The Wages of Sin is Death

What is sin?  What an incredibly important question that is!  It is a deceptive question, though, because the answer seems so easy.  However, I am afraid that too many people have a false understanding of the true answer.  In fact, I think we all too often get the answer backwards, and that has everything to do with getting the gospel right. Most of the time when I ask that question to others, I usually get an answer that includes specific actions, words or thoughts that people do.  Now, yes, the actions we do, the words we speak, and the thoughts we have can be sinful, and often are; but, we must understand that this is not the true essence of sin.  Those things are simply the manifestation of sin.  Consider this very important distinction… We are not sinful because of the sinful things we do.  We do the sinful things we do because we are sinful. That seems like a

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The New Religion: Self-Actualization

All people are desperate for a savior.  I know this because I see the ebb and flow of our culture.  As it continues to conjure up new ones, people run to them in droves.  It never ceases to amaze me how the masses can be manipulated and wooed by such insane people and notions.  America has a surging new religious movement.  It’s called self-actualization.  I say ‘new’ because of the incredible emphasis on this idea in the present day, but, of course, there is nothing new under the sun.  Every ‘new’ cultural religious movement is just warmed-over idolatry, and, like this one, usually includes self-idolatry at its core. Within this new religion two specific ‘denominations’ can be identified, of course there are probably many others, but these two are definitely the most prominent.  Each employs a plethora of ‘prophets,’ but have one primary figure leading the charge.  The two are extremely diverse, but the heart of each finds its root

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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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Gospel Transformation: Genuine Friendship

*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 friends anyone in the world could possibly have. This thought is pretty simply, really. One of the terrible side-effects of sin is that it naturally divides. Sin is a relationship breaker. Our sinful hearts cause us to be self-centered and focus on our own happiness, even to the exclusion of others. Sin causes us to look at others as useful to that end. When they are making us happy, they are welcome to remain in our lives. When they serve as a hindrance to our happiness, we seek to remove them. Sin causes us to survey others as either useful or a threat to that happiness. We judge ourselves according to each other and often treat

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Called to be ‘Positive & Encouraging’ or ‘Salt & Light’?

Let me start by giving a disclaimer. I listen to K-Love from time to time. I love much of the music on K-Love. I love a lot of Christian music. I do have some critique towards some of Christian music (for example, see my last post!), but by-and-large, when I listen to music I listen mostly to Christian music. Also, I am using “K-Love” when really these issues deal with other Christian radio outlets I have encountered, too; but, as K-Love continues to spread its influence all across the country, I believe it best represents that to which I am speaking. Now that that has been cleared up, let me get to the heart of the issue here. I believe that the picture of Christianity that K-Love paints for the listening world is one that is less than biblical and potentially dangerous. I take issue with it because it is not real. It is not true…at least not for most

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Someone worth Dying for?

Insecurity can be a dangerous thing for a believer. Insecurity combined with a lack of Scriptural knowledge and understanding can lead to a search for security from emotionalism rather than biblical truth. I have found that some popular Christian music has sought to stroke that need for emotional security through its lyrics, but fall desperately short of biblical doctrine. One such song that has become popular lately is called Someone Worth Dying For, by Mikeschair. No doubt that the song offers a wonderfully fulfilling thought that God sees us as someone worth sending Jesus to die for; but, emotional fulfillment is not the goal. Biblical truth is the goal. Not only are these lyrics just blatantly wrong, the actual message of the Bible concerning our identity offers all the security and sufficiency we should ever need concerning who we are as God’s children.

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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What does it mean that God ‘forgives?’

*I began to write this post several days ago, planning to post it sometime in the near future. However, after reading this article this morning about the decision by the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. to reject the hymn “In Christ Alone,” I had to go ahead and get it out. If you haven’t read this short article yet, please do so before you read what I have written below. What does it mean that God ‘forgives?’ As believers we must be able to articulate this very important aspect of the Gospel. We must also understand it for ourselves if we are to experience gospel growth in our own lives.

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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Discipleship & Identity (Part 1)

I admit I just do not get Lady Gaga or the fascination so many have with her. But whether I ‘get’ her or not, she has become more than a singer or performer. She has become a movement. Arguably her most adored hit, “Born This Way,” has evolved from lyrics sung to a full fledged foundation. On its website, the foundation states its purpose as “building a kinder braver world that celebrates individuality and empowers young people.” I have been amazed at the response of our younger generation to this mission. Watching this movement unfold has awakened a reality within me concerning the way we approach discipleship with young people. Today’s young people are passionate about two areas: self-identity and self-expression.