Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The akwardness of sharing Gospel truth

Yesterday, I took my family to see Madagascar 3, something to "Europe".  Anyway, it was somewhat entertaining - one note, don't ever get there late.  We were in the second row and I could've sworn that my seat doubled as a seat for Shuttle take off's, nuts!

Well, as divine meetings would have it, Luke, our youngest, would not be still.  He's 16 months old and a boy - no need to say anymore.  I went outside to let Luke get his "wiggles" out and just kind of stood along the wall as he went head on into oncoming traffic - foot traffic that is.  Brandon started noticing him and said how busy he was, I agreed.  I asked if he had any kids and he said, "Yes, a three year old boy", well I have one as well, beside Luke, and the conversation started off on those commonalities. 

At one point he mentioned about the kids playing with boxes more than they play with anything else, you know, when you get 'em that nice new playhouse, tricycle, etc...you would more likely find them playing in the box then with what you thought they would.  After a couple of minutes, I came back to that analogy.  This is where the "akwardness" takes over, how should I say this?  what exactly should I share?  start off w/ heaven - hell - life?  I say yes to all.  Sharing the gospel is awkward and let me tell you one thing, IT'S OKAY!!!

Have you ever had the distinct impression that you need to share with a person what the true gospel is?  I was having those impressions.  I said, "you know a relationship with God is a lot like that box.", impressive, right?  I continued, thank God, right?  I said, "it is like taking all the good things that God gives us - air, food, money, clothes and if we don't turn around and acknowledge Him, it becomes like playing with a big empty box."  I continued, "Jesus Christ is the gift that God has given because we have a bigger problem than we could ever imagine, one that you and I would never be able to take care of...SIN!"

So it went on from there, I shared a couple of verses of scripture, John 14:6 and Prov. 14:12.  We can think that we will never come to a day of accounting but God says differently.  Have you spoken up lately?  Maybe it is that friend that you've been with for 2 years and they're continuing on and you see only destruction and they see happiness?  When will you say, "Um, there is something that I've been neglecting..." or the Spirit will give words to express.  The result isn't up to you!  See John 3, with Nicodemus, Jesus sovereignly chose to submit to the Spirit's work over/in salvation.

God bless you as you share this gospel and maybe the person will turn around and say, "what was that all about?"  So, should you shut up?  No, no, no!!!  I say, share, share, share with anyone who'll listen and it will be amazing to hear the Spirit's heartbeat in yours thumping for the Gospel. :)

Boasting in the gospel,


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chick-fil-A and the Gospel

I've seen the debates that seem to now be intensifying between those in Christendom who want to back off of the perceived view of "us vs. them", but, I think they're cutting off their nose to spite their face.  They want to be reasoned and I can respect that, when it comes to civility, but that is where the argument is turned on its head.  This hasn't been an "us vs. them" campaign, it really has been a tongue in cheek, kind of humorous, argument to make, that is anything but a challenge to a homosexuals right to be.  I've never heard of any alternative lifestyle person getting the boot from a Chick-fil-A.

There are those who are more militant in their views on both sides of the argument.  The case could be made against either side, could it not?  There has been, I would say, a plethora of information that inundates us on a daily basis about the gay lifestyle, this coming from an estimated 2% of the population.  I'm encouraged to see something done, in the public view, that makes the case for a traditional marriage and if you think that the only way to do this is through respectful dialogue and mutual understanding, then your fighting the wrong argument in this case.  To me I see the Enemy stepping on his own toes and making a fool of himself.

But, here is the rub, how do we respectfully disagree in today's society?  Can we not say, "show up here on this certain day" and people show up for a specific purpose, could it be softball game, a dance recital, church.  Shouldn't the purpose for showing up at any of them be God's glory?

Going to CFA isn't really the issue, it is, what am I doing with any of the homosexual persons in my path? I have two.  One of the commentators on a blog post thanked the author for "reigning in" our militant march to CFA, really?  Well, Jesus would most likely take a homosexual to CFA and buy them a chicken sandwich. :)

Do I want it to detract from the truth of the Gospel as displayed in Christ?  No. I think that is a straw man argument, one that in itself, because it assumes that those who are going to CFA are only going because they're against homosexuals, is fallacious.  What if some are going to support Dan Cathy?  What if they're going because they want to "do good" to a brother - Gal. 6:10?  So, I guess I won't stomp to CFA, but, I'll go, a little earlier than normal, its normally my Thursday night thing. :)

Boasting in the gospel,


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Psalm 2:4

Can you or I take confidence when God laughs? according to the Word of God the answer is YES!  Ps. 37:13 and Ps. 59:8 imply the same thing but you have to know him.

