Bible, Ministry

Which Messiah are You Looking for?

Jesus made a lot claims during His life. Son of God. Forgiver of sins. Son of David. Lord of the Sabbath. The “I AM”. When Jesus asked what the Disciples thought of Him, Peter called Jesus the Messiah (Matthew 16:13-16).

Messiah literally means “anointed one”. It is, in part, a reference to the anointing of a new king. It is a perfect match for the One destined to ascend the everlasting throne of David, to rule over Israel, every nation, and all of creation.

When Jesus was received like a king to Jerusalem, everything the people hope for falls into the picture of Messiah. The title drew a very distinct picture in their minds. it should do the same for us. But are we looking for the right Messiah?

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Bible, Inspirational

10 Broken Pieces God Used to Make Us Whole Again

Just four months ago, we celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. Regardless of whether it is the right day of the year or how it is misused, Christmas is a time of celebration and joy.

Good Friday is different. Those who know Easter is coming recognize the darkness of today will turn to eternal light on Sunday. Grief will turn to wonder. Jesus’ victory overshadows Satan’s temporary victory. We tend to treat Good Friday as a hiccup. It appears and then it’s gone, a blip on the radar.

Maybe it’s because Good Friday reminds us how broken our world is. Sure, we see the news and pray for nations and people hit by tragedy. Brokenness seems obvious. Yet today’s message of brokenness is about sin, judgment, and justice. But the good news of the Gospel is how God sent Jesus to redeem our brokenness and make us whole and new again.

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Bible, Christian Living

Can You Really Take Advantage of God’s Grace?

Some people wonder why I do what I do. Those familiar with me and my ministry are aware of how I sometimes say or do things just to “mess with” people or challenge their preconceptions. It doesn’t always jive with the other person very well, but there are those times when gears start grinding that haven’t moved in a long time, if ever.

While I could stand on a stage and preach all the time, I really enjoy the interaction of small group discussion. I love seeing the light bulb come on in someone else. For them, there’s a new understanding or possibility to grapple with. And I offer my help in that journey.

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via http://www.wallpoper.com

One of our home group discussions recently resulted in a spiritual “light bulb moment” for me. This particular discussion was about Grace. It was the last night of an incredible video series I had chosen to accompany my preaching series about The Narrow Road Paradox. The videos were by a pastor from a different denomination as our own, and his teaching from a different perspective helped us expand our view of God, and especially Grace. One of the last questions we talked about that night was this: Can you really take advantage of God’s Grace?

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Bible, Christian Living

2 Reasons the Messiah was Rejected

The Death of the Messiah wasn’t a spur of the moment turn of events. It didn’t come out of nowhere and take everyone by surprise. Two groups were involved in the condemnation of the Messiah. Both rejected the Messiah for their own reasons. These two reasons for Jesus’ death are simple, and they can creep into our own lives if we aren’t watching and guarding our hearts.

cross and crown of thorns

There are few who would ever choose to lay Jesus on a cross and nail Him to a tortuous death. Yet the danger still lies nearby that we would reject His rule in our lives. So let’s look at these Two Reasons for Rejecting the Messiah, and search our hearts to push out any sign of them.

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Bible, Christian Living

Rules, Obedience, and Knowing God

You did it. Someone stopped you on the street. A family member was over at your house for dinner. You stopped into a church without any clue as to what awaited you inside. And suddenly it all made sense. God is real. Jesus did everything you couldn’t do. Now you believe. You’re a follower of Jesus. The old is gone, the new has come, and you’re ready to start down the journey.

Before long some well-meaning but misguided person or group is going to start imposing rules on your life. Don’t do this. Do that. Fill your days here and not there. At first it sounds simple and you desire God so much that you go along with it. As the days turn into weeks, months and years, you learn to gauge how well you and those around you are doing at knowing God. You read your Bible and pray everyday. Your car can almost always be found in the church parking lot because you never miss a service.

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Some of us really like rules. We like to-do lists and have apps for that. That’s right, we don’t just have one, we have a few. Because we don’t want to miss anything, don’t want to leave anything undone. So we’re going to work at it. One of the categories for your to-do’s is simple named, “God.” Your Bible reading plan is there. A list of prayer needs is there. There’s even a calculator for your tithes, missions support, child sponsorship and food bank donations. Plus a calendar with all of those services you wouldn’t want to miss, your discipleship course, conferences, book reading deadlines, and so much more.

Is this the relationship we are called to with Jesus Christ? Is it about to-do lists and rules? We want to stay close to Him and far from evil. Growth is the name of our game; we aren’t staying still because staying still is moving backwards because it ain’t moving forwards. I wonder what Jesus would have to say about all this doing and obeying.

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Bible, Christian Living

Sola Scriptura: How One Rule Keeps Us Straight when it Comes to God

There is a moment from my opening days of Bible College that I love to share. It comes from the first day of our Systematic Theology course. Who knew such a simple exercise could have such an impact on my heart?

The professor asked us to take out a sheet of paper. We were given a few minutes to write out everything we knew about God. After we finished and the papers were collected, we were told to expect the same assignment at the close of the semester. Sure enough, that day came and we wrote new descriptions about God, and they were much longer, filled with the theological words and ideas we acquired over those months of study.

Young man reading small Bible

It is incredibly helpful to take a course in theology. Doing so forces the student to “unlearn what he has learned” on his own in order to grow and accept what Scripture actually shows about God and how He relates with humanity. So many don’t have such an opportunity. Left to develop an understanding of God on their own, there is a great danger that can cause serious problems for us. Thankfully there is a simple rule to keep us safe.

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