Category Archives: Scripture

It’s Monday and He’s Still Risen!

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.   7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8

I read those words in church yesterday. The cross, an ugly, terrible event in the history of mankind also holds unspeakable beauty. Christ did not go to the cross for certain groups of people. He did not endure the pain for Jews. He did not endure the suffering for Gentiles. He did not take on just white or black people’s sins. The cross spanned the entire plain of humanity. Good, bad, beautiful or ugly in the eyes of the world, accomplished or broken, Christ died for everyone.

I love verse 7. Paul supposes that “perhaps for the good man someone would even dare to die.” However, Christ died for the helpless and the ungodly. That is truly Good News. There are days I don’t feel worthy of anyone’s love, let alone their life. Yet, Christ, knowing the depth of my sin and yours, bore the pain of the cross and suffered on our behalf.

I hope you’ll find time today to marvel at the death and resurrection of Christ. There often seems to be such a build up to Christmas and Easter, then, in a flash, they are gone. Christ died for you. He does not care what you’ve done. He does not care what others think about you. He does not even care what mess you are into right now. He demonstrated His love for you through the cross and is waiting for you to come to Him.

Have a great Monday everyone. He is risen!

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Don’t Let Fear Kill Your Dream

“Fear prohibits great ideas from happening.” – @JeffGoins

I wonder…

how many great ideas never took flight…

how many dreams never became reality…

how many inspiring acts of heroism have been quenched…

NOT from lack of money, encouragement, resources, time, or talent,

but, BECAUSE OF FEAR.

We fear failure. We fear other people’s opinions. We fear leaving a more controlled life. We fear not being skilled or extraordinary enough.  We fear the unknown of launching into something that is larger than ourselves.

For whatever reason, we take our dreams, the ideas we are most passionate about, and we push them aside in order to fit into a more “normal” version of reality. Fear binds us from taking great leaps of faith.

I’ll be honest. Fear binds me now. I have a dream, but I’m just not sure it will take off.  We’ll see if it ever transforms from a “great idea” to reality.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. —  2 Timothy 1:7

What dreams are you letting be pushed aside by fear?

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Filed under Excuses, making a difference, quotes, Scripture, Serving Others

Do We Really Believe in the Resurrection?

Do you get the resurrection?

I know, as Christians we talk about the resurrection, but do you get it?

Praying with some friends today, I asked God to make the resurrection more real to me. I believe in it, but I think I’m just so used to the idea that I don’t truly get it.

Think about what we believe! Christ (God the Son), took on flesh, lived a sinless life, died to atone for our sins, and RESURRECTED!

That’s nuts!

The resurrection was a central part of the early church’s testimony (Acts 4:33) and the Gentiles mocked them for it (Acts 17:32). Naturally speaking, what we believe is absurd. No dead man gets up to live again.

That’s why I wonder if we get the resurrection. Do we truly sense and feel the miracle of what happened that day? Does it register as more than a good thought or a cool story?

The early church endured persecution because they got the significance of the resurrection. Nero was said to have lit them on fire to serve as lights in the evening. Why would people continue to confess faith in Christ if they knew death was imminent? Because they believed with everything they had that the resurrection of Christ was real.

In a sense, at the resurrection lies the crossroads of faith and unbelief. Without the resurrection, Jesus becomes no more than a guy with pithy sayings and a death wish. If Jesus stayed in that tomb, let’s stop with the craziness.

However, if the resurrection is true, that should absolutely light up our world. Words can’t even express the significance. Christ’s deity is proven, God has drawn near, and life becomes more about Him and less about us.

Do we get the resurrection?

I’m convinced that if we understood the significance, our lives would never look the same. After all, if we believe that a man died and came back to life to free us from sin and death, then should we not give everything we have to bring honor to His name? The resurrection radically alters lives.

  • Prayer becomes more than a domestic intercom (credit to Piper). We eagerly seek His will and direction.
  • The study of Scripture takes on new life as we eagerly want to know more about our resurrected Savior and God.
  • Money becomes utterly meaningless for comforts and pleasures.
  • People are no longer means to an end or faceless numbers. We see them as God sees them and we long for them to know Him.
  • Worship becomes a joy rather than a chore.
  • Duty, frustration, and routine are replaced with sacrifice, joy, and the cool tension of not knowing where God will lead you next.

Life, in view of the resurrection, takes on whole new meaning. The resurrection changes everything.

So, do you get the resurrection?

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Filed under christian, Making God Known, Realizations, Scripture

How I Create My Own Idols in Parenting…

Are we in line with the heart of God?

There comes a time where we inevitably feel like we have life pretty well figured out. We know how to act. We know what to do. We’ve learned what to avoid. However, in the process, we’ve lost God’s heart.

As a parent, I do this from time to time. I have a pretty good idea how I want my child to act, I know certain attitudes or behaviors I want him to avoid, and I soon begin to parent in my own way rather than in a God-honoring way.

I often find myself chasing the idols of behavior modification and daddy idolization. In the process, I lose the heart of God as I mentor and love my child.

The idol of behavior modification sneaks up fairly easily and I don’t think I’m alone in this. As parents, we want our children to learn right and wrong. We want them to conform to certain behaviors, but we too often seek to change their actions rather than nurture their heart.