A couple of weeks ago I was watching a baseball game when a very, very loud clap of thunder boomed across the stadium.  The catcher and batter immediately ran off the field, in opposite directions, toward their own dugouts.  I would have done the same thing, maybe even a little faster!  But it did make me laugh out loud, you know, those moments when you laugh at someone else from the safe confines of your home?  Even the guy on first base goes down on all fours, it was a classic "panic" moment that elicits laughs and mostly out of nervous reactions, here's the video.

Now, by showing this, I'm not implying that God laughs at all those in the stadium because they're "held in derision" by God.  It just makes me wonder what the reaction will be of those who stand on something other than what God doesn't laugh at, namely His Son, Jesus Christ.  You know the one who, when asked about heaven, will say, "I'm a good person, I haven't killed anyone, I haven't physically cheated on my wife..." and when asked about God or his Person refer to him as, "the Man upstairs".  So, how can someone who I've described above get confidence in a God who might laugh at them one day?  you know when the "kings of the earth set themselves...against the Lord and against his Anointed."

Well, I can tell you this, confidence cannot come from earthly confidence in good works or puffing myself up with knowledge.  I mean, think about it, one loud CLAP of thunder and grown men are running!  But that is nothing compared to having God laugh at you on the day of judgment, its a laughter that will be 10,000x louder than any thunder that you've heard.

You might say, "well I've never set myself - 'against the Lord or his Anointed'", but what have you done with Jesus Christ?  There is my confidence, there is my hope and assurance on the day I stand before God, I'll be laughing with Him, not like the guy sitting there laughing because he doesn't get the joke!  I desire you to be with me on that day, laughing with Him - do you know him?

The Gospel is this - Jesus Christ came to save sinners who are desperately lost.  He died on the cross, an act of grace beyond comparison, to ransom us that we might go from enemy to friend of God.  Do you believe that?  1) I'm a sinner beyond any repair that my good works could never make any better, 2) Christ died for my sin and according to the scriptures I'm given grace in place of judgment, and, 3) by confessing with my mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, repenting of my sin and walking in grace I can have new life and laugh in a new way. 

If you truly have repented of your sin and forsaken your sin to walk in a relationship with Jesus Christ, would you reach out to me?  Three ways, twitter: @gospeldiet, leave a comment or tlinkletter at gmail dot com.

God bless you and my the Gospel spread throughout the world that all may know a God who is for us in Christ!

Take care,


Monday, July 23, 2012

Psalm 1:3

Reading through the Psalms - don't you love the Psalms?  BTW, love the devotional by Sam Storms, Psalms, it is encouraging and I think nails a lot of the themes and nuances perfectly.

So, I was meditating on Psalm 1:3 and the particular phrase, "in its season", what do you think of when you hear that phrase?  For me my thoughts went to eating fruit that was "out of season", you know what I mean?  You take a big bite, hoping for the best and all it does is crumble in your mouth and it takes 1,000 chews to get it down unless you just give up and wash your mouth out with water.  Of course what do you do with the rest of it, toss it!  Why?  Because it isn't worth eating, there isn't satisfaction or sweetness when you bite into it, it's disgusting.

What do you think of when it is fruit that is "in season"?  has your mouth started to water?  Juices flowing, it is as if you're biting into sweet that you never thought possible.

Where are you in your "season"?  I know that normally I want to be "in season" always but the Psalmists expresses the agricultural norm that we aren't used to waiting for, tree, by water, will eventually yield its fruit.  Think of Jesus going to up to the fig tree with the disciples in Matt. 21:18-22, why did he curse it?  It didn't have its fruit that it should have - now, that is another story in itself that we can learn from but is beyond the scope of this post.  So we know that we should have fruit, in season, because that is how it should be, it is how God made the trees - that bear fruit and it is how God made our lives under His covenant.

