Posts Tagged ‘ Jesus Christ ’

Your Input on a Prayer Group

So I recently met a fellow believer at work and after dialoging for a little bit we concluded that it may be beneficial if we started up a prayer group with fellow believers. I’ve never done anything like this (a prayer group) before at the workplace, so this is new territory for me.

These were a few of the thoughts, that we figured would healthy and helpful to pray through and about:

  • Repentance among unbelieving co-workers
  • Daily desire of obedience for those who do believer
  • Boldness with proclaiming and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Praise & worship for who God is in Jesus Christ

Well after inviting a group of individuals that I knew [personally or through a reliable source] professed faith and desired obedience a question arose. Are we giving the appearance of being elite, or would we cause jealousy towards others that were not invited or do not follow Christianity. The question came because within the email I stated that if they decided to invite others that they would also be striving to follow Jesus Christ as  He is revealed in Scripture. Needless to say I didn’t really think to much of it.

My response was simply that the desire of the group is to unify believers at the work and to pray for hearts (unbelieving and believing) that live according to the glory of God. My fear in having unbelievers participate is that they would receive a sense of comfort and assurance from the time, without ever coming to repentance (main unbelievers that I brought to the forefront were Mormon’s because we work with many).

We did talk through how if they truly did desire to come, I would like to have  a conversation with them to acknowledge the difference between them and those praying, and that Christianity is exclusive regardless of what society tells us. Yes the gospel is an open call, but not all respond, and Christian do not believe everyone is saved, because Jesus doesn’t save everyone nor says that He does, did, or will (Matthew 7:17-23).

So I’m writing to get feedback and thoughts on how you feel this should be handled. Does the prayer group need to be open for all without any conversation, should it be exclusive for those who profess faith, or is there a healthy medium. Or whatever thoughts you have would be helpful.

Grace and Peace

My Redeemer Lives!!!

I recently lead a devotional time at our church for the Student Ministry. Nothing long and crazy, just a brief time to help bring our hearts before the cross of Jesus Christ. For this time I decided to look at Job 19:25-27. This has been on my heart for about 3 weeks now, so I figured I would share it with all of you as well!

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!

Just before these verses Job says he wanted his words to be written in a book. He believe in what he is about to say. It’s so important that he wants them engraved in lead, with an iron pen, and on a rock. He wants people to see and read them forever. (Interesting how we now see it in Scripture!)

So what does Job have to say? After he dies he will see and behold God; his Redeemer, who lives. His fist statement is to declare this truth and that he knows it to be so. Job isn’t repeating what he had heard from elsewhere or pulling this out of a vacuum…oh no, his Redeemer lives and is true, so much so that this Redeemer will be standing on the earth. This is so crucial to Job that he is adamant about stating this so we may understand the severity of knowing what he knows. His Savior/Rescuer/Redeemer is pushed to the forefront. This comes from a man who is currently going through a severe trial. All his children, sources of income, his servants/workers, and health have been stripped away in a matter of minutes. And his close friends are telling him that only the wicked suffer like he is, so he must be in sin and at ods with God. Picture Job; a man covered with sores, popping them and trying to scrape the infection out and off of his self, covered in dirt, clothes torn and ratty, and in excessive pain and aguish (not one would we quickly gaze upon); all moments after losing everything: family, money, and job.

He responds to his friends and the trial by declaring and resting in his relationship with God. Knowing one fact brings his heart to fainting or collapsing. Verse 26; even after death I will see God, My Redeemer! My eyes will behold Him; someone else isn’t going to tell me about my Redeemer. No, no, no. I will see Him, Him standing upon the earth and me gazing upon Him fully for myself. Job is spent; his heart (meaning the whole being of Job; emotions, affections, actions, etc.) is wholly exhausted just from beholding God, his Redeemer. His Redeemer is the high point and meaning of life and Job’s heart longs and yearns for Him. Overwhelming, overpowering, great, remarkable, and awesome; these are all too small of words. They can only touch the surface of the iceberg. The sight of looking at the Redeemer is never-ending and immeasurable.

So the question we should be rushing towards is, “How can I know his Redeemer? Where is He?” Job’s Redeemer has made Himself known so that we may long and rest in Him as Job did, so that we may behold His face after our death. He is Jesus Christ, the One true God according to 1 John 5:20.

