Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy 2011!

Here's a pic of my family from yesterday. We were on the beach in San Diego (55 degrees), but are now home in Colorado where it's 6 degrees, on the way to -12 later tonight.

My family and I have so much to look forward to, not the least of which is all and whatever Jesus has in store for us and His glory through us in the coming year. It will be a wonder.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

My prayer and hope for you in 2011 is that the Holy Spirit will convince you—more than ever—that Jesus has done everything for you, has given everything to you, and, because He's now in you, will do everything with you. You get Him!

Christ in you, the hope of glory! In 2011 and always.

To that end I also labor with Him. I'm a fortunate man.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Pleasure For God

Do you think God loves it when we discover Him to be as good as He says He is? I do too. So take a look at the following:

Eph 1:5-10
"He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will--to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."

I used to picture the sins of the world, the sins done long ago, sins now being done, and those that will be done by everyone everywhere, as sort of heaped on Jesus nailed to the cross. There's the scene--Jesus bloodied and battered, with sins piled atop Him reaching skyward. What a terrible burden. What a sight.

However, a while back it dawned on me that all those sins, yours and mine, weren't just stacked up on Jesus, they became His. No, He didn't commit them, but He took ownership of them. And as was just, God punished Jesus with the punishment due each and every one of those sins--the punishment we would have borne had they still been our sins.

Think of them all! Or, just think of yours. Every single failure became His failure, every nasty deed you've done, every ugly thought you've had, every act born of jealousy or vengeance, each impure act or prideful thought, every deception you've ever offered became His. As though He had done it.

Immediately following Paul's description of our being made new creations through Christ, he writes a single sentence describing how that happened: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." (2 Cor 5:21, italics mine.) Not only have we had our sins forgiven, we've had them removed, as though we had never done them. And, we've been given the righteousness of Christ as our own. What a trade.

We have been entirely redeemed, made completely right with God! In Him (which is where you and I are), we are perfect sons and daughters, without stain or blemish, or any question as to our belonging in the family. C'mon, that's amazing!

It's God's amazing grace that He knowingly and delightedly lavished on us, "according to His good pleasure." What does God like? What gives Him pleasure? Lavishing His sons and daughters.

We're better off than we think. . .and it's sure good to think about it. I think He likes it when we do.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Most Important Network

If connecting with people is at all important to you, I think you will love this little video. It's all about the most important connection. Don't miss it. (From my friend, George.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Politically Correct Christmas

It's the final weekend before Christmas--time for some fun.

I can't help imagining David Letterman reading these. . .

By James Watkins

10. Chestnuts Roasting on an Environmentally-friendly Fuel Source

9. Rudolph, the Endangered and Exploited Specie

8. We Three Politically Oppressive Patriarchs

7. Rocking Around the Recycled, Flame-retardant, Artificial Christmas Tree

6. All I Want For Christmas is a Dental Plan

5. Frosty the Snowperson

4. I Saw Mommy Suing Santa Claus for Sexual Harassment

3. I'm Dreaming of a Racially Diverse Christmas

2. I'll Be Home For Ramadan (or Chanukah or Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice or . . .)

1. We Wish You a Non-sectarian Holiday

Friday, December 17, 2010

Modification Or New?

You cannot know how you work if you do not know who you are. Like an airplane coughing and struggling for fuel because it’s doing a maneuver for which it’s not made, you’ll stall out.

If God has made you a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)—not an upgrade, but a new original—then what have you become? After new birth, who are you?

You're an actual son or an authentic daughter of God. You didn't just get the title, "Christian," you received a new DNA—you got the guts. Never again will you be only human. Yes, you've got humanity, but in a similar way that Jesus had humanity; something else most-truly defines who you are and where you're from.

Every son and daughter of God receives the genetic of their Father, becoming an actual son of His, with desires and attitudes in keeping with their new nature. Knowing Him and living with Him is now the way to life—real life.

Peter writes, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter1:3-4, italics mine).

That beautiful italicized phrase means that you and I have become actual partakers or sharers of the divine genetic. After your new birth in Christ, what delighted you was different, and what grieved you was unlike what saddened you before. You discovered new desires (I want to read the Bible!), new delights (I enjoy worshiping God!), and new sorrows (I so dislike sin!) because you had received a new nature with desires, delights, and sorrows to match.

You’ve been re-germinated! Participating with Him is the way to live—it’s the new normal.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Way To Holiness

If you're looking for something else to read besides my book(!), get this one. And here's a quote from this terrific author, which I completely affirm.

"When God’s love touches you, you will discover there is nothing more powerful in the entire universe. It is more powerful than your failures, your sins, your disappointments, your dreams, and even your fears. God knows that when you tap the depths of his love, your life will forever be changed. Nothing can prevail over it; and nothing else will lead you to taste of his kind of holiness."

- Wayne Jacobsen

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Trail Follower Or Trail Blazer?

