Another Jesus

January 25th, 2016

Try doing a poll on religious beliefs by asking the following question: “To you, who is Jesus Christ?” Now that can be an excellent question if you are trying to witness to someone. However, to gather opinions on who people believe Christ is, that can be very revealing.

The Barna Research Group did a study on the “5 Popular Beliefs About Jesus,” and the findings while somewhat encouraging, overall they are quite disturbing. The encouraging part is 92% of Americans believe Jesus was a real person. However, barely half of adults believe Jesus was God. The most disturbing finding is that 52% of adults believe that Jesus committed sins like other people. Many Americans believe they will go to heaven because of their good deeds.

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Altered Plans

December 31st, 2015

If you were to put your ear to the future, that crashing sound you would hear is 1 out of 4 New Year’s resolutions being broken. The amazing part of that statistic is that it is that low, even though only 45% of Americans actually make resolutions. So why do we fail so frequently? We fail at shaping our futures because life happens.

Imagine setting up a business venture or even a mission trip. You have your plan all set, you’ve even raised money and hired a staff. Then while you’re just getting ready to launch, you have a dream in which God is telling you to not go forward, but in an entirely different direction. Would you obey or would you fret about altering your already set plans? The Apostle Paul actually faced a similar situation:

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Sending Heaven to Earth

December 24th, 2015

If you’re like my family, one of the best Christmas traditions is watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” We especially like the part where Charlie Brown screams out during play rehearsal, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Linus then asks for the lights to be dimmed and he quotes Luke 2:8-14. Most call this the Christmas story.

Some like to say remember the reason for the season and might even refer to the above passage in the Bible. Jesus is the reason for the season and the “good tidings of great joy” indeed put Christmas in the light which it belongs.

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Seeking My Own Desires

December 18th, 2015

When I want to get my own way, I make sure no one is in my way. What I mean is I don’t seek the counsel of others; in fact, I avoid it. The Bible warns against such foolishness:

    “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.” (Proverbs 18:1)

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Not Knowing About Christmas

December 17th, 2015

You’ve heard the saying that knowledge is power. Like anything powerful, knowledge can be used for evil; it being withheld is also evil. Having knowledge that a person needs to live life to its fullest and not sharing it is bad. Not sharing knowledge that could change someone’s eternity is sinful.

Christmas Eve is one week from today. I think I love Christmas Eve almost as much as I love Christmas morning. As a child, gifts from family and friends were opened on Christmas Eve. Christmas morning was for Santa Claus. Right or wrong, that was the tradition in my home. The point I’m trying to make, is that as a child the real excitement for me began on Christmas Eve.

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Lacking Longsuffering

December 14th, 2015

I am by nature an impatient man. As a retired Army First Sergeant, I am experienced in “making things happen.” Yesterday, our Minister of Students Andrew Bosak, preached from Ephesians 4:1-6. During the initial reading, I immediately came under conviction:

    “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

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Not Admitting the Conclusion

November 25th, 2015

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and many of you will either visit or have family over for the holiday. Celebrating this wonderful occasion is always better when done so with family. Most families have a “no politics or religion” rule so as to avoid any ugly arguments, thereby “ruining the holiday.” There is some wisdom in that rule.

However, as Christians, we are not allowed to keep silent about our faith, even in our hometown. While it does risk rejection and ridicule, the sharing your faith commandment does not come with a “Holidays with the Family” exemption. I understand this can be a perilous adventure, so let me help you with this “delicate” situation. This will apply to any occasion to share with family and neighbors.

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A Marvelous Testimony

November 20th, 2015

Do you have one? Do you have a marvelous testimony? The word testimony comes from the Latin testi- and means “to witness.” The suffix –mony is used in Latin abstract nouns, in this case signifying a function. So testimony is the function of witnessing.

As a Christian, do you perform the function of witnessing? Testifying to what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for believers was very high on His list. Many times after healing a person, Jesus would command that person to go tell people what had happened. One well-known case was after Jesus healed a demon-possessed man.

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Rejecting Cain’s Worship

November 12th, 2015

thHave you ever heard someone say, “I can worship God anyway and anywhere I want?” Perhaps you’ve said or thought this. I know it is a convenient thought, but convenience is rarely the path we should take. When it comes to worshipping God, we have to do as He commands. We don’t get to pick and choose.

Many people get upset with me when I tell them this, but at least they haven’t wanted to kill me. Do you realize that the first murder ever committed by man was rooted in God’s rejection of man’s self-determined worship style? Have you ever heard of Cain?