Jesus is the One who redeems His people; He is the One who has taken God’s wrath, He is the One who takes the judgment of sin for those who by grace through faith trust in Him. Jesus is the One who will stand upon the earth with all His people who sins have been paid for through His blood, He is the One, their Redeemer, who they will behold after their death and with their own eyes. Without Jesus, the only Redeemer, you will be in a horrible situation; worse than Job was during his trial. You will be at the full extent of God’s wrath. You will be accountable for your sins, and will pay the punishment, the wrath of God, for all eternity. That is really bad news, but that does not have to be your fate.

How I long to see individuals be filled with hearts that are fixated and cry for Jesus; that we truly love Jesus, truly desire Him, and want Him more than all else. That our hearts would faint and be exhausted at the truth that God – Jesus Christ saves sinners. He the Redeemer took on the wrath which sinners rightly deserved. Rejoice and linger on this reality of the Redeemer.

Grace and Peace

Actor Michael Douglas on Cancer

Michael Douglas was recently interviewed on David Letterman and the purpose was to discuss his upcoming role and movie Wall Street 2. It was supposed to be fairly simple until it was revealed that Douglas was diagnosed with stage-4 cancer of the throat about three weeks prior (give or take). To my amazement his attitude reflected that of peace, joy, and contentment with going through this season of life.

This got my wheels turning and I pondered on what my response would be like or what the body of Christ’s response would be like to this situation. Many would argue that sin might be in their life (read Job), or something about Karma and how this is judgment for something they did previously in their life (read Isaiah 46:9-11, Romans 8:28-39, Acts 4:27-29, or Hebrews 6:16-18), or some may believe that Christians aren’t called to suffer [not implying Douglas is] (read Matthew 10:21-23/Mark 13:12-14/Luke 21:16-18, Romans 8:14-18, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, or 1 Peter 2:20-22; 4:1-3).

We as believers must respond similar [KEY WORD], similar to Douglas. I have no idea if Douglas is a follower of Jesus Christ, but I know that his response was a gift given by God for my benefit. I pray that I would be calm, fun-loving, and at peace with any similar news that I could receive some day. Yes we can pray and hope for healing, but through the process oh how I hope that we will have our eyes fixed on Jesus! That we will rejoice in suffering so that we may boast in the Lord and Savior. Yes, REJOICE again I say REJOICE when trials come upon us. (James 1:2-4 and Philippians 4:4-12)

Grace and Peace

Two Visitors from Iraq

For the next 7 weeks my wife and I will be participating in ASU’s home-stay program. In doing so we will have two women from Iraq that will be staying with us. Tawadud and Basima are each here taking workshops on how to effectively implement classes in Iraq to teach English (American) within all of the schools. They both are Muslim and part of the Shia sect. The encouraging part of all of this is that both are very outgoing [typically women would not address nor speak with men, especially in-depth]. We have already had many conversations over the past few days about religion, politics, culture, etc. We were hoping that we would have many gospel opportunities and it seems that God will and has answered our prayers. They have also accepted our invitation to church and bible study/small group which is a tremendous opportunity to present and reflect the death and Lordship of Jesus Christ and our response to Him.

I would love to covet your prayers for our time with Tawadud and Basame. That God would soften their hearts to the truth of Jesus Christ as the One true God as revealed in His Word and that they would come to desire and love Him above all things desirable.

Grace and Peace

Movie Review: INCEPTION

With so much talk and debate about the latest Christopher Nolan film, INCEPTION, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, why wouldn’t we take a look at the main point in which this film is conveying and examine it in accordance with God’s Word. If you have not seen the movie, I am sure you have heard many thoughts, ideas, opinions, etc. about the film. This however is different from your typical review and if that is what you were desiring to read…I’m sorry, but if it helps, I do believe it is a great film for multiple reasons (acting, cinematography, score, plot, story, dialogue, plus more).

So, what is the message conveyed by the movie INCEPTION…I think we receive the full message at the close of the film. It is: question your realityor another way to word it, reality is relative. I say this mainly because throughout the film (I will try not to spoil anything for those that haven’t seen it) many of the characters were unable to identity the difference between the dream and reality. Along with this, splattered within the story some individuals desire only to live in their dreams because of the harshness which reality brings. Therefore, they are concluding that their “reality” is now the dreams, and all else is irrelevant.

What does any of this have to do with Jesus Christ and His Word? Everything that exists (whether physical, mental, spiritual) was created, sustained, and meant to glorify Jesus Christ. He is the One for whom all life exists and points to (Colossians 1:15-20). Therefore there is only ONE REALITY under all creation, and it reveals that Jesus is God and is calling all men (man & woman) to repentance. Whether you are a professional athlete, teacher, mother, retired, child, chemist, nurse, or anything else which defines your person-hood and life at the end of the day, ONLY ONE thing matters: Did you live in the reality of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of all existence and life? There is no other reality besides that which The Creator of all reality has established. For any to come to the conclusion that this reality is relative (ie. we should be skeptic) or denies it, has committed cosmic treason against the Holy God who has created them.

