The Acceptable Cross

The cross, for the most part, seems to be accepted in our society. People seem to be comfortable with that old rugged cross. No offense is taken by it as it hangs around one’s neck in wood, silver or gold. Furthermore, culture accepts and even appreciates the rows upon rows of white crosses at Arlington. And so, the cross is accepted…. or is it?

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Jesus: Teacher, Example, or Redeemer??

 

“While the Gospel is something worth contending for, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about this business.”  D.A. Carson

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Mystery of Mysteries

I like a good mystery!  Not the predictable sort; I like the ones that challenge the mind and stretch the imagination. The kind you almost feel like you have to work for to understand.

There is a mystery found in God’s Word. It is the ultimate mystery – A mystery of mysteries. No earthly mystery compares to the mystery of the gospel! Sadly, we do not dwell on the contents or the characters of the mystery enough. But when people do, I find the response is either worship or rebellion. Some behold the mystery and worship, while others grow angry and defiant.

In considering both responses, let’s first unpack the mystery.

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Gospel Things

“As a pastor, I constantly pray and engage the people of the Village Church to keep what is “of first importance” at the center of their thinking, in both their justification and their sanctification. Over the years, I have become painfully aware that people tend to drift away from the gospel soon after their conversion and begin to try their hand at sanctification. In other words, they operate as if the gospel saves them but doesn’t play a role in sanctifying them. In the end, people become exhausted and miss out on the joy of knowing and walking with the Spirit of God. They miss out on intimacy with Jesus.”

Matt Chandler

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15 Things That Self – Atonement Says

Bridge

I “know” the gospel. I know it factually. And while that may be good (we need to know the gospel) I realize I often do not live in the good of the gospel. I regularly do not “own” it. Whenever, I find myself seeking to self-atone (seeking to earn God’s favor and salvation), I have lost my way from the truths of the gospel. Don’t misunderstand. I believe in “effort”!  Paul said to the Ephesians that we were saved “for good works.”

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Gospel, Politics, And My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less

pedro

It is that time again where we, here in America, are inundated with reasons to stay away from the mailbox, tv, and voicemail. Tis the season for empty promises, shallow arguments, and overused talking points. Do you remember the last time you took the time to read that shiny flyer in your mailbox? Neither do I, for it seems that the 30 seconds the flyer requires is far too big an investment of time. And so, we drown in political junk mail, campaign commercials, and voicemails to “remember to vote”.

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The Almost Church

Church

 

The “Almost Church” – Almost loves the gospel.  The “Almost Church” sings songs about the gospel, reads the Bible, loves Jesus, and genuinely desires to see the gospel advance.  But, at the “Almost Church”, the gospel becomes a “help” to the “Almost Christians” who are seeking to build the church. Friends, the gospel is not an additional “help” to building the church, it is the ONLY “hope” of building the church.

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Almost Christian?

Blurry People

I grew up…”Christian”.  I have a Christian name, grew up in a Christian home, and learned my abc’s shortly after memorizing the 66 books of the bible.  Just kidding… I actually learned my abc’s first; the books of the bible came shortly thereafter.

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Welcome To The (Starbucks) Bandwagon

Bandwagon

Ok, so I will jump on the bandwagon of being critical of the Christians, who have jumped on the bandwagon of being critical of secular society (in this case Starbucks), which creates reasons for secular society to jump on the bandwagon of being critical and dismissive of Christians in general.

How is that for a run on sentence?!?

Confused yet?  Well, hang in there…

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Gospel Fumbles….

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 21: Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins fumbles and then recovers the ball after being hit by Tamba Hali #91 of the Kansas City Chiefs on September 21, 2014 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Chiefs defeat the Dolphins 34-15. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tamba Hali;Ryan Tannehill
Fumble!!   (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

“FUUUMMMMMBBBBLLLLE!!”

I yelled at the TV screen that hung on the wall. I yelled again as if it would help my team to somehow realize that the pig skin was on the ground and now having heard my yelp, certainly they would be more inclined to jump on the ball.

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A Little Story From India

 

India boy

 

Finally, a post dedicated to pastor R.

