Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

Today is a great day for two reasons, first it’s my sister Kathy’s Birthday, and secondly it was 32 years ago today that I went on my first date with my wife, Dawn. Dawn has changed my life in so many ways but first and foremost is she introduced me to Jesus and she has walked side by side with me through the many ups and down of this journey. Today is the anniversary of the day it all began.

I praise God for this day, for my sister (she set my wife and I up on our first blind date) for my wife and for the God who loved me enough to reveal Himself to me.

God is good!


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?!?

Yesterday, I started leading a few days of Spiritual renewal services at a church near my home. It’s been a really great experience so far. At the end of last night’s presentation, Pictures of Jesus, I decided not to give an altar call but rather just to challenge the people to see me or the pastor for prayer after the service. Well as the last song was being done, I just really felt led to go back to the front of the room and wait. It seemed the Spirit was working on someone in the room. No one came forward, but that’s not surprising, it seems harder than it used to be for people to leave their seats and walk the aisle, still I knew something was happening. I dismissed the people and a young man came up to me. I was expecting this might be the one. Instead he had a question for me. What Scriptural authority to you have for praying with someone to receive Jesus? It was a good question, one I had not been asked before and one I really didn’t have an answer for. The young man was very bright and well read in theology. He knew his Bible very well and I was feeling a little outclassed. But there was more.

You see I now knew he was not the one, but there was still someone there who needed help. I knew he desired a theological debate, but if that’s what he was looking for, he came to the wrong guy. There are many people qualified to have that kind of discussion, My qualifications are pretty simple. I’m the guy that proves God can use anybody. I learned a long time ago that people are not argued into the faith. Now I could have quoted scripture, like Romans 10:9-10, “9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” but I doubt that would have satisfied. or Romans 10:13 “for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” but I’m not sure that would have worked either.

So here’s what I know. I know that there was a time in my life where I came to the end of myself. I was at a revival meeting, when I felt God knocking at the door of my heart. An invitation was given at the end of the message and I responded. A pastor led me in a prayer of salvation and it worked. I don’t know if he had the scriptural authority to do that or not, but I do know this, when I prayed that prayer I crossed a line and something changed in my heart. Something big. I turned from my sin and turned to God. I was baptized and I received the Holy Spirit. If I had to state it, I’d say that’s my authority. The spirit of the living God lives in me. As far as the prayer goes, I don’t know, but I do know this. If it is wrong to pray that way, The Spirit in me knows my heart and He prays when I don’t know what to pray and that’s good enough for me.

Perhaps the best Scriptural argument I can give would come from Revelation 3:20 where Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him, and he with Me.” In other words, if God uses my ministry to knock at the door of someone’s heart, the prayer is nothing more than me helping them to answer the door. That may not be deep and theological, but I’m not about to let someone face a God-less eternity while I play theology. I’ll take my chances on grace and the power of the spirit to fill in any places where my knowledge fails.

By the way, if any of this inspires you to debate with me, please don’t, I won’t engage.

It’s one of my favorite verses in all of Scripture—a driving verse in all I do in this ministry known as AMOKArts. And while it’s because about using our gifts and talents, it is also about so much more.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

It’s an amazing call to action, but I don’t think it is any accident that it comes right after this verse. “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” Right before it talks about these works God has for us to do is a reminder that our salvation is not based on works but is rather a gift received through faith. Works are an act of gratitude based on a magnificent gift. To let them become anything else is to distort our faith.

In fact, there have been many times in my life, and I am guessing yours too where this has gone to imbalance. Where we start to believe that our works are a little too important and that if we mess up, we somehow mess up our relationship with God. This is baggage we place on God because many human relationships work this way and human relationships work this way because we don’t know who we are to God.

Strangely, who we are to God is also found in this verse that talks about the works God prepared in advance for us to do. It says we are God’s workmanship. The word we translate to workmanship from the Greek is POIEMA. It’s the word we derive the English word poem from. In it’s most literal form, it means we are God’s “work of art.” That’s what you are—God’s work of art. He lovingly made you as an object of His affection. Yes He has great things for you to do, because God lovingly gave us purpose so we don’t live purposeless lives. His love, and our salvation is not dependent on some divine check list. Love and salvation are His gift to us, to all who believe.

So do what you do and do it well, but no more getting down on yourself and no more worrying about how your works affect your salvation. Instead live faithfully, appreciate the ultimate gift, and let what you do flow out of that.

You’re already a work of art and the Artist who made you is amazing.

You are POEIMA!

Today is the 13th anniversary of one of the most heinous crimes ever launched against the U.S. I’ve been reading reports that jetliners have been stolen from Libya in an attempt to do it again. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen. Terrorism is a horrible thing and every fiber of my being longs for a permanent solution to this problem. I have no idea what to do about it, but this I do know… None of our man-made solutions will work.

Today I want to look at another terrorist. Actually the ultimate terrorist and master of all terrorists. He launches a daily assault on humanity, killing roughly 151,000 people a day in our world. That’s 6292 people an hour, 104 a minute, almost two people a second, all day every day all over our world. Many of those people dragged off into an eternity separated from God. This terrorist is the enemy of our souls. Since his fall, he has had only one objective, to kill and destroy what God loves most, humanity, you and me.

While there is precious little we can do to thwart yet another terrorist attack, there is something we can do to thwart the plans of the ultimate enemy. We can pray. We can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We can speak the truth that sets people free. We can fight this battle where it actually is fought. You see Ephesians 6:12 reminds us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Our God is powerful and this fight is His. Salvation is found in Christ alone and when we share His Gospel, and people receive it, the enemy’s plan is thwarted.

In this day, stained by the shadow of hate, the ultimate solution is found in sharing God’s love in Jesus Christ.

A friend posted this to Facebook and I know I have seen it before. Some might find it a little dated, but this is a really great explanation about what salvation by grace alone means.

How would you creatively express this topic?
(By the way, This clip can be downloaded at

Now I don’t know your view of eschatology (the end times), some days I’m not even sure of mine but I have a pet peeve. I hear so many Christians talk about being ready for the rapture and it drives me crazy. They look at the condition of our world and just wish Jesus would come already and take all us “good people” out of here. Now I am beyond grateful for my Salvation and the hope of a better place beyond this world, but my confession to you is I am not ready for the rapture, not even close and if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, neither are you.

I can almost see your red flags going up, but think about it. Why are we believers still here? Why doesn’t Jesus just take us up into heaven when he saves us before we can turn around and mess up? I’ll tell you why… because we’re on a mission. 2 Corinthians 5 tells us we’ve been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation. Helping people to be reconciled to God through Christ and being His representatives to the world who does not yet know Him.

In Matthew 24, we read. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns.” What are we supposed to be doing? Not sitting around feeling good that we’re “in” and wishing he’d just judge those who are “out?” In Matthew 28 Jesus was pretty clear, those who are “in” are supposed to be working to reach those who are still outside the faith. 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Consider the command of Jesus in Acts 1. The disciples ask when he is coming back, When the end will come? or for our purposes When’s the rapture? Remember what He said. 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 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.” There’s the mission. We are to be witnesses to the ends of the earth, This is literally the last thing Jesus said to His disciples before He ascended. The last command.

A few seconds later they are still standing there when another message comes. Verse 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

No Christian is rapture ready until EVERYONE is rapture ready. Stop watching the sky and get to work.