Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mar 28 - 18 - Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates

his own love for us in this:

While we were still sinners,

Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

Bible Rank: 18

What is love?

Is it a feeling? Yes. Often. 

Is it an action? Absolutely. Our actions reveal our true feelings. They cement our feelings. Our actions "prove" what we say is in our heart. 

For example: "Greater love has no one than this than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends" (John 15:13). 

Do you see it? Love may be a feeling, but greater love is an action. The action -- in this case, Jesus' sacrificial death -- reveals God's true heart. His feeling (love) gives everything (action).

And our verse for today describes the heights of this love-action ... because nothing we've done (our love-action, or lack thereof) reveals that we deserve it at all. (Which only magnifies the beauty of God's love for us.)

Therefore, as dessert today -- the cherry on top of the assurance of God's love for you -- read today's verse in context (from the evocative Message paraphrase) ... 

We can understand someone dying

for a person worth dying for ...

and we can understand

how someone good and noble could

inspire us to selfless sacrifice ...

But God put his love

on the line for us by

offering his Son in sacrificial death

while we were of no use whatever to him.

In Christ's Love,

a guy who is of no use to God

... and yet he still chose me

(Thank you, God!)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mar 26/27 - 17 - Romans 12:1

Therefore, I urge you,

brothers and sisters,

in view of God's mercy, to offer

your bodies as a living sacrifice,

holy and pleasing to God

– this is true worship.

Romans 12:1

Bible Rank: 17

The problem with living sacrifices, it has been said, is that they can get off the table and run away. 

Such is our human nature. 

We "offer" ourselves. Then we pull back. We offer ourselves again. Then shrink back another time. Often our Christian life is like the hokey-pokey. "We put our left foot in, we put our left foot out." And it's our love, joy, and peace that keeps getting shaken all about. Hence the call to crucify our selfish self. Dead desires can't run!

Wait. Notice what I just said. Did you here the invitation to discover "love, joy, peace" (and several other fruitful blessings)? These are part of the famous fruits of the Spirit passage -- Galatians 5:22-23. They are absolutely gifts from God-the-Holy-Spirit. But ... look at the call in the very next verse. How do we open ourselves to these gifts? The Apostle Paul says, "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Galatians 5:24). Dead desires, indeed, can't run away from that sacrificial altar. 

Which leaves us with only one problem. If it's only dead sacrifices that can't run, why does the same Apostle, Paul, encourage us to be "living sacrifice" rather than "crucified and dead offerings"? 

Why? Because this world matters! God wants to bless your daily life. And he wants you to bless others. God wants to fill you and a rebellious world with love, joy, and peace. We're the barrier to receiving these blessings, of course, and not him. But he wants us to be living to receive them. So what needs crucified is not our living bodies, but our deadly desires. 

And it's an everyday sacrifice. Moment by moment, my love, joy, and peace blossom as a die to self and live for him. I kill it when I compromise. But hope blossoms as I trust. 

God doesn't want you dead. He wants yourself in. And rather than pulling your whole self out, he wants to joyfully shake you all about. 

In Christ's Love,

a guy who's trying to

get to the joyful end

of the hokey-pokey

(whole self in!)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Mar 25 - 16 - Genesis 1:26

Then God said,

"Let us make human beings

in our image, in our likeness,

so that they may rule over

the fish in the sea and the birds

in the sky, over the livestock

and all the wild animals,

and over all the creatures that

move along the ground."

Genesis 1:26

Bible Rank: 16

One of the strangest words in scripture -- at least to me, along my young and uneducated faith journey -- was "our."

I could see God saying, "I will make human beings in MY likeness." But "let US make human beings in OUR likeness"? What did that mean?

Now, you may be way ahead of me! Yes, I went to church every Sunday. Yes, I recited the creeds, confessing in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yes, I sang Holy, Holy, Holy, celebrating "God-in-Three-Persons, Blessed Trinity." But speaking about the Trinity was really just lip service:

·       God = Father = Creator. 