I hope this movie is one that is enjoyed and frequently watched, but my prayer is that those watching do not venture further down the rabbit hole of deceit, disobedience, and sin by denying that reality has been set, determined, and is all in accordance with Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:18-23, Hebrews 2:8-10). Enjoy the film for what it is, a film…not as absolute truth. (John 1:14, 14:6)

Grace and Peace

Donald Drew: Thoughts For the Day

Open the Bible like any other book. But remember it is unique. It is not a book. It is the book (which is what the word ‘Bible’ means), made up of sixty-six books. Neither is it a haphazard collection of ancient wise sayings nor good advice. It is not the most remarkable of the world’s sacred books. It is not a message in a bottle washed up on a beach. Nor is it a book that contains the Word of God. The Bible is the Word of God.

(Letters to a Student, p.55)

When you feed on the Scriptures, do you sense their supernatural power? Do you believe that you owe to the Bible the same reverence – which is not the same as worship – that you owe God? Do you believe that that the triune God is speaking directly to you (not audibly)? Let me ask you: do you appreciate that Jesus’ attitude tot the Bible has to be your attitude to the Bible? Are you convinced that the written word (the Bible) and the living word (Jesus) stand or fall together? If you have a wobbly view of Scripture, you will have a weak view of Christ. Should you have an unclear attitude to Jesus, you will have an uncertain attitude to Scripture. To put it bluntly: if you have doubts about Christ or the truth of the Bible, then their authority over you will be negligible…that means: there will be no authority at all.

(Letters to a Student, p.59)

Ask some further questions as I do of myself…here they are:

  1. What is your attitude to the Bible?
  2. Does it need changing?
  3. Have there been necessary changes in you life that are forging a closer walk with Christ?
  4. Are you asking God to help you widen your biblical horizons as well as enlarge you Christian vision?
  5. Are you placing yourself unreservedly in Jesus hands for Him to do with you whatever He knows is best for you?
  6. Are you dealing biblically and honestly with any sinful, doubtful or compromising matters there may be in your life?
  7. Are you wiser in the ways of God than you were this time last year?

Unless you and I and all believers regard our open Bible as our most treasured possession to be loved, believed and obeyed, we are unlikely to make any significant progress as followers of Jesus Christ.

(Letters to a Student, p.61)

Grace and Peace

Jesus Christ – The Confluence of God’s Transcendence and Imminence (Resolved 2010)

"Rivers Meet" by Liz West

Man’s Problem is God / Rick Holland / Resolved 2010 / Session 1
(this is my first “live blog post” of the weekend. Hopefully I will get these posted a bit more timely as I remedy some internet issues)

Rick Holland got Resolved 2010 going with a quick dip into the deep end of the theological pool!

He set up the number one problem facing all humanity – Man’s woefully inadequate capacity to deal with God’s transcendence and imminence held equally, at all times.

God is both sovereign ruler above all nature and creation (and especially us). As Rick put it – at the end of infinity, there is God.

And yet God is also very near. He is intimately involved in every aspect and affair of his creation (and especially with the affairs of men and women).

We cannot grasp God – He is far too high above us. And yet He is so close to us that He knows our every thought before we even think it.

Using Job 9 as his main text, Holland expounded on these truths and set up this crucial problem as we prepare to look at Jesus (the theme of this weekend’s messages).

So, if God is so far above us, and so intimately near to us, we, on our own, cannot get to God. We cannot even face God and present our case before Him. How do we deal with this?

Jesus.

Jesus is God. And a man. And because of His unique nature, stands as our perfect mediator before God, fully aware of our weakness as created beings. And He also stands as a perfect representation of God for us. By Jesus we see most clearly the nature of God, in a form we can understand!

Praise God for His Son! He is the confluence of God’s transcendence and imminence.

But more than this, Jesus, on the cross, stood before God on our behalf, and stood before men on God’s behalf. And on the cross He was abandoned by the very men and women He mediates for and in turn was forsaken by the Father, with the full wrath of God, deserved by sinful men, poured out fully on Him!

God died for sinners. This is the only way we can come to God!

“Amazing love. How can it be, that thou my God shouldst die for me?”

_____________

You can listen to Rick Holland’s message in it’s entirety on the Resolved website media page.

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