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Showing posts from August, 2014

Inclusive Christians Offer Grace to All

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. (James 2:1)   Have you ever noticed that some people are easier targets for grace than others? We don’t like to admit this, but we would rather show grace to certain people; and we would rather not show grace to other people. Whether it’s because of who they are, what they’ve done, where they’re from or what they smell like; I know I often find myself tempted to not extend the same grace to one person as I would to another. Read and Contemplate James 2:1-13. We are commanded to not show partiality. We cannot be obedient to Scripture and treat some more graciously than others. We need to look at people through our “Jesus Goggles”. We need to see people the way Jesus sees them, not the way they look to us. Jesus didn’t care if people were rich or poor, ugly or beautiful, fun or boring, loud or quiet, outgoing or withdrawn, etc. (you get the point!). Jesus saw everyone around him

INCLUSIVE CHRISTIANS MAKE ALLOWANCES FOR OTHER'S FAULTS

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. When was the last time someone did something really nice for you? How did you respond? Often when someone does something good for us, our day improves immediately. We feel happier, we act kinder, and everything seems to be better. Unfortunately, the reverse is also. When we are wronged, our day often takes a severe downturn. Read and contemplate Matthew 18:21–35. Can you imagine being so indebted that you couldn’t pay it off, even if you contributed your entire salary for 20 years? The debt owed in this story was equivalent to over 1,000 years worth of the average person’s salary. How could anyone ever pay this off? Grace is the best word to describe the action of the king in this story. Out of the kindness of his heart, he gave the debtor something impossible to earn, and something he could never deserve. The scope

Inclusive Christians Give Grace Because They Have Received Grace

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Why do you need grace? If you are married, you likely need grace from your spouse at least once a day. If you are a parent, you likely need grace from your children once a day. If you are an employee, you probably need grace from your boss on a regular basis. We all have times in our lives when we our errors or mistakes leave us in need of grace from someone. Why do you need grace from God? Read and Contemplate Ephesians 2:1-10. What do you think it means to be “dead in sins?” The first three verses of this passage describe us as being formerly (before Christ) disobedient, full of wrath and immature. Our lifelessness in the past simply means we were completely unable to make ourselves right with God (spiritual life). “But God, being rich in mercy...by grace you have been saved.” Despite the sa

The Source of Life (It's Not the Stork)

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Where do you go? Where do you go for a good meal? Burger King? The Station? Olive Garden? The Asian Buffet? Where do you go for medical information? Your doctor? A friend? Web MD? Where do you go for entertainment? The TV? A book? The theatre? A sports event? Where do you go for advice? A friend? Dear Abby? Facebook? A mentor? Dr. Phil? Where do you go for the Words of Life? Read and contemplate John 6:66–68. There is only one place we can go to receive Words that lead to everlasting life. Jesus. Being Christ-Centered means Jesus is our source for life. The restaurant you choose will determine what kind of food you eat. Your source for medical insight determines whether you get good information or bad. Some entertainment choices are better than others. The source from which you draw your life will change your life one way or another. Many people draw life from their jobs, or fam

Focusing on Jesus Means Inviting Him Into Your Stress

I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. Have you ever had one of those days when your mind just raced from one thing to another, and you slowly drowned in the different (and likely difficult) issues consuming your life? Maybe you’ve experienced sleeplessness when your mind becomes full of the day's cares. What do you think Jesus would say to you if you told him about your stress and your anxiety? What would he tell you to do? Living a life centered on Jesus means I choose to invite Him into my stress. Especially on the days I’m overwhelmed, I must find the time and make the effort to shift my focus from my own issues and toward His agenda for my life. Whichever “important” things have grabbed my attention, they pale in comparison to what Jesus says is important. If I can share his focus, I’ll find my life far less stressful and far more purposeful. Read and Contemplate 1 Corinthians

Christian Persecution and the Christ-Centered Life

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Should you suffer for being a Christian? We know throughout history many in the church have been through great persecution. Every day our TVs and computers broadcast jarring images of Christians in the Middle East being slaughtered for their faith. One early Christian said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Seemingly, whenever the church has suffered, growth has been the result. Does that mean that we should seek to suffer? Does the Bible teach that we should pursue persecution, and chase after abuse? If persecution has identified the true church throughout history, and has almost always resulted in great growth, why would we not desire to suffer? Right now, most of us in the West don't worry about the kind of persecution our brothers and sisters must suffer. We must pray for them, and when possible seek ways to support

Without the Vine, A Branch is Just a Board

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5) Often, in our conversations about salvation, we use the image of being “in Chrit” to describe the way God views us in our new justified state. Because He sees us through the “filter” of Christ’s blood, He does not see our sinful lives, but rather the righteous life of His Son (the theological term for this concept is “imputation”). How would your life change if you chose to see the world through that same filter? What if you chose to view everything in life through the eyes of Jesus? What if you chose to make all your decisions through the mind of Jesus? This is the premise of being centered in Christ. Placing Christ at the center of my life is important, submitting to His lordship is critical. However, sometimes we have a tendency to live as though Christ’s presence at the center of our lives doesn’t necessarily mean that He to