Our Life’s Response to this Christ Child

On Sunday our pastor led our congregation in a study of Isaiah 11:1-12.  In this passage, Isaiah further expounds upon his prophesy of a coming child that he introduces in chapter 9, the One who will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6).  On one level this prophesy offered encouragement to the Israelite people in that time who had been taken captive and forced to leave the land God had given to them.  They could be reminded of God’s plan and his faithfulness to complete that plan.  Even though things were bleak for them currently, God would return a remnant of his people to the promised land in order to finish what he had started through them.  God had promised Eve that he would provide a seed of a woman who would crush the head of the serpent.  He then promised Abraham that this seed would come from his lineage.  Isaiah reminds the Israelite people that despite their own

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What to do about ‘Noah’

I’ve read several reviews of the upcoming movie ‘Noah.’ All I have read confirms exactly what I thought would be the case, that is that the movie does not at all convey the Scriptural story of the historical Noah, the story of the Ark God commanded him to build, or the story of the flood that occurred in his day. This news has not shocked me one bit. I have seen knee-jerk Christian reactions, bashing Hollywood and the film’s writers, producers, directors, actors, etc, angrily calling for Christians to boycott the film. I have also read more level-headed Christian leaders who present the film with the reality that it is, namely a piece of fiction adapted from a story from the Bible. So far, I have not read anyone associated with the film even suggest that the film depicts the Scriptural story of Noah. In fact, I have read where the director has stated that the film is absolutely not

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Gospel Transformation: Our Work

*This current series of posts seeks to answer the question, “What should gospel transformation actually look like in our fallen culture?” Because of the internal transformation of the Spirit that takes place in the life of the believer, Christians should be the very best workers any company in the world could possibly have. Further, Christians should be the most sought after bosses for which to work. Sin has caused us to have a distorted view of work. Work is not a curse; sin is. In Genesis 3:17-18, God pronounces his curse to Adam as a result of his sin. He indicates that his work will be difficult. “Cursed is the ground because of you,” God says; but, this does not mean that work, itself, is a product of the curse. It simply means that because man’s relationship with the creation has been broken due to the entrance of sin and its consequences, work will be difficult and laborious. If you

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Mindshifts in Evangelism (5)

5. We must replace cultural pessimism with gospel confidence. I am a baseball player. At least I used to be. I grew up playing the sport and still miss playing the game. Because of this, one old adage that has always rung true with me goes, “Don’t take your eye off the ball.” A good hitter must maintain insane focus while batting. This is especially true as he faces harder and more effective pitching. The hitter must be able to process a lot of information in a very short amount of time. What type of pitch is it? Where will the pitch settle as it passes by? Should I swing or should I hold? Should I swing with power, or should I swing with more finesse and ‘go with the pitch?’ You will notice that all of these questions center upon the ball. When a batter takes his eyes off the ball, he swings aimlessly, and ultimately, with poor result

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Mindshifts in Evangelism (4)

4. Understand how the gospel speaks to every area of our life. Simply put, we must practice what we preach. Our culture recognizes hypocrisy like no other. I am certain that today’s believer must attain a more robust understanding of the gospel when it comes to life. The gospel has something to say about every single area of our life. The gospel is not to be compartmentalized to the ‘religious’ portions of our lives, whatever we deem those to be. The gospel, when truly implanted into our lives, radically transforms the way we approach our work, our interactions with our families, the way we handle our finances, the way we steward our time and resources, the way we handle difficult news, the way we treat others, the way we approach our hobbies, etc. One of the greatest ways we can show the world how the gospel has relevancy to their lives is to simply display how it is relevant to

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Mindshifts in Evangelism (3)

3. Put evangelistic outlines & presentations in their rightful place. Please don’t get me wrong…I love evangelistic outlines. I actually think they are getting better with time. One that has been offered recently, The Story, is the best one ever written, in my opinion, and I have used it in large group and one-on-one settings. As a matter of fact, you will find a link to it when you click on “What is the Gospel” at the top of this page! I have memorized several evangelistic outlines and I would urge anyone to do the same. My primary reason for this is that evangelistic outlines help me to be able to articulate well the central aspects of the gospel message. Here is my disclaimer with that, though. The ability to walk someone through a complete evangelistic outline has become a quite difficult and rare occasion in our postmodern culture. What I continue to find is that most people want to

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Mind Shifts in Evangelism (1 & 2)

As we think about discipleship differently in light of a redeemed self-discovery and self-expression, a necessary mind shift must take place in the way we think about evangelism. Much of this change deals with the way we approach it to begin with. Over the next week or so I will offer some of these mind shifts. I will offer both #1 and #2 here, as they go hand in hand. 1. Evangelism must not be presented (and viewed) as an add-on to anyone’s life. I think many people do not even consider participating in ‘evangelism’ because they view it as an add-on to their already overflowing schedule. They fear what they would have to give up in order to find time to “go visiting” or “share the gospel” with people. They feel as if they just simply do not have any more time to spare in order to be a part of such things. This is partly a result, I

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