Thursday, August 21, 2008

What's it worth?

Mark 8:36:
"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?"
~ Jesus

Today our answers could be numerous...
  • fame/popularity
  • money
  • status
  • respect
  • title
  • power
  • pleasure (sexual and otherwise)
  • leisure
  • health
  • prosperity
  • recognition
  • control
  • material excesses (i.e. MORE STUFF)
These all seem like easy answers... and, as the gifts of the world go... this is the best it can offer. In the end... it all burns. None of this lasts.

Psalm 103:15-16 "As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more."

We can talk about material excesses but what about general material comforts of life... (health, food, shelter...) Can we offer our souls in exchange for them and still violate what Jesus is telling His listeners?

Esau sold his God-given birthright and blessing as the first-born son of Isaac for a bowl of stew because he was hungry... Jacob played a role in obtaining it underhandedly but Esau sold it! (Gen 25:31-33)

Job's friends and even his own wife encouraged him, because of the terrible tragedies to his family and his own body, to curse God! (Job 2)

It is easy for me to look hard at the excesses and say, "man... I'm glad I'm not wrapped up in that! I am glad I don't need to have all the newest stuff or fastest car, or power or prestige or title..."

And yet, I sometimes live my life AS IF God owes me at least the basics... is it not the same prideful, arrogant, belligerent, entitled heart?

The verse from Mark 8 from the beginning of this post, read in context, by the power of the Holy Spirit brings conviction to my heart and I am grateful for the Lord's kindness that leads to repentance.

Mar 8:34-36 "And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?'"

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Hi Friends -

I'd like to draw your attention to two blogs. One is my friend and pastor Jim. His blog (Thinking Christianly) takes current issues and approaches them from a Biblical perspective. This particular one references China and its history of pantheism. You can find that one here:


The other is the blog of another friend, Caleb, who is acually posting from a 3rd party blog about praying for the people of China. I was challenged deeply and need to credit those who brought it to my attention so here is a link to the blog from Abraham Piper via Caleb (who has a blog called Thorns)

Abraham Piper via "Thorns" (Caleb D.)



Friday, August 8, 2008

PRISM - August 3rd - Message Notes

I thought I would post my notes here from last Sunday's message at PRISM. I would love your feedback! Thanks!


Matthew 28:16-20

16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him [Jesus] they worshipped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

A few things Jesus IS saying to those who call themselves “Christians”; His followers… and a few things Jesus IS NOT saying in this passage:

1 – We are called to sow the seeds of the Gospel broadly but not carelessly.

Matthew 13 – Parable of the sower


Some of the seed falls on the road, some on hard ground, some among weeds. But the threat of some of the seed falling in bad places doesn’t keep the sower from sowing the seed.

Not Carelessly

There is a potential pitfall in an approach that throws out a simple Gospel and people might even respond… but they don’t become disciples, not because the message is insufficient but because the sower didn’t tend the seed that was growing or entrust it to another to help it grow. And we do an injustice to the Gospel and the seedling (new convert) by not doing the job with care.

2 - We are called to a simple Gospel but not a simplistic gospel


1 Tim 1:13 – “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of which I am the worst.” It is a foolish and wonderful thing that Jesus’ death and resurrection is available to save my soul and bring me into communion with a Perfect and Holy God… But Jesus says, “teaching them to observe/obey everything that I have commanded you.” The depth and breadth of Jesus’ teaching is ESSENTIAL to one who would follow Jesus and become a disciple.


I pray a prayer or fill out a card and I am “IN” without true regard for the fullness of Jesus’ Gospel and words. It is not a free ticket… it is life transformation! Jesus Changes everything.

** a simplistic view of the Gospel feeds inaccurate understanding of salvation. I am a firm believer in the “Preservation of the saints” that means that once someone is truly saved… it is irrevocable! (Romans 8) The main argument is that someone can’t just sign their name on a card and then live life however they want… and I would agree with that statement 100% Salvation is simple in that the Gospel is simple and straightforward, and at the same time Salvation is HUGE because Jesus re-orders EVERYTHING about life.

3 – We are called to make them disciples of Jesus not disciples of anything else


Jesus was the PRIME example of caring for another’s needs (Matthew 9:9-13) But, he saw their true need… (they were sick) and offered the solution… himself; in the midst of meeting their need.

Anything else

In caring for other’s needs we need to be careful to NOT make people disciples of comfort, or food, or shelter, or clean water, or medical care. To be MOST faithful to the Gospel we need to keep Jesus at the center.

**as a side note we see in Acts and in the history of the Church that the good works of caring for the poor and the helping of widows and orphans follows right behind the proclamation of the Gospel and the beginnings and growth of Christ’s Church as it is planted and as it multiplies.

4 – We are called and sent in the AUTHORITY of the risen and exalted Christ

“it was an unlikely thing that they should persuade people to become the disciples of a crucified Jesus…” but a RISEN Jesus… entirely different!

This is the bookend to the whole commission: He starts with, “All Authority” and ends with, “and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

It might go without saying, but I will say it,; the power of the Gospel, life change, wholeness, redemption is Inextricably bound to the death of Jesus on a cross, bearing our sin and shame and rising victoriously to put a finish to death and hell.

This generation is very friendly with the picture of Jesus in the gospels… the incarnate Jesus who hung out with sinners and prostitutes… and that is a beautiful picture of how to pattern our lives… but it must be in the power and authority of the risen Jesus who, right now, sits exalted in heaven and bears the scars on his hands and feet and will come, as Revelation describes, with fire in his eyes, a sword in his mