are simply no jobs in her market. Lorna leaves friends and family in search of a job to pay the debts she accumulated getting the degree she needed for the job that doesn’t exist. She is now living away from home, not doing what she set out to do, nor what she wants to do, all to make a check that barely covers her debts, let alone allows her to enjoy her life.

What a sad narrative. When will we wake up to see that God has made each of us on purpose, for a purpose? And the purpose is simple – to enjoy Him. What if Eden, Jude, Olivia and Lorna were all told from the very beginning, “Follow what you are good at, what you enjoy, and what allows you to love God and your neighbor (including friends, family, co-workers, etc.).” What if each of them was simply encouraged in what they excelled at and lovingly told the truth about their whims? What if each of them was told that a college degree and six-figure salary will not make them happy, but a life of contentment with Christ surely will? The end of each story would change.

“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6 NIV) Don’t believe it? Consider the man who wrote those words. Paul wrote of himself, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12 NIV) To an American, comfort is the meaning of life. In comfort we will find fullness. Perhaps full stomachs and waist lines, but not full lives. Paul was filled to the brim, yet, read what his life was like, “… I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:23-28 NIV) To an American, Paul had nothing. He lived a third-world life with first world stress. But, of this type of life, here is what he said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NIV) This was Paul’s secret. Learning to be content had nothing to do with circumstance and everything to do with Christ.

True fulfillment, true contentment, does not come through a degree or a salary. It does not come through possessions or positions. It does not come through fame or martyrdom. It does not come through anything, but only through One Person, the God-man Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)

So what does all of that have to do with a kid wanting to be a lion when he grows up? Good question. Everything. The end goal for every human being is to know God and be made like Him. The recipe for contentment and a fulfilling life is always the same – Jesus. It begins with an introduction to Him. From the very beginning our children need to know Who Jesus is, why Jesus came, and what that has to do with them. They need to know of His infinite love for them, proved on the cross. His definite plan for them, modeled in His life. And His ultimate destination for them, displayed in the resurrection.

If our children can truly grasp the first question in the New City Catechism and say that it is true of their own life, they will live the most fulfilling lives possible. “What is our only hope in life and death? That we are not our own but belong to God.” Do you want to know something? My three year old already has this memorized. The rest of her life, for me, is about helping those words make their way into her heart and life. Everything else is trivial.

For two great resources on this topic see:
Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper and Ordinaryby Michael Horton

By | 2018-01-31T02:31:22+00:00 October 21st, 2017|0 Comments

God is Sustaining You

God is Sustaining You by Olivia White

God is Sustaining You by Olivia White

Sin persistently wreaks havoc on our world. Whether by the piercing whistle of sirens, blinding blue and red flashing lights, shouting, screaming, and crying, or by the daily struggles of sickness, depression, and pain, we are constantly reminded of the broken state of this fallen world. All around us, we see the effects of the curse and of our sinful nature.

At some point or another, we all have faced the question, “Where is God in all of this?”

When we are tempted to doubt or despair, we have two options. We can do just that- doubt and despair- and assume that God really is not in control, or else, he must not be the good and gracious God he claims to be. Or, we can step back and try to look at things from a heavenly perspective.

 

Sovereign God Sustains

Consider Matthew 8:23-27, in which Jesus and his disciples are on a boat when a storm comes along. The boat begins filling with water, threatening to drown them, but Jesus is apparently unaware of the situation as he is asleep. “Save us, Lord, we are perishing!” cry the disciples. Jesus rebukes them, “Why are you afraid, o you of little faith?”

Let us not be those “of little faith”. Let us trust God even when it doesn’t look like he is in control, because we know he is sovereign regardless of whether we understand his workings.

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)

We must not assume God is just sitting up in heaven twiddling his thumbs until we notify him of our problems.

God is constantly sustaining the universe. He doesn’t just leave it to run on its own. He holds the sun in the perfect position to illuminate and warm our world without scorching us to death. He directs the winds and waves as he wishes. He makes our bodies continue breathing.

If God stopped holding the universe together, boom, we would all be dead. God isn’t the world’s medicine; he is its life support.

 

Sustained for a purpose

Does this make us mere chess pieces, pointlessly watching as the game of life takes place before our eyes? Not at all. Knowing God is actively sustaining us, we can assume he must have a purpose for our lives and a role for us to play. This should radically change the way we live. We are not alive by mere chance. He has kept us on this earth for a reason.

In the most broad sense, we are here to praise God. We must live out this purpose through obedience to his commands, serving him, and putting his goodness on display for the world to see.

The way we live as Christians should send messages to the world.

By sharing our testimony, we say, God’s grace is strong enough to save a wretch like me.

By spreading the gospel, we say, The righteous judge of the universe chose to take our punishment upon himself that we criminals might be redeemed and restored back into a relationship with him.

By fellowshipping with other believers we say, The bond of Christ is not divided by race, personality, age, background, socioeconomic status, or anything else under creation.

By loving our enemies, we say, You may never love me in return, but that’s okay because God loved me while I did not yet love him.

This is the general way in which we all are called to magnify Christ. This is how we can witness to the world around us. This is the role God has assigned to us in his overarching, sovereign, eternal plans.

 

God’s sovereignty should be our comfort

As God is sustaining the human race, so he also has a purpose in sustaining the world and is actively working in it.

He has not left us to come to a miserable end as nations blow each other up until the world is no more. From everyday incidents to world-powers declaring war, he is sovereign over every action and event and is providentially working through them for our ultimate sanctification (Romans 8:28).

God is sustaining the world and he is sustaining you for a purpose. As you live for that purpose, take comfort in knowing no matter what is going on around you, he is still sustaining.

Today I encourage you to ponder this truth. Every breath you take comes from him. Every beam of sunshine or drop of rain has been ordained by him to fall. Every event of your life, whether good or bad, is being used by him according to his glorious eternal plan. Let’s trust that he is aware of our circumstances and will do what is best for our good and his glory.

 

Recommended Reading

By | 2018-01-31T02:36:29+00:00 September 16th, 2017|0 Comments

Do We Need to Clean Up for God?

Do We Need to Clean Up for God? by Olivia White

As I scrolled through my Facebook Feed today, I stumbled upon the words of a fellow Christian blogger:

“God wants to love on you. No need for clean up before approaching him.”

This attitude of “God loves you, so come as you are” is one that is incredibly prevalent these days. While the intentions behind it are likely good, there are problems with the message being conveyed, problems that I want to address. My purpose isn’t to pick on the writer of that quote or anyone embracing it, but rather to point out the two main issues with this message.

 

1. The gospel is about more than God’s love

It would be wrong of me to say that this quote and the message behind it are over-inflating God’s love. God’s love for his children is great, far beyond anything we could imagine! And yes, he created and saved us out of that great love.

But that’s not all there is to the story. You see, when we simplify it down to just “God loves us”, we make it about us when, truthfully, it wasn’t about us in the first place. As a young child, I was taught from the Westminster Catechism that “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Simply put, we exist to bring glory to God.

Indeed, the Bible affirms this idea. Ephesians chapters one and two combine to make a gospel-saturated, rich portrayal of our identity as Christians. God is shown to be merciful, kind, and full of grace. Yet the apostle Paul doesn’t just say “God saved us because he loved us.” No, he makes it very clear that the goal of our salvation is that God would be praised.

“He predestined us… to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have obtained an inheritance… so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also… were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:5-6, 11-14)

We must understand that while God’s love is unimaginable, it is not God’s sole motivation. God saved us out of love. He loved us by saving us. And he did it that he might be praised.

 

2. God is forgiving, but God expects holiness

This is the root issue of the “come as you are” philosophy: it ignores the holiness of God and neglects his expectations for his followers.

Yes, God forgives our sins. He even knows that we as human beings cannot attain perfection in this life. But by no means does he give us a free pass for sin. Instead, God gives us the firm command: “Be holy, because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16), and we cannot make light of this command.

We as Christians are called to live a life of holiness. Ephesians 1:3-4 tells us, “Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

Holiness is something that we are called to. Holiness ought to be our destiny. Holiness must be our goal.

 

So what?

