Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Very Merry Christmas Message

After his resurrection, Jesus spoke to his disciples.  "He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.  He told them, 'This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things," (Luke 24:45-48).

What is the ultimate human condition? Created beautiful, but fallen into the ugliness of sin. We have "God-imaging" potential, but we have an inherent sinful nature such that what we most want, and what we worship is not God, but ourselves and anything else (sex, money, you-name-it). Here is the beauty of God's rescue plan - He came to rescue the very people who rebelled against Him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Words: Lively or Deadly

2 Samuel 20:1, "Now a troublemaker named Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite, happened to be there.  He sounded the trumpet and shouted, 'We have no share in David, no part in Jesse's son!  Every man to his tent, Israel!'"

Words. An insult from one man. These words spoken in insult during a tense time nearly sparked a second civil war in Israel as David returned to Jerusalem. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Jesus Loves His Church

Here is a helpful message from Pastor Mark Driscoll on how Jesus Loves His Church.  Here

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her," (Eph 5:25). 
                The supreme human love relationship, marriage, is supposed to be modeled after Christ's love for His people.  Who are Christ's people?  What is the ultimate love relationship in existence apart from God's inner-Trinitarian love for Himself?  It is Christ's relationship to the church.  The church is far from perfect.  It is a group of sinful human beings doing life together.  But, it is a group of imperfect people affected by the perfect love of Christ.  It is imperfect people being slowly made perfect by God.  Much pain has occurred through the church, sadly.  But, God has not given up on it.  Instead, Jesus loves the church and is purifying it so that it glorifies God.  Because Jesus loves the church, Christians must love the church.  Christians must love the organized body of believers both globally and locally.  Christians must pray for the success of the church around the world.  Christians also must actively join and serve in a local body of believers, even when it is painful to do so.  The church is the family of God on earth, and though we are not yet sinless (hence the ongoing pain in earthly churches), we work through the power of the Holy Spirit to serve God and one another better.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Use Worldly Wealth - Luke 16:9

"I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings," (Luke 16:9).

Jesus told a perplexing parable of a dishonest servant who, when he found he was being fired, helped debtors to his master change their debts and steal from his former master. Jesus did not say what the master did to the dishonest servant other than praise him for his shrewdness. Then, arguing from lesser to greater, he encouraged his followers to be shrewd with worldly wealth. However, Jesus was not encouraging unscrupulous methods to gain mountains of money. Instead, he was encouraging Christians to make the most of their dollars for eternal purposes. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fire from God for Grace and for Justice

At the end of the first week of the institution of the priestly office for Aaron and his sons, a ceremony was completed to inaugurate the Lord dwelling with His people and mediating His presence at the tabernacle through the priests (Lev 9).  This ceremony included "the entire assembly" of Israel standing before the Lord (Lev 9:5).  A calf was slaughtered before their eyes, cut up, and its blood put on the altar and poured out; then a lamb was cut to pieces.  Next, a goat was killed as a sin offering.  Finally both an ox and a ram were killed.  God had meticulously commanded these sacrifices to cover the people's sins and allow a Holy God to dwell with a sinful people.  This was an incredibly bloody day that all of the people watched.  Imagine the sounds and smells they saw as Aaron and his sons slowly worked to offer the sacrifices.  After Aaron stepped down from the altar, he and Moses blessed the people.  Then, the glory of the Lord appeared and "Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering," (Lev 9:24).

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Idolatry Explored

Is idolatry at the root of most sins, or is it only a small problem today, a relic of a struggle from an ancient age when men worshiped what they made?  Do you struggle with idolatry?  Do I?  If we do struggle, how do we know, and what do we do about it?  Each of these questions has been on my mind in some fashion lately.  Below, I have uploaded a preliminary discussion.  More work and more support is necessary, but at this point, I want to share what God has shown me about idolatry.  Please feel free to share with me the passages that have been important to you, or your own struggle to worship God fully and enjoy a heart submitted to the Lordship of Christ above all.

Idolatry Explored

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Good Friday

        Having endured a sleepless night of false accusations before an unfair and prejudiced court, Jesus was hauled to his feet early on Friday morning, and dragged to the Praetorium before the violent Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate.  For the next three hours or so, Jesus endured further false accusations from the envious Jews and easily-swayed crowd.  He endured the skeptic questioning of Pilate and then the mocking requests for miracles from Herod.  He suffered a severe scourging because of Pilate's cowardly attempt to appease the crowd's bloodlust at his expense.  Then, he heard the verdict his Father had told him would come, "Crucify him," (Mark 15:14).