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The Devil’s Playground

November 5th, 2015

Bitterness is poison to our spirit and cancer to our emotions. Nothing causes spiritual bondage greater than bitterness. No matter the offense, we are captive to our anger and susceptible to whomever we are holding a grudge. Just the sound of the offender’s voice or the sight of him or her can set our anger ablaze. Nothing could be more unChristlike.

Jesus taught us to seek forgiveness of our debts as we forgive our debtors. Our Lord was teaching us that we cannot experience forgiveness if we are unwilling to give it. We cannot do so because as Christians we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and when we harbor bitterness, we grieve Him. The Apostle Paul teaches us how to avoid this:

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Not Having to Sin

November 4th, 2015

I’m guilty of believing sin in my life is inevitable. If I resign myself to sinning again, then sin is sure to come. However, if I commit myself to not sinning anymore, then I have changed my goal to holiness. The sin for the Christian is a matter of if, not when:

    “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)

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Explaining All Things

November 3rd, 2015

Imagine being a scientist and having the opportunity to sit with Albert Einstein and have him explain all things that you were able to understand. Or imagine being a baseball prospect and being able to discuss hitting or pitching with a Hall of Fame hitter or pitcher. Would you jump on that opportunity?

Now imagine being able to sit every morning with the greatest theologian who ever lived and have him explain all things in the Bible that you would be able to understand. Imagine no more:

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The Freedom of Forgiveness

October 26th, 2015

Oftentimes when a Christian says, “I am so blessed,” it usually means something good has happened to them. We usually don’t equate blessing with trials and tribulations; it is our natural inclination. However, I think we can agree that we should praise God when life is going well, even though we tend to forget to do so.

Do you feel blessed for having your sins forgiven? Do you equate the remission of your sins on the same level of God bringing into your life bounty and good health? Remember how you felt before you gave your life to Jesus. Remember the burden of your guilt because of the sins in your life.

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A Breath That Passes Away

October 21st, 2015

Losing a loved is surely heartbreaking. Knowing that those who you love are no longer with you can seem a pain insurmountable. In the last fifteen years, I’ve lost my mother, my father, my oldest sister, my only son, and my only brother and a niece (on the same day), in that order.

All of them had something in common that eased the pain and gives hope for the future. All six of them had confessed Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Each of them understood that salvation was found only in Jesus. They came to a point in their lives where they knew they needed forgiveness for their sins.

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So That You May Know

October 19th, 2015

There are times when God seems so mysterious to me. The Bible tells us that there are some mysteries that we will never know, mainly because they would be too much for our minds to process. Notwithstanding, God has made Himself known in many ways.

We can look at nature and see the hand of God. I have travelled through the Alpine region of Europe, beholding the majestic mountains and emerald green lakes. When your eyes feast upon those sights you know that this earth was not created by chance. There is a heavenly artist who has painted the beauty of nature for us to enjoy.

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Already So Adored

October 13th, 2015

The social media application Facebook has uncovered a most basic need: the need to be liked. This need goes deeper than just wanting someone to “Like” your post; be it a picture or comment you placed on your page.

Quite simply, we want to be adored.

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Faithfully Forgiving

October 9th, 2015

An unforgiving heart is a poisoned heart; it is rooted in bitterness. This bitterness is like emotional cancer running through a person’s spirit bringing grief to everyone, including the bitter one.

The ability to forgive is uncharacteristic of most people. As a species, we tend to hold grudges and desire revenge. The Bible addresses this in many places, including the Apostle Paul’s warning:

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Grace Like A Flood

October 7th, 2015

One of the wretched characteristics of Satan is his desire and willingness to kill your heart. He may not be able to kill you but he’ll try to get you to the point where you see no other way out but death.

The devil is a master at deception: Jesus called Satan the father of lies. All lies germinate from his heart. His lies are rarely open and blatant. He preys on the unwitting and uninformed to bring confusion. He’s been doing it from the very beginning:

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Not Wishful Thinking

October 5th, 2015

“I’m too bad for God to forgive me.”

“You don’t know the things I’ve done.”

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Fighting By Fleeing

September 2nd, 2015

In light of the Ashley Madison adultery website scandal and my own past struggle with pornography, I’m reminded of how destructive sexual sin is. The level of shame that Josh Duggar has brought to his family and himself is devastating.

Notwithstanding, Troy Newman of Operation Rescue brought some clarity to the issue on a recent Facebook post:

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