But the Psalmist seems to insinuate at least that there is a process of maturing that brings the fruit that will come for God's covenant people.  So, there is a season but you say, "I cannot accept this season" but it seems that is the very contrast that he is drawing out - enter the "Wicked".  The wicked desire their fruit now and demand the desire for their designs outside of God's covenant, well what does that look like?  he mentions "chaff" which, according to my ESV study notes, is the "husks and straw removed before threshing and is lighter than the edible kernels..."  Maturity carries more weight, takes longer and produces the fruit that is intended - immaturity is light, desires instant fruit and produces "chaff". 

Which fruit does yours look like?  What about the promotion that Bryan got that might have been deserved but you desired that position?  Or what about that family at church that just shared about getting their needs met but you still are in need?  I'm not saying that, true mature fruit is going to celebrate because one day I'm gonna "get mine".  What if the water you're planted by and the season that you're in requires of you a celebration of God's work in anothers life?  When we can bite into that fruit and taste the sweetness of God's grace in someone elses fruitfulness, our maturing is coming "in season".  Do you get me?

I've been at my job now for 6 years, I've doubled the time that I've been at any other place.  Its a long season and over and over I've found myself at the tree and testing the fruit - "is it ready?" I say to myself.  How do you know when it ripens?  What "season" are you in?  Should you be out there making strides or are you trying to make strides but God is just not allowing it.  Have you thought that "more ripening" needs to happen?  What do you say?  Am I completely off on this?


Monday, June 25, 2012

Abide in Christ

"Abiding in Jesus can only be by faith. There are earnest Christian who do not understand this; or, if they admit it in theory, they fail to realize its application in practice. They are very zealous for a free gospel, with our first acceptance of Christ, and justification by faith alone. But after this they think everything depends on our diligence and faithfulness. While they firmly grasp the truth, 'The sinner shall be justified by faith,' they have hardly found a place in their scheme for the larger truth, 'The just shall live by faith.' They have never understood what a perfect Savior Jesus is, and how He will each day do for the sinner just as much as He did the first day when he came to Him. They know not that the life of grace is always and only a life of faith, and that in the relationship to Jesus the one daily and unceasing duty of the disciple is to believe, because believing is the one channel through which divine grace and strength flow out into the heart of man. The old nature of the believer remains evil and sinful to the last; it is only as he daily comes, all empty and helpless, to his Savior to receive of His life and strength, that he can bring forth the fruits of righteousness to the glory of God. There it is: 'Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving' (Col. 2:6-7). As you came to Jesus, so abide in Him, by faith." —Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ , page 26.

Boast in the Gospel, alone.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Book of Mormon - is it God's Word?

Late last week and early this week I had debated some Mormon's on their beliefs - as is evidenced in the post below - their beliefs are truly baffling.  This isn't a post to criticize the GOP presidential hopeful, I will be voting for him, at times it is the lesser of two evils, even if someone claims Christianity, i.e., George W. Bush who would eventually say that all roads lead to one place.  Not helpful.

Keeping this in the context of what the post title suggests, I let my Mormon friend have the "last word" on a thread of comments.  His direct quote was, "The BOM. is the word of God. The word of God does not add to the word of God.", if you think this is bad, try to debate them sometime, they come up with some doosies. :)

So, is the Book of Mormon (BOM), truly the Word of God?  According to his above statement it is, so, since we have become a relative society I can say what you believe is what you believe and what I believe is what I believe.  Um, no.  There is a little thing called "Objective Truth", Objective because it is apart from us, coming out of or from another Entity, namely God.  And, it is Truth due to the place from where it comes and so we see in the Bible God's self revelatory nature come to the front and His plan of redemption spelled out in flesh and blood.

This is where the Mormon faith is on very thin ice.  In recent years they have become more and more relative, especially when it comes to their BOM.  Not that there hasn't been a thread of it since the beginning, Mr. Smith wasn't just putting all of the things together from different religions, he was actually listening to the dictates of his own mind.  Their continued changing of their own book, that they say is "another testament", by their false prophets is laughable at best.  Their own book, the BOM, has been changed almost 5,000 times, I'm not talking variants, like a "the" here or an "a" there, whole swaths have been removed and added, why?  Because new prophecies happen from their false prophets.