God does accept us despite our imperfection (assuming we have trusted in Christ and thus had our sins atoned for by his work on the cross) and he certainly does love us. Yet we must not get so focused on the grace of God that we overlook his holiness and our responsibility. We aren’t perfect and we won’t be perfect, but we must strive to put sin to death and live in a way that pleases our holy God. For if we have been saved by the grace of God, why would we want to do that which displeases him?

So then, my exhortation to you is this: Embrace the love of Christ, but acknowledge his holiness. Bask in his grace, but strive for righteousness. Don’t take advantage of God’s goodness, but rather let it propel you to do that which pleases him. Remember the purpose for which you were saved: to glorify your Savior.

 

Recommended Reading

By | 2018-01-31T02:38:33+00:00 August 24th, 2017|0 Comments

Why the Way Forward is Backward

Why the Way Forward is Backward by Allen Nelson

Lifeway published a study at the end of 2015 where the results showed only 18% of people attending new church plants had zero previous church background (SOURCE). I am not a statistician and I don’t put an unreasonable amount of hope in various studies, but I do think this affirms something I’ve thought for a while now: Novelty in churches today isn’t really reaching new people as much as it is ‘disgruntled’ people. It’s true that this study was nearly two years ago, but it’s my guess that things haven’t really changed, unless they’ve actually gotten worse.

Here’s a few problems with novelty:

Novelty exchanges one problem for another –

I once did ministry in a place where a church had split basically over novelty vs. tradition. One group of people wanted to do things ‘same old same old’ while the other wanted to introduce new music, new dress styles, and an overall new approach. The result was a split and a new church.

But here’s the issue. While one church is idolizing tradition, the other is now idolizing novelty! Where one church thinks people are liberal for using a guitar in worship, the other thinks people are Pharisees for only using hymnals. Novelty didn’t fix anything. It just trades one problem for another, which at the root is the same problem, just with fancier (or less fancy?) clothing.

 

Novelty uses novelty to attract people

Like the church situation mentioned above, and similar situations I’ve witnessed over the last 10+ years of ministry, one major problem with many new churches is that the draw is not Christ, but novelty.

“Oh, I can go there and wear jeans!?” “I can go there and drink a latte!?” “We can go there and experience this awesome new youth ministry!?” And the list goes on… Many people are looking for something to fill their souls. They know (intellectually) that it’s only Jesus who can satisfy but experientially they’ve ‘tried Church’ and have found it lacking. Novelty comes along and says “What you need to try now is this.”

People are drawn to novelty. We live in a society of constant change. There is always something new and better and more innovative coming down the line, and this has affected the church ‘industry’. The more creative we can get in church plants, the better, because it works! But I want to push back on this line of thinking. How does it work? Is it actually working?

If 82% of the people already have some sort of church background, what are we really doing? Swapping sheep?

It’s a grave possibility that many are coming because they love novelty more than Christ.* For a while they actually feel that a void in their life has been filled, when in reality they are still missing Christ. It’s like eating candy when your hungry. Sure, it may offer a momentary relief, but eventually you will feel more hungry than before you ate the junk food!

I know there are many gospel believing, faithful preaching brothers out there in a ‘novel’ church who may not even recognize this danger! But to attract people to a Lord’s Day worship gathering based on music style, coffee variety, or affinity, is missing the heart of the New Testament teaching, that the draw and focus of our gathering is Christ and Him crucified for sinners and uniting with other blood bought rebels who have sworn fealty to Christ the King.

*(It’s not that ‘traditional church’ is the answer. Many are attending those churches and refuse to move in a healthy direction because they love the 1950s era more than Christ.)

 

Novelty doesn’t get to the heart of the issue

In trading one sin for another, the heart of the problem remains unaddressed. The real truth is that a lot of times it’s not sheep being swapped. We are swapping goats. We think people won’t come to church just because we are doing it wrong. If we can just change the music, the lighting, or the ambiance then we’ll get more people to attend. And so we plant new churches where 82% of the people are basically already on someone else’s church roll.

But the truth is, most people who don’t come to church are absent for this one main reason: they aren’t converted, and they don’t want to come to church. The heart of the issue is that many people, particularly in the Bible Belt, love religious formality and not Christ. And where novelty has been particularly troubling is in the fact that it has masqueraded as though it is not ‘religious’.