·       Jesus came later, being "born into existence" halfway into the story. 

·       And the Spirit was too mystical to really be considered. 

I hope, indeed, that you are way, way ahead of me! Page one of the Bible speaks of "us." Indeed, almost before the Father is mentioned in Genesis, we see the Spirit moving over "the waters" -- the chaotic, whelming nothingness -- that IS everything before Father, Son, and Holy Spirit unleash light, love, and life. 

The first words of the Gospel of John (hinted at in yesterday's commentary), reveal that Jesus the Son wasn't born into being at Christmas as the Father's back-up plan to finally defeat sin. No! Jesus was also the "us" and "our" at creation. “He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people" (John 1:2-4).

Now, this is and isn't the most important part of this verse! Arguably, the most important part of this verse is that we who are created have the majestic imprint of God all over us! Thus, we have tremendous light and potential. (In a chapter and a half in Genesis, we'll learn that on earth this potential is constantly marred by our rebellion and sin, making us, sometimes, barely recognizable. But for today, let's focus on the tremendous light and potential that God sees in us and is willing to step off the throne, come down to earth, and die on the cross to reclaim!)

We are made in God's image. And if God is Father-Son-and-Holy-Spirit, then an inseparable characteristic of God is that he is always, joyfully, and inseparably, "in relationship." Thus, perhaps the greatest message of this verse is that if you and I are made in the Trinitarian image of God, then we are made for relationship. With God. And with each other. 

In Christ's Love,

a guy who had to learn

to believe what he 

technically confessed

and robotically sang

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mar 24 - 15 - John 1:9

The true light,

which enlightens everyone,

was coming into the world.

John 1:9

Bible Rank: 15

Two books in the Bible begin with the words: "in the beginning."

Genesis, the first book of the Bible, tells the story of God the Father at creation. And it takes just three verses until light conquers the darkness and the journey toward life begins. 

The Gospel of John also starts with "in the beginning." It focuses on the eternal role of God the Son in creation ... and now in incarnation too. (Since "carn" means "flesh" in Latin, "incarn" reminds us that God the Son was coming "in flesh" -- see John 1:14).

And like Genesis 1, it only takes the Gospel of John a few verses to get to the "true light" that would "conquer the darkness" and would be the beginning of God's journey in providing us with new "life."

That, indeed, is precisely what John says ...

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. What has come into being in him [in Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:9,3b-5)

Without light, there is no life. So how is Jesus the light? He is the one who conquers the darkness. He defeats the stranglehold of sin and evil ... in the whole world ... and in each of us. 

In Christ's Love,

a guy who used to have

a Scooby Doo night light

(but I'd rather trust in Jesus

to defeat my real darkness)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mar 23 - 14 - Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things

God works for the good of those

who love him, who have been called

according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

Bible Rank: 14


This is one of the most misunderstand passages in Scripture.


In fact, some Christians accidentally use it as a hammer!


The reasoning goes like this …


1.    If God is active (and he is)

2.    And if God is in control (and he is)

3.    And if God is good (and he is)

4.    And if God works all things for good for those who love him (and he does)

5.    Then if whatever you are experience must be God’s plan for you.

6.    So suck it up.


Five and six don’t necessarily follow from one, two, three, and four … even though sometimes it may seem like simple math.




Because of sin! The fact that God is in control doesn’t negate that he also allows us to be free. For example, if a man is free to drink and free to drive, he is equally free to crash into my car … and paralyze me … and kill my wife. (God forbid! But who would have caused this?) It’s not God who causes those horrors.


Yes, even though the Lord is “in control,” his control also allows choices and sin and paralysis and death. (It may not be how you’d run the world or how you’d like it to be run, but the incongruency of a good God and a great deal of pain reveals that this is how things work.)


·         Paralysis, likely, is not God’s plan for me (though I wouldn’t quit trusting God if it was).

·         A violent death for my wife in a drunk-driving car crash is hopefully not God’s plan for my bride or for me as her widower (though I wouldn’t quit trusting God if it was).

