The majestic, simple Gospel

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Have A “Mary” Christmas

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Chained to the past

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Why did you accept Christ as your Savior?

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Consider this for Paris . . .

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My Scar

I have an inch-long scar on my right forearm. I was 15 stocking shelves in the grocery store where I worked. Continue reading

Are You “A Christian” Or Are You “Christian”?

I resurrected this post from my archives. When I published it in 2012, it received some good feedback. Enjoy.

My friend Henry asked this question Saturday at our Bible Study. “Are you a Christian or are you Christian?”  It’s a question we can all ponder.Which phrase below best describes you?

___ I am a Christian.

___ I am Christian.

___ I am a good Christian.

If you answered “I am a good Christian,”  who is a better Christian than you? Who is not as good a Christian as you? God looks at each of us the same. Through the blood of Jesus God sees all of us who are born from above as forgiven, righteous and holy. In Luke Jesus answered a man who addressed him as “Good Teacher” — “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.’ ” (Luke 18:19) Good is a comparative adjective which means someone compares people or things by degrees, such as good ice cream, better ice cream, best ice cream. God does not compare Christians.

If we say we are “a Christian” it implies that we claim to belong to a group of people. (A Gallup poll in 2009 found that 78 percent of Americans declared themselves to be a Christian, as opposed to being a Catholic, a Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist, other groups or a non believer).

When we tell someone, “I am a Christian,” what does that mean to us? Does it mean we have claimed Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior (we’re saved)?  Does it mean we go to church 50 Sundays and Wednesday nights a year? Does it mean we read the Bible? Does it mean we can quote a bunch of scripture? Does it mean we volunteer at a soup kitchen twice a month? Tithe? Visit widows and orphans? Does it mean we pray? Does it mean we attend a Bible study every Tuesday night? Does it mean we’ve been baptized?

Both the ones calling themselves “a Christian” and those who are “Christian” do many of the same things. The difference is their motivation. Those who are “a Christian” do things for the approval of men. They link their works to their desire to follow all the rules, do all the right things, participate in all the right events, and look good to everyone around. These folks are religious. They are working to gain acceptance from God, when they are already fully accepted by God.

In Mark 10 we read about a rich young ruler who came to Jesus wanting to be a follower.

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ And he said to Him, Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.’ Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.  And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Jesus is not implying that to be rich or have lots of money is bad. He’s teaching us that if we love money, or anything else more than we love Jesus, and if we are not willing to deny ourselves and forsake all our possessions, we can not be an authentic follower of Jesus.

In Matthew 23, Jesus talks to the Pharisees about their religion and the seven woes. Two of the woes address issues “a Christian” faces.  Jesus says.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, (and those who call themselves “aChristian”) hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:25-28)

In his book not a fan, Kyle Idleman says, ” That’s a picture of what happens to a lot of fans (those who call themselves ‘a Christian‘)If you asked them: Are you a fan (a Christian) or a follower? they would confidently respond, ‘follower.’ It’s not a question of their effort or desire. They are following hard. Here’s the problem; it’s not Jesus they are following. Without realizing it, they are aiming at the wrong target. Instead of following Jesus they are following religious rules and rituals.”¹

The major difference between those who call themselves “a Christian” and those who are “Christian” is their commitment to love. Christians allow Jesus to live His life in us, through us and as us. Jesus loves through Christians. Christian works come from a heart surrendered completely to God through faith. Faith in Christ to carry out God’s will through them. Faith in the Holy Spirit to lead them, help them and speak God’s will to them.

Christians love others out of their deep, abiding love for Christ.

So, are you “a Christian” or are you “Christian”? Your answer may impact your eternity. Not your salvation, but your eternal rewards.

Thanks for dropping by. Did you enjoy reading this post? I’d love to read your comments. If you enjoyed reading why not subscribe to my blog? Just go to the home page, and on the right side click Subscribe and enter your email address.  That way you’ll receive an email notification each time I publish a new post.

¹not a fan, by Kile Idleman; ©2011 by Kyle Idleman; published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids Michigan, 49530; pg. 69

The Grace, The Bad And The Ugly

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God’s Resume. He’s Looking For Work.

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The Problem Of Being Different In Church; Welcoming Differences, Avoiding Divisions

By Rob Morley
Pastor, Real Life Church

Exploring the possibility of real unity under one roof despite differences of opinion

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EL I Wish All My Readers Were Dead

No. That’s not a misprint. I wish all of you were dead.   WAIT!  Before you unsubscribe to my blog in disgust, please keep reading.

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And So It Was . . .

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.manger

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Suddenly

One of my favorite verses in the Christmas story is this one:

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and singing, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’ ”  Luke 2:13-14.

In Revelation 5:11 John says, the angels around the throne started singing, and, “Their number was ten thousand times ten thousand.”  I had to pull out Continue reading

Butterflies Are Free

I love to watch butterflies. So fragile, so beautiful, so colorful. So free. I remember warm summer days passing patches of flowers and witnessing kaleidoscope of Continue reading

How Big Is Your But?

Some buts we hardly notice. Some are the size of an 800-pound gorilla in the room. Others remain the same size no matter what we do.  Some buts change Continue reading

A Violin, A Ford And The 23rd Psalm

Three brief stories.  Read all three. You will be blessed.

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Chinks! — Part II

In Chinks–Part I we talked about a chink in my driveway that caused us major problems, disrupted our cable TV, phone and Internet service, and tore up our driveway and front yard for weeks. Let’s look at some things in our lives that cause chinks. Continue reading

I’m Living Inside

An original poem by Steven Sawyer

I’m dying inside.
I’m dying inside.
And nothing I do
can help turn the tide.

I want to be happy
to sing and to dance
to have some good friends
if I had half a chance.

But the life I live now
is just make-believe.
I pretend to be happy
but my hurts just won’t leave.

So I laugh and I play
and I act like I’m fine
but I’m dying inside
and my life is not mine.

I’m dying inside.
I’m dying inside.
The shame that I feel
I know I must hide.

Confused and unworthy
I awake in dismay.
No hope or a future,
and no sunny day.

Nowhere to turn;
no one to turn to,
abandoned and lonely
is the best I can do.

I wish I had someone
who knew how I feel.
Who’d love me for me.
Who I knew was real.

I’m living inside.
I’m living inside.
For I met my Savior
and He’s on my side.

I learned to be happy
to sing and to dance.
I have Christian friends now
who gave me a chance.

To be real and transparent.
To pour out my heart.
To tell them I’m hurting.
To make a fresh start.

I laugh and I play now
and not just pretend.
I give all my hurts
to my Savior to mend.

I’m living inside.
I’m living inside.
The joy that I feel now
can not be denied.

I’m loved and accepted
for just who I am.
My Savior has washed me
in the blood of The Lamb.

I know that I’m worthy
but sometimes I’ll fall.
I’ll doubt and I’ll worry
and hurt from it all.

But I’ve always got Jesus
In Whom I abide.
And He is the reason
I’m living inside.