Persistent Faith


In the story found in Mark 2:1-12 we are given a snapshot of the type of faith that is required of us. Most of us have heard this story of the four men lowering their paralyzed friend down through a roof to the feet of Jesus. It is easy to glaze over this story and continue reading without stopping to put yourself in their sandals, carrying their friend on a bed.

The first item I think of is having the option to push through the crowd to Jesus or walking up the stairway along the side of the house to the roof. That crowd must have thick as mud, everyone must have forgotten to wear deodorant that day if the four men found the way up the stairs easier.

The second obstacle is the roof. Roofs in first century Israel were flat so that the owners could relax on the roof during the day and evening if they wanted. They were built by laying hardened clay slabs on wooden beams that ran across the expanse of the house. Then once the slabs were in place the builder would pour and smooth wet clay onto of the slabs to act as a sealer against the weather (rain, snow, wind, etc).
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Jesus Did not Come in a UFO – Who is Christmas part 2


Last week I wrote about how human Christ was and how GOD He was and is. He had a family, brothers who mocked him, a sense of humor, became frustrated, ate, slept, cried, sweat, etc. He was human through and through during His time here on earth. How did he get here? How did He leave? Through these two questions one will discover just how much He was like you and I and just how much He is the GOD of you and I.

Not an Alien Invasion

Read Luke 1:26-38. Gabriel doesn’t tell Mary to look for a rope ladder to drop down from a UFO (this would not be a method our Humble Savior would have used), or that a stork is going to bring her a child since she is a virgin. No. He does the opposite. He says that she is going to give birth to Son. Give birth. Which meant that she would carry to term, as the saying goes, and a child would be born from her. She then asks a great question, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (v. 34). Gabriel’s answer:  “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” (v. 35). Wow. Christ’s literal father, through conception, is God. “Son of God” is not just a title that sounds cool, or does not apply just because the genealogy of Christ goes back to God (Luke 3:38). No, His literal father IS God. Crazy. So then in Chapter 2:1-7 Jesus is born. Merry Christmas, and Happy Birthday, Jesus. Human through and through. Human in His birth, but also God in His birth.

He Does Not Disintegrate

So after His birth He lives a life just like you and I. Goes through the fun years as a child, probably spending time with his earthly father, Joseph, in his wood shop, and even had to go through those awkward years as a teenager. He went through his twenties and got his ministry here on earth started at age 30. Three years later he is hanging on a cross.

As humans, our bodies can only endure so much before it is over. As a human, Jesus was only physically able to endure so much torture before he, too, died (Luke 23:46), and was buried (Luke 23:50-56). He is so human in his death that he actually dies. And once he is dead his body hangs limp on that cross until it is removed. Then when it was removed it was buried. He did not disappear once dead, or disintegrate off of the cross. Angels didn’t come down and grab him from the cross, or anything awesome like that. He died, like I will and like you will. And then was buried.

He was fully human in his birth from a woman, in his life as a child, teenager, and twenty-something, and ultimately, He was fully human in his death.

Only God can Beat Death

Three days after being placed in that tomb Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and a few other women go to the tomb to finish preparing His body. Once they get there they are met with the stone rolled away and Jesus’ body missing. Then to make it even more crazy, two men, in “dazzling apparel” (Luke 24:4 – A.K.A. angles) ask them why they would be so crazy to look for the living among the dead (Luke 24:5-8).

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”

He is risen. He is risen, indeed. Amen.

He died like we will but could not possibly stay dead. He is God. God does not die. God doesn’t have a beginning so how could He have an end? In verse 51 He is “carried up” into heaven and leaves the earth with the promise that He will return; a return that we eagerly await!

Give Him Your Life

This Saturday is the Birthday of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He did not die, so he is still living. Since, then, that is the case, shouldn’t we all give him a gift? He has given us the gift of salvation, a free gift to all who will receive it and make Him Lord of their life, so shouldn’t we return the favor? Maybe you are not a Christian. Maybe you have never given your life to Christ. Do that this Christmas. He died for you. Loves you no matter what you have done or how terrible you think you are. He wants to save you from eternal death and give you eternal life.

If you have already given Him your life, what’s next? Give Him more. Give him your time, your talents, and your money. Live your life entirely for Him and constantly worship and glorify Him through your actions, words, and thoughts. This is the best gift you can give Him for His Birthday this Christmas.

Who is Christmas? – Part 1


Ah, Christmas is here. Well, the actual day is not but the season sure is. Ever since Black Friday it seems that traffic has been worse and stores have been incredibly crowded. ‘Tis the season, right? So why all of this shopping, why all the lights and obnoxious blow up things in your neighbor’s front yard, why are we singing Christmas songs in church, why is everything red and green? Who started all of this?

