Give Yourself to Others …

Archive for the ‘journal’ Category

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And from that moment, God has been sovereign over the earth. Then, he created us — in his image and with the free will to make choices consistent with or in conflict with his will.

He revealed his will for us, to us, and we acted as if we heard him, but we really didn’t. He told us if we lived according to his will, we would be with him forever. We started to think and continue, to this day, to think we are smart enough and wise enough to make decisions, without considering what God’s will for us is.

By acting in conflict with God’s will, we should be destined to be separated from God, now and forever.

But how could a loving God, abandon his creation to be separated from himself? Many of us still ask this question today.

However, God did not abandon us. He made a covenant with us.

He would redeem us from our destiny of separation, if we would acknowledge him as absolute Lord and King of our lives and then, just try to live the way he asks us to live.

We even have a hard time with that, don’t we?

To seal this covenant between God and us, Jesus came to earth. God’s only begotten. One and the same with God. Inseparable from God.

Jesus lived as God wants us to live. The complete example of how to conform to the will of God.

And this Jesus, whom we worship, accepted as his own, the blame and responsibility for all of our failures to conform to God’s will. And so, God allowed Jesus to die in your place and in my place, as punishment for our failures.

But then, in a moment of amazing grace and forgiveness, God said, no, you shall not die, Jesus, you shall live forever with me — and God raised Jesus from the dead.

To claim this redeeming grace and forgiveness, God asks us only to surrender everything about ourselves to him. To put ourselves behind everyone. To submit. To acknowledge he is God. To give up our pride and selfishness in favor of what is best for those around us. For, in order to love God, we must love each other the way Jesus loved us and gave his life for us.

This is what we celebrate today — nothing less. And what could be more proper to celebrate. We are children of God, because Jesus died in our place, and God redeemed us.

Advertisements

Carey Nieuwhof has written a great post on Audience Analysis applied to Sermon preparation & delivery:

How To Know What Your Audience Is Thinking BEFORE You Communicate

Too often, people who present material (on any topic, not just spiritual topics) focus on what they have to say, rather than what their audience will hear.

In his post, Carey describes his process to bring those two things closer together.

This is worth review by any preacher or teacher, or even sales rep!

It took me a couple of months, reading off and on, to get thru this book.  It does not qualify as “light” reading material.

Kurzweil is a very smart dude, especially when it comes to applied technology.  I’ve known about him for some time, because of his work in speech recognition.

However, the premise of this book is his prediction that by 2026, scientists & engineers will develop the technical capability to duplicate the human mind artificially.  He describes how this “project” is developing, and writes extensively about how the human mind works.  He even explores the ethical or moral issues of whether we will view this artificial intelligence as sentient or conscious.

I don’t know Kurzweil’s religious beliefs, if any.  Clearly, he seems to be a true evolutionist, showing no evidence of any belief of God’s participation in the creation of human kind.

To me, his book raises to another level, the question of what is it about human beings that separates us from animals.  Now, I don’t mean this in the obvious ways.  Of course, I believe man has a soul, which is something animals do not have.  But I also acknowledge our brains likely work much the same way the brain of other animals works.  So, what accounts for the difference.  And how is that difference explained?

Now, I’m reading another book:  The Righteous Mind (by Jonathan Haidt).  It has similar implications.

I’m still working on how I can explain both this question and my response.

 

The point of Christianity is not the perfection with which we live our lives, but rather, the forgiveness, which masks our imperfections.

This is a great post.  Please read it now:  Five Bible Verses You need to Stop Misusing

 

Like many people, I’ve probably read 1 Corinthians 13, a thousand times.  The description of “love” by Paul, is beautifully inspiring.  I often read it when I perform weddings.

On a side note, the old King James Version translation of agape as “charity” is probably a better translation than “love.”  But that’s a topic for another time.

What I’ve missed in the thousands of times I’ve read 1 Cor 13 are the first three verses (this is from The Message):

13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Am I the only one who missed this?

I can be the smartest person in the world.  I can understand everything … even the greatest mysteries about God … I may have so much faith that I can perform miracles … I can be the most generous person in the world.

And if all of this is true, but I’m not loving others, the way Jesus loved me, then it’s all pointless.

If we are not loving towards one another, we’ve missed the whole point from Jesus.

Think about that, the next time you argue about doctrine!

Your life as a Christian should make nonbelievers question their disbelief in God


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,365 other followers

Twitter Updates