Religion has been categorized as hymnals and suits at church. But lattes, guitars, media overload, cowboy hats, biker get up, and hunting apparel is just as religious. It just goes by a different name. The heart of the issue is that people need to be confronted with their sin through the preaching of the Law and told how they can find forgiveness for their sin through the preaching of the Gospel.

I don’t think the danger here is ‘what if this novel stuff doesn’t work in 20 years?’ I think the danger is ‘What if it does?’

Because then in 20 years you’ll have a bunch of novel churches that are now ‘traditional’ in their novelty and then you’ll have the same problem all over again! I hear the call for more relationships, and reaching the lost, and I get all that. And I’m on 100% agreement with those needs in the church today. But we won’t get to the heart of these issues by doing anything ‘new.’

 

So what is the way forward?

As I said in the title, it is backward.

Let me clarify a few things:

1. I am NOT against Church Planting (In fact, as an example, I personally know some faithful church planters in Kansas City who are doing a ‘novel’ thing: house church! But as we consider that, it’s really not new at all is it? cf. 1 Cor. 16:19. Also, our local association is currently working to plant a church in a Nebraska town where there is currently no Southern Baptist presence)

2. I am NOT against technology

3. I am NOT against contemporary music (well, not all contemporary music anyway)

4. I am NOT trying to go back to the 1950s

5. I am NOT against novelty just because it’s ‘novel’ (For example, I preach from the ESV, a new translation!, I enjoy heating and air in our sanctuary, we use electricity!, etc.)

The way forward is not back to the Heavenly Highway Hymnal. It’s not back to Cantatas, or same old same old just for the sake of nostalgia.

The way forward is back much further than those things. Back to Scripture. I know, I know, it sounds so dumb and ‘too easy’ to say something like that. But listen, it really is the truth! Scripture is sufficient for what the Church ought to be and what She ought to do! And Scripture is sufficient for a clear recovery of the gospel. Not an assumed gospel, but the blood red saving gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I maintain that we are not in need of novelty today as much as we are in need of reformation. We look at the traditional church and we (rightly) say “Something needs to change!” And so, our effort has been as of late, to bring more fun, bring more ‘relevance’, bring a better atmosphere, be more ‘organic’ (whatever that really means). But I maintain, that though we’ve rightly seen the need for change, we’ve reached the wrong conclusion. The way forward is not forward (novelty). The way forward is backward.

You won’t find a clearer picture of relationships and a heart for the lost than in the pages of the New Testament.

It’s time to go backward! A recovery of the authority, necessity, and sufficiency of Scripture. A recovery of the gospel. A recovery of who God is. A recovery of what a Christian is. A recovery of the truth there are only two types of people: Those recognizing and rejoicing in the reign of Christ, and those who don’t. A recovery of that truth once delivered for all the saints.

I am grateful to see many brothers and sisters committed to going backward today. We see a recovery of the great creeds in many churches. We see a commitment to faithful men preaching expository sermons. We see a true heart for the lost which results in sharing the gospel and calling on all persons to repent and believe it. But let us ever be wary of exchanging the timeless truth of Scripture for something flashy in order to remain relevant in the eyes of the world.

Backward Christian Soldier! So that we may go onward…

Only God can bring the reformation we need. Let’s seek Him in His Word today.

Semper Reformanda

 

Recommended Books

By | 2018-01-31T02:40:35+00:00 August 12th, 2017|0 Comments

The Essence and Effects of Sin

The Essence and Effects of Sin by Allen Nelson IV

The Essence and Effects of Sin by Allen Nelson IV

The Essence and Effects of Sin

It has been a joy preaching through the book of 1 Peter at our church. It is amazing how Scripture continues to shape and transform us as we gather around it each week eager to hear from God’s Word. We were going along at a pretty good pace until we hit 1 Peter 2:24 – He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

As I studied this verse I felt like it would be a good time to slow down, and to walk slowly through the mountains of richness this particular passage contains. We are breaking down this verse piece by piece as we seek to plumb the depths of the gospel and anchor all of our hopes in the magnificent truth of what Christ has done for us. And that brings us to today’s post.

