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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

First, an apology…. I received this book from Thomas Nelson for free in exchange for a legit review. The only thing they asked is that the review go out on Memorial Day. Sadly, I missed that date and apologize for being tardy.

 Now, to the review….

In an effort for full disclosure, I did not think I was going to be real fond of this book due to my past experience of reading “Pagan” by Frank Viola and some of the things I had heard on Leonard Sweet. Then I read the “Introduction” and thought “Wow!” My expectations went up as I highly agreed with the authors that the modern church is struggling when it comes to Christ. That in the past, the church had a problem with understanding the human side of Chris but that it now embraces the human side while losing touch with the Divine. That’s been a dynamic switch in just the last 10-15 years. We need a healthy understanding of both as Christ was 100% both.

Then, I got into the book and it became what I thought it would be and I was disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong. There are many wonderful points, concepts and truths about Christ in the writings but you have to bring a balanced outlook to it. They have a position that everything is about Christ, everything is to be seen through Christ,  and drive that point home over, over, and over. It comes off like a college professor telling you any other way of looking at things is ignorant and a lessor understanding. I had the same problem with “Pagan” (which was a book I was excited to get until I read). It’s very much, “this is my take on things and everyone else is off base”.

So what is wrong with everything being about Jesus? There was no balance of the importance of the Trinity. Through the book, it kept referring that they would talk more about the Trinity in chapter 10. Chapter 10 was seriously lacking. Even Jesus said he does nothing of His own accord but only does what His Father is doing. It’s cool if they were saying, “Here’s an interesting way of reading the Bible. Read it from the beginning to end through the lens of Jesus and you’ll be amazed.” I say the same thing to others about reading the Bible from beginning to end through the lens of seeing God’s redemptive plan of bringing people back to Him. But to say it’s the only way and all else is wrong….. it’s pretty unbalanced.

I also struggle when things are twisted a tad to make the point the author wants to make. For instance, chapter 6 is started by quoting a tweet that said “There is no greater cause that you can give your life to than the cause of Jesus Christ.” The author then puts “Hmmm….so now Jesus Christ is a cause”. They start saying that this mentality reduces Jesus to nothing more than any other cause page on Facebook. Now, do you see what they did? The person who sent the tweet never said Jesus was a cause. They twisted it to the point they wanted to make and that drives me crazy! The cause of Jesus Christ seems to be the Great Commission. That doesn’t just sound like a great cause, it seems like the only one that encompasses all else!

At another point, they list names of Christian Living books that make it all about the individual and they want to turn those points that focus to you and correct them by turning them back to Jesus. Come on, guys. There is a place for all of these books (even the ones I don’t like personally) and we don’t need to tear other resources down by name to make a point. It’s one thing if they were heretical but it’s another if it’s just another point of view or talking about another area of Christian living you are not passionate about.

Another thing that bugs me is when people “count” how many times they hear a word and make big deductions about it. Let me explain. At one point, they say they have each gotten into the habit of counting how often they hear preachers say the name “Jesus Christ” and since they don’t hear the name as often as they like, it’s a sign of the bigger problem. Can we judge content on content please? I remember in the late 80’s (yes I remember the late 80’s) when a local pastor wrote a critical review of a Michael W. Smith CD saying Smith was of Satan because none of the songs on the CD said “Jesus” in them. I wrote back the list of songs I could put on a classic hymns CD (then cassette) that don’t mention Jesus in them as well but are very God centered. Stop using small observations to make big points.

That said, there is a great section on “Bethany” that I am going to use as a catalyst to study more. But for the most part, you can go to your local Christian bookstore (the only place you should buy your books as you support local ministry unless if you don’t have one), pick up the book, turn to page 22. read the full paragraph under the title “The Person-Driven Life” (which I assume is a twist on “Purpose Driven Life” that ironically starts with the phrase “It’s not about you!”), and then put the book down. You will get from that paragraph what the rest of the book is trying to say.

Again, can be an interesting read for many but don’t get as militant as the authors on it. Please.

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Hi all….

I just got done with lunch with a buddy of mine that reminded me of what really matters. He is a Christian too and he was saved from a life that was rough, hard, and heading no where fast. When He came to the Lord there was a HUGE turnaround in his life and his joy and passion really reminded me of what matters.

With this in mind, I wanted to drop here something I wrote for our youth group’s Facebook page. This is what it is really all about…..

What is the good news? Let me share with you a few verses from a letter that an early follower of Jesus, named Paul, wrote to the church in Rome. It’s in the New Testament….

To get to the good news, we have to know the bad news. While God created us to have a relationship with us, it doesn’t take a genius to see that something went wrong. Due to what the Bible calls sin (or anything that rebels against God), we were separated from Him. This is true for all of us….

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Everyone has messed up. Everyone. While we are not alone in rebellion, it does have dire results.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Did you catch that? While we deserve death, God’s gift is eternal life THROUGH Jesus Christ!

In other words, while we walked away from God and He had every right to say “OK, fine! If that’s what you want, see ya!” But he didn’t! Even though He can’t ignore the justice of the result of sin, He decided to pay the price by giving His Son, Jesus Christ. Check this out….

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Unreal! We rebel, we walk away, and He gives His Son! That’s love! He made the sacrifice….He did the work….He made it easy and clear….

“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

Can it be any easier? People try to make it hard and mysterious but God makes it clear; to accept Him as Leader and Forgiver in our lives is a simple of speaking it and believing it!

But maybe you feel you don’t deserve it (none of us do). Or maybe you think it’s true for everyone but you. Look at this…

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10: 13

Let’s say for the sake of argument that you make the decision to accept this great gift from God through His Son. You follow the instructions above in Romans 10:9-10 and are saved. Then listen to these verses and think about what they mean….

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” Romans 8:1

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-39

Talk about good news! Now there are a couple things that we can’t skip over….

– It’s up to you. No one else can make the decision for you. Not your mom, your dad, your spouse, your friend, or anyone else. Now that you know, what will you do with it?

– It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun nor is it boring or disappointing. Accepting Christ is not the end. It’s not just getting into heaven. It’s the beginning! It’s a relationship!

We encourage getting more information on how to learn from the Bible. There’s a lot of stuff people believe the Bible says that is just not there. Dig deeper to know the Bible and not what others portray.

We recommend you find friends and others who will be a support community for you. If you need help with this, contact us and we would love to help out anyway we can!

If you made this decision today, please let us know! We want to celebrate with you! You and those in Heaven as well! In Heaven? Yes!

Look at what Jesus says in Luke 15:7…

“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

AWESOME!

If you want to accept Jesus as Leader and Forgiver in your life or have any questions about it, feel free to contact me. I’d love to talk more!

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