I think it strange, as they call themselves a Christian faith, that they use arguments against the Bible that atheists and agnostics would use.  That is sad, to say the least but one tactic that they'll use for their own benefit and it is all due to the fact that their own BOM is malleable.

One of my friends made a much better argument for the infallible - inerrant nature of the original text, Mormon's cannot stand it when you start using those words because that makes the Bible something to be reckoned with, not just another book that they can mold to their likings.  So, we do believe that the Bible that was handed down is infallible and inerrant in the original texts that we have been given and I'll give you the quote that he said:

I would love to answer your question about whether the Bible we have today is reliable and without errors or not... First, I don't rely on an English translation. I have Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts that I read from (the original language of Scripture). We don't currently have the original "letter to the Ephesians" from Paul's own hand, but then again, we don't have any original writing of any work before the middle ages. We have no copies of most classical works until 500 years or so after their writing and then we have only 20 or so copies on average. That's what we base our knowledge of roman History and Greek Philosophy from! THE BIBLE is unique in that we have copies from within 100 years of its writing and we have over 5700 copies of the original Greek New Testament alone! The entire New Testament can also be reproduced in it's entirety from millions of quotations from Early church fathers. We can compare these handwritten copies to find minor errors where, perhaps, someone was getting sleepy as they were writing. Still, the only remaining questions about what the original  said are minor: Should there be a "the " in font of that word or not? Is that number "666" or "616"?None of the questions could change the core doctrines of the Bible. There are no gaping holes, only questions about very minor details.

So, where would I be talking about the BOM changing?  Well, glad that you asked. :)  Here is one verse that, if they took it from the Bible, would change the core doctrine that they cling to with everything, namely their desire to show their works to be meritorious, meaning that God accepts my works as a "completion" of my salvation.

23 For we labor diligently to write, to apersuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by bgrace that we are saved, after all we can cdo.
(2 Ne. 25:23)


 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)


Why add the "after all we can do"?  This is where the moral Mormon would tell you that he is doing this and this and this...but what makes that so scandalous?  Think about it, what if Jesus would've said to the Pharisees, you know what, you guys have it all right, I like your works of righteousness.  Works that he would give no credence to eventually got Him crucified, that is because we are not justified by works - after what we can do - we're justified, only by the blood of Christ.  Our works, will one day, be judged, from that same sacrifice. 

I've talked about our works of righteousness being, according to Titus 2:5, works that don't gain merit with God but are a reaction to the love that He's given through Christ.  But that is where this delineation makes all the difference in the world.  If you have any work to do that completes the work of Christ, we have a problem, and that is where the Mormons have a problem when calling the BOM, the "word of God". 

Their words make salvation possible but from the Bible it is impossible, but with God it is possible, the type of salvation that makes it possible, through my works, is deficient.  Romans 8:30, who is called, who is justified, who is glorified?  Paul isn't talking about a future state, he is talking about what has happened in eternity past.  It might be something that we are just aware of but that doesn't make the truth of what he is saying any less, these are past events, counted as done with God. 

Mormons make it possible for all of this to happen just by their changing of one verse and adding a five word phrase.  It is the difference between heaven and hell, literally.

Boasting in the God who saves completely,


Friday, April 27, 2012

Mormon Questions


This is a response, wanted it to be more thoughtful than a thread in a comments section that became a bit too long. So, if you are here, especially Rockgod28, I appreciate you coming.

So, my question that I posed, if the Book of Mormon and the Bible contradicted each other which one would you reject? So, I showed that there is one glaring point that they do contradict one another. The simple verse of Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." The B of M doesn't say the same thing, it says, "after all we can do".

Below I will respond to the comments inbetween the lines:

I am very well thank you. I am obedient to the commandment of Jesus Christ to be perfect because of
the grace of Jesus Christ...I remain perfected in Christ as long as I keep the commandments of God.


This is a contradiction of epic proportions. What did Jesus say to the "rich man" -
"He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."
Matthew 19:18-21

So, Jesus definition of perfection, I don't think reaches to you, does it? Let's see, so, "Thou shalt do no murder", Jesus said, if you think a wicked thought in your heart or mind against someone, maybe me. :) What did he say?