Peter tells us that Christ “bore our sins” (see also Isaiah 53:3-11). In order for us to understand the full weight of such a statement we need to think biblically about sin. This is not an easy subject. In fact, it is often one rejected by our society and sadly, it is even obscured in many pulpits today. The purpose of Christ’s work was not to bear our ‘non-Fridays’, our ‘flat-tires’, or our failure to get the next promotion. God was after our most fundamental need in the atonement: our sin debt. Therefore, Christ bore our sins.

 

What is the essence of sin?

The word from 1 Peter 2:24 (used twice) carries the idea of ‘missing the mark.’ Isaiah 53:5 uses the English words ‘transgressions’ and ‘iniquities’ carrying the idea of rebellion and misdeeds respectively. In 1 John 3:4, John tells us plainly that “sin is lawlessness.” With those truths in mind, consider what others have said about the essence of sin:

  • “Sin is high treason against heaven.” Thomas Watson
  • “Sin is any lack of conformity to God’s will in attitude, thought, or action, whether committed actively or passively. The center of all sin is autonomy, which is the replacing of God with self. Always closely associated with sin are its products – pride, selfishness, idolatry, and lack of peace.” John Macarthur  
  • What is sin? Sin is saying, I renounce the God who made me; I disallow His right to govern me. I care not what He says to me, what commandments He has given, nor how He [disapproves]: I prefer self-indulgence to His approval. I am indifferent to al He has done to and for me; His blessings and gifts move me not: I am going to be lord of myself. Sin is rebellion against the Majesty of Heaven. It is to treat the Almighty with contempt.” A.W. Pink
  • Sin: Any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature.” Wayne Grudem
  • “Sinning is a discounting of the value of the glory of God.” John Piper

To use the child’s Sunday school answer of sin being the ‘bad stuff we do’ doesn’t quite capture the full essence of sin, does it? It’s not merely the ‘bad stuff’ we do, but all that we do in a life outside of Christ. The essence of sin is a life of rebellion.

 

What are the effects of sin?

How has sin affected man? Only in every conceivable way.

  • It has affected our minds (Titus 1:15)
  • It has affected our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9)
  • It has affected our wills (Romans 3:11)
  • It has rendered us unwilling and unable to submit to God (Romans 8:7-8)
  • It has left us in a state of spiritual deadness (Eph. 2:1)

The bible teaches us that every single part of a person is tainted by the effects of sin. Furthermore, this has obliterated our relationship with God. Psalm 5:5 and Psalm 11:5 both use strong language for God’s disposition toward sinners. This isn’t because God is mean or a tyrant. Actually, it’s just the opposite. Because God is good, He has a holy and righteous hatred toward sin. It is true that He has no delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11), but this doesn’t mean He will compromise His own holy character. He will one day righteously judge the Nations and in so doing will send many to a just eternity in Hell.

Here’s what we’ve seen thus far: The essence of sin is rebellion. The effect of sin is we are guilty, vile, helpless, and hopeless. We have been rendered unable and unwilling to do the slightest thing about our sin problem. Mankind is spiritually dead and morally bankrupt.

This isn’t necessarily a self-esteem booster is it?

But it is critical we understand the human condition.

  • It helps us to understand how to raise our children.
  • It helps us to understand why marriage is so hard sometimes
  • It helps us understand why society is the way it is
  • It helps us understand why people inexplicably do some sort of heinous crime

Mankind is sinful, rebellious, and has woefully missed the mark of God’s perfect glory. But do you know why it is most critical that we understand the human condition? Because it helps us understand the full weight and beauty of the gospel. When we are soft on preaching about sin, we are soft on the gospel. When we rightly expound upon the black canvas of our sin, it makes the diamond of the gospel shine all the more brightly.

Do you see the glory of 1 Peter 2:24? Jesus bore our sins.

Oh how short we’ve fallen of God’s glory. How hateful we’ve been to one another. How lustful and idolatrous our hearts have been. How self-seeking, self-serving, self-glorying our actions, attitudes, and motivations. Oh the pride! The lying. The stealing. The quest for happiness, joy, and satisfaction outside of God and His Holy will. The gossip. The slander. The half-truths. The failure to care about Scripture, prayer, giving, and the people of God. The deaf ear to the least of these. The lack of concern for God’s glory. The vile thoughts we’ve harbored deep within us that no one knows. The drunkenness, sexual immorality, laziness, hypocrisy. The worship of false gods and idols.

