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Colossians 1:27-28

Colossians 1:27-28

For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.

Dear God, what are the “riches and glory of Christ” we are supposed to know and share? What are we selling when we talk about Jesus.

I’ve heard some of other religions, and even different denominations of Christianity, accuse some Christians of believing in a salvation that is too easy and cheap. After all, of our salvation isn’t works based then why ever try to be good at all?

But what I’m selling isn’t cheap salvation. To start with, I recognize that it wasn’t cheap for you. What I’m selling is selfless surrender and relationship. I know Paul says in one of his letters that if this isn’t all about ending up with you after we die then Christians are to be pitied, but I don’t totally agree with that. I don’t know where the “cut line” is for Heaven admission, but I have a much better idea of where the cut line is for relationship with you and the fruits of the Spirit that come from that. I can even see it in me as I vary in my levels of worship and prayer. I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about my “fire insurance,” but I do wake up thinking that if I’m going to experience love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, and self control them I better spend some time with my God. And even in dark, scary times, your rod and your staff comfort me.

Father, help me to live in your presence today. Help me to submit to you in all areas. Help me to be what my nieces and nephew need when I see them later. Help my life to be what you need it to be–for me and for others.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2019 in Colossians

 

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“Why Me, Lord?” by Kris Kristofferson

Why Me, Lord?” by Kris Kristofferson 

Why me Lord, what have I ever done
To deserve even one
Of the pleasures I’ve known
Tell me Lord, what did I ever do
That was worth loving you
Or the kindness you’ve shown.

Lord help me Jesus, I’ve wasted it so
Help me Jesus I know what I am
Now that I know that I’ve need you so
Help me Jesus, my soul’s in your hand.

Tell me Lord, if you think there’s a way
I can try to repay
All I’ve taken from you
Maybe Lord, I can show someone else
What I’ve been through myself
On my way back to you.
 

Lord help me Jesus, I’ve wasted it so
Help me Jesus I know what I am
Now that I know that I’ve need you so
Help me Jesus, my soul’s in your hand.

  

Dear God, I’m not as concerned about the lyrics of this song as I am the testimony given my Kris Kristofferson before he sings it in this video. Basically, sitting with other country singers such as Willie Nelson, he gives his testimony and it’s really quite beautiful. Some pull quotes:

Pastor: “If anyone is lost, raise your hand.”

Kristofferson: I didn’t go to church a lot, and the notion of raising my hand was out of the question…all of a sudden, I felt my hand going up…

Pastor: “If anybody is ready to accept Jesus, come down to the front of the church.”

Kristofferson: I thought that would never happen, and I found myself getting up and walking down with all these people.

Pastor: “Are you ready to accept Jesus Christ into your life?”

Kristofferson: I said, “I don’t know.” I didn’t know what I was doing there…I can’t even remember what he was saying. Whatever it was, it was such a release for me that I found myself weeping in public, and I felt this forgiveness that I didn’t know I even needed.”

A few weeks ago I preached a sermon called, “What are we selling?” It was about the Gospel. The woman who sent this to me was in that sermon, and I replied to her, “This is what we are selling.” 

Who is lost? What a simple question that requires an answer. I remember feeling lost. Thankfully, I don’t currently feel that way, although there have been times since I’ve been a Christian that I have felt completely overwhelmed by my life and at a complete loss.  

I think the part that touched me so much was the last line I quoted. He mentioned a release and he mentioned feeling a forgiveness that I didn’t know I even needed. How many of us are too proud to ever admit we need forgiveness. There is simply no way we can call ourselves a Christian without first coming to the point of recognizing our lostness, humbling ourselves before you, and asking for and experiencing your forgiveness. It’s that release of ourselves and the façade we paint for the world that brings the tears, I think. 

Father, help me to know how to offer this to my friends, my family, and even those I only barely know. Help me to be exactly who you need me to be in every moment. 

In Jesus’ name I pray, 

Amen

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2018 in Hymns and Songs

 

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Emails to God – Mission IMPOSSIBLE (Matthew 19:16-30)

16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

18 “Which ones?” he inquired.

Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”

20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter thekingdom ofGod.”

25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Dear God, verse 26 makes me think of a line I read in a book yesterday. It basically said that the God of Judaism and Christianity (you) is the only God who loves sinners. All other false gods that men make up hate sinners, but the true God loves sinners and made a way to connect with us by reaching out to us. When the disciples asked in verse 25, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus basically answered them that no one can be saved by their own merit—you have to do it for them.

I also like how Peter totally missed the meaning of verse 26 and goes back to a performance-based system in verse 27: “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” It’s like a little kid trying to know how impressed you are with him and what he gets as his reward.

I once had a man work for me who was pretty insecure. He was always comparing himself with coworkers and trying to show how he was superior to them in how he did his job. It was hard to watch, but then when I stop and wonder how much of that I do myself I get a little humbled. I love for people to be impressed with me. I love it when I get glory and rewards. I’m better about it and less needy than I used to be, but it is still an issue.

Father, help me to embrace verse 26. Help me to embrace and absorb the idea that “impossible” means “IMPOSSIBLE”. It doesn’t mean “REALLY HARD”. It’s not like the show “Mission Impossible” where it really possible if you are smart enough, brave enough, and fortunate enough to pull it off—it is truly IMPOSSIBLE to be saved by my own ability or actions. It’s too late. That ship has sailed. I cannot save myself. I need YOU to make it POSSIBLE, which of course you already have. I just need to remember it and BELIEVE it.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Matthew

 

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Emails to God – Salvation, Grace, and Sex Ed

When one of my children prayed to accept Christ, I found myself at a little bit of a loss. The child was an early teen and, having once been an early teen who foolishly felt compelled to go through the process of salvation over and over again because I felt like it didn’t take the previous 20 times, I felt a huge burden to plant initial seeds that would sustain them regardless of what their spiritual path would hold.

How does sex education fit into this? The best marriage book I ever read was Sacred Marriage by a guy named Gary Thomas. The subtitle of the book describes his thesis: What if God designed marriage to make us Holy more than to make us happy? I went through this book with a men’s group, and Mr. Thomas wisely left the chapter about sex close to the end because I think that’s why most of us in the group were reading the book. In fact, I think we stopped reading it after we got to that chapter. But in that chapter he had a unique point. He said, paraphrasing, that most of us (especially men) have a warped sense of sex as adults because the first time we were ever exposed to the concept of sex was through a worldly, non-Biblical lens. Perhaps it was pornography, or other kids talking at school. Maybe it was something in a movie or on TV. But what would it be like if our FIRST exposure to sex was in the framework within which God intended it to be? Would that impact how we experience it as adults?

My wife and I decided to take this challenge and “beat the world to the punch” when it came to our kids learning about sex. We went to the local Christian bookstore and found a book we felt comfortable sharing with our five-year-old son (and later with our daughter when she was about five). It was designed to specifically discuss sex in a way that God intended it for our lives (in an age-appropriate way). While I will probably never know for sure, in just observing my children, it feels like they are free from at least of a few of the hangups that have haunted me.

That brings me to my child’s salvation experience. I have this young, 13-year-old child who has just made the most important decision of their life. If I can only give them one lesson, what will it be? I went to the bookshelf in our study for some help. What I found was Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel. I decided that the most important message I could share with my child was that God’s grace, love, and acceptance is not about our effort, but His. He loves us radically, and there is nothing we can do to change it.

Not wanting to intimidate my child with a Christian self-help book on their first day as a new Christian, I decided to make up a “Cliff’s Notes” kind of version of the first chapter. If they liked it I would do more. So I put three Bible passages together with 19 bullet points from a 20-page chapter onto two pieces of paper and gave it to them. My prayer is to thank God for bringing my child to faith and ask that He will use the foundation of a strong understanding of His grace to build the rest of their relationship with Him.

If any of you have suggestions about other things parents can do to help their children lay a good foundation and nurture further growth, please feel free to share them here.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2012 in Musings and Stories

 

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