Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’


This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

In this vein of gifts and talents consider

Matthew 25:14-30

It’s called the parable of the bags of gold, but I like the old name better, the parable of the talents. It’s an illustration Jesus gave to help believers to understand faithful service to God using our gifts (among other things). The master, representing God, invests some of his wealth (talents) in His servants… US! The reaction of the servants to this gift is telling for us all. How would you interpret it to the people around you? How are you investing what God has invested in you?

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This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

Let’s start right in the beginning, literally.

John 1:1-14

The first thing John tells us about Jesus in his Gospel is that He is God. The second thing John tells us is that He created. In the passage, John speaking to an audience of people heavily influenced by Greek thought, describes Jesus as”The Word.” The reason for this is simple. The polytheistic Greeks believed there was an overarching wisdom that rules the universe. They called this wisdom “logos.” Logos is a Greek word that means “The Word” hence, John is telling them Jesus is the Wisdom that rules the universe. This passage has so much to say about our Lord. Read the passage and create something that will remind you of it.


About a week ago, I woke up with an idea for a new video clip. It uses a fish to talk about making the right choice. Hope it blesses you. Feel free to share it and spread it around.


While I’m on this subject of rest, (I have about an hour before heading out) there is something to be considered. When one day you walk through the gate of Heaven, remember this. You won’t have entered on your own merit. You won’t be going in because you were in any way deserving. You won’t be there because you earned it. The only way into our forever reward is grace. You get Heaven because you received it as a gift from the one who knows you best and loves you most. Heaven is a gift, not a payment for services rendered.

Why do I share this? I share it because there is a great temptation to try to earn what has been freely given and this can really skew our view of the work we do, not to mention our view of our heavenly Father. Your works aren’t going to be what gets you through the gate, so watch your motivation. When we start to feel deserving, we get into trouble.

Does that mean our works are unimportant? No, not in the least. Our works are acts of gratitude for unmerited favor. They are a way of showing how grateful we are for what God has done for us. They are acts of love and obedience to a God who loves beyond measure.

The only way to heaven in Jesus, period. So do what you do with a grateful heart, to the best of your God-glorifying ability, realizing there is eternal life in paradise for all who believe and when we get there it won’t be because we deserve it.

Heaven is a gift. It is utterly and completely

Unearned.


I just finished writing the sermon for a funeral service, I’m doing tomorrow. I didn’t know the man, though we did meet once. That’s always a challenge, but it is an honor to have the opportunity to bring a message of hope to hurting people. The idea that came to me is not all that original but it hit me in a way I hadn’t thought of before. It’s the idea of the “dash”—how our whole lives are summed up with a single hyphen, that little line between the dates of our birth and our death. So much summed up in so little, but then I had a thought. This is what I want on my tombstone. (I gave myself the benefit of the doubt and give myself a hundred years. That number is, of course, up to God.)

What really hit me in this Easter season is, because of what Jesus did for us, believers get a second dash… a really long one. Ain’t God good?!?


I was driving down the road this afternoon, making my way back to my office when I saw it. A big old bumper sticker, almost stereotypically on a Prius, that said “Jesus is a Liberal.” I almost lost it. He most definitely is not.

To my liberal friends, don’t worry, He’s not a conservative either, and this is not a political post.

Please understand, attaching Jesus to a political ideology is akin to creating Him in our image, which is, to my mind, the most dangerous form of idolatry. Further, it’s about the same as all the people who wanted to crucify Him because He didn’t come to overthrow the Romans. As soon as He didn’t do what they wanted, in their minds it proved He wasn’t the Messiah and so He had to go.

Jesus is not created in our image, we are created in His. Liberal and Conservative (and every political stripe in between) are human constructs that we try to use as litmus tests to see which of our neighbors we have to love and who is on our team. Jesus us above all of that. The standard for our lives is not Liberal or Conservative. The standard for our lives is Jesus. Measuring ourselves by anything less gives us a false sense of security and attaching our faith to our politics will do nothing but alienate the very people Jesus came and died to save. We see this nearly every day on the news. We support people who do reprehensible things because we say they fit our ideology, or we condemn people for past sins even though they’ve repented and fought their way back because they are from the other side of the political aisle. We can and must do better.

To be clear, there were two political parties who tied their faith to their politics in Jesus day, too. The were the Sadducees and the Pharisees. They were political opponents who badgered each other constantly and fought each other bitterly. What finally brought them together was their hatred of Jesus. We can and we must do better than that too.

Jesus is above your politics. If He’s not, you have an idolatry problem. If we would submit to Him, and fall under the authority of His Word, a lot of this political turmoil would go away. Human leaders are all flawed, and so are the rest of us. The only One who will never lead us astray is the risen Lord. He’s not liberal or conservative, He is the ideal man, the perfect leader, and the only One completely worthy of our allegiance.


Today is Ascension day. It’s the day we commemorate the ascension of Jesus. This is a day of tremendous hope, because just as Jesus ascended into heaven, one day so shall all who believe. Jesus was crucified, died and was buried, but on the third day he rose again and over the course of the next 40 days, He appeared to His disciples and to hundreds of others, proving He is risen. At the end of those 40 days, Jesus was with his disciples on a mountain top and then they watched Him ascend to the sky.

It appears that His disciples stood there sort of bewildered looking up into the sky. Acts 1:9-11 records the account. “After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”

In all the days since, we have been awaiting His return, and the question of the angels still remains. “Why are you standing here staring into heaven?” This was never Jesus, desire for His church. Rather we should be doing the last thing Jesus told his disciples (that’s what we are church!) That they should wait for the Holy Spirit and then they would be His witnesses… to Jerusalem, and Judea and to Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Well friends, the Spirit has come and it’s time to be witnesses.

Jesus is ascended, the Spirit has come. Take the Gospel to the ends of the earth!