Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Read, "I Don't Need a Cute Gospel" at - what think ye?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Don't Need a Cute Gospel

My sin is great - great sin that produces worry, anxiety, and fear in my soul, sin that deadens my spirit and alienates me from eternity. The last thing I need is a self-help gospel. I am helpless. I don’t need another three-step program. I don’t need a better me, I need a transformed me. I don’t need a better life, I need a new life.

Too often, the gospel is reduced down to a quaint, cute story about a phenomenal man (Jesus) who inspires us and examples for us a new way of living. This is partly true. In fact, Jesus was the most inspiring person to have ever walked this terrestial ball. But is Jesus just an inspiring example? Is an inspiring example the best God can do? I can find plenty of inspiring stories in sports or in the military. A good example may inspire me but it won’t save me or change me.

The gospel is more than inspiring; the gospel is regenerating (it makes me alive), transforming (it changes me), justifying (it declares me not guilty), and sanctifying (it begins a work in me that will one day be complete). A cute, quaint, self-help, three-step mish-mash of “me and God” just doesn’t cut it. I don’t need more of me in the process. That’s the problem. I need less of me. Correction! I need none of me because I am dead in my sin. I need to be made alive. This is the kind of gospel I need.

The gospel is the only kind of transforming, life-altering good news God gives us in Jesus Christ. God enacted the “great exchange” in Jesus Christ. He exchanged my unrighteousness for the righteousness of Jesus Christ. In other words, God imputed my sins to Jesus Christ ‘as if’ he had committed them so that he could impute to me Christ’s righteousness to me ‘as if’ I had never sinned. This exchange is realized in me when God awakens me from the deadness of my sin and makes me new in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:1). Once awakened in Jesus Christ I’m no longer on the run from God, fearing that I’ll be caught and exposed for the fraud that I am. In Christ I am forgiven. Who, then, should I fear?

So, away with the cute, the quaint, and the purely practical; in with the conquering, transforming, life-changing, fear-smashing, worldview altering gospel of Jesus Christ.
"The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God & keep his commands, for this is the whole duty of man...for God will judge." Ecc. 12:13

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's Time for a Change

It’s time for a change, don’t you think? No, I’m not speaking of the false promises made by political leaders or pundits. Nor, am I speaking of the faddish change that comes with every cultural wind. Instead, I’m speaking of that of change of the soul and mind that makes us new and keeps us fresh. This is what the new birth is all about – giving new life and breath to something that was dead and lifeless (Jn. 3:3). In fact, God has promised us newness of life in Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 beautifully puts it this way – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” What a promise! What power.

So, what about you? Aren’t you ready for a change? What about a change of mind, an altering of your passions, behavior, and purposes? God commands us to continue to grow in Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). When we become stagnant we digress and do not reflect the grace of God in our living and thinking.

Beginning November 1st I am beginning a series entitled “Time for a Change.” It’s a series based upon one of the most exciting passages in Scripture, Colossians 3:1-17. We will look at how a change of mind can lead to a change in passions, behavior, and purpose. This new series is coinciding with the launch of our new website at Inglewood Baptist Church. Beginning November 1st you will be able to find us at . You will find this interactive site helpful and informative. You can get downloadable sermon notes, ministry information, and eventually podcasts of every message. Join us in person and online. It’s time for a change.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Get Some Real Fear!

I’m in a very sarcastically bad mood today. And what’s the source of my dower attitude? Answer: we’re lacking some real fear. Let me explain. I hear so many people use the phrase, ‘I’m afraid of…?’ They then fill in the blank with some superficial fear such as – I’m afraid my outfit doesn’t match my shoes; I’m afraid I’ll be late for a latte with my equally shallow friend at the local ‘artsy’ coffee shop; I’m afraid I won’t be up-to-date on the latest music or TV show; I’m afraid they won’t think I’m hip/cool, etc. This litany of shallow fears reveals a shallow life. Shallow fears diminish legitimate fears.

This is what we’re afraid of? You’ve got to be kidding me? Are you joking? Get serious! Is our cowardice to be measured by whether or not we are brave enough to wear the right kind of clothes or have the right kind of look or on whether or not we’re current on the latest drivel in the media? If so, we’re in more trouble than first thought.

If we’re going to have fear let’s get some real fear! I mean some supersized fears for a supersized gospel. For example, let’s be afraid of not getting the ‘God thing’ right; let’s be afraid if we don’t get the parenting thing right; let’s be afraid of not getting the marriage thing right; let’s be afraid of not being committed to a set of important principles by which to live; let’s be afraid of being known as a person who is a ‘mile wide and an inch deep’ instead of a person of depth, commitment, and loyalty; let’s be afraid of having lived without purpose.

Shallow, silly fears do not constitute essential fears. Shallow, silly fears cover the real fears of life. The gospel of Jesus Christ is THE sin-crushing, fear-smashing power of God that alters our ego, rearranges our priorities, and changes our world-view. So, if you’re going to have fear get some real fear so that you’ll understand the awesome power of God in Jesus Christ.