Inspirational

When God Looks on Our Sin

I still haven’t figured why, but “The Walking Dead” is one of the most popular shows on television. Even Christians get a rush from a program filled with diseased, hungry, undead zombies and the fight to stay alive in a world filled with them.

No, I’m not a fan, and I’m not living in fear or anticipation of a coming zombie apocalypse (though I do believe something terrible will come one day). The pictures and commercials I see are enough to know that as a person already susceptible to images, I don’t need those ones stuck in my head.

Recently, though, I thought of those rotting undead as the perfect example of a gruesome sight. Maybe you heard something over the recent Easter season, or from some preacher over the years. It makes me think of what God might see when He loks upon us in our sin.

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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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Church Life, Inspirational

5 Ways to Encourage Our World to Want Jesus Again

This weekend we celebrate Palm Sunday, a remembrance of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. It was the first day of a significant week in human history. But the people didn’t know it was the week Jesus would die. For them, it was a time of celebration.

When Jesus rode a donkey into the city, people were excited, joyful, and basically threw a city-wide party. All of the commotion even got the attention of the city’s big wigs. No one, other than Jesus, was looking to the cross and tomb. They were ready for a new reality, a new King and Kingdom.

The gospels tell us about the crowd who lined the streets, the branches and cloaks thrown on the ground, and the shouts of “Hosanna” and praises. Despite all the events of the end of the week, the people gladly welcomed Jesus. I wonder if He would be so gladly welcomed into our cities.

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Inspirational

Stop reading the Bible like it’s meant to be a “feel good” book

The Bible is the single most important book every written. It describes how God created a universe to be the home for a people He made and gave life to, so He could forever live in relationship with them.

I could rattle off a bunch of statistics of how the Bible was written, has survived centuries, and its spread through languages, people groups, and nations. But many books have traversed the world with their stories and messages.

I’m not here to convince you of the uniqueness of the Bible. I’m not writing to convince you of its place in the world or the truth of its message. Chances are high that if you’ve read this far, you already own a Bible and believe at least some of what it says.

The Bible is more than a story. Its message is beyond “inspirational”. But when we open the Bible to read “a good book” or even to feel better about ourselves or life because we read a few lines or pages, we end up putting it down in disappointment.

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Inspirational

Do you know the REAL reason for the season?

It’s a popular tag line this time of year, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” It falls in line with another I see on billboards around the city I live in, “Keep Christ in Christmas.” These are some of the ways we try to remind the world about Jesus at the time when so many other messages distract them from the message of Jesus’ coming.

Unfortunately, it comes across as a bunch of hokey semantics and religious nuttiness. And I don’t if you’ve heard, but a lot of people are allergic to nuts.

According to Google, a cliche is “a phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought.” Do you think these apply?

After all, even Christians get tired of hearing these things. But it also betrays how little we understand about the coming of God’s Son. Jesus is not the reason for the season. We are.

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Inspirational

You CAN be super at spiritual disciplines

Prayer. Bible reading. Scripture memorization. Fasting. Worship. These are a few of the spiritual disciplines we hear about the most. We know they are valuable. We understand how they should have a regular place in our lives. When pastor preaches it, we “amen” him all day long. But it still seems so hard.

If you are waiting for spiritual disciplines to become easy, you’ll wait for a long time. No fresh recruit goes straight into S.E.A.L. training. No one who sees a video of that training thinks they can jump off their couch and jump right in.

Spiritual disciplines are essential to spiritual living because of the spiritual battle we face all day, every day. Yet they rarely come naturally. They take work. We face challenges as we attempt to integrate them into our daily lives.  But they don’t have to be as hard as they sound, and we don’t have to master them overnight. Despite the difficulty, we can learn to be “super” at them.

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