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Posts Tagged ‘gospel’

For the next few posts that, I want to write about having an eternal perspective. Randy Alcorn has written extensively on this subject. His ministry’s website and his blog are great resources for further study and thought. His book, Heaven, has helped many grow in their understanding of how thinking about eternity can help them in living the Christian life in the here and now. While I am not certain of everything in the book, I can not deny the plausibility of anything that he writes.

I’ve had a couple of people express to me the fear that heaven will be boring. These verses (and many more in scripture) make heaven sound anything but boring. In fact I believe that based on these verses not looking forward to heaven or thinking it is boring is a sin that cripples our service and worship. Notice the verses in bold type:

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
(Heb 12:22-29 NASB)

When we meditate on all that heaven will be, the price paid to open the door for us and the glory of God that we will know there, it will stir us to have greater gratitude toward God. Our living will be an act of worship as we obey God with reverence and awe.

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In my last post I shared my own cynicism regarding politics. It is not that I think it is wrong for Christians to be involved in politics. I also do not think that voting is pointless. My problem is when we put our hope in political solutions for spiritual problems. Humans are sinners who cannot be transformed from the outside. No amount of laws will change the human heart. No candidate will bring about perfect justice. Only the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit working in a person’s life will transform a life. To put our hope in political change is a form of idolatry.

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When I began my studies at the University of Georgia (a long time ago in a galaxy far away) I had every intention of finishing my four years of study and becoming a political journalist. I also had some desire to become a political consultant and help people get elected.

Somewhere along the line I became more interested in making an eternal difference by following God in other directions. I remained fascinated in politics and used to be able to spot trends, pick presidential nominees two years from the primaries and predict who their vice presidential nominee would be. Part of this is because I am fascinated by just about anything that requires a strategy–baseball, football, military history, etc. Political campaigns are one of those things that require a strategy.

At the same time, I hate politics. I hate what it does to people. I hate how otherwise honest, upstanding people become willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead. I hate the nastiness and the lies and half truths. I hate how people get caught up in believing some candidate has the answer to all their problems and the problems of the world. After observing politics, I have become cynical and cynical of the people who participate in it. I know that there are good people who are involved in it and want to do well, but I hate that people put their hope in it. It isn’t that I don’t think politics is important or that people can’t make a difference. It’s just that my hope isn’t there.

There is only one true hope, and He is the way, the truth and the life. Proclaiming His Word and making disciples in His name is the only way to make an eternal difference and transform any corner of society.

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I’ve been reading Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges.  In it, he wrote a chapter about the sin of pride in which he pointed out the particular sins of pride that evangelical Christians are most likely to commit.  One was the sin of moral self-righteousness.  It seems that in an election year, many believers in the US risk falling into this trap.  Living overseas, it is easy to also fall into this sin as we observe various sins in the society and among the people where we live.

Jerry Bridges wrote, “I venture that of all the subtle sins we will address in this book, the pride of moral superiority may be the most common, second only to the sin of ungodliness.  But though it is so prevalent among us, it is difficult to recognize because we all practice it to some degree. In fact, we seem to get a perverse enjoyment out of discussing how awful society around us is becoming.  When we engage in this kind of thinking or conversation, we are guilty of the pride of moral superiority.”

We need to remember that only God’s grace separates us from society as a whole.  We are not saved because of our own righteousness but because of Jesus’ righteousness.  We should prophetically speak against sin in society, but only with humility that recognizes that we are made righteous by God’s action and not our own actions.  We should engage in social action, but recognize that the true transformation of people and society only comes about as people are changed by God’s power in their lives.  Therefore, the proclamation of the gospel and the making of disciples is the greatest act of social activism that we can do.

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One thing about not feeling well, particularly when it involves pain, is that I get irritable. This has given me the idea this week of putting up a few post on what irritates me, but to counter balance that by mentioning some things that I genuinely appreciate as well. So, here is part one.

What irritates me: When churches use methods like this to get people in the door. Please, tell me you’re kidding.

What I appreciate: Churches that simply proclaim the Good News boldly such as this one and this one.

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…Tim Challies suggests books for Christmas gifts.

…My favorite Christian writer, Randy Alcorn, has a blog.

…some interesting thoughts on what it means to be community as a church.

…and Christianity as both inclusive and exclusive.

…and by the same writer a piece on on why some of us don’t take criticism very well.

…a workplace related post on when an apology is real. Though the source may be secular, the truth is the same.

…and for some humorous satire (and sad but true at times) try here.

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Encouragement to tell others the best news ever

Here are a couple of links that serve to motivate us to tell others the Good News. One is a quote from C.H. Spurgeon. The other describes a method some church leaders are using to engage others in spiritual conversations. The brief article about Spurgeon is here. Click here to learn more about the 3×5 method.

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