July 19, 2014
It’s all yours today…
February 26, 2018
December 5, 2017
March 7, 2017
Gospel for the 21st Century (1st Draft)
Allow me to tell you about the God who made the universe and everything in it, who is Lord of Heaven and Earth. This God created humans in His image for the special purpose of ruling over the Earth in relationship with Him. But, humans misused their freedom and rebelled against God. This rebellion (or sin) has alienated humanity from God. As a result, the world we now live in is not what it should be. The evil and corruption we see so prevalent in the world is a direct result of our alienation from God.
However, although we turned away from God, God hasn’t abandoned us. In His love and mercy, God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save and reconcile humanity to God. Jesus accomplished these things by becoming a man, inaugurating the Kingdom of God through His earthly ministry, atoning for our sins by His death on the cross, and ultimately defeating death and the power of sin by His resurrection from the dead.
We have God’s reliable promise that if anyone confesses Jesus as Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead, they will receive eternal life if His Kingdom. To confess Jesus as Lord means to repent and dedicate one’s life to the will of God.
Because God loves us and desires our love in return, He does not coerce our love or reconciliation. The time will come when everyone will stand before God to give an account. Those who belong to Jesus Christ will receive eternal life, while those who have said no to Christ will face judgment.
Those who belong to Jesus Christ are adopted by God and may address Him as Father. God promises to restore His image in His children and desires that His children flourish. While Christ continues to reconcile the world to Himself, we, His followers, are called to join Him in this ministry of reconciliation.
As America becomes increasingly secular, concepts such as truth, morality, ethics and sin become more relativistic, but more importantly, the church and the Bible no longer are accorded a privileged position as the guardians of ethics and morality. In addition, as America becomes increasingly atheist, agnostic and “none”, concepts such as hell become ineffective as a motivator.
Thus, while the gospel doesn’t change, the messenger can adapt to this new environment. Non-believers are looking at the messengers as much as they look at the message. Both communicate information to non-believers. The messengers and the message must correspond to one another if either is to be effective.
Here, I offer these two observations gleaned from recent reading:
The day may be approaching in America (and may be here in some areas) when converting to Christianity will be viewed as an act of deviance, as was becoming a Christian in the first century. In such a milieu, Rodney Stark (author of The Rise of Christianity) theorized that people who convert are those whose interpersonal attachments to other Christians are greater than their attachments to non-believers. Conversion then is not about seeking or embracing an ideology; it is about bringing one’s religious behavior into alignment with that of one’s friends and family members.
John Stott framed the issue of conversion this way: “Social responsibility becomes an aspect not of Christian mission only, but also of Christian conversion. It is not possible to be truly converted to God without being thereby converted to our neighbor.”
Thus, I encourage Christians and churches to engage non-believers in a spirit of love and joy. Never forget that Christians and the church are being watched.
If Christians can’t love each other, how can they love their enemy or any non-believer? Thus, I encourage pastors to meet regularly with their colleagues from other local churches and denominations to discuss local issues of mutual concern and search for ways for their churches to cooperate to alleviate human suffering.
Derek, that sunrise is awesome.
I don’t see anything there that I would differ with…
Here are some more I took on a nature trail.
Christians flee Iraq’s Mosul after Islamists tell them: convert, pay or die
Iraqi Christians leave city en masse after Islamist militants threatened to kill them unless they converted to Islam or paid a ‘protection tax’
I am going to pray that they can come up with the money for the tax, because these guys are sharia to the core and will kill these people I believe.
ducking in for a second–lots of significant changes in my world. I resigned my teaching position in mid-June at the end of the school year–a difficult, but healthy decision. I’m pursuing a full-time ministry position with a local church as pastor and am speaking there tomorrow for the second time in a month. The cafe and catering are super-busy for which I’m thankful and somewhat tired. Our daughter Amber and her two children, one two months and the other 17 months old, have moved in with us for a season, so there are lots of shifts related to that. I’m back on my bicycle despite the hot weather and it’s great to get some exercise and work on rebuilding my fitness level. We’ll be celebrating 35 years of marriage shortly and I’m grateful for a superlative spouse to share my life with. I’ve been on a commenting hiatus, but reading regularly. Still looking for Michael and Trey at the cafe… 😉
As soon as I get off “desperately trying to survive” mode I’ll be there with bells on.
Sounds like we have some catching up to do…
Fil! Congratulations to you and your wife. Praying for your new adventure. I sure hope that one day we can visit your cafe.
Derek, they will be killed if they stay. Unlike many other parts of the north, the folks in Mosul don’t have the money to pay their enemies. The only way they will be safe is if they move into other areas like Erbil where the Kurdish warriors will protect them.
Then I pray they escape then.
I don’t know who that “Anita” is, 😀 but I certainly want to visit Fil’s cafe one day! And happy anniversary!!! God bless you as your preach tomorrow.
fil, God bless your family and new ministry. Nice to see other bicycle enthusiasts here.
“Because God loves us and desires our love in return, He does not coerce our love or reconciliation.”
I don’t know of any group that teaches coercion…why would this be needful in your statement?
#14, Michael, you are correct. That sentence is not needed. I don’t think anyone teaches that.
Derek #5, I love the big tree with all the exposed roots. Kinda spooky though.
Pray for Christians in ISIS controlled Iraq.
Have been watching “Rockford Files” episodes for the last couple weeks.
James Garner is the bomb.
Was the bomb.
Miss you, Jimmy, hope you are in heaven.
Added “The Rockford Files” on Netflix.
I haven’t watched it in years.
Wish they had the original “Maverick” series on there. I did see Season 1 and 2 on DVD at Walmart.
have a beef tho with american churchs that do not warn christians about the dangers of tv come on people its all over youtube cia officer says never watch tv, do not comment until after u have watched the video, its not called mind control, the idiot box, or the boob tube for nothing,
has anyone noticed that there is something contradictoinal about lenya heitzig program reload love ? shell casings melted down from the muderous alba turkey pd.homless guy in the middle of nowhere, ill conceived and too much of a coincidence that franklin graham is a anti second amendment , along the lines with peirze morgan and obummer.are all chritians brain dead idiots when it comes to politics?
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