Remember!

Bob Bevington
Written By:
Remember! | July 31st, 2013

Remember!

RememberLately I’ve been starting each day with this list of ten reminders. What a difference it has made! You can read the whole article on this LINK to Matt Reagan’s post at DesiringGod.com

Number Ten really sticks! It’s the coup de grace!

1) God exists. (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58)

It seems so simple, so basic, but I tend to wake up a naturalist, and a narcissistic one at that. I assume that all there is in the world is what is in front of my face. My bed, my wife, my kids, and most importantly myself. The simple yet ultimate existence of God immediately clears my lens, makes me small, and infuses meaning into every step. God exists — and that changes everything.

2) God loves you. (Romans 5:8; John 16:27; Jeremiah 32:40–41)

Another massive biblical reality, this immediately counters my hesitation to embrace God’s ultimate authority, reminding me that he has set his affections on this little speck of a person. He is far from indifferent toward me.

3) Jesus died for you, and the Father has now bound himself to give you only good things. (Romans 8:28; Romans 8:32)

This draws me quickly to the central reality of all history: the cross. It is an objective truth set in time and space, so it immediately draws my gaze away from my own capacity to garner acceptance from God through my efforts. Furthermore, the outworkings of the cross make clear that even the harshest trials will come to me as blessing, for my ultimate good, no matter how bad I feel at the time.

4) God sees you as perfect. (Hebrews 10:14; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

My self-absorption, anxiety, and self-pity know no bounds. They must be beaten into submission by the beauty of imputed righteousness. The question, “How am I doing?” is met head-on with the answer, “Perfect.” In that regard, every day is a good day.

5) That is because of Jesus’s perfection, not yours. You deserve hell. (Romans 3:10; 1 Timothy 1:15)

There are two main purposes here: first, to counterpunch when my flesh looks for a way to subtly claim credit for the perfection that is mine only in Jesus; second, to maintain a sense of trembling gratitude for my salvation. While I enjoy the glory of the gospel, there should always be an awestruck voice in the back of my mind that is whispering, “I shouldn’t be here.”

6) You will die. (James 4:14, Hebrews 9:27)

Nothing brings clarity to me like this simple and straightforward reminder. How quickly I assume my earthly immortality, and how often I need to think of myself as a terminal cancer patient.

7) You will live forever in the new heavens and new earth. (Romans 8:18, Hebrews 10:34)

I don’t want to be a clear-headed fearer of death, like some atheistic poet. I want to glory in the guarantee of indescribable bliss that is just around the corner. And I want to live like it’s real — because it is.

8) For now, you are an exile on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13–16)

This keeps me from feeling at home when I’m not at home (especially in my own home). It prepares me for not fitting in, for weird looks when I speak with conviction about Jesus, and for holding loosely to every bit of earthly life.

9) Nothing on earth is truly worth putting your hope in. (Jeremiah 2:13; Galatians 6:14)

This is a practical specification of #8. It is right for me to remember that I will inevitably be disappointed by every earthly pursuit or relationship or emotional experience. It runs me back to my true Home and the true Bridegroom.

10) You have no right to be unhappy. (Philippians 4:4; 1 Peter 1:8–9)

This is a summarizing application of all the previous reminders, [Read more...]

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Comparative Foolishness

Jim Bossler
Written By:
Comparative Foolishness | July 23rd, 2013

Comparative Foolishness

RadioI couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was hanging on every word coming out of the radio. An interview of a man whose son was murdered by the mother of his child was the cause of my amazement. By amazement, I mean the bad kind where you are dumbfounded at what another person has deemed proper and normal to life.

This man was being asked about the loss of his son and his answers seemed like the right ones. But something was amiss. There was no grief, no sense of wondering what he could’ve done differently, no longing for his son to be alive and with him.

Then it got bizarre. He began to make an appeal for employment, which seemed out of place.

Then he brazenly established that the employment would have to be under the table so he could still collect his government benefits. My jaw dropped . . . this was one of the most popular radio shows in Cleveland. Hundreds of thousands of people were hearing this along with me. Does he not know how much of a fool he sounds like?

The final statement was the last straw. When the interviewer asked him about his responsibility to father the children he was responsible for with a plethora of women, he simply made a sexual joke, which abruptly ended the interview. The interviewer even sat in silence. Even he knew his listeners needed a moment to gather themselves, even if it meant there would be dead air, which is a no-no in the radio business.

God’s Word unearthed itself in my memory:

 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.” -Proverbs 12:15

That guy doesn’t even know he sounds like an idiot.

