All posts in Evangelism

Startled by Christ

My pastor is taking four weeks to savor Isaiah 52-53. I’m so glad.

It seems that each year, Easter sneaks up on me. Not Christmas. I’m fully aware of that celebration from about October 1st thanks to retailers.

No, Easter is muted by the Easter Bunny, and sweets and hunts, and eggs.

The real meaning is profound.

Take Isaiah 52:13-15 written 700+ years before Christ:

“Behold my servant shall act wisely, he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you–his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind–so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.”

I would like you to take a closer look at the word sprinkle. In the Old Testament, blood was sprinkled on the altar to make atonement. In fact, Moses even sprinkled blood on the people and they were glad. (Exodus 24) They knew they needed a covering for their sin.

But that word has a double meaning. It also means startled.

Christ startled many with His teachings. Remember when He visited the temple at the ripe old age of twelve? The teachers were astounded by Him. And all through His life, people were amazed at His wisdom, not to mention the miracles He performed to authenticate His deity.

This last Sunday, our pastor asked if we as a congregation were startled by Christ. Astounded. Awestruck. Amazed.

I knelt at the front of our little church because that is my desire, to dive into the gospel of Jesus Christ–His life, death, resurrection, and kingship.

How about you? Care to join me?

It begins with desire. Ask Him. Wait on Him. Read His loving Words to You. Talk with Him.

And be startled.

Here is a link to the website. Invest time in the message to renew your love for Christ.

http://christcommunitychurchofmountairy.org/

Why Blood

Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to die? Me, too.

Here is my contribution to CBN.com today:

http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/why-blood

 

Finding Our Family

“Basically, we are on a quest to find our family,” my husband told his Sunday School class.

That phrase stuck with me.

Our job as believers, isn’t to attend church and put on programs or even to have fellowship. Our job, is to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Take a look at I Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” ESV

That is our message. We aren’t responsible if people believe or do not believe–that’s the Spirit’s part. Our part is to share.

In the past, I sure have complicated the message. I got side-tracked. When I look back at it, I believe it’s spiritual warfare. Scripture says Satan roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. He loves nothing more than for Christians to have committees and spend their time bickering over carpet color and concentrating on who’s going to the Super Bowl or the World Series.

I know, because I’ve been there. Or what about when I complain about my circumstances when they are AMAZING. I mean, I know where I’m headed when I die, my life is hidden in Christ. I have the Holy Spirit, and God’s Word to guide me. I can work. I can worship. I can love. I can serve.

So I’m on this planet to tell others the good news. A message of grace–God’s unmerited favor. He sent His Son to earth to pay the penalty for my sins.

So I proudly lift up the name of Jesus. My Savior. My Lord. My King.

So I’m sharing it with you. Because who knows, maybe we’re family.

And speaking of family. Our Christian brothers and sisters are suffering all over the world because they name the name of Christ. Beheadings, crucifixions, and rapes are all part of the persecution that my family is enduring because they love Jesus more than they love this life.

Remember them. Pray for them. Ask the Lord to give you a burden for them. Send them money. That’s what I call my IIH stock. Investing in heaven.

It pays eternal dividends. And when we get to heaven, we’ll meet the rest of our family.

He’s Not Safe, But He’s Good

“We want a light, frothy, chipper God. But He’s not like that,” my pastor said in his message Sunday.

The passage he covered is found in Matthew 17:1-6:

“Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. 2 As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light.3 Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.

4 Peter exclaimed, ‘Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials[a]—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’

5 But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.’ 6 The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.”

A true mountaintop experience. Peter talks about setting up tents for the arrivals probably because he didn’t know what else to say. Then God the Father speaks. And just like ring-around-the-rosey, all fall down.

Except Jesus.

That is because He is God. I cannot attempt to describe His power and Might and Compassion and Holiness because they are infinite.

He’s not to be trifled with.

And He hates sin. That is why He came to earth–to die for our sins.

What is sin?

Most have labeled sin as a mistake, or misjudgment, or eve an addiction.

But the bottom line is, sin is whatever our Creator says it is and He’s pretty clear about what is right and what is wrong in the Bible.

When we die–not if–we will stand before our Creator, Jesus Christ, and we won’t be able to compare ourselves to our neighbor, or the movie theatre shooter, or a drug dealer.

We will be compared to the Holy Son of God. And we will be found wanting.

Unless we believe the cross. Unless we trust the cross. Unless we take up our cross.

When the character Aslan, in the book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is described, Lucy asks the Beaver if Aslan is safe.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Jesus is the King. He is Who He is and what we think about Him doesn’t change Him.

But it does determine our eternal destiny.

Where are you going when you die?

 

 

Open Our Eyes

My new church meets in a school cafeteria. Fluorescent lights shine down on tidy round tables. About 60 of us gather to worship the Lord and fellowship together.

It’s bright. I can easily see the widows across the aisle as they worship. Behind me a family from the mountains sings God’s praises.  Often, Our pastor will have us look around at each other so we know who our brothers and sisters are. We’re held accountable to love them. Love exacts a price: service, compassion, exhortation.

The message on Sunday made me think about our little band of believers. How just as we can see each other clearly in our little lunchroom, Jesus sees all of us clearly–more clearly than we can see ourselves.

Part of Pastor Brady’s message on Sunday morning came from Matthew’s gospel, chapter 11:20-24:

“Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. ‘Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. And you, Capernaum, will you not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.’”

My mind drifted to another scenario. What if Jesus were in our congregation that day. He might say, “Woe to Mt. Airy! Woe to you, New York! Woe to you, Los Angeles! ”

Funny how people like to quote Jesus when it comes to love and acceptance and compassion. True. The gospels are cholk-full of the tender deeds and words of our Lord. But listen to the first words spoken by Jesus in Mark’s gospel:

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

The re-occuring word is repent.

Repent basically means an about face. A turning.

In this case, Jesus meant to turn from your sins and turn to Him.

It’s not Jesus plus something or someone else. It’s not your way or my way at all.

He calls the shots. He’s the Creator and Sustainer.

I’ve repented. In fact, It’s a daily occurrence. And I’m forgiven. Thank God.

But what about you, friend?

What if you were sitting in our little lunchroom and Jesus looked at you. He can see clearly–right into your heart. He knows not only your actions, but your thoughts and your motives.

Think about that a while. Makes me shudder.

Jesus said to repent and believe the gospel so here it is:

God is holy. You are a sinner destined for judgment. God provided a way of escape through believing on His Son, Jesus Christ. Believing that He lived a perfect life, died a gruesome death, and rose from the grave to pay the penalty of your sin and my sin.

If you choose not to believe, I have one word for you.

Woe!