Proverbs 4:23 calls the heart the “wellspring of life.” Luke 6:45 says that “out of the heart, the mouth speaks.” God wants our hearts. I lose sight of this when I become fixated on my desire to see my child just “do it right” rather than patiently and lovingly shepherding his heart.

I also lose sight of the heart of God in parenting when I make myself an idol. I become big headed and self-righteous when I get frustrated that my child does not obey me. I know – children should obey their parents. However, I think we can all attest that at times we have disciplined not out of a desire to see our children mature and grow, but simply because our inflated egos were damaged.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

Is my primary concern that my son obey me or that he mature and grow in his love for God and people?

I know we all have our own parenting styles. The many different theories and practices fill up bookstores. No matter which one we choose, we must make sure we submit our own hearts to God. Without his help, we will only become frustrated and fatigued as we chase idols such as the ones I battle.

Remember the words of Jesus in John 15:

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

As parents, we must regularly ask ourselves:

Are we in line with the heart of God?

 

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Filed under christian, parenting, Scripture, selflessness

Give Up Everything?

In the process we have unnecessarily (and unbiblically) drawn a line of distinction, assigning the obligations of Christianity to a few while keeping the privileges of Christianity for us all. In this way we choose to send off other people to carry out the global purpose of Christianity while the rest of us sit back because we’re “just not called to that.”  —  David Platt, Radical

In the midst of writing a much larger post about Christianity and wealth, I ran across this quote. I’ve written about our idea of “calling” before, but I think Platt provides an excellent reminder for us. Many of the functions, attitudes, and sacrifices that God calls us to as Christians, we tend to give to a select few.

The heart of the Christian life is sacrifice. Romans 12:1 speaks of being a “living sacrifice”.

What comes to mind when you hear those words?

The challenge for me lies in not taking those words too lightly. It’s easy for me to write some things that I do off as a “sacrifice”, but I wonder if we really want to know what God means when he says “living sacrifice”.

In Luke 18, Jesus challenges a rich young man to sell everything. Luke 9, we find Jesus calling those who follow him to deny themselves and take up their cross. These are not easy words. They aren’t words we should take lightly.

Our tendency is to take Jesus’ commandments and make them into philosophical mumbo-jumbo.

Jesus just wants me to have a giving heart.
We shouldn’t love things.
I should care about people.

While statements like these are true, they are sufficiently vague as to encompass almost any way of living.

The reality is if we have a loving heart it will burst forth in action. If we don’t care about things, we will find ourselves compelled to live with and love less and less of our things as we become more satisfied in Him. If we truly care about people, our lives will begin to revolve around His work on this earth, rather than building our own kingdom.

Christianity is going all-in.

What does being a “living sacrifice” mean to you?

How do you tangibly “take up your cross”?

 

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Filed under christian, Examples of Sacrifice, quotes, Scripture, selflessness, Serving Others

Making a Difference is Easier than You Think…

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and healing to the bones.”

Proverbs 16:24

If you want to make a difference in someone’s life today, it does not get anymore complicated than that. Maybe you feel like you don’t have the money or resources to make a large impact in the world.

Be encouraged. You have the ability and opportunity right now to lift someone’s spirit.

“The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”

Proverbs 10:11

Please do not underestimate the impact your words can have in the lives of the people around you. That old nursery rhyme about “words will never hurt me” sounds nice, but words can wound in ways that sticks and stones never could.

However, our words can be used as a fountain of life and there many dry, weary souls in need of nourishment.

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.

Ephesians 4:29

Today, will you intentionally encourage and uplift those around you?

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Filed under Challenges, Chances to Serve, christian, making a difference, Scripture

Why Finding a Church is not about You…

So you’re looking for a church…

Sounds easy enough, but what exactly do you look for?

Churches come in all shapes and sizes and if you want to find one to fit your style, all it takes is a little shopping. But should looking for a church engage the same decision-making process as ordering a burger? Consider the enormous amount of choices we have when finding a church.

Exegetical preaching v. Topical preaching
Contemporary worship v. Traditional worship
Sunday School v. Small Groups
Big Church v. Small Church
Lots of people who look the same as me v. A more diverse crowd

And that doesn’t even begin to look at different denominational differences…

We have this concept of the church that we want and then we go out and find it. I want to challenge that paradigm. Look at who matters in that last sentence.

We have this concept of the church that we want and then we go out and find it.

It’s all about…….US.

I understand there are certain doctrines we should not waver on and we should run from heresy, but when it comes to personal preference, how strongly should our desires weigh into the equation?

If you’re single and there aren’t many singles at a church, does that mean you flee?
If you’re one race and the church is majority another, do you look elsewhere?
If you want your kids to be in a vibrant children’s ministry and the church is just starting, do you write them off?
If a church seems big, do you ditch it for a smaller one?
If a church is not active in missions, do you help begin a missions vision or ship off to an already established missions program?

I’m not saying I have all the answers, but when the primary consideration becomes about our comfort and preference we miss the boat.

Choosing a church in the area where you live is one of the most significant decisions you make. I am not arguing that we can not ask questions. I am advocating that we ask the question: God, where do you want me?

The answer may not come easy. The answer may need to come through much prayer and searching of Scripture. But, we must ask the question.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33

I’m convinced that many Christians have missed opportunities where God called them to serve, sacrifice, and lead in order to find a church that “fit” them better.

Ask yourself the question:

God, where do you want me?

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