How could we ever hope to be accepted by God based on our sin? How can we who are so wicked enter into eternal fellowship with a perfectly holy and righteous God? 1 Peter 2:24 has the answer.

Chris bore our sins. On the Cross Jesus took our sins and said “MINE”. He who committed no sin, bore ours. The righteous one was treated as unrighteous. This is the only hope of the world. Jesus didn’t bear our ‘mistakes’. He didn’t bear our ‘tried our best’. He didn’t bear our poor decisions. What did He bear? Our sins.

The greatest problem we have in the universe is not that we need more money, or our kids to behave, or that we need a better marriage. Our greatest problem is our sin against a holy God.

The gospel is God’s solution to that problem. That Christ was our sin bearer so that we would not have to bear the penalty of our sin against the wrath of God in hell forever. The essence and effects of sin have eliminated any chance of our making reconciliation with God in and of ourselves. But God! God has made a way in Christ, a sufficient sacrifice for the sins of the world. If you die and go to Hell, it’s not because there was something lacking in Christ’s work. It is because you refused to ever lay hold of these glorious promises that can be yours by faith. You chose sin over the sin-bearer.

But oh, if you lay hold of Christ, a Divine transaction has taken place! He took our sins. Now, there is another aspect of this by which we also receive Christ’s righteousness, but that’s for another post. Today, let’s end by asking this question:

 

How should we respond to such an astonishing claim?

  1. Believe it

Do not delay! If the text says Jesus bore our sins, why are you still bearing them? Why would you bear them for all eternity in Hell since a substitute has been given for you? If the Bible says “Whosever believeth” may have eternal life, what bars you from being a whosever? It is only your cold heart. Repent and believe today!

 

  1. Live it 
    1. Christians don’t have live out the reality of who we once were. We are new in Christ! 
    2. As we go forward in life, we rest in this truth: God loves us and He is for us in Christ! If He has taken care of our greatest need, can’t we be certain that He has our best interest at heart even if that means facing trials in this life? 
  2. Share it

Christ is our sin bearer. Proclaim it to the nations!

 

Recommended Books

By | 2018-01-31T02:45:28+00:00 July 7th, 2017|0 Comments

Words are Always Necessary

words necessary Top Christian Books

Words are Always Necessary by Alex Koo

Words have incredible power. A word can speak things into existence. A word can change a person’s heart — or break it. A word can change the direction of history. Don’t underestimate the word. Have you thought about how shaping words are to a culture?

Consider Eskimos, for example. While the typical American has a few working words for snow, Eskimos utilize over fifty words for snow. Or let’s think about Brazil’s Pirahã tribe. This tribe, consisting of 310-350 people, has absolutely no clue what a number is. Their native tongue simply has no concept of numbers, and consequently, no concept of time.

Language may arguably be the single most shaping factor of humanity and that is why some people give their lives to studying it.

Linguists argue that the distinction between animals and human beings is language. Sure, animals can communicate. They can make signals and create noises, but they don’t have language. Language is a distinctly human feature, precisely because we alone were created in the image of God.

What does it tell us about God when we ponder the fact that He chose to speak to us through His Word? What does it tell us about God when we read in Genesis 1 that God, when He could’ve created the world by a thought, chose to speak the world into existence?

It tells us that God uses words.

It tells us that God, in His wisdom, has chosen the means of the word to speak things ex nihilo — to speak something out of nothing. That’s why God says through Isaiah: “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Is.55:11).

But don’t miss this. It wasn’t just the heavens and the earth that were created by words. God uses words to speak life to dead hearts.

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Pet. 1:23).

The same God that, with a word, spoke the words “let there be light!” is the same God that commands us to declare the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Why? Because when we use words to share this life-altering Gospel, the Spirit uses those very words to create life. Do not underestimate the Spirit’s power in your use of words.

So yes, Christian, preach the Gospel at all times … use words when necessary.

And words are always necessary.

 

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By | 2018-01-31T02:45:40+00:00 July 5th, 2017|0 Comments

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