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Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Gospel as I See It

This is an article I wrote because I am usually offended by religious literature because of the religious sounding language.  I challanged some friends to present a gospel message in 1000 words with no private christian language.  No one took me up on it but here is my attempt. 

In the beginning God spoke, and everything was created, by His Word.  He put the first man in a beautiful garden and gave him a helper that he called woman.  God gave them 2 rules.  First take care of this garden. Second do not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 Think about this with me.  If you eat something it goes into your body and becomes the stuff your body is made of, plus the waste which is cast off.  I think this has some spiritual connections.  See if you agree.  The tree of the knowledge of good and evil:  Could that also be taking into yourself the idea that you could decide what is good and what is evil?  That is sort of how I see the problem.  Because when man ate that fruit he began to decide what was good and what was evil, he had no more need for God.  That’s when his relationship with God ended and he was spiritually dead.  The spirit of God no longer lived in him. 

 At this time God had to throw Adam and Eve out of the beautiful garden.  It was too dangerous for them.  It was not punishment, it was for their safety.  So man continued for many years doing what he decided was good.  Sometimes he has done what he knew was evil, to get what he wanted.  In any case this has all been done outside of a relationship with God.  As long as man chooses to be the authority that decides good and evil, he is not in a right relationship with God. 

 Now God knows everything.  He doesn’t act to cause a lot of things to happen, but he does know what will happen.  And he is in the midst of everything.  Ok I cannot explain that but somehow I believe it.  When this great calamity occurred, God saw it coming and had a plan ready.

 Over the next several years God chose a man to be the first of a family who would eventually bring to earth the one man who could lead us back to a relationship with God.  The man he chose was Abram.  The Word of God tells the story of how this man heard a message from God and then bumbled around for several years and goofed up a lot.  Because he was trying to work out God’s promise.  Then when all hope was gone.  God came in and said, “Now I will fulfill my word.” Ok that is not a quote, but that is what God did.  He changed Abram and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah, and then gave them a son.  The son’s name was Laughter.  In their language his name was Isaac. 

 They only had one son, but from this one child God grew a nation.  There was a lot of messing things up by the men and women involved.  But God kept things moving forward little by little.  This tiny start grew into a great nation united by a promise from God.  They spoke of him as “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”  He was so mighty and frightening that they did not dare to call him their God. 

There are many wonderful stories of how God did act on the part of the children of Abraham.  They are written for us to enjoy and learn from in what is called the Old Testament.  These are stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who was later called Israel).  There are also the stories of Joseph and his brothers, Moses and many other interesting men and women.  God worked with and through these amazing and amazingly foolish people to bring about the one who would show us the way back to Him. 

One of these people was David.  He was a king of the people of Israel.  He started out as a sheep herder, for his father’s flocks.  He also wrote a lot of praise music.  He was chosen to be king and did a lot of great things in Israel.  He also did some pretty awful stuff by almost any standard.  It is important to realize this as you learn the story of how God made the way for us to get back to him. 
God used men that we call prophets to tell all who would listen that David’s kingdom would last forever.  That is another way of saying one of his sons would be king of Israel forever. 
Several years later, in a little town outside of Jerusalem, a baby was born in a cow shed.  His mother had never had sexual relations with a man, but God had put the child inside her.  She was married to a man who was a direct descendant of King David.  It is very reasonable to assume she was also of the same family though not a close cousin.  They were told to name the child Jesus.  This name means; Salvation from Jehovah. 
Jesus grew up in the land of Israel as the son of a carpenter.  And he learned to obey by surrendering his will to the will of his Heavenly Father.  Because the reason he came was to do the will of God.   
Since the religious leaders were working at other things, they didn’t understand that this one was THE ONE who would lead them back to God.  They became jealous of his popularity and power so they killed him.  Their leader said, “It is right that one should die for the people.”
And so in their selfish arrogance they accomplished God’s will.  When men turn from God, death is the only result.  Jesus accepted that separation and punishment for us.  He Died! 
But God raised him from death.  A record of his life has been given to us so we can follow him and find the way back to God. 
I would like to invite you to join me and many others who have simply chosen to follow Jesus back to our Heavenly Father.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Today's thought April 9, 2011

Today I read John 12. 