Matthew 5:22, "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

So, have you been angry with your brother? Not just lately or in the last hour but ever, this isn't a circle back around, remember, "be ye perfect as your father in heaven is perfect". Does he have any deficiency that makes him not perfect for awhile? He doesn't say, "be ye somewhat perfect according to your own standards according to your own rules", he says, "be ye perfect".

So, easy, you've never been impatient, you've loved everyone, you never have missed a church meeting? I'm just judging you by your own standards, not really even God's standards.

The “after all we can
do” of 2 Nephi 25:23 is keep the commandments of God.

So flippant, I mean really, its like saying that the holocaust was just a big misunderstanding. See above, how did the rich young ruler stand up under Jesus questioning? He thought good but he went away sad. Why? That is what I'm trying to avoid for you. See, my works come as a result of grace working through faith, in Christ, so that I cannot boast. I'm not perfect! But, I can point you to the one who is perfect, Jesus Christ. You're putting the emphasis on your works having some salvific quality, they aren't, at all!

Again, I'll ask you the question, have you broken one commandment of God?

"For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." James 2:10

According to your own beliefs you stand condemned as a law breaker, you haven't fulfilled it all and let me say, your judgments are by your own standards. "Be ye perfect" not halfway, God doesn't understand our relative notions of truth, He is perfect and the standard that he sets is impossible but intentionally.

Why is the bar so
high? How can we endure such things as
sorrow, sickness, pain and temptations that easily try to overcome us?

Not sure if this is a statement, rhetorical question or what. I think the bar is high, very high, impossibly high. Look at it behold it, Isaiah saw it and was undone, Job saw it and became as a man who did not open his mouth. They saw the bar and it was so high that they thought they were done but for a holy God having mercy on them they were saved. They weren't giving this, "well God, let me tell you how perfect I've been, let me list off my works of righteousness that I've done." What did they do? They became dependent wholly on grace, Isaiah got the coal to his lips, Job got the mercies of God displayed in another family and being richer than he was before. What did they do for it? Nothing. Nada.

It is not easy to be a
Mormon. It is hard compared to other
religions and practices.

What do Mormons strive
for if it is not “Grace”?

My friend, this makes my heart hurt for you. I really and truly believe that Mormons, if you look at it, have enjoyed more freedoms than at any other time, look at one of your own running for the highest office in the land. Folks in the 1800's didn't ever think that would've been possible, they were truly persecuted and I'll give you that.
This is the problem and I stated it in the thread of comments, yours is a religion of do, mine is a relationship of DONE. See you strive for grace, I already have it, there is nothing for me to strive for and to have the approval of my Heavenly Father is beyond my scope to believe but I believe it because it is in His Word.
BTW, it isn't a cakewalk to be a Christian nowadays, look at the pastor in Iran, thrown in jail and has been there all for the reason that he claims the name of Christ. If he was "striving" for grace, why be there? Striving for acceptance, striving for approval? Really? Is that what the disciples were doing when they were crucified upside down? Or, were their lives so radically changed by the grace of God that they would do anything to see the message of the true Gospel spread to the world? I think we know the answer.

I'll sign off for now....

Boasting in the true Gospel that saves completely.


Monday, January 30, 2012

Grace to the broken-hearted

So as I was on my way into work today, I thought of a couple of people in my world or sphere of influence who are desperately broken.  From what I can see, in both of their lives, it happened before they had full control of anything.  So, basically, as a child or young adult.  Let me give you the two, what I'll call, case studies.

Case Study #1:
The first person, who is a male, works as a travel agent in a US city.  I came about knowing him through a work relationship.  He is homosexual and from several discussions maintained via email - he has revealed the hurt that has driven him to that place.  That is no excuse, on my part, for my sin or his, just a knowledge of where he is at. 

He told me that he was abused as a young boy by, what I'll call a 'supposed', minister of the gospel.  He was 12 y/o and had been invited into this man's home and to go with him as they would travel on evangelistic missions.  This 'boy' would preach and minister in the name of Jesus and then behind the scenes would be abused by the man.  Really, I'll point out here that this isn't to say that all pastors are, at the core of them, grubby - power hungry - control freaks who can only operate in that frame of reference.  Many are beautiful examples of faithful obedience to God's word.

