Monday, December 24, 2012

Just In Case You Missed Him

History teaches us a most interesting truth about the birth of Jesus--His birth went unknown to all but a few. A few wise men. A few shepherds. Joseph. Mary. Just barely a handful of the humanity He was born to save. The question I can't shake is, "How did so many miss the first Christmas?" The answer, I'm afraid, is the same today as it was on the night Jesus was born. Humanity either looks in the wrong places for salvation or it doesn't look for salvation at all. We can enjoy the Christmas Holidays in many ways, as diverse a number of ways as the different peoples of the world. However, Christmas itself can only be celebrated by the few around the world who are looking. The few who are led to the Savior. The few who desire to find Him. And to those who are seeking, the promise of Christmas is that salvation will be found. The true Christmas story does not mean salvation for all of humanity. It means salvation is offered to all of humanity but will be realized and given only to those who desire to find Jesus and acknowledge Him as Savior and Lord. Those who search with all of their hearts. Just in case you missed Him, He can still be found today: Not in a stable, but by faith. Not in a swaddling cloth, but in a robe of righteousness. Not in the meekness of a manger, but as risen, exalted King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Not in the manner that we might wish to approach Him, but only through humble submission and repentance. Not in a tomb, but in risen victory. Not in the temporary, but in the eternal. And to all who seek him in this manner, the promise is that "you will be saved". (Romans 10:9-10) May there be many that find the true Christmas during this Christmas Season. May there be those who long to find the Savior once again. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Do You Have an Acoustic Faith?

"Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus." (Colossians 1:4) I love music. It is a simple, yet complex, statement. I like varieties of music. Different styles. Different instruments. Different influences. Different sounds. Of all of these varieties, though, I prefer to listen to (regardless of style) an acoustic setup. No distortions. No gimmicks. Just clean, untouched sound. Give me a great cup of coffee, set me in a coffee shop with an acoustic setup, and place a good book in my hand. I would be in heaven (little "h"). Paul gives thanks to God for the church in Colossae because he had "heard" of their faith in Jesus Christ. The Greek word for "heard" here is the same word we get the word acoustic from. So, what is the apostle Paul saying here to the church? He is commending them for loving Jesus out loud! He is commending them for living lives that make a difference for the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus their Lord. So, the question for us today is, "Do You Have an Acoustic Faith?" In a world of distorted sounds, divided hearts, and divided minds, can people hear your love for Jesus? May we all clearly exhibit the grace of Jesus Christ and the love of the Father to all around us as we love Jesus out loud--lest our lives simply add to the distorting clutter which drowns the sound of God's loving grace.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Walk Properly

"So that you may walk properly before outsiders." (1 Thess. 4:12) People may not accept your word or belief, but if your lifestyle is admirable, more often than not they are compelled to trust and admire you. Integrity is no small thing. We are called to walk (live) properly (with integrity) before the world around us. Regarding living a life of integrity, here are some things to consider:
1. A person of integrity fulfills his or her promises. Being true to one’s word, especially when doing so is costly (in terms of money, convenience, physical welfare, and so on), is a core characteristic of integrity. 2. A person of integrity speaks the truth, is honest, and does not lie. 3. A person of integrity is a person of sincerity. That is to say, a person of integrity hates hypocrisy. 4. A person of integrity manifests a wholeness of character, including kindness, compassion, mercy, and gentleness. 5. A person of integrity is committed to the pursuit and maintenance of justice and fairness. 6. A person of integrity loves as, when, and what God loves. 7. A person of integrity is humble. He or she shuns pride and haughtiness. 8. A person of integrity is law-abiding. He or she plays by the rules, both in the Bible and the law of the land. 9. A person of integrity is fundamentally altruistic. That is to say, he is committed not simply to laws and rules but to people. Could a selfish person have much integrity? What about someone who is honest, law-abiding, and fulfills his or her promises but is self-absorbed and egocentric? Does the latter eliminate the possibility of integrity? 10. A person of integrity manifests a high degree of consistency. That is to say, he or she is not always changing the principles on the basis of which they live, unless compelled to do so by the Bible or rational persuasion.[1]
[1]Sam Storms, Copied from: Pleasures Evermore: The Life-Changing Power of Knowing God by Sam Storms, © 2000, p. 245-246.