Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I'm Lucky

I will blog on my own soon, but my fiance Christine's blog is a great one today.  Basically, I'm just rubbing it in today.  I'm lucky!

I'll write soon but read this today.
Christine's Blog

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hebrews 2- The Gospel and Christ Made Perfect

Before I begin: thank you everyone who has offered congratulations on my recent engagement.  Your prayers and words mean a lot to Christine and I.  Now, please take time to read Hebrews chapter 2.

I have a couple of things I want to focus on in this chapter.  I'm choosing not to spend time writing about how Jesus says He's not ashamed to call us brothers even though that is an amazing truth.  I want to look, instead, at our charge to hold fast to the Gospel and the claim made in verse 10 that Christ was made perfect.

First, we must cling to the Gospel.

"We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard (the Gospel), so that we do not drift away." Hebrews 2:1

In our personal lives and in our churches corporately me must always keep the Gospel the focus of our vision.  As a church we should never be so concerned about doing "Christian things" that we lose sight of the Gospel.  We should never be so familiar with the Gospel message that we forget its magnitude.  I mean, how many times have we casually said, "Jesus died for my sins"?  That should blow us away; that should not be a throw away line.  So, in our churches we must have the Gospel as the center of our worship services, Sunday school classes, etc or we might as well go to a Kiwanis Club meeting instead.

Personally, we need to keep the truth of the Gospel the center of our being.  If we don't always remember Christ's victory for us we will let our circumstances blur the truth that God is for us and in control.  Remember what Jesus said to the 72 messengers in Luke 10:20:

"Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

If we find our strength for living in anything other than Christ's victory for us we will be shaken and destroyed.  We'll be like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand.  The rains will come, and our house will come crashing down.  Rather, be like the wise man and build your house on the rock that is Christ's victory on the cross.  When the rains come your house will stand firm.

The second thing that I noticed in this chapter was verse 10.

"In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering."

Okay, did I read this right?  Does this say that God made Jesus perfect?  It seems to.  Well, wasn't Jesus always perfect?  The answer to both of these questions is "yes".

Jesus was always perfect and will always be perfect.  He has always existed in perfection and will always exist in perfection.  So, how did God make Jesus perfect through suffering?

Here's my understanding:  Jesus was perfect, but until He sacrificed Himself on the cross He had not yet perfectly become the author of our salvation.  In order to become the author of our salvation He had to submit Himself to death on a cross because that is what the Old Testament prophesies said He would do.  If He was not bruised for our inequities then God, through Isaiah, was a liar.  When Jesus finished God's task He finished it perfectly.  He was made perfect for this role through suffering.  I hope this clears that up because it is a confusing idea.

So, pay more careful attention, therefore, to what you have heard (the Gospel), so that you do not drift away.  Keep the Gospel the focal point of your being today.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Hebrews 1- Completely Done

Please take time to read Hebrew chapter 1.

This chapter of the Bible is packed with great Truth.  The writer of Hebrews (Unknown to us.  Possibly Barnabas or Apollos or Priscilla and Aquila or another) is writing to Hebrew Christians and has some major points to make.  One of his chief points is that Christ is greater than the angels.  I hope we all agree to that.  So, I want to look at another emphasis of Hebrews chapter 1.

Jesus has His inheritance already.  Let's examine how that can be by looking at verses 1-4.

First, Jesus made all and has all.

"... His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe."

God is the acting subject in this verse.  This verse clearly says that God the Father has given God the Son all things as His rightful heir.  It also clearly says that God the Father made the universe through God the Son.  Jesus was God the Father's agent in creation.  Remember how God made the world?  He spoke and it came into being.  What does John call Jesus?  The Word.  The Father spoke and the Word created.  Therefore, Jesus made all things and will have all things.  This verse doesn't tell us when He gets the inheritance, yet.

Secondly, Jesus sustains all things now.

"The Son... sustaining all things by His powerful word."

God the Son is in the business of sustaining the entire life of the universe.  He is not a clockmaker who made it and then stepped away.  He is working actively to sustain the universe today.  If He is sustaining it must be His, right?  I guess He could be renting it, right?  No, the universe belongs to King Jesus now.  But doesn't He plan on doing more than sustaining the universe?

Lastly, Jesus purified the universe of sin.

"After He had provided purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven."

Look at the word "had".  Jesus already has provided purification of sins.  In fact, Hebrews highlights this further by pointing out that Jesus is seated in heaven.  He is seated because He is completely done.  He has purified, is done and is seated.

So, we're left with a problem.  If God the Son is completely done with the purification of the world, including me, then why is life so messed up?!

This is one of the great dichotomies of the Christian life.  Jesus is done.  The Kingdom is here, but not yet.  Meaning it is completely done... you have been purified and justified but you are still in purification's process as well.  How do I explain this?  I don't know.  We have to have faith that this is the case.  The championship season has started and the championship will be won but the trophy presentation is not here yet and we still feel like the games are in doubt.  This is a tough dichotomy but is one that the Bible is comfortable to leave us with.

So, what do we do with this?  Well, we take heart for the battle has been won.  We take heart while we daily fight for the purification of ourselves and our world.  So, take heart what God has done is completely done.  Thank God that He has provided purification of sins and is seated at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven today.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Birthday Wish

Today (January 3rd) is my birthday.  I usually don't ask for much for my birthday but I have something I want from all of you... your prayers.  Please pray for my friend Alec Amosson.  He was diagnosed with Luekemia just last week.

Alec is a big ball of fun.  He is compassionate and understanding.  He loves God and loves people. 

So, for my birthday I want you all to pray for my friend Alec.  He has a long road ahead of him but with God's strength he'll fight.  Thank you all and I hope Alec doesn't mind that I picked the most awkward photo of us I could find.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you had a fun, safe New Year's Eve Celebration.  I hope all of you have spent plenty of time reflecting on 2012.

As I reflected on 2012 I was overwhelmed with how blessed I had been the whole year.  But as I look forward to 2013 I see even more excitement to come.  I see more growth in both personal depth and impact in my world.  2013 seems very exciting.

I'll begin this year blogging through Hebrews in more of an expository fashion as my Bible study is just beginning to read it.  I'm sure I'll take some breaks and venture into other sources for posts but for now that is the plan for this blog for the next few months.

I want to leave you with a hymn that I pray I can sing more honestly in 2013 than I did in 2012:

        All to Jesus I surrender; 
 all to him I freely give; 
 I will ever love and trust him, 
 in his presence daily live. 
 I surrender all, I surrender all, 
 all to thee, my blessed Savior, 
 I surrender all. 

The Lord bless you and keep you this year.  The Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you peace today.