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The Gospel of Reconciliation.

Timely and important thoughts from my good friend, Don @ One Bondservant’s Diary.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthian 5:17-19).

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If you don’t know who George Mueller is I’d highly recommend you do some research. He was a man of amazing faith and wisdom and a part of our Christian heritage worth knowing.

xianongtangco

by George Mueller

According to my judgment the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord.

Other things may press upon you, the Lord’s work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself!

Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life. This has been my firm and settled condition for the last five and thirty years. For the first four years after my conversion I knew not its vast importance, but now after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ:

The secret of all true effectual service is joy in God…

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And intersting response to a relevant question…


Well worth the read.

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

The high point of my week was this message. Needless to say I will jump right into it (see video below):

False conversions are a serious problem that could lead not only to the “suicide of the church” but also to the defaming of God’s name, an evangelical pastor warned.

Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., told some 8,000 ministers Tuesday at the Together for the Gospel conference that he fears there are thousands, if not millions, of people in churches who are not truly converted.

“My fellow pastors, could it be that many of our hearers each week aren’t saved, even many of our members?”

The problem isn’t just the “occasional hypocrite lost in unrepentant sin,” but “systems that seem to produce false converts – not just one man, but whole congregations,” he lamented.

While some may brush off the problem as…

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A little Christian satire never hurt anyone too badly…

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

It was the year 2050. The office of pastor was now obsolete. Instead the most glamorous office of “worship leader” had taken over the leadership of the seeker sensitive church. This office was more in touch with the emotions of the people.  A few qualities were a MUST for this office:

  • You must be able to use a voice auto tuner.
  • You must be able to use dry ice and laser lights on stage  the pulpit and look cool.
  • You must be able to sustain a note while making an altar call (a tear in the eye is a bonus).


Theme song: We are here for you!

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An interesting response to a relevant question.

J.S. Park



yinayun asked:

“I don’t believe in Christianity because I believe it’s a selfish religion” what are your thoughts on such a statement? I have so much that I could say about it myself but I would love to hear your thoughts.


As a famous speaker once said, I feel like a mosquito at a nudist beach: Where do I start?


1) First off: Today’s church can be selfish

But people confuse the modern messed up church with the real power of Jesus Christ. I’m certainly dissatisfied with the hoarding American church and its isolated philosophy of Prayer-Praise-Scripture at the expense of Going-Making-Giving. When $10 million megachurches are built while 26,000 children die of starvation everyday, something is wrong.

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“[John] said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”  (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)  They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” (John 1:23-27).

Sal Mattson appropriately died on Good Friday. His legacy is partly captured in the University of Tennessee campus newspaper:

Campus evangelist passes away | The Daily Beacon

If you have not watched (I know the video drags quite a bit but it really is worth watching)  and read the links above, what I say next won’t have near the impact that it should. At least not the impact it had on me.

My brother attended Sal’s funeral. He described it as a joy-filled celebration despite Sal living only 53 years and leaving behind a wife and 5 children. There was much rejoicing over Sal’s homegoing and His Savior. The stories told there magnified what we learn from the links above. He gave his life to preach the Gospel from a sidewalk on the rabidly secular campus of a state institution of higher education. What we might not know is how he was treated by those he ministered to. His eulogists’ shared how Sal was often reviled – cursed, mocked, and even spat on. But he never uttered a harsh word, instead, we are told, he looked lovingly at his nemeses and kept pleading that they hear and believe.

One such account symbolized his self-denying, cross-bearing pursuit of rejecting everything that might hinder knowing and following his Savior. I paraphrase:

“One day a group of students was particularly cruel to Sal, saying and doing terrible things. Profanity laced names were thrown his way and objects were hurled in his direction. One of the group was convicted enough about this injustice that he returned to apologize for the group. And he did. Sal’s response? ‘Thanks, but it’s OK. Let’s talk about your salvation.’ The young man soon professed Christ and returned often to visit Sal as he continued to stand and preach to an unwlecoming audience. The boy sometimes stood by his side in an attempt to deflect the insults and harassment.”

Sal was so committed to evangelism that the weekend before his transition, weighing only about 70 pounds and moving in and out of consciousness, he telephoned his father-in-law to share the Good News. I’m sure that the man’s profession of faith was a very powerful and meaningful going away present for the dying evangelist. Think about it – the last task Sal Mattson accomplished was to share the Gospel and hear a loved family member say “yes” to Jesus.

And when was the last time we told someone about our Savior? Would that be the most important thing on our mind as we were wasting away with cancer and our death imminent?

I wish I were more like Sal Mattson than I am. Really, I desire to be more like Jesus – for He truly is the ultimate example for Sal, for me, and for you. So often we sit in our comfortable pews, we serve on our committees, we attend our Bible studies and “Christian concerts,” we blog, we give back a portion of God’s provision, we pray, we read our Bible…we do most of “the right things.” But do we give ourselves? All of ourselves…like Sal did. To Jesus and others, that is. More importantly and clearly, do we give like Jesus did? 

So I think it only fitting we conclude this tribute to Sal and his Savior with Christ’s own words. I think they are quite appropriate:

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).

Please know we can only live like Sal did, and like Jesus wants us to, when empowered by Him and His Word and not through self-effort alone. We must be compelled by loving Christ because we know He first loved us, and how much that cost. So, in the end, it is not Sal or us who gets the glory…it’s the Savior. And I’m convinced Sal would have it no other way.


“…and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?…But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:26, 30-33). 