Here's a little weekend fun.

Have you ever wondered why you took a particular route when it seemed so serpentine, so needlessly indirect? Have you ever wondered who would take a crazy route because it was so clear, and who would make their own because it was a more direct?

That's this video.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Looking Into Heaven

(Here's something I wrote about a year ago. I simply thought it was a good idea to re-post it today.)

"We’re on approach. Flight attendants prepare for landing."

As the aircraft pitched slightly from left to right and back again, I was relieved to hear the captain’s voice over the loudspeakers. There were a few more horizontal adjustments, a wah-whump, whump, and we were rolling safely on the runway in Vancouver, British Columbia. At last.

I was there to assist men in their journey with God in the hope that, in addition to growing more confident in Christ, they would discover what it’s like to live by the Spirit. By Sunday afternoon, they had.

A particular passage became beautifully clear:

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,. . .(Romans 8:5,6 NAS)

To demonstrate this passage, I asked a young man (Zach) to join me up front, and then asked the men at the retreat to tell me about Zach—as though I had never met him. “He’s fun!” “He’s smart!” “He’s a good friend!” “His wife needs prayer!” And on it went. Then I asked, “Now that I know what Zach is like, tell Zach who God says He is. Tell it directly to Zach. And don’t rush this; there’s no hurry.”


And then this: “Zach, you’re a holy man.” “Zach, you’re righteous.” “You’re perfect.” “You’re blameless.” “You’re forgiven.” “You’ve got God living in you.” “All of heaven recognizes you as a son of God.”

And that included us. We saw Zach.

No one moved. It was amazing. No, it was more than that. It was sacred. When I asked what the men were feeling, somewhat breathlessly they said, “I feel like I’m looking into heaven.” “I feel hope.” “I feel life.” “I feel great.” “I feel peace.” “I feel like I’m really seeing Zach.” “When we changed our minds from looking at the visible to looking at the invisible, everything changed from shallow and fleshly to deep and true.”

They felt God.

Romans 8:5-6 came alive in that moment as we turned our minds away from what was visible to what was invisible. We thought of Zach and addressed him according to what the Bible says God has made of him, and Zach was illuminated to us and to himself. And we felt it. We felt “life and peace,” the kind of life and peace produced by the Holy Spirit whenever we turn our minds toward Him.

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Gal 6:8)

It was tremendous and Zach was a little overwhelmed. He felt the conflict between the flesh and Spirit, but he, too, chose to sow to the Spirit, reaping what God has promised. “I feel holy. I feel clean.” Indeed, he was—indeed, he is.

Approaching or addressing someone as they have become in Christ causes us to change our minds. We go away from the mind of the flesh and begin thinking according to the mind of the Spirit. You can feel the change! This isn’t a game you play or a way of pretending your way through life. A worldly curtain is drawn back to reveal the true image behind—and that’s more than a bit dazzling! I don’t recommend that you immediately begin addressing all the Christians you know as Holy Hannah, Righteous Rudy, or Forgiven Frank, because that makes a methodical mess out of the holy and sacred. You might silently think of them as the holy, blameless and forgiven sons or daughters they have become, and then see what the Spirit gives you or where He leads you. You won’t have to be creative when God is at work. He’s pretty creative already.

An added benefit of setting our mind upon the Spirit in addressing a brother (as we did with Zach) is that we experienced a sort of mini revival. In looking at Zach, we found ourselves too. (Surprise! The Super Heroes of God.) We reaped life, the Spirit invigorated us, and we were deeply encouraged by God. The men knew that they could do this at home with their families, at work, at church, by phone or email, even while driving on the freeway. With all that goes on around us, we’re always on approach. Take advantage.

Setting our minds upon the Spirit is our new normal way of living in this world. We’re not of it—we’re a heavenly colony on earth. But since we’re in it, we do well to see it as He sees it, and to approach it from there. We’ll be looking into heaven.

We’re better off than we think.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Prize

The greatest challenge that I face and scheme against me is living in the security of God and His love for me. My life is best and His glory most evident when I do. It’s such a grand struggle because the prize is so dear.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Fun For God

My Lord, I’m amazed again that you, by conquering sin once and for all at the cross, have removed from us every bit of condemnation. Would you give us faith to believe that we have received a grace as great as the gospel reveals? Would you thrill us with the splendor of it?

Wouldn't that be fun, Lord?

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Thy Phone

Here's another in a long line of weekend funnies. I can be a bit of a loon, but think I'm doing well if I restrict my lunacy to the weekends. Right?

Speaking of lunacy, here's a short video I think you'll like. If you think you've got a great smart phone, yours has been one-upped by the following.

Friday, December 03, 2010

He Is Life

Good morning, my Lord. While flesh suggests I work hard and then things will work, you call me near and you work. You are the way, you are the truth, and you are the life after all. You are magnificent.