Who is Christmas - Part 1 "The Middle of the Story"This time of year is wonderful. For me it brings memories of reading Christmas stories while sitting on the couch in my parents family room. I can remember hearing the cold wind blowing outside and have fond memories of playing in the snow. Those were the days. Since then I have become smarter and stay inside when it snows outside. Nonetheless, this is a happy time of year filled with warm memories.

But why?

Well, the short answer, Jesus. Such a sunday school answer but it is so true. The reason for all of this hub-bub is Jesus. More accurately it is God coming to earth in human form (don’t just glaze over that…think about it). So who was Jesus that he has this day designated to himself thousands of years after he walked on our dusty planet?

Jesus was Human.

Flesh and bones. He had an actual stomach, heart, two kidneys, a brain, eyes, ears, etc. He had what we have, a human body. He had a family, just like you and I. His siblings mocked him (John 7:1-5), and at one point in his time on earth his family even thought he was going a little crazy in the head (Mark 3:20). Sound familiar? He also had a great sense of humor (look at Mark 6:45-51 and John 8:1-11), which is refreshing to see, and became frustrated one time or another (John 9:17-19). I have a sense of humor, become frustrated, have a family, my brother mocks me every once in a while (and I him), and I’m sure my family has scratched their heads while thinking of me a few times. What is great about all of this, Jesus had this too! He was human through and through. (More examples you can relate to: he became hungry (Matt. 4:2), slept (Luke 8:23), cried (John 11:35), and sweat (Luke 22:44)).

Jesus was God.

There is so much to that statement that your head just might implode if you think about it too long. So don’t. We can read it in the Bible and believe it, but to wrap out heads around it will take more than a simple reading of scripture. But, even though it is hard for our minds to comprehend how a human could also be God, it is true (take a look at John 1:1 and John 1:14). And what is great about Jesus is that he said so. One of my favorite statements Jesus made about his deity is found in John 8:58: “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (italics and bold text added, ESV). Abraham is past tense, Jesus is present tense. I love that.

Again, there is so much to unpack with the humanity of Christ and his deity, but this introduction should be enough to remind you of why we celebrate Christmas and who is behind it. And his time on earth is just the middle of the story, just scratches the surface at how complex He is and was. Part 2 – “The Beginning and the End and the Beginning” will show you exactly HOW human he was and HOW God he was and is today.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments? Converse below in the comments.

Moses, the Old Testament Jesus


Exodus 32:7-14 (New King James Version)

Calf 7 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go, get down! For your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have corrupted themselves. 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’” 9 And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! 10 Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.”
11 Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: “LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from this harm to Your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”[a] 14 So the LORD relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.

The more I read about the Israelites, the more I see me and everyone else I know.  We have been blessed by God and we still turn our backs on him and worship other things; idols.  This is something that I drilled into the youth group kids last year: anything that distracts you from the presence of God is an idol.  It does not have to be a golden calf or a wooden man statue from a tribe in Africa, it can be another person, a class at school, a dream to do something, a movie, cd, an ipod (technology)…you get the point.  Even after God, the God of the universe, brought them out of Egypt, the Israelites couldn’t worship Him alone at all times!  They doubted Him so many times that they just got to the point where they needed something else to worship. 

God sees this and calls them what they are: “still-necked people” (v. 9).  God’s wrath is burning and seems to get to the boiling point until Moses intervenes on behalf of the Israelites.  He pleads with the Lord not to harm His people!  In this light, Moses is to the Israelites what Jesus (and His blood on the cross) is to us.  Moses continually had to plead for mercy on the Israelites as they continued to sin, just as Jesus’ blood does for us! His death and resurrection on our behalf protect us from what we deserve: the wrath of God.

Be thankful for what Jesus did. His crucifixion has been so watered down that I do not believe that it has the affect that it should.  Same goes for his resurrection!  He died, and three days later came back to life…and then he rose up into the sky and joined His father in Heaven.  Think about that and realize that it actually happened! 

Just as we deserve the wrath of God, He deserves our devotion and worship.  GIVE IT TO HIM! Spend time with Him on a daily basis and trust in Him always!

Faith To Move Mountains, To Change Your Life


grand-teton-mountains.jpgMatthew 21:18-22 (New International Version)

The Fig Tree Withers

18Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. 20When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.

21Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Is God trying to get me to understand this point, or what? I feel like in every passage i read, i see the importance of faith. Faith that does not waver, faith that does not doubt. “If you believe…” That’s the key. I believe that God is going to provide, that he is going to open the right doors and close the wrong ones. I believe that if i spend time with Him daily and read His Word that my life will be changed! I believe that Christ died for me and my sins and that He has saved a place for me with Him in Heaven.

I am reminded of a Grits song titled “[what do you] Believe”. That is a good question to ask yourself every once and a while.

So, what do you believe?