In verse 47 Jesus is recorded as saying an amazing thing that I need to apply to my own life.  So much of what we have as his recorded words is revolutionary.  They won't necessarily cause a revolution in the greater political world, but if I take them seriously and apply them to my own life there will be a revolution. 

Here is what I saw this morning that is amazing to me.  Jesus said, "...And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not:..."

How often do I say something and then if someone doesn't accept, believe or receive my words, I put a label on that person. 

Jesus went on to say that his words would judge those who did not believe.  Because, he only spoke what he received from his Father.  So he was in perfect rest that the words were true.   That is probably a big part of my problem.  Many of my words are just junk I've come up with on my own, so in my heart I know they may be false and so I get defensive. 

So many places in God's Word we are told to not judge, and once again Jesus is the perfect example of doing God's Word. 

Let us continue to learn faithfulness

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Vision

This morning I woke up thinking of the verse in Proverbs 29:18. The first part is very familiar to many. In the King James it says;

“Where there is no vision the people perish.”

I didn’t remember the reference and had to look it up. Later I looked at it in the NIV and it is a little different. It says;

“Where there is no revelation the people cast off restraint.”

In the last several months I have been working with a friend to write a book about his success in losing weight. One of the main things I see as I look at Mike’s success is how success began to be experienced when Mike saw the possibility for success on the program “The Biggest Loser.” My success began when I saw Mike having success. I found the inspiration to do what I needed to do to have success.

Doing what I need to do is simply obeying the laws that do govern life. In the case of weight loss, it is simply eat less and exercise. There are laws that govern every area of life. They are not complicated but they are absolute.

This is how the story went, Mike saw the contestants on “The Biggest Loser” being successful and saw that he could be successful also. I saw Mike and believed I could also be successful. And to the degree that I have applied the simple laws to my own life I have had success.

In the same way, Jesus came and lived among men, as a man, obeying the laws of God. He trusted God his father in all situations and obeyed always.

Hebrews 1:9 says; “He loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God anointed him with the oil of gladness (joy) more than all his brothers.” One brother said it simply, “Jesus was the happiest man that ever lived.”

Jesus came to be the vision or revelation of the life that we can live by trusting and obeying the laws of God by faith.

Then we also can experience the end of the verse in Proverbs 29:18;

“…he that keeps the law, happy is he.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


In the Bible there is a story about a beautiful garden. In this garden there was a man and a woman, and God would walk with them and talk with them. Then one day a snake came into the garden and convinced them that if they wanted, they could be like God just by deciding what was good and what was evil.

They believed THE LIE and the whole world has been corrupted with that very poison. Everyone is infected! This lie is at the very core of all of the world’s problems. All of the problems of mankind grow from this one lie. Just to be sure I will say it again.

You can be like God if you just decide yourself what is good and what is evil. You can be god!

This is POISON. This is a complete lie. Maybe, if there is such a thing, this is a perfect lie.

As I have said this is the source of all of the problems in the world, and we are all infected.

But God is altogether love. He sincerely desires to have fellowship with the people he originally created in his own image. That’s right, we were like him in the beginning, but because we believed THE LIE, we destroyed that.

Since God is altogether love and longs for that fellowship with us, He has made a way for us to come back to him. He sent his very own son to lead us back to himself. Jesus came as a man, born of a woman to do only the will of his father, not his own. He said, “Father not my will but yours be done.”

And since following THE LIE always results in death, or to say it another way separation from God, some payment had to be made to reconcile us to God. Jesus took our death on himself. He was executed on a cross. And God has counted that as payment in full to reconcile us, each one, to himself.

Since each of us had believed THE LIE, and lived THE LIE, we each one must admit to God, “I am wrong, please apply Jesus death to my sin.” Then we each need to follow Jesus example the rest of our life.

Following Jesus is quite simple. He said, “Love God with all of your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Although it is very simple, it is often quite difficult. This way has difficulties, disappointments and sorrows, But this way is life and leads to life more abundant.