But, imagine for a moment that you were the 'boy' in this scenario.  How would you feel about the church?  About ministers in general?  About God?  This is the power of these things that these abusers hold toward those who are under their care.  Don't think that for a moment Jesus would just pass it off like, it was nothing, in fact, the opposite is true, think of Luke 17:2, that isn't a pretty picture meant to conjure up fuzzy feelings.  The combination of religious pride and power abuse sickened the Son of Man and it should sicken us!

Case Study #2:
The second person, is a female, I won't go into detail about my relationship with her, seriously, nothing inappropriate, it would be just in case she would read this.  Her father was a pastor, again, role of authority and abusive. 

He was not a sexual abuser but would kick, discipline with an electrical cord, slap, punch and generally would emotionally manipulate her.  She, being one of the older in the family, would take most of the abuse for the younger kids, literally standing in his way so he couldn't get to the other kids.  Yes, I know, where was the mom?  Well she was there, but, too afraid to say anything against the rage that would seethe from this man. 

This woman has now been divorced 3 times, had one affair, 3 abortions, you don't think there is some power exercising authority over her?  Again, I'm not saying that there is any excuse for her sin or mine for that matter.  Many conversations have revealed more abuse and continued reminders, in her own mind, about the nature of what she went through. 

Okay, here is my main point, what ministry opportunities are we wasting away because we're not looking past the surface level disobedience.  Passing them off as nominal Christians, not extending grace or a smile because, hey, they aren't being obedient.  What God needs is obedient followers, he is "purifying" his church.  I would say, "Yes and Amen", but he does it through humility and love.  Asked by a brother recently, "Unity, at what cost?", well, it cost the Son of God his life, have we really given that much?

Do we love our brother or sister to the point of sticking with them in, "steadfast love", like in Psalm 42: 5, 11 remember, he was still in the same position in v. 11 as in v. 5.  These are both still professing Christians and I feel they are because of the misery of their lives.  I've asked both, point blank, "Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and Saviour of the world, especially you?"  They both have answered in the affirmative, working that out is the question, "how does that faith inform your actions?".  They don't need the stiff arm and walk away with our platitudes about how only if they would know God the way we do they wouldn't be there.  Are you willing to stick with them so that they see that in living color?

You may be thinking of someone right now who you need to reach out to even right now.  Maybe you are the living extension of the grace of God that will lead them back to see the Cross of Christ.  Isn't that what we all need?  Desiring to meet you, "At the foot of the Cross".

Boasting in what Jesus does, His Cross -


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Jesus + nothing = EVERYTHING

Listening today to some sermons that were given by Tullian Tchvidian at Wheaton College.

This guy is becoming a favorite for sure.  Pray that it blesses you.

The title of the post is the title of his new book.

Here is the link to watch the videos.

Boasting in the work of the Gospel that brought me and keeps me,


Monday, January 9, 2012

God's grace to Abraham

I love reading through the Word and seeing the grace of God.  Today it was Abrams turn, I guess this is always his "time of the year".  You know, I wonder if they're in heaven somewhere, some corner, albeit self absorbed one, I know - contradiction in terms - but go with me, where Abraham...BTW that is his name now...but you know they get together and start jazzing each other?  "Hey, check it out 'Abram', I mean 'Abraham', they're reading about you now, but don't get too happy, they'll be through soon enough, where's Joseph - get out here man!"

Okay, so now you know what goes on in my mind, don't ask too many questions.  But, here is Abram in the Ur of the Chaldees with his father Terah.  God is moving all of history into place as he calls to Abram, out of the middle of nowhere, "Abram", "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house..."  Wow, just think about it, here is an idol worshipping-polygamist-slave owner, just to give perspective and God calls him.  Well, let me correct myself, the Bible doesn't say anything about him being a polygamist just yet, that happens later in Chapter 16.  I know, he was progressively working it out. :)

But that God called and spoke, again, into history and moved hearts to hear him.  Then, the kicker is, before Abram did anything, God says, "I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."  Again, just imagine this, God says, "this is what I'm going to do" and He does it, he doesn't make Abraham a perfectly moral being, we know that because of Chapter 16.  We do have v. 4, "So Abram went...", yes he did, aside from the obvious Word that we have and God's directing of all things, he obeyed.  Imagine, you have a voice, from God, say, "Abram, I'm going to bless you and bless those that bless you and anyone who fools with you fools with me."  How would you react?  Okay, lets do this thing but what do I do?

