If Jesus walked into your church this weekend, what do you think He would say? Would He primarily affirm the good things going on, or would the bulk of our Lord's comments likely be corrective in nature? In reality, His words would probably include both affirmations and corrections. That's at least the way He did it with seven churches at the end of the first century.
What would you say about people who don't seem to be for Christ nor against Him? They attempt to stake out ground somewhere in the middle and remain "neutral" toward Jesus. But is that even doable? Actually no. It is impossible.
But just who is the wise man? Is it the one with the highest IQ, or maybe the person who loves others the most? Some people are genuinely kind, while others seem to be downright mean-spirited. Is that a result of DNA, or something else entirely?
How am I going to find the right person to marry? It seems so overwhelming. Where should I start? And how will I know when I have found the right one?
What lengths would you go to in order to avoid hell? "I don't believe in hell Dan." OK. But say you did. What lengths would you go to in order to stay out of hell? Hypothetically, what would you be willing to do?
Perhaps you have heard the song that goes, "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands." Maybe the next verse should say, "If you're angry and you know it, talk to God." But what if I am angry at God? Then what? Now that's a good question.
Time is of the essence. And like most people today, you may find yourself a little short on time. So much to do, and so little time to do it. But this idea is well worth your time to consider. It could change your life on earth, as well as the quality of your existence in "the next realm."
God's plan from the very beginning was to expand on Judaism. The Abrahamic covenant, the Law and Judaism were all part of "Level 1" so to speak. The new covenant, the Gospel and Christianity were all part of "Level 2." And of course the Messiah's eternal kingdom in heaven is "Level 3."
Isn't it fascinating in the New Testament how our Lord reached out to individuals and invited them to take "the next step" on their spiritual journey? Everyone is at a different point, but everyone can take "the next step" by God's grace. For unbelievers, it will be the initial step of trusting Christ for salvation. And for believers, there are many steps along the path of discipleship. In fact, a person cannot follow Christ without taking frequent "steps" to keep up with Him. Jesus is on the move, and you are either following Him, or remaining behind.
Nobody is perfect. So why even try to be? It is a hopeless pursuit, right? Yes and no. Here are a few thoughts about perfection which might surprise you, or at least give you a new perspective on yourself and God.
Solomon wisely wrote 3000 years ago, "There is a time for everything." (Ecclesiastes 3:1) And with that in mind my friend, may I encourage you to realize that now is the time to ask for God's mercy. We are still living in a day where your request can receive mercy and forgiveness. The time is coming, however, when each one of us will come before the Judge. And on that day, those without a white robe will no longer have the opportunity to accept Jesus and receive mercy.
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the devil cannot "make you" do anything. He can, however, tempt you, and he can also oppress you once you give into his suggestions. So just how does this whole temptation thing play out, especially as it relates to the role of the devil?
The idea of "accepting Christ" sounds mystical and mysterious to some people. What is this "born again" stuff all about anyway? What am I supposed to "feel" if it happens to me? And am I even someone God would consider to bless in this way?
First it was the photos at a brothel in Brazil. And now photos after getting bailed out of jail in Miami. What could possibly be next for the one they call Justin Bieber?
"There is really no easy way to say this: We have to operate." While that hard truth is something a doctor says to a patient, it can also be applied to any person who is engaging in premeditated and deliberate sin. The only way to cut out the cancer of sin is through surgery. And only God can perform this task in a person's soul.
Jesus is life. Jesus gives real forgiveness. Other religions purport to please God, but without Jesus, no one can please the Father. When Christ came to this world, He did not bring "one more good option." He brought the only message that can save man's soul. The other religions make you try to earn it. And even then, none of them can actually deliver eternal salvation. Only Christ can do it, and He gives this free gift to those who believe.
OK. So you don't want to serve God or even believe in Him given your current spiritual state. I don't blame you. I wouldn't either if I was in your shoes. In fact, I have never met a person who naturally wants to serve God. Man's "wiring" is too messed up for that sort of thing.
"I could never believe in a God who sends people to hell." This common objection, while sincere, is nevertheless untrue and illogical. How can you say it is "untrue" Dan if someone really means it? This is how. Just walk through the reasoning with me if you will.
Man has always wanted to "have his cake and eat it too." So it should come as no big surprise that some religious leaders today feel free to depreciate the authority of Scripture, while at the same time utilizing the historic Christian creeds as part of their ministry. But do they really believe it? That is, can they honestly say the creeds are absolutely true if they don't accept the literal nature of the Bible and Christianity?
New Year's resolutions tend to be all about me convincing myself that "I can do it." Christianity, on the other hand, involves the mindset which believes, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13) That is a much different approach than the typical "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality. It is Christ in us that matters. That is where we receive the power, the peace, and the sustained spiritual momentum which is so critical for any worthwhile resolution to be accomplished.
Marriage is intended to be a marathon rather than a sprint. That is the way God made it. God also gave a husband and wife the privilege to raise children within the context of their home. And while raising children has a ton of challenges, it also provides some built-in safeguards which can actually help to save your marriage when your relationship encounters huge hurdles.
If you will accept the virgin birth of Christ as factual, you will be a step closer to your own personal rebirth. If you decide to reject the virgin birth of Christ, you will find it very difficult, if not impossible, to trust Jesus as your Savior. The virgin birth of the Lord is not a "secondary doctrine." It is essential to knowing God and believing in Jesus as the Messiah.
So are you ready to celebrate Christmas this year with faith in the Prince of Peace? Or will this season only involve holiday cheer and maybe a little religious sentiment, but nothing too specific? Celebrating Christmas without getting specific is like trying to open one of your presents without knowing which gift you are supposed to open.
When you came into this world, you were born in God's neighborhood. You can only get into His family, however, by being born again into it. (see John 3:1-16) Your first birth was physical. The second birth is spiritual. Many people live and die without ever being born a second time. They live and die without ever knowing God.
A separate issue is the way in which Phil described his theological beliefs when asked about "sin." Many of us would have framed it differently, and worded it differently. But the general message Phil seemed to want to get across is that the Bible does indeed present a path of righteousness which leads to heaven, and a path of deliberate sinfulness which prevents a person from "inheriting the kingdom of God."