“… a fool flaunts his folly.” -Proverbs 13:16.

He thinks he’s exercising his wisdom, but he is parading his own stupidity.

But then the Holy Spirit kicked in and turned those thoughts inward.

About fifteen years ago I applied for my first “big boy” job. I hadn’t finished college yet. In fact, [Read more...]

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Busted

Judge Tom Parker
Written By:
Busted | July 15th, 2013

Busted

BustedWhen I was seventeen, two of my friends and I thought it would be a bright idea to see who could get back to our leader’s house the fastest.  The only problem was that we were in three cars.  Another problem was that my two friends got a head start.  I got stuck at a light at the corner of a very busy intersection.  My bright idea?  Tear through the corner gas station – never mind the people filling their cars – and shoot up Richmond Road.  I knew I could catch them.  Sure the speed limit was 40.  My 55 mph pace wasn’t too bad.  As I turned west on South Woodland, I really picked up the pace.  I’m pretty sure I was the only one going 70 in a 35 that night.  The real problem?  The police officer who had watched me short cut the intersection had taken a keen interest in my case and was on my tail the whole way.

Busted.  And I knew it.

In the moments while I waited for the policeman to come to my door, I thought of fifty excuses I could give the cop.  It was my friends’ fault.  They were the cause of my conduct.  Maybe he’d believe that I should get a warning since the road was deserted.  Maybe he’d be lenient because I’d never had as much as a parking ticket.

He wasn’t. [Read more...]

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Good Luck?

Bob Bevington
Written By:
Good Luck? | July 10th, 2013

Good Luck?

Good LuckJen Phipps recently overheard me tell someone, “Good luck.” The dialogue that followed resulted in this guest post. Jen is serious about her Lord and Savior for many good reasons which we won’t get into here. But suffice it to say I think she is right about this:

GOOD LUCK, by Jen Phipps

Weddings, births, graduations, new careers, and sport competitions are just a few examples of when people readily offer up a supportive, “Good luck!” But like many other phrases we repeat as if on auto-pilot, we don’t pause to think of its implications. Luck indicates chance. It just happens to people randomly with no purpose. From a biblical perspective, this is impossible. If luck were real, then God is not sovereign. If God is not sovereign, then He’s not God. That’s why as Christians the expression, “Good luck!” should never leave our lips

Thankfully, the Bible assures us that God is who He says He is. I could go on and on about God’s sovereignty in my own life.

As Christians, we are not of this world. But we are left here to proclaim the Gospel and be the hands and feet of Christ to a dying world. Shouldn’t we, more than any other group of people, be intentional about what we say? Shouldn’t we consider how our words may or may not glorify God?

Another example of a flippant catch phrase is OMG. I can’t even spell it out. Again, if we throw God’s name around, it becomes so commonplace it eventually makes Him seem insignificant—the very thing He is not!

Bob challenged me to come up with another phrase to replace good luck. How do you like this one? [Read more...]

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Freedom

Krin Baer
Written By:
Freedom | July 4th, 2013

Freedom

Freedom ImageLike many young Americans, I value my freedom. The thought of being able to go anywhere and do anything at any time fills me with excitement and anticipation. Are you going on a road trip? I’ll join. Need an extra hand while you’re in Argentina? I can help. Want to spend three months in India and see what happens? Yes, many times over.

This drive to see and experience the world is not inherently wrong, but it can quickly become an idol. Watch out for the god of open options!

My friends in college always used to complain, “Krin, you can’t commit to anything—not even the simplest things in life!” Those who knew me best would never let me get away with saying the word maybe yet it remained my all-time favorite word. This word didn’t cause much trouble when I was invited to parties, but it became the root of much pain when it came to close friendships and romantic relationships.

Eventually I had to admit it—I was worshipping a god of open options. From the cereal aisle to the person I loved the most, I struggled to say yes to anyone or anything, because it meant saying no to the rest.

Several months ago, I read an article in Christianity Today called Imprisoned by Choice. It is a poignant piece, describing this subtle idol that exists in the minds and hearts of many young people. Here’s the key line:

The god of open options is also a liar. He promises you that by keeping your options open, you can have everything and everyone. But in the end, you get nothing and no one.[1]

It hit me between the eyes. Freedom from something [Read more...]

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The Promised Land

Bob Bevington
Written By:
The Promised Land | July 1st, 2013

The Promised Land

Get Ready

Get Ready

Bruce Springsteen wrote, There’s a dark cloud rising from the desert floor. I packed my bags and I’m heading straight into the storm. Gonna be a twister to blow everything down that ain’t got the faith to stand it’s ground.

