All posts tagged gospel message

The Good News Applied

“The gospel is not the diving board into the pool of Christianity. The pool is the gospel.” The radio pastor went on to say, “When you want the best water, you don’t make the well wider, you go deeper.”

I’ve thought about those words for several days. For a long time, I dug outside and around that Christian well. Debating this doctrine and that. Concentrating on parts of my Christian life like they were fragmented.

Lately, the gospel is where my focus has been and where it will stay. The Good News of Jesus Christ. I love I Corinthians 15:1-4,

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

Simple, right? You probably learned it in Sunday School. Colored pictures about it.

But it is profound. Deep, like that well—like that all-encompassing pool.

For instance, when I see a client at work who has been in some trouble, and lost their job, and rub me the wrong way, I can’t think I am better, or smarter. My thoughts line up with the good news. Jesus died for me. I didn’t deserve it, didn’t earn it, didn’t even want it. But Jesus had mercy on me and opened my heart to hear His Spirit. And He saved me.

And when someone doesn’t treat me right, or I am misunderstood, or even mistreated, I think about Jesus, the perfect Son of God Who was mocked, beaten, and crucified. Not only did He never do anything wrong, He never even thought a bad thought, and yet many shouted, “Crucify Him!”

My slights seem insignificant.

And when I face uncertainty, or death of a loved one, or illness, I cannot despair. Because not only did Christ die for my sins, He rose from the grave—paying the penalty for my wrong thoughts and actions and motives—not only providing the payment for my sins, but also eternity with Him.

That is deep, like the cold, clear, water in that well.

It surrounds me, like the refreshing water of that pool.

I don’t ever think I can reach the bottom or explore the depths.

But I’m gonna try. And then I will have eternity to enjoy it.

 

 

That’s God’s Music

Here’s an article published in The War Cry, December 2012. You can link to it at http://www.thewarcry.org/2012/12/ (You have to scroll down a bit), or read it below:

That’s God’s Music

From the December 2012 issue of the War Cry:

Salvation Army Band performing in the snow.It was almost Christmas. Michigan City, Indiana, whispered winter. Cold. Snow. Why would anyone be out on such a night?

Lieutenant Ray Wert had to go out. The Salvation Army corps held its Salvation meeting Sunday nights. Before each meeting he and a few faithful soldiers would go to the usual corner and offer an invitation to attend. Salvationists call it an Open Air meeting.

As usual, the small contingent would announce that Jesus saves lost sinners, then invite anyone interested to follow the Army band into the corps or church and hear an unabridged message from the pulpit. Afterward, the lieutenant would record information about the evening in his book of statistics.

A small group of Salvationists marched to the corner the week before Christmas. They sang, spoke and played dilapidated brass instruments.

No one stopped. No one even passed.

Another one for just the statistician, Lieutenant Wert thought.

A few months later a woman approached lieutenant during an Open Air on that same street corner. It was springtime, and many stopped to listen or to mock the fanatical people in their funny uniforms. The woman waited until the 15 minute service ended.

“Excuse me, sir. Are you the officer here?”

“Yes, my name is Lieutenant Wert.”

“Were you at this same street corner the week before Christmas?”

“I haven’t missed a week in the last two years,” he answered. “Yes, there were a few of us out that night. Why do you ask?”

“My father lived in that apartment above the store there.” She pointed to a dingy building just up the street. “He’d been in a coma for the last six months. My father’s body was there, but he was not.” She wiped her nose on a stiff handkerchief and tucked it into her white purse.

“We heard the strains of the band music as it played hymns. Daddy sat straight up in his bed and said ‘That’s God’s music!’ And with that, he lay back down and died. Thank you Lieutenant Wert. You’ll never know how much that meant to me. Thank you so much!”

As the little band of Salvationists marched back to the corps, there was a spring in their steps and thanks in their hearts.

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By Pauline Hylton