·         But what most certainly is God’s plan for me is that in spite of the worst that this world can do to me (cancer, car crashes, abuse, etc.), an active God will engage me wherever I’m at.

·         “God will work for [my] good” in whatever my earthly circumstances wind up being.

·         He will heal my heart, he will help me forgive, he will redeem my circumstance, he will challenge my pride, he will wait patiently while I’m angry and grieving, he will constantly work for my good … especially as I yield my heart to his care.


God’s being in control doesn’t always mean that he controls my every circumstance. What it means is that he’ll help me control how I respond to my circumstances in the midst of this broken world.


Does that make sense?


A piece of advice: Don’t quote this verse to person in turmoil, trial, and grief. It’ll probably come across as a lecture that says …


·         either “God is causing this pain to test you” (which God may occasionally be doing, but it’s rarely your job to presume!) …

·         or it will come off as “weak and broken friend, you just don’t have enough faith to see what God is doing.”


Rarely, rarely, rarely quote this verse to a person in turmoil! Nevertheless, quote it (as arguably the 14th most important verse in scripture) to yourself …


“Life is hard, but God is good.”

“Lord, give me the patience to see you working … even in the midst of this world’s mess.”


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who, in life, has learned

a whole lot more from the messes

than the blessings (especially when I’m

patient enough to watch for God)










Monday, March 21, 2016

Mar 22 - 13 - John 1:12

Yet to all who did receive him,

to those who believed in his name,

he gave the right to become children of God

John 1:12

Bible Rank: 13


Adoption is a powerful gift. And I love hearing adoptive parents say with joy, "Out of all the children in the world, we chose you!"


God chooses you!


That was the whole purpose of Christ's journey (which John 1 is introducing in this passage). God loved you enough to send Jesus his Son. Jesus loved you enough to step off the throne and come down to this broken planet (which would physically work to batter and break him).


Why? To adopt you into the family!


That's it. That's the purpose of the journey. Adoption!


When most of us think about adoption, we think about babies. Infants don't really have a choice in the matter of adoption. They lay in whichever crib they're put. 


So to understand the weight of this text, we need to think of adopting a sixteen-year-old from foster care. He has a will. He has a choice. "Would you like to come live with me? Would you like to be part of our family?" 


Imagine if Mary Louise and I made this offer to ten teens in foster care: To all who received (and accepted) this invitation, we would give the right to become children of the Thomas family. 


That's the purpose of Jesus' journey. He initiated the invitation. He came to the orphanage (earth). He offers the invitation. And  to all who receive him, to those who believe in his name, he give the power to become part of the Christ family (the Christ-ians), the power, indeed, to become children of God.


In Christ's Love,

a guy with two last names

(one's from my father,

the other's from my Father)


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mar 21 - 12 - Acts 2:38

Peter replied,

"Repent and be baptized,

every one of you, in the

name of Jesus Christ for

the forgiveness of your sins.

And you will receive the

gift of the Holy Spirit."

Acts 2:38

Bible Rank: 12

I was on the phone recently with a friend. 

He'd messed up. 

Quite frankly, he'd messed up again. It was the umpteenth time. 

He said, "I'm going to change." 

I said, "You've said this before." I said, "Now it's do or die. You either commit to real change ... or it's all going to unravel. So ... do you know what real change is? Do you know what 'repent' really, really means?"

In Greek, the word for repentance is metanoia. It means to change your mind. And that means that not only your opinion has to change, but you have to change your mind on priorities, on habits, on ways of living life. 

One translation of the Bible uses -- for this one absolutely critical word -- are nine descriptive words: "turn away from your sins and turn to God."

I said to my friend, "That's what has to happen ... or it's all going to unravel. 

Friend, that's what must happen for you and I too. We must turn away from our worldliness and sin, our bad habits and our misguided desires. This is not legalistic. This is a gift. This is where life is. Life is with God. This is only place where we can turn for hope, for life, for encouragement, for joy, for peace ... and most of all for relationship. 

And it's not a defeated fall back -- as in, "this is the 'only place where we can turn.'" This is the victory! This is where you want to go. This is life!

Repent! Turn away from you sins and turn toward God. Turn away, indeed, from death and turn toward life. Turn ... or it will all unravel. 

In Christ's Love,

a guy who has turned

(permanent victory)

but needs to keep turning

daily (daily victory)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Mar 19/20 - 11 - Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death,

but the gift of God is eternal life

in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Romans 6:23

Bible Rank: 11


It’s a simple mathematical formula:


Sin = Death

God = Life


We can wink at sin. We can excuse it – in ourselves and others. But sin leads to death. Why? Because it separates us from God. And separated from God – who alone is life – then we are dead. Think about it … without the Lord’s life-giving intervention, where will you and I be in 100 years? Dead.


But God doesn’t want us to be dead!!!


Therefore, he said, “Be good and you’ll be worthy enough to come to me and you won’t die.” (That’s what the Law is all about – Ten Commandments, 623 laws in Leviticus.)


And guess what? It didn’t work. (God knew it wouldn’t. But we had to learn it for ourselves.) “Being good” doesn’t work, because sin isn’t what we do (although much of what we do is sinful); rather, sin is who we are. We’re not God! We’re fallible by nature. We’re sinful and unclean. We cannot free ourselves.


So how can our sin be taken away? If we can’t do it, then the God who is life must do it. And fortunately His goal is that all may live.


Therefore, to accomplish this, Jesus “became sin for us.” “He took our sins in His body on the cross. So that we might be dead to sin and alive to all that is good. By His wounds you have been healed!” (2 Peter 2:24).


Sin still equals death. But the death was Jesus’ death in our place. And you have life eternal when you accept this sacrifice made on your behalf. “By His wounds you have been healed!”


In Christ’s Love,

a guy who spells “life”


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mar 18 - 10 - Romans 10:9

If you declare with your mouth,

"Jesus is Lord," and

believe in your heart that

God raised him from the dead,

you will be saved.

Romans 10:9

Bible Rank: 10

A rich young ruler came up to Jesus, asking, "What must I do to [be saved]?"

Based on today's verse, how would you answer that question? 

The first most important thing that you must do to be saved -- indeed, the constant litany of Jesus and the New Testament -- is "believe"!



"Your faith has saved you," repeated Jesus. Believe!

Are we clear on that?

Is there a second thing we must do to be saved? Well ... no ... and yes. 

You see, true faith always manifests itself in action. It's a change in life. A reorienting of behavior. 

Peter and Andrew, James and John, were called to leave their family, their careers, everything, and follow Jesus. They did and they were saved. 

The rich young ruler was invited to go, sell everything he owned, and follow Jesus. He didn't. He went away sad. 

The action Paul prescribes is proclaiming to the world you faith in Jesus as Lord. In his day and age that could have gotten you ostracized from your family, fired from your job, or killed by faith's persecutors. (That still happens today in many parts of the world.) And the point is this: True faith always leads to true action. 

It's often "faith active in love." It always faith actively proclaiming some way and some how. It is faith active in service, faith active in sacrifice, faith active in generosity, faith evident in forgiving others. 

In Christ's Love,

a guy who tries to make

his faith a verb

(nouns are things that

sit there; verbs are active!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Mar 17 - 09 - 2 Timothy 3:16

All Scripture is God-breathed

and is useful for teaching,

rebuking, correcting and

training in righteousness.

Timothy 3:16

Bible Rank: 9

Some people say they don't like the Old Testament. "It is bloody and messy." And it is ... but mainly because humans are bloody and messy!

We lie, cheat, steal, murder, and war. Why would a good God want to have anything to do with us rebellious souls?

Why? Because of love.

When the Apostle wrote today's verse (approximately 30 years after Jesus' death), Scripture was only the Old Testament. What was God-breathed, according to Paul, was the part that many of us don't like!