What would you do?  I don't think that Abram knew completely what he was doing but that it was a gracious God that he was listening to.  Think about it, here is a God who is going to bless and defend him and ultimately make of him a nation that would be more that the sand of the seashore.  That is incredible and if you think about it, completely crazy, and something that if God would reveal it to Abram, just a little chunk of that he did reveal in Gen. 15:12-16, all at once would've blown his mind.  Think about Romans 11:33-36, "how unfathomable his ways..."  If God revealed to us everything that is happening or will happen it would blow our minds.

This is my point, where were you when God called you?  You had nothing, c'mon, admit it, you might have the pedigree, born in a Christian family, first Sunday - in the nursery, grown up all your life under the teachings of Christianity but you're no better than where Abraham was at.  God calls each of us out of the desert of our lives to invest it in the One who has revealed the Grace of God in the most amazing way possible, the Cross.  God calls each of us from that place of reliance's on what we can see to a grace that He calls us to daily, I will bless you, I love you, you are mine...look to My Son, BELIEVE!

Do you believe like Abram did?  Do you hear him calling?  That is Him and if you hear him, do not harden your heart, believe!

Boasting in His grace,


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gospel is Grace

Following Tullian Tchividian on Twitter he had a tweet, that I think was a retweet of Trevin Wax, it went, "Too many times, we think, "I know we're saved by grace, but..." that "but" is deadly."

Why is it that we can understand the grace of God in the context of raising dead, lifeless sinners from death to life by the faith that the Spirit gives but when it comes to living the Christian life, all of the sudden we make it about what you do?  Of course there is life change, of course there is a depth that salvation brings that does not belong to us but instead of exploring that depth we step out of the ocean of God's grace into the desert of legalism.  It is as if we're saying, "Hey God, thanks for that, obviously you saved me because you saw something real special in me and so I'll get to it from here." 

Isn't that about what you feel like at times about this Christian life?  I mean, God saves you but you better get to work as soon as that happens.  So instead of enjoying the Savior, King Jesus, we stray back to the life of trying to impress someone who is already impressed but not with what you can do.  This is something that has perplexed me since I've been learning the doctrines of Grace, I mean you could be talking with someone about salvation and how great it is that God brought you to Himself and how he awakened a dead man and how I could do nothing for that, wretched, blind, pitiful...etc...

Then in the same conversation talking about the walking out that grace they become rabid Arminians. :)  It is again perplexing and I've heard it explained as "degrees" of Law, under grace, and how this is a matter of realizing where we are and working it out from there.  This is a problem because there would be oppostion to those who would try, like in the holiness movement, to say that there is a fuller fullness of the Holy Spirit that has to happen.  So there is grace, yes but that grace enables you and it becomes a type of comparison, "Oh, so you haven't gotten as far as I down the 'grace road', let me show you."  Again, the problem is that I'm comparing myself to someone else, not to God, not to the perfect example of grace.

Legalism so easily herds us in to categories and definitions that are outside of God's grace, the Gospel that he called us with is the Gospel that keeps us.  It defines Jesus as the worthy One and that he has all authority in the life of that individual whom he calls.  But just because he has that authority and some of us, in the eyes of others, do great things "for" God, leaving out Eph. 2:10, we develop patterns that will make it depend on us.  It goes back to my first point, God sees someting special in me and so I need to "git er done". :)  Actually, God sees something special in His Son and so our sacrifice is for naught outside of his working in us or not acknowledging that he has "before ordained" those works.

Here is the final, I'll call it "kicker" in this argument and that would be, "What sin or sins do you struggle with right now, just as much or moreso than you did as a new Christian?"  So, if we are truly seeing the grace of God we realize that there is nothing we could do to earn it, before or after coming to Christ.  The fact that we struggle with the same things is testimony to the hopelessness of trying to "work this thing out" by looking at our progress, rather than Christs' work on behalf of His children.  So I encourge an outward look to the Savior and it will surprise you how much joy will come from that, then our boasting in the Gospel becomes, not a grind but a grace filled walk.

Boasting with you in the work that Christ has done,