All posts tagged Jesus

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.



Let There Be Light-Christmas Meditation, Day 5

My favorite part of the day is when the sun sets on the on the pasture in front of my house. Light slides up sturdy trees and slowly slips into the winter night. When I called Florida my home, I waited each morning as light shown from behind me through the window projecting gentle leaves on my wall.

It seems as if the seasons of my life are all filtered through some sort of light. The first Christmas with Sarah when Tom and I sat by the soft firelight gawking at our three month old in her Santa PJ’s. Sunny days on the beach talking with friends while our children splashed in the waves. Stage lights shining down as my children performed in a play. Street lights sifting through our van windows as our family headed home from Busch Gardens, exhausted and content. Light flickering through the door on our wood stove that danced on Mom’s wrinkled face one last time.


I can’t imagine a world without light.

A light stood above a lowly stable over 2000 years ago. That star pointed to the Light of Lights. Can you imagine Mary and Joseph peering at The God of the Universe, resting in star-sifted light, lying in a stable.

Let me take you through a few New Testament passages that have to do with light;

“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.  Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’  When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified.  But Jesus came and touched them. ‘Get up,’ he said. ‘Don’t be afraid.’ When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.” Matthew 17:1-8

The disciples never really understood the light when it happened, but they never forgot that day. After Christs’ death and resurrection, the light of the Holy Spirit helped them comprehend what they had experienced.

Take a look at this verse in John 8:12;

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”

So far I haven’t put up any lights in my house, but I have The Light in my heart.

Jesus came to give us life and light.


The song for today speaks of what Mary might have thought at the birth of her Son. Take time to enjoy it.



It’s Lent, and I’m thinking About Sheep

Goats and sheep look quite a bit alike from far away, but you can usually tell them apart if you examine them.

Here’s a blog I posted on about the difference:


Don’t Stop at the Manger, Just Pause

Tears streamed down my face as the soloist sang Handel’s, “Hallelujah Chorus.” I sat mesmerized in the pew of my church over fifteen years ago, awestruck by the majesty of Handel’s musical portrait of Christ.

This year, my pastor in Mt. Airy, NC is doing a three-part series on the background of Handel’s Messiah in Sunday school. I’m glad.

Learning about the Oratorio forces my mind to consider the fulfillment in the prophecies of Christ. Listening to the splendid music helps me to experience the wonder of the Christmas miracle.

God became man and was born of a woman as a baby.

Often, at Christmastime, we don’t just pause at the manger, we stop. And then we move on to more important things like shopping and baking and family. We don’t take time to consider the significance.

Jesus came to die.

But before that, he lived a perfect life. And died a perfect death.

And sometimes we stop there. Handel didn’t.

The end of the second movement (I think that’s what you call it.) is the “Hallelujah Chorus.” The words are a quote from the prophet Isaiah when Jesus is prophetically called the Wonderful Counselor. The Mighty God and the Everlasting Father. The Prince of Peace.

How can that be? One glance at the Internet or turn of the remote dispels any hope of peace.

Let me give you a couple of reasons. First, Christ’s kingdom isn’t of this world. At least—not yet.

In John 18, when Pilate asked Jesus if He is King of the Jews, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

So where is this mysterious kingdom? And where is this elusive peace?

Let me take you to one of the most famous passages of the New Testament, the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew’s gospel, chapters 5-7.

Jesus astounds the people and enrages the Pharisees when He describes a new kingdom of the heart. A kingdom of grace. A kingdom that begins in the heart and works itself out in actions. This kingdom is Christ in you. (For more information about that, refer to the book of John, chapters 14-16. Or just email me.)

The other kingdom described in Messiah, is a future kingdom. A kingdom ruled by the One True King. King Jesus.

In a day when we hear about government corruption, don’t you just long for a just ruler? One that has the best interests of His subjects in mind?

One day, there will be.

Here is my question to you; Are you part of Christ’s kingdom now? Do you want to be? It’s easy to do. But costly. You give up the right to run your own life.

But good.

Then, you will join that Hallelujah Chorus. And you’ll sound good.

Take time to pause at the manger, but don’t stop. Move on. Drink in His majesty. Meditate on His kingdom now and to come. Be amazed and awed by this baby in a manger. The King of Kings.

Listen and be amazed with me:







Praise From a Bruised Reed

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about plants. I spend a lot of time with them and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s they’re delicate.

Today, I transplanted tiny basil plants outside. A few of them grew together and it fell upon me to separate them. I broke the soil blocks and gently pulled them apart, careful not to bruise the fragile root system.

So when my pastor spoke from the book of Matthew, about Jesus not breaking a bruised reed, I could relate.

The passage found in Matthew 12 is a quote from the Old Testament book of Isaiah 42:1-3

“Behold my servant, whom I uphold,

my chosen, in whom my soul delights;

I have put my Spirit upon him;

he will bring forth justice to the nations.

2 He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice,

or make it heard in the street;

3 a bruised reed he will not break,

and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;

he will faithfully bring forth justice.”

What is a reed anyway? It’s like a big piece of  injured grass. Woodwind instruments use reeds as mouthpieces. But they’re not bruised.

A bruised reed is useless.

But not to Jesus.

Oodles have been written about this passage, but what engaged my thinking was how compassionate Christ was. Just like I tried to treat my little basil plants with tender-loving-care, Jesus treats people with that same care.

People who are over-looked, down-trodden, and abused. Jesus cares about them. He notices them. He loves them. He died for them and offers them forgiveness.

He cares about bruised reeds like you and like me. People who have no ability to save themselves. People who are weak and know it.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

My pastor finished his Sunday message with this, “One day, when we get to heaven, praise and honor and glory to our Lord and Savior will be blown by those of us who are bruised reeds.”

Are you broken? Down-hearted. The doorway to heaven is open to humble people. People who know they need a Savior.

I’m going to finish with another passage from John 14:6, “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

We can’t limp into heaven without Christ. We must bow before Him in adoration, repentance, and submission.

Will you enter?

Admit you’re a bruised reed?