Tag Archives: jesus

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!

Leave a comment

Filed under christian, 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?

 

4 Comments

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”?

 

1 Comment

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

Savior, Lord, or Both?

Reading a book this morning and ran across this quote:

Jesus’ invitation flies in the face of modern evangelism. More often than not, sermons imply that Jesus is a personal Savior to help people get out of trouble and danger. He is pictured as standing anxious and ready to assist all who will simply sign a permission slip for Him to be a Savior. But there is silence about His being a Master to be followed, a Lord to be obeyed.

Any thoughts? Do you think we present the Gospel accurately?

6 Comments

Filed under Books, christian, quotes

Christian Cannibals

Have words ever felt tangible to you? At times, they jump off the page and you interact with them in a way that seems almost personal.

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

I normally enjoy reading other blogs. They inspire me. I try to vary who I read to better understand different perspectives and most of the time I come away encouraged. Today was different.

The hate, disgust, contempt were palpable. Upon reading the blog itself and the comments below it, I just felt dirty.

And this was a Christian blog.

It was written to attack one particular subculture of Christians. The author attempted to be funny, but the accusations and assumptions were enormous. The irony was evident as the author and those commenting unleashed a fury of belittling comments about how they had been judged in the past.I am not saying we can’t have dialogue and discussion. We can and we should.

The difference is that dialogue and discussion is beneficial to the body of Christ, where as just unloading on an entire group does nothing but alienate and wound.

I understand we have probably all had bad experiences with certain groups in the past. I just want us to find more constructive ways to work through differences.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Philippians 2:3-4

6 Comments

Filed under christian, Scripture, selflessness

Ignorance, Indifference, or Unbelief: Why Don’t We Pray?

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

1 John 5:14-15

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

John 14:13-14

Ignorance, indifference, or unbelief. I can only think of three options.

The disconnect between these verses and our lives expands like a great canyon. The mark of our churches includes many good, even great things, but rarely desperate, concerted prayer. We have the power of heaven at our disposal, yet, if your life looks anything like mine, we live as if we have plenty of power on our own.

Three reasons why we may not pray:

  1. Ignorance: I’m not calling anyone stupid. Ignorance is simply not knowing any better. Sure, people know verses about prayer exist. They even know they should pray. However, many Christians have not grown up in churches where there are men and women with a heart for prayer. Prayer is generally assigned to a Sunday or a morning devotional and so people treat it that way. We need leaders who will mentor the next generation. We need churches where families gather to pray not because they were told to, but because they have a passion for prayer. Church leaders, we must begin to live out biblical preaching on prayer!
  2. Indifference: Indifference is an epidemic that plagues the church today. Unfortunately, our convictions are such that we act as if our beliefs are no more significant than choosing which shirt to wear. Jesus directly tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father except through me.” Yet, when it comes to the many people in our sphere of influence who do not know the Good News, we hardly feel the need to pray for them. I have begun to pray that I would feel Paul’s urgency when he wrote:  “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all…we implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
  3. Unbelief: I have the hardest time with this one. I want to say we all believe God answers prayer, but do we? I feel like we sometimes try to cover for God by not praying. We just aren’t sure if He will answer the way we want. I don’t know. One of my best friends in the world was going through a difficult time recently and there were days I would neglect to pray for him. Sure, we’ll never be perfect, but I think there is also a time when we have to be real with ourselves and ask: Is what I believe just up in my head or has it sunk into my heart?

Ignorance, indifference, and unbelief. Which one do you struggle with?

 

 

4 Comments

Filed under christian, Prayer

Becoming Last to a Sickie

My kid is sick. Check that. My kid is the whiny, snotty, fussy, irrational, needy, but can never be fulfilled sick.

I’m not complaining. Just giving some perspective.

Today was going to be my morning “off”. I had plans to write, to pray, and to read. More than anything, I wanted to work on the blog. But my child was sick and that meant he got to stay home with dad.

Enter my selfish, it’s all about me attitude.

I laid him down to sleep, but it was as if the crib was his personal kryptonite. He constantly stood up and just screamed. My patience quickly exhausted, I started letting it get to me. I went from laying him down by singing to him, talking calmly to him to just laying him down and leaving and then finally to lecturing him about how he should know better (not that he could understand a word I said).

Nevermind the fact that he is sick, he should know I’m working on my blog about Becoming Last! He’s ruining my morning!

Wait…

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”   – Apostle Paul

Doh.

My baby was sick. He felt miserable. And all I could think about was how my expectations were not being met. I realized I had a choice. I could love him unconditionally or I could assert my own interests above his.

I quickly went into get him. He smiled at me over the edge of his crib (at least he’s a forgiving baby). I turned off his fan and brought him out to play. For about an hour, we played, I held him, we played some more, and he was a genuinely happy baby. Soon, I fed him, changed him, and laid him back down.

I could hear him start to move around and his cough was coming back. All I could think to do was pray so I grabbed my other son (he’s 3) and we said a quick prayer for his baby brother. His prayer was, “God, please help him feel better. Your turn dad.” I smiled and  prayed (longer, but no more effective).

No kidding. Within a minute, the little guy was asleep. God answered the prayers of a 3 year old and a selfish dad who runs a blog called Becoming Last (oh, the irony).

Thankful he was asleep, I whipped out my computer ready to pound out some writing.

“Dad, now that he’s asleep, will you play Go Fish with me?”

“Yes, buddy. I’d love to play Go Fish with you.” I’d learned my lesson.

3 Comments

Filed under christian, Realizations, selflessness, Serving Others, Uncategorized