It’s true, isn’t it? For all of us—no exceptions.

The Apostle Peter put it like this:

The day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. -2 Peter 3:10

This makes Bruce’s twister look like child’s play. Yet his metaphor holds true and the insight he shares next is as astonishing as it is profound: Blow away the dreams that tear you apart. Blow away the dreams that break your heart. Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted.

This is a word picture of the mercy of God. His tornado separates us from our dreams. But what kind of dreams? The ones that are killing us. Do you see it? It is pure mercy for Him to blow them away like so much chaff. [Read more...]

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That Tongue

Pastor Marshall Brandon
Written By:
That Tongue | June 26th, 2013

That Tongue

Sticks and StonesWhen I was growing up, there was a phrase that sounded good but was as false as false could be. Whenever I was bullied, teased, or put down, this phrase would run through my mind to comfort me, but I knew it wasn’t true.

Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me!

We know that statement is wrong don’t we?

Have you ever been hurt by the words of others? Has the sting of a critical comment remained with you longer than you care to admit? The worst part of it all is that the wounds usually come from those we don’t expect to hurt us. Family members, friends, and people we thought we knew.

Words do hurt, and comments do cut . . . often worse than any knife ever could. I have had lots of physical fights and wounds in my lifetime, and I don’t remember any of them like I do the words from others that have so deeply hurt me. Broken bones heal much more quickly than wounds that are left by an out of control tongue!

What has come from your mouth today, yesterday, or last week ? I don’t know about you but some of my biggest mistakes are the ones I make with my mouth. Why do I do this? Why do you do this?

Jesus tells us: It’s a heart problem!

You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

My heart, your heart, is wicked and we need a Savior to transform our hearts so that we might speak words that give life and not death; words that build others up and not tear them down!

A good heart will not produce bad fruit! What is the condition of your heart? People can tell  [Read more...]

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Dasvidaniya Comrade!

Sanj Kalra
Written By:
Dasvidaniya Comrade! | June 19th, 2013

Dasvidaniya Comrade!

russia

I recently had the privilege of sharing my testimony in Moscow, Russia with Ravi Zacharias at The Russian Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith National Conference. It was an amazing conference that had packed seating where many made commitments to Christ.

The Fall of Communism occurred in 1989. Prior to that, many church leaders and ordinary believers fell victim to the persecution of the Communist regime. There were brutal imprisonments and executions.

Things are different now. I actually saw a tee-shirt that read: “God is dead.” –Fredrick Nietzsche, 1883                      “Nietzsche is dead.” –God, 1900

Today in Russia the Church is rising and giving new hope to the people—there is a Savior.

Upon my return, many have asked about the highlight of my trip. It would have to be going to the same restaurant in downtown Moscow near Red Square. We were warned that the food in Russian may lack flavor. They were wrong because we found a wonderful restaurant whose name when translated into English meant Neverland. Hmmm?? We ate there four times because the food was so tasty. Beef stroganoff, lamb dishes, and of course borscht. The dishes just needed a dash of salt. The servers got used to seeing us and began to warm up to us by smiling once in a while.

One server in particular began talking to us more because her English was very good. She said that she had lived in Brooklyn, NY for three years. Was this my opening to see if she knew about the Gospel?

“Have you ever heard of The Brooklyn Tabernacle?” I asked.

She said she wasn’t sure. She said she went to an Orthodox church once in a while in NY. Then she walked away. Bummer I thought. There went my opening for the Good News. But she later came back and the conversation went like this:

“Now I remember the Brooklyn Tabernacle. It’s a very big church.”

“Yes it is. And Moscow also has beautiful big churches all over the city. And there are crosses everywhere on top of the churches.”

“But your cross is different than the Russian crosses. Ours is on an angle”

 She used her fingers to describe it.

“No, we have the same cross as you. What does our cross mean?”

“Jesus was killed on it.”

“Yes, and why was he killed?”

She couldn’t answer. She made an excuse and walk away. Oops. I looked at my friends and thought I had blown my second chance to share the Good News. I closed my eyes and said to Jesus, “Sorry I turned her away.”

But moments later she came back with a smile and asked,

“Tell me, why did he die on the cross?

We were able explain the Gospel to her and she thanked us with her big smile. While leaving I said to her,

“Das-vi-daniya  Comrade!” (Which means, Good-bye or Until we meet again  good friend. For the non-believer it means Good-bye and to the believer it’s Until we meet again).

Thinking back I came to realize something. [Read more...]

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