Monday, June 30, 2014

"no gospel at all"

To many of you, this may seem duh-obvious. But, guaranteed, there are many who rarely...if ever...think about the cross...therefore they think not of the gospel...or, worse, they think the gospel is how they get saved; then put it on a shelf. These are important words:

"Surely Paul could have made the gospel more palatable – and less dangerous – by saying it was about something else.

Something cleaner and less ridiculous than the cross.

Something more glorious.

Less disgusting. 

He didn’t do that, though. “I decided,” Paul said, “to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). 

In the face of the worst cultural prejudice imaginable, he fixed the entire gospel squarely and immovably on the fact that Jesus was tacked to a stauros and left to die. 

If he had been trying to find a surefire way to turn first-century people off from his “good news,” he couldn’t have done better than that! 

So why did he do it? 

It’s simple. 

He did it because he knew that leaving the cross out, or running past it with a glance, or making it peripheral to the gospel, or allowing anything else to displace it at the center of the gospel would make it, finally, no gospel at all."
 
Greg Gilbert

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Clayton's Story...and a follow up

Somehow I missed this five years ago...and it's probably been floating around since but I'd not seen it until my son Joel recently sent it to me...powerful stuff...watch it, then watch the follow up that appears below the first video:

Clayton's Story from Jacob Lewis on Vimeo.

Here's the Directors follow up:

The Rest of Clayton's Story from Jacob Lewis on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

No Short Cuts to Anywhere Worth Going

Although Robertson seems to be competing with the apostle Paul as far as longest sentence goes, this is worth reading a couple times...and heeding more often...

"It is not the number of books you read, nor the variety of sermons you hear, nor the amount of religious conversation in which you mix, but it is the frequency and earnestness with which you meditate on these things until the truth in them becomes your own and part of your being, that ensures your growth."
F.W. Robertson














Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Hollow Eyes

As I was leaving prison this afternoon I was delayed as a group of 20 or so "new guys" came through one of the locked doors. Dressed in orange jumpsuits they ranged in age from probably 17 or 18 to 50+.

I tried to look each one in the eye (yes, most prison officials and the majority of inmates will tell you not to do this; but I try to make even a moment's human contact whenever possible...it has never caused a problem) and silently voice a quick prayer for them.

Some of the eyes reflected terror.

Too many reflected nothing.

The former had probably never been locked up before in a prison (certainly they had done at least some jail time before sentencing).

The latter are probably doing "life-on-the-installment-plan."

As I observed the hardened eyes an oldy moldy Petra song came to mind.

"Hollow Eyes."

The Petra song dealt with starving people.

But the "Hollow Eyes", at least in my mind, applies to the guys who see prison as a revolving door part of their life.

And that is sad.

And it is one reason why I go in whenever I can to try to share the good news of freedom....in Christ.

Here's the song:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Reminder....

"For You 
have exalted 
above all things 
Your Name 
and 
Your Word." 

Psalm 138.2b

Monday, January 13, 2014

Regardless of what (most) television "preachers" say...


"Faith for my deliverance is not faith in God. Faith means, whether I am visibly delivered or not, I will stick to my belief that God is love. There are some things only learned in a fiery furnace."

Oswald Chambers

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Harmonize Before You Play...

"Do not have your concert first and tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and first of all get into harmony with Him." Hudson Taylor


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Balance...

2 Peter 3.18 speaks of growing in the "grace AND knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Grace is active, knowledge feeds grace...or should...

But some, to drag out the cliche, grow so deep in the things of God they do nothing for the kingdom of God. Others are hyperactive, "zealous without knowledge."

Paul's prayer in Colossians brings balanced perspective:

"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him,bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God."

Paul prays for increased knowledge that results/feeds/causes increased Christ-like living.

Ah, too bad the only way to learn balance is to lose it...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Coke isn't Christ

This came across my twitterfeed today: "Coca-Cola was invented in 1896. In 117 years, the logo and product is now known by 94% of the world's population. In 2,000 years the Gospel is not."

I understand the point...sort of.

But the gospel can not be marketed as a soft drink...and Coke did not have the forces of Satan, the world, and the flesh against it.

Yet it appears the church -  broadbrush - awaits the "new" thing that will make evangelism easy...or at least easier.

But it is not, nor can it  be, "easy."

To share Christ means to share life. To share life means to learn to die to self. To die to self is extremely difficult...and needs to be repeated as we experience mini and major resurrections. 

Yes, the Body spends too much time fighting against itself, entertaining itself, and promoting fractional facets of the faith rather than "that which is of first importance...the gospel."

But even unintended guilting will not motivate.

People expect us to talk about what is important to us.

Therefore I need to be thankful I have another day to ask myself...how important is the gospel to me? How concerned am I about...not so much the millions that have not heard...but the nextdoor neighbor who has not heard? The fellow student who has not heard? The coworker who has not heard?

Bottom line...the issue is not motivation; the issue is obedience.




Thankful He Really Does...


Too often I forget the teaching found in Hebrews 7.25, "Consequently (Jesus) is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

Really? The King of Kings prays for me (assuming I "draw near to God through Him")? First John 2.1 declares we "have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

Really? Jesus is praying for me? For my situation, my cares, my struggles, my...everything?

Yeah, or the Word of God is not accurate.

In the Lord's "high priestly prayer" He makes clear that prayer was not only for the 1st century disciples, but for us, "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word." (John 17.20)

Whether sighing or singing, triumphing or struggling, sick or well, full or famished...whatever the situation, if I pause to remember and reflect on the fact that Jesus is praying for me, hope and peace saturate and comfort.