Reflections

I don’t talk about Jesus primarily because I feel sorry for anybody who doesn’t know him or because I would feel guilty if I didn’t. I talk about Jesus because I can’t keep it in. I talk about him because he’s just so wonderful that the idea of a person disregarding him, misunderstanding him, or not knowing him is nearly intolerable to me. It’s like trembling before the majesty of a gorgeous ocean sunrise only to look around at so many facing inland.  Perhaps they’re consumed with concern over what the day might hold or perhaps they think they’ve seen it already. But they’re missing it and in a very short time it will be too late. Maybe you’re one of the people who’s missing it. If Jesus hasn’t wrecked your life, if he doesn’t consume your thoughts and dreams, if he isn’t the reference point for every decision you make or desire you have, then you’re missing him. I don’t have any light to give you but I hope to reflect him so that you might just turn (repent).

I’ve been attempting to follow Jesus for 28 years. I came to him because he was the only one who offered to give meaning to my life. Even as a child, I had little tolerance for self-deception. I want to see things as they are and to my way of thinking most people were living in denial over the one unavoidable reality of life that it would end. I couldn’t fathom the end of my consciousness. To describe it as “darkness” would not do annihilation justice since darkness describes the perception of the absence of light. Not only would such concepts cease to have meaning, they would never have had meaning from my standpoint. Other ideas about the afterlife such as reincarnation or nirvana were functionally the same outcome since they involve the utter loss of self. So, I pursued the One I’d heard about as a child in Sunday School but this time I sought him in the text of the New Testament. The man who shown from those pages was the one my heart had longed for. Jesus didn’t just offer pie in the sky by and by; he brought heaven to earth as he defied the pressures and pleasures of this existence for another plane of living that he called “blessed.” I gave myself to him and he reciprocated.

Sadly, the Dragon was there waiting for this child to be born and he quickly took me into custody with the promise of moral certainty. Satan used the very church in which I was baptized to lace the pure milk of the word with arsenic. My once-vital faith became feeble and sickly. My joy turned to disdain and the glorious picture of my Savior became hideously distorted behind a legalistic lens.

My Savior, it turned out, was more loving than I was self-righteous and he saved me again from my efforts to save myself. I discovered through the trial  of my errors that the faith that saves must be alone since anything else must be mistrust. At his cross my guilty plea released me from the guilt of my past. The power of his resurrection, the blessed Holy Spirit, is freeing me from the sinfulness of my present. It is this Spirit at work to make me like Jesus, that assures me that he will return to claim me for himself.

Today, I am more amazed at grace than the hour I first believed. My life in Christ is not one of fear, failure, guilt or judgment. That any of these experiences could be identified with the kingdom of God is proof positive that there are forces at work in this world to slander Christ Jesus. The word “gospel” means, “good news.” To be “gospel” a thing must be both good and news. The gospel of Christ is not a set of religious or moral injunctions. That would be neither good nor would it be news. The gospel is good because it bypasses the substances we repeatedly apply to cracks and fissures of our individual and collective soul to hydrate us from within. As an ongoing expression of Christ’s resurrection, this inner healing results from and results in noteworthy actual events in the world, in other words, news.

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Posted in Religion

Blame You

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Christ’s commands us to love each other. It’s such a simple rule and yet we can’t do it without him. This is why he calls it a new command even though it was the one the Jews had heard from the beginning. Christ came to love and he left a community of love which he expected to remain and spread. Praise the Lord it has! On the night of his betrayal, Christ prayed that we would be one so that the Father would be glorified in the Son.

Conversely, this world and its Prince continue to conspire against God’s project by sowing bitterness among God’s people. In Ephesians 4:26, Paul warns his audience to forgive quickly lest they give the devil (blamer) a foothold among them. Nothing arrests our progress toward oneness like bitterness. When a fellow believer does something careless or even malicious (as will inevitably happen), we must at the foot of the cross offer them forgiveness. Why? Because mercy lives at the foot of the cross. In order to harbor bitterness, we must abandon the hope of our own forgiveness and flee the cross for exile in the solitary seat of judgment. In that realm “they” come to offer us aid and comfort as they help us build our case against our offenders and eventually the entire world.

Though this demonic program carries especially grievous implications for the believing community, every person on the planet has encountered it. The animated feature, “Meet the Robinsons,” offers one of the most poignant examples of the dynamics of bitterness and its power to ruin lives. At the end of the clip, the advice, “Let it go and keep moving forward,” is useful if we can understand where we can let it go to and which direction is “forward.” Those answers have been released in the gospel of Christ.

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Posted in Anthropology, Bible, Friendship, Philosophy, Religion, Self help, Spirituality

Everyday Evangelism

Originally posted on Life Teams Support:

arguing-evangelism13 photo credit: theology21.com

How do you react when you hear the word, “evangelism”?  Me too.  I want more than anything to see people come to faith in Christ and have their lives turned right side up by him.  I’ve positioned myself to share the gospel many times and yet I often get blank stares.  I’m not good at it.  Sadly, the advice I have received from well-meaning leaders in the church has come out of one of two camps that I find equally inapplicable. First, there’s the relational evangelism camp. They say that any canned presentation of the gospel is inauthentic, manipulative, and demeaning to the lost person. The relational camp counsels believers to form significant relationships with unbelievers in order to “earn the right” to share the gospel.  When the brilliance of my lifestyle overwhelms my unbelieving friend, he or she will fall down and ask, “What must I…

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Posted in Religion

Message from Steve Timmis on Acts 4-5:16

Originally posted on Life Teams Support:

Once I sat down to write a book on church. Then I read Total Church by Chester and Timmis and therewith I laid down my pen.  Here is a powerful message on church by Steve Timmis.

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Posted in Religion

Holistic Holiness

spiritualsavant:

We can’t manufacture new life. All we can do is plant seeds and nurture them to maturity.

Originally posted on Life Teams Support:

growthwheelThe living message of the gospel spreads like all other living things on the planet through multiplication.  Plant life reproduces as a seed takes root, the plant that results then must bear fruit of some sort, and finally the fruit must deliver the seeds within it to produce the next generation of growth.  So it is with the seed of the gospel message.  For that seed to take root in a person’s heart, they must hear and accept it.  The new life that springs up must then bear fruit through redeemed relationships as people live out the implications of the gospel in their everyday lives.  A life so radically changed will inspire questions among those still in the world.  These questions open opportunities for the message to grow to other people as the redeemed person proclaims it through his or her answers.  Whether or not the second generation of hearers…

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Posted in Religion

Fla. mom who survived 45 minutes with no pulse shares her story – CBS News

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/florida-mom-who-survived-45-minutes-with-no-pulse-shares-her-story/

Posted in Religion

Netherlands says OK for biker gangs to fight Islamic State – MSN News

I’m buying the movie rights to this!

Posted in Religion
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