Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’


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.

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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!


First of all Easter is never really over because Jesus is Risen. That being said, the day we celebrate the Holiday has passed, so now what? Well for Christians the answer should be obvious. We take what we’ve been given and we share it. That’s what this image represents. We take the light that is in our hearts and we reach out, using our gifts to bless others and our lives to encourage and comfort others. The hand reaching down represents reaching to help someone else up. Then finally the hand pointing to heaven is to remind us that with all we do, we are supposed to point to the One who came to set us free. This is a major part of what it means to follow Christ.


Nearly every week I am blessed with an awesome opportunity to be creative. There are a lot of other people who get what I get to do every week too, and quite a few of them don’t see what they do as creative. I respectfully submit those people are wrong. I’ve seen people bring such amazing perspective to their work week in and week out and yet they don’t believe they are creative. What is this activity? Preaching the Word of God.

Maybe it’s because they have a skewed perspective of what creativity is. A lot of people can see creativity only in the realm of art, yet preaching and especially preparing to preach is an art. Others would shy away from calling our work creative because they fear that people will think the are straying from the unchanging Word of God if they consider their work creative. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some also don’t want to say they’re creative for fear that their work will be seen as frivolous and some worry that if they see their work as creative, they will attract attention away from the Creator. I think this perspective is skewed as well.

Here’s how it happens for me. I pray seeking God for the idea, the text, etc. When I am led to something I study and I pray some more. God gives me all I need, and then I seek Him for the way to help the people He has given me to take the message He has given deep into their hearts. I don’t want to do this just so people are entertained. I desire life change and I think God does as well. I bring all the creativity (which God gave me) I can muster to the task at hand and through the Work of the Spirit, I try to bring my people the best message I can. I don’t mess with the message itself. God’s Word is perfect. I just do my best to bring the best presentation I can to what God has given. Preaching is the most creative thing I do all week. God and my congregation deserve no less.

God made you creative. Use it to His glory!