God, some have said, is wholly “other.” We know, by definition, God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. When we attempt to ruminate on His greatness we can feel infinitely small (and we are) and seemingly insignificant (but we aren’t). He can’t be totally and accurately defined but we describe Him as glorious, sovereign, transcendent, majestic, incomprehensible, and almighty, among many other lofty adjectives. And God is all of this and more!  But it is one particular aspect of this “more” that I’d like to drill down on: God is also personal. He is our perfect Father! 

All of our physical fathers are imperfect, many are disengaged, and some are downright negligent and mean. And because of this we live in a world of hurting people whose view of God as Father has been skewed by their experience with their earthly fathers. We tend to assign to God the same character and personality traits of our human fathers. If our dad was absent then we think God is also. If our earthly father was angry, God is seen as a condemning and hostile (and He can be to those who aren’t His own). If dad was loving, we project the Creator as kind and beneficent (and He is). Generous, then generous. Cruel, then cruel. Distant, then distant…and so forth. Praise God, I can say nothing negative about my Christ-like earthly father but, given the dysfunctional and disintegrating nature of the contemporary Western family, many don’t feel this way. It’s no wonder that the idea of God is unappealing and many have been prompted to avoid, rebel against, or reject such a notion.  

But we have good news! For all whose view of God is tainted by your physical father’s failures, please know God can be very personal, even more intimate than our own family. He has initiated a familial relationship with us that is most amazing. God can be, as Jesus often said, “your Father.” Yes, most recognize that the Scripture portrays Jesus as the Son of God but what about us? Are we too unlovely and insignificant, given the way we may have been treated by our own fathers, for the ruler of the universe to be that perfect Father to us, to love us in a way that reminds us of the way He loves Jesus? Could the Almighty claim us as His own children? Despite what we may feel, the fact is that God’s Word says He can and does. Again, what great news! 

As a matter of fact, we can be adopted into God’s family, become one of His children, share in Christ’s inheritance, and be glorified with Jesus, the very son of God! As you read the words of Paul, notice the terms of endearment “Daddy,” “children,” heirs,” and “son.” And don’t overlook the promises and provisions made to those that experience God’s adoption and familial affection: 

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “[Daddy]! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:15-17). 

So what’s the catch? For us to experience this glorious reality we must do 2 things – receive (turn from ourselves and our ways and turn to Him) and believe in (put our total trust in) the person and work of Christ. As the Apostle John said, “But to all who did receive [Jesus], who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).  

Do you feel disappointed and disenfranchised with your earthy family? As scarring and sad as that is, God says you can join His eternal family. You can call Him “Daddy.” You can become joint heirs with Jesus. You can personally know a Heavenly patriarch who will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). You can find comfort and security in an incomprehensibly loving Father who will receive you back with seeking arms, an embrace, and a sumptuous feast when you return to Him from your wanderings (Luke 15:11-24). You can find in Him a love that is eternal and filled with hope (Romans 8:31-39). 

So my plea is simple: Despite the tragedy of families that fail us, don’t let that keep you from your perfect Heavenly Father. The God of the universe beckons you to call Him “Daddy” and receive His unequaled paternal provision. Receive and believe in Jesus and be “born again” into the family of the Father of the heavenly lights, “from whom every good and perfect gift is [received and] who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17, NIV).


Well, what kind of tree are you? Great thoughts from my good friend, Don.


Believing Bubba Watson Wins 2012 Masters

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5 14-17).

As much as I’m dubious of “Celebrity Christianity” (and “Rock Star Preachers”), isn’t the testimony in the article linked above refreshing!? In this day of boorish, over-celebrated, above-the-law, self-absorbed, sin-glamorizing, and pathetic sports role models we see this glimmer of hope. As much as I think it can be dangerous to look at people instead of Jesus, sometimes I think it is OK to look at people who are trying to look like Jesus. As long as we don’t take our focus off of Him.

Yes, I’m a golfer (OK, I play golf). Yes, I watched the 2012 Masters (Confession time: I even taped it since I was traveling to see family and celebrate the Easter season). And, yes, I was pulling for Bubba. But I didn’t really know why until now. I love the way he plays; no lessons – all imagination and talent but with an air of calmness, grace, and class. That much I always noticed. But this completely changes things for me. Now I see Bubba for what he professes to be; a light! I should have known…he acted like someone who claimed the name of Christ.

When Bubba (he’s the kind of guy that you just want to call by his first name even though you’ve never met him), before donning the green jacket, was interviewed in the famous Butler Cabin after his historic win, commentator Jim Nance asked him, “Did you ever have this as a goal?” The winner of the world’s greatest golf tournament emotionally said, “No, no way. This is such a blessing.” From this article it appears that his goal is so much bigger than any milestone or match. Bubba, it seems, desires to show people the light of Christ more than anything else .

Part of me wishes that he wins so often that people would take greater notice of his character. But I’m afraid they would only relish his talent. They would mostly be watching to see him miraculously hook his hooded wedge off the pine needles on to a seemingly impossible-to-hit green for another major championship. That’s just the way we are bent. So the other, larger part of me hopes that, above all, golfing champion Watson achieves his goal of being a reflection of the brilliant light of Jesus. That makes him a true victor, in the most profound sense, whether he wins another golf tournament or not.

We live in a dark world and true followers of Jesus, famous or not, need to take the lid off the shining work Jesus is doing in our lives. For we are  called to be “children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). So I think we would all do well to have these same priorities: Jesus first and everything below Him in its right order. God before golf…or anything else. Then will we sparkle in such a way that the only explanation is the transforming work of the One called the Light of the World. As Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). So let us glorify Him by being the light He has called us to be.

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