Jesus surely viewed the Old Testament this way too. He constantly cited the Law. He continually talked about himself and Israel in the lineage of Abraham, Moses, and David. He repeatedly revealed how he personally fulfilled the prophecies. (For example, I would have loved to have been there on the road to Emmaus Luke 24 when he showed his disciples where he himself been throughout the pages of Scripture.) To reject the Old Testament, therefore, is to reject Jesus!

We surely don't have to like the blood and mess. But it's there -- in part -- to help us recognize our need for a Savior! On our own we're bloody and messy. (Read the headlines.) Therefore, God doesn’t just breathe life through his Holy Spirit, He breathes out his Word.

And it is life!

Why? Because it connects us to the Savior! The Old Testament reveals our need for a Savior. The New Testament introduces us to this Savior. And it’s useful for all kinds of things in life – for teaching, for training, for encouraging and inspiring. Scripture is part of how God breathes life into your life!

In Christ's Love,

a guy who believes

that if God is big enough

to create, then he's

big enough to communicate

(to speak creation into being

and to breathe his word to life)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mar 16 - 08 - Acts 1:8

"But you will receive power

when the Holy Spirit comes on you;

and you will be my witnesses in

Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,

and to the ends of the earth."

Acts 1:8

Bible Rank: 8

Let's set the time line ...

·       Jesus died on a Friday. (Good Friday)

·       Three days later, He was resurrected (Easter)

·       On and off for forty days, he would appear to his disciples (and up to 500 others believers -- see 1 Cor 15:6). 

·       On that fortieth day, Jesus ascended into heaven (The Day of Ascension.)

·       Then on the fiftieth day from Easter (ten days after the Ascension), God came down to earth in a new way. (The Holy Spirit descended on Pentecost.) 

Historically, let's place these words ...

·       Jesus himself spoke these words ... after he was resurrected ... and sometime before he ascended into heaven. (In, thus, those 40 days.)

·       They were words of prophecy. 

·       He was telling them of a day coming day when the Holy Spirit would descend upon the believers. And the effect, the gift, the fruit, would be "power."

·       We can read the book of Acts and see that while those initial Apostles exhibited some the same powers that the human Jesus (God made flesh) exhibited while on earth, the most important power -- and the purpose for all the power -- was to witness to Jesus' name. 

You and I have had our Pentecost too. When one first become a believer, the Spirit descends on this individual. The Spirit inspires us and intercedes for us. The Spirit calls us to different roles within his body. The fruit of our relationship with the Spirit are blessings like love, joy, and peace. God, through the Spirit, also promises power. And what is the most important power? What, indeed, is the purpose for all power? It's to witness to Jesus' name. 

In Christ's Love,

a guy who doesn't want

power for selfish reasons

-- but is willing to use it

to witness and benefit others

... forever

Mar 15 - 07 - Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created

the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

Bible Rank: 7

As we continue through our list of top verses (see, I'd be tempted to list today's verse as number one!

The first verse in the Bible. From here everything stems. 

·       First -- God is. 

·       Second -- God existed before Creation. 

·       Third -- God was the one who created. 

We could even shorten this short verse and it becomes even more profound. Look at the first four words. What was "in the beginning"? God! Period. Before anything was, God is!

He is first. He is ultimate. He is holy. He is powerful -- powerful enough to create a whole universe. He ... is. "In the beginning ... God!"

And that's the first key to this verse. And our proper response: We worship the God who is (and by the way, created too).

But this verse has a second powerful impact; in fact, it flows from this verse. If God created, then everything else in the Bible is possible -- the healings, the miracles, the parting of the Red Sea, the Feeding of the 5000, the Walking on the Water, the resurrections and The Resurrection. If God created, then nothing else is too hard for God. 

Therefore, believing that God created is a powerful step in faith. (And therefore, it's something that an unbelieving world keeps trying to talk us out of.) But when we submit to the wonder that God created, then we can begin trusting that everything in the Bible is true -- that it truly is his Word. Why? Because if God is powerful enough to create, then he is powerful enough to communicate. Thus, His Word is true. 

That's how deeper faith began for me and for other church leaders that I know. "God, I may not understand all the complexities of creation and I may not understand some of the teachings in Scripture, but I know that You Are ... and I know that this world IS and that You created all. Therefore, my microscopic self will bow it's outsized pride and simply trust in you as Infinite King."

In Christ's Love,

a microscopic guy

(I was the inspiration for

Honey, I Shrunk the Parents)

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Mar 14 - 06 - Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace

you have been saved,

through faith – and this

is not from yourselves,

it is the gift of God

Ephesians 2:8

Bible Rank: 6

Yesterday's verse was Romans 3:23 -- the realization that we all sin and fall short of God's glorious standard. 

How then can we be reconciled to God? Romans 3:24ff tells us what today's verse tells us -- that we are "justified by God's GRACE effective through FAITH ... apart from works prescribed by the law."

Do you see the same key words -- grace and faith? So let's look specifically at the clarification that the Apostle Paul adds in our verse from Ephesians today ... 

      Question 1: Who does GRACE come from -- us or God?

      Question 2: And who does FAITH come from -- us or God?

The answer to question one should be obvious: God loves; grace comes from him. Or as our verse tells us: [grace] is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

The answer to question two is less obvious -- or should I say, more debatable. 

In the pop-religion of our culture, we assume that faith is all our doing: Either I believe or I don't. It's my choice. 

And that sounds good, but it ignores how God is actively working through the witness of his people, the wonders of creation, the movement of "circumstances," and most of all, the wooing of the Spirit. Gods acts "preveniently," as Wesley famously said; he intervenes pre- (before) we ever know to choose him. 

So, faith is not totally our action. 

There are other theological systems that say that faith then is totally God's action ... and not a choice at all. It is totally a God-given gift. And because some have faith and some don't have faith, God chooses who he will give faith to (predestines the elect) and who he will not. 

So, is faith totally God's action? Or can I, like the rich young ruler, have the gift of life -- Jesus himself -- standing right in front of me, and can I choose to turn and walk away? Can I, like the prodigal son, be living comfortably in the house of the father and choose to run away? This debate hinges on free will. 

In a short devotion, I can't do justice to this whole argument, so let me cut to my conclusions. Faith is 90-some-odd-percent God's work (he sets the conditions, he opens the door), and yet at some point, we must choose to walk through the door or not (and that is what we call faith). 

Some would say that this makes God less powerful if his grace is resistible. But we all know in our own hearts that we resist grace all of the time. Even faithful believers constantly compromise, lie, cheat, and fudge. Like Adam and Eve, we are free to choose, and our sin makes us resist. Therefore, it's not whether God's grace is resistible; it's whether the God of grace made us free to resist or not. 

So ... God is active. He is wooing you. Faith is his work. He opens the door to an eternal relationship. This is the gift of God. And the question is will you (or your friend or your daughter) choose to walk through it or not?

In Christ's Love,

a guy who is glad

he chose the God

who'd already

chosen me

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mar 12/13 - 05 - Romans 3:23

For everyone has sinned;

we all fall short of

God’s glorious standard.

Romans 3:23

Bible Rank: 5

One of the 20th Century's greatest theologians wasn't a pastor. He wasn't trained in seminaries. G. K. Chesterton was a simple churchgoer. His profession? He was writer. He was an acclaimed essayist, regularly tackling the foibles culture and the destructive lies hidden in the rhetoric of culture's evolving philosophies.

Chesterton was also one of the 20th Century's first great mystery writers! (Father Brown was his famous amateur detective.)

Think for a minute what it takes to be a great mystery writer! You have to understand the human heart! You must be able to comprehend the motives that could lead an ordinary person to commit the most dastardly of crimes.

Mysteries flow out of a thoroughly Christian worldview. The world says, "people are basically good." Chesterton reminds us, however, "No man's really any good till he knows how bad he is, or might be..."

