Archive for the ‘Gospel’ Category

Shout it Out Loud

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. -Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)

Last weekend. something very huge, at least in the eyes of almost anyone living and Alabama and especially those who are big football fans. The Iron Bowl. The annual rivalry game between University of Alabama and Auburn University. And I am fairly certain that there is no one in this state that is not afraid to declare their team. We wlak around wearing t-shirt with our team colors and logos on them. We scream at our team, while sitting in the livimg room watching the game. We shout our team’s war cry at the other team’s fan. And, if you’re like me, we put on “war paint” when  the big games (Like Iron Bowl and championships) come around. As on of the elders at my church as so rightly pointed out (he’s a northerner by the way) football is almost a religion in Alabama. So let me ask you this, do we wear Christ as we walk around in the mall? Do we shout His battle cry? Do we get so fired up for him that we put on His war paint?

Now, I’m not saying run around and harrass unbelievers. What I’m saying is be so on fire for Christ that everybody can see it. We are supposed to the lights shining in a dark and lost world. So don’t be afraid to be that light. Pauls says in Romans 1:16 (ESV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Shout it out to the world that Jesus Christ has saved you. Live like it every day. You could be the only gospel that someone ever reads, so when they “read” you, what will their impression of Jesus be? Be just as bold in sharing Christ’s love as you are in proclaiming your team.

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See-Through Walls

There is one huge problem with the stained glass masquerade. The world can see right through it. The world sees people who say they’re Chrsitians but who act just like them. Except on Sundays and Wendesday nights when they dress up for their masquerade and go sit in church and pretend to be better than the world. Why would the world want to have anything to do with that? Why would they want to sit for a few hours in churchand then just go home and not change? Doesn’t that seem like a huge waste of time? I mean, if church has no affect on your home life, aren’t there some better things you could be doing? i mean serriosly, there are football games to watch, frieds and family to hang out with, movies to go see, a few other religions that seem a whole more worthwhile than our stained glass masquerade. You get my point? The world already has tons of masquerades. They go to school, work, sports, the mall, hang out with their friends then go home. They put on a different mask for each aspect of their lives, and to indivudal poeple as well. They don’t need another mask. Paul says in Romans 12:2(ESV) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. We should not look just like the world. We shouldn’t be offering just another mask, we should be offering a better life. We need to let our lives show the world that we are different. Not because we go to church every week, but because we have the Holy Spirit living in us. We need to follow Christ’s word in Matthew 5:14-16 (ESV) “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Is your light shining? Can the world see you’re different in the way you live, in the way you act, in the way treat your parents? Are you living the gospel in your life right now? Let your light shine in a world of darkness. Give Jesus the glory for all that you do. Set an example for the other Christian young people in your church and community. Chanlenge them to live a life tht glorifies and honors Christ.

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Stained Glass Masquerade

Today’s post follows up on the last one. One of the biggest problems with tthe church today is that we don’t just go through the motions, we put on a stained glass masquerade. We go to church and put on a show for eveyone else so that they will see us as “good Christians.” Then we go home and live however we want. I used to really struggle with this. I’m the oldest in my family and my Dad’s a preacher. In the church he pastored several years ago, I felt like everyone was watching me. This is not I good feeling, let me tell you. Out of all the other kids, I felt that everyone expected me to be perfect, to do all the right things, to answer all the questions right in Sunday School. I had problems with this, because at the time I was relly struggling with a few things spiritually and otherwise. For starters, I was still a fairly new Christain and even though I had grown up in church, that was still a big deal. Also, I was having problems in school. My school work was getting harder as went into the 6th and 7th grades, especially math. I was having trouble adjusting. So here I am about eleven years old, I feal like the entire church expects me to be perfect, I’m a fairly new Christain, I’m having some trouble in school, and I’ve just hit puberty. You getting the picture? So I, to my shame, joined the stained glass masquerade. I went to church and acting like my life was just perfect, then came home and actually cheated on my math an entire year. (I ended up taking it again.) I was doing things at church because I wanted everyone to see me and think I was perfect. But I wasn’t.

Jesus says in Matthew 23:2-12(ESV): “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat,  so practice and observe whatever they tell you—but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice.  They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.  They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long,  and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues  and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi  by others.  But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers.   call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.  Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.  The greatest among you shall be your servant.  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” He tells us NOT to be like these pharisees who do things only to be seen. Later in the passage, in vs. 27-28(ESV) he says: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Don’t be like the pharisees, don’t do things so everyone will see you and think you’re a “good Christain.” One of my other favorite songs addresses this, Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns. If you geet a chance, find it and listen to it. But don’t join the stained glass masquerade. it doesn’t last, and it doesn’t fell good, and it’s not, and this one’s the most important, it’s NOT the way Jesus wants us to live.

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There’s a song written by Matthew West that I really love. It’s called the Motions. The chorus goes like this:

I don’t wanna go through the motions
I don’t wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking,
“What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?”

I often catch myself just going through the motions. I do things for appearances and because that’s just the way I was raised. But the motions are not what save us.

Yet we know that a person is not justified  by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. -Galatians 2:16

He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, -Titus 3:5

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. -Ephesians 2:8-9

I don’t want to just go through the motions. I want to be consumed in a love and passion for Christ. This is my prayer for our generation. That we won’t just do things to do them. That we won’t just do things because our parents did them. But that we will do things because we are on fire for God. That we will lift up His name and let the world see the everlasting light of Jesus Christ. I pray that our generation won’t just go through the motions but that we will be filled with the all consuming passion of Christ.

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Super Why

Have you ever seen this TV show on PBS called Super Why? It is probably the worst kids show ever. See they tell all these fairy tales, Cinderella, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Humpty Dumpty, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel. That’s not a problem. The problem is that they water down the stories and make them politically correct. Here’s an example. (Note: I’m paraphrasing an entire episode here.)

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty slide down a slide, Humpty Dumpty DIDN’T have a great fall, Humpty Dumpty was perfectly fine

The thing about it is we laugh at these watered down versions of fairy tales, but we do the same thing. We water down the gospel. We want to shorten it and make it “easier to understand”. We  do this for kids, and even teenagers like they can’t understand what God wrote. Not only do we do this for young people who have always been in church, but also for unbelievers. We want to make everything sound all nice and sweet and pretty, like that will draw in more people. Really all it does is mislead people and lie to their faces. It shows a broken and battered world that we a ashamed of the gospel. Why would anyone look for solace in something that otheres are ashamed of? In Romans 1:16 (ESV), Paul writes, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Again in 2 Timothy 2:8 (ESV) he says, Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God. Don’t be ashamed of what Christ has done for you. Don’t water it down. When you share your faith tell it how it is.

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The Word Made Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life,  and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.  He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.  He came to his own,  and his own people  did not receive him.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”)  And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God; the only God,  who is at the Father’s side,  he has made him known.

– John 1:1-18 (ESV)

I love this passage. I love the fact that John uses the title the Word to refer to Jesus. This passage reminds me of all Jesus has done for me. He came as the Word of God sent to speak so that “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:23 (ESV) Jesus came as a light in the dakrness. He has come to a sinful and fallen world and given His life for the redemption of the believers. What greater gift could He give?

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