Pastor R. lives in the slums of India. When he, his wife, and daughter first moved into the slums, they were greeted with harassment. The people didn’t want them there so they dumped their trash outside their front door and cut the locks on their home.

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Quick Post From India

india
Elephant walking down the middle of the street.  This pic was taken out of our front window.

I wanted to shoot out a quick post from India. Our schedule is very full so perhaps I can make a few quick posts when there is time.

Taxi cab leaving Mumbai airport. The traffic is indescribable! The luggage goes on the roof.... and yes, it is monsoon season.
Taxi cab leaving Mumbai airport. The traffic is indescribable! Luggage goes on the roof…. yes, it is monsoon season.

The road to arrive in Ahmedabad, India was long (Travel time was in excess of 26 hours) As you might imagine, it is an exhausting trip and yet, we have felt the Lord’s strength. Upon arriving at the ministry (the

 

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Bruce Jenner And Our Need For Change

jenner

Ok, so I am really late responding to the Diane Sawyer interview with Bruce Jenner. I have been busy…. we all have! Today, I’m finally getting around to addressing the man who has, once again, captured our attention.
Before I dive in, I want to say that my heart grieves for Bruce Jenner. I am not sitting down to write out of anger or mockery. I do not want to belittle or disdain him and others like him. I do not write setting out intending to offend. Though, I realize the below will be found offensive to some. I am saddened and concerned for Jenner specifically and for society in general. 
This does not make me better than him or anyone else! As you will see below, I believe that I am a sinner in great need of a Savior!
 
Bruce Jenner’s Problem And All Of Our Problem
 
I found the Sawyer interview interesting. It was fascinating how Jenner has diagnosed the problem and provided his solution to the problem. Jenner himself explained a number of times the confusion he has experienced over the years. He described his confusion to be lifelong, beginning early in life. Jenner’s interview was to say, I have had this problem, it is not a new problem, I am a person stuck in a man’s body with a female psychology.
Here’s the deal: I have more in common with Bruce Jenner than you think! Jenner and I have the same problem – yes, you heard me correctly. My problem and Jenner’s problem is that we are both sinners. No, I have never had the thought… maybe I should play God and change who he has made me to be, or maybe I should become a woman. This has never crossed my mind.  BUT, many sinful thoughts have crossed my mind and only God knows how many of those thoughts turned into actions. Jenner is a sinner. And so am I. That is the greater problem and he is not alone. Jenner and I share this one thing in common.  WE are sinners. Jenner’s problem is not confusion about his manhood or womanhood. Jenner’s greater problem is that he is a sinner in need of a Savior.  And that is my greatest problem and….. yours as well.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 6:23 ESV)
That is our problem – what is the answer?
Jenner’s answer to his problem sounds radical doesn’t it!?! Actually, it is not radical enough. Jenner does not need body transformation; he needs a more radical and thorough transformation. Jenner and I both, need soul transformation. You see, we cannot simply take some pills, do some surgery, and whatever else. Jenner will wake up from surgery still being…. Jenner. He may look different on the outside but the soul is unchanged. Jenner is changing on the surface; however, he needs to take an even more radical approach to his problem.
 
Let me explain. Jenner believes he was born this way. I am fine with his perspective. You and I are no different. We too were born sinners. That is the whole point of the gospel. You and I were born sinners but we can be born again! 
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV)
The Good News
The good news is that Christ came and went to the cross to make that radical change possible.
God….. died for our sins so that we might be born again, transformed, made new in Christ Jesus. Now that is radical transformation! Nothing less than the life, death, and resurrection provides this transformation for sinners like me, you, and Jenner.
Jenner’s answer is to change how he was born physically as a male. He believes that changing his identity, by dressing as a woman, will solve his problemThis is what saddens me; Jenner will wake up tomorrow with a different set of clothes, but an unchanged heart. As long as he continues to answer his problem on a surface level, he will never be satisfied. 
He needs… and I need, a bigger transformation, a better SaviorWe need a thorough transformation from the inside out, a soul transformation.  Jenner and I are men wrestling with sin in need of the Savior of our souls. He, you and I need the grace and mercy of God.
Good news…..Christ came to make that possible!