Scripture says, "We all sin and fall short of God's glorious standard." We hurt each other  We lie and cheat and steal. We covet and want. We fudge on the truth and fudge on our taxes. We may not be worthy of a famous mystery novel, killing anyone with a gun, but we kill one another with our words and actions. We destroy with what we've done and what we left undone. We cause pain through our thoughts, words, and deeds.

And we hurt ourselves too. Shame hurts us. Guilt haunts us. Most of us are living with a dissonances along the fault lines of our character, robbing of peace and joy. Why? "Because we all sin and fall short of God's glorious standard."

We lie to ourselves. "We're good people." Then we act proud and condescending. Hypocrites. Pharisees.

Chesterton says, "No man's really any good till he knows how bad he is, or might be..." Why?

·       Because then we can make sense of the contradictions in our own hearts.

·       Because then we can quit acting hypocritical toward others.

·       Because then we can begin to actually deal with the faults in our character, arresting our sin and helping ourselves and others live more fully.

·       And most of all ... because then -- maybe -- we'll finally admit that we need a Savior. And we'll finally come to him and live.

In Christ's Love,

a guy who knows his sins,

weaknesses and fault lines

(How about you?)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mar 11 - 04 - Matthew 28:19

Therefore go and make

disciples of all nations,

baptizing them in the name

of the Father and of the Son

and of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19

Bible Rank: 4


Do you know what Jesus' very last words on earth are?


According to the Gospel of Matthew -- and just before ascending into heaven -- Jesus gave you and me a job. 


He gave it first, of course, to his original disciples. But when we become disciples (devoted followers of the Savior), this job passes to us to. 


What is this job? "Pass it on!"


Someone inspired your faith. Someone literally saved your life ... eternally! "Pass it on!"


This isn't denying the foundational role of the Holy Spirit calling, gathering, enlightening, and making faith possible! It's simply acknowledging that God use us as part of his rescue plan!


We are command to "go." To do "it." To "make disciples." To testify to the truth. To witness to what a changed life looks like through the way faith impacts our daily lives. 


God is counting on you. 


"Pass it on."


In Christ's Love,

a guy who wants to be a

hall-of-fame quarterback

(I want to be world-class

at passing it on)





Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Mar 10 - 03 - John 14:6

Jesus answered,

"I am the way and

the truth and the life.

No one comes to the Father

except through me.”

John 14:6

Bible Rank: 3


On our own, our trajectory is death. It's inevitable. "Remember you are dust."


Jesus offers an alternative -- Heaven! Therefore, he is LIFE. 


Because God is utterly holy -- and we are utterly not -- God himself had to bridge the canyon that separates us, the canyon caused by our sin. Jesus crossed that canyon with the cross. Therefore, Jesus is the WAY to get to God. 


Continuing with, "no one come to the Father except through me," Jesus paints again the picture that he is the door, the "gate" (John 10:7), the WAY. Indeed, he says -- John 11:24-25 -- "Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die." Jesus-the-WAY provides the path to eternal LIFE. 


The part of this that we often overlook is that Jesus is also TRUTH. 


That means that there's only one way that makes sense of the world. And all our problems stem from having big and little lies at the heart of our worldview. 


·         The world says that people are basically good. The TRUTH is that while being created in the image of God (thus, having some good qualities), we are ultimately sinful to our core ... and in need of a Savior!


·         The world says that there are many paths to God. Jesus says that the TRUTH is that there is only one WAY. 


·         The world says that truth is relative. "What's true for you is true for you. And what's true for me is true for me." "And the worst thing you can do is judge ... a thought, an opinion, or a person." Jesus says, indeed, "Love your neighbor and pray for your enemies"; nevertheless, we are to be discerning ... and bold! "There is a way that seems right to a man," said Solomon (Proverbs 14:12), "but in the end it leads to death." If we're not reminding a lost world of the TRUTH and LIFE that comes only through Jesus the WAY, then we're promoting a culture of death (by being nice and saying "what's true for you..."). 


In Christ's Love,

a guy who doesn't have time

to write a book today,

reflecting on how these 3 lies

(and a few other key lies)

continually destroy our world

(Beside, would you read

a book of mine today?)