Wednesday, January 18, 2017
|'Regenerate' by KarlaBurner.com|
Father, you are so generous in love! Flowing in mercy and grace! Jesus, wash away my guilt, my shame, my fears, any wrong doing that I have done – my thoughts, my actions, my words. Thank you for always forgiving and forgetting my mistakes.
Create in me a clean, spotless, stainless heart. And help me to unlock every room for you to clean. Create in me a work of art. Create a miracle in me, something real, something beautiful. Thank you that you are not finished with me yet. By your power I can change, because you are not finished with me yet.
As I come out of the ruins, out of trying to have a flawless performance. As I sing my broken song, draw me deeper and deeper into communion with You. Be my life, my joy, my peace, my hope. Keep creating in me a clean, clean heart, because you are not finished with me yet.
Monday, January 16, 2017
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" —Matthew 16:24-26
The passage in Matthew that forms the basis of our message talks about losing your life so that you might gain it. At first it may seem to you that Jesus' assertion amounts to little more than theological double-talk.
But this teaching begins to make profound spiritual sense when we realize that Jesus is talking about the divine new birth. He is talking about our willingness to allow God to do in us what we cannot do ourselves. Jesus is talking about a new life, a new kind of relationship. Jesus is talking, as we read in John 5:24, of crossing over from death to life.
Here's the bottom line. The Bible insists that human life, as we know it, apart from God, is not life at all, but it is death. How do we lose our lives? We accept the invitation of God. We accept his gracious offer to join his family. This means that we must renounce and deny all fleshly pursuits as being less important than our relationship with God.
Saturday, January 14, 2017
The early 20th century French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain once wrote, “If you want to make a Christian work, then be Christian, and simply try to make a beautiful work, into which your heart will pass; do not try to ‘make Christian.'”
As you are well aware, there is an entire genre of films known as “Christian movies” that has exploded in recent years as the ability to make a polished, Hollywood looking film (and the ability to turn a profit) has become easier. As you are also no doubt aware, many of these films belong on the rubbish heap of film history. From the writing to the acting and virtually everything in-between, they are objectively terrible to anyone not convinced that a movie made by Christians must be an overt, artistry-be-damned attempt to proselytize the lost who may on some off chance be watching the film.
Thursday, January 12, 2017
“For if Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore, all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).
I had the great privilege of chatting with Laurence Singlehurst, a seasoned British missiologist who has thought deeply about the language we use to share the Good News in our postmodern era. He’s addressed the problem of our lingo for years, in such books as The Gospel Message Today: Language That Connects in Communicating the Gospel.
What follows are my notes and reflections on what I heard him saying on that topic, in which I will propose employing the language of self-will and surrender for postmodern gospeling.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.—Matthew 13:45-46
We turn our attention to one of Jesus' parables about the kingdom of heaven. In the Authorized King James Version the parable is called The Pearl of Great Price. As I normally use the New International Version, we'll refer to it by the title given to it in that translation, The Pearl of Great Value.
Here's the widely accepted Christian interpretation of this parable:
The merchant is you or me. We decide to look for Christ, and finally, after much effort, we find him. He is The Pearl of Great Value.
Having found the kingdom of God, and having recognized Jesus as The Pearl of Great Value, we forsake or sell all that we have. Because we have discovered Jesus we then turn our backs on everything we hold dear so that we might amass the necessary spiritual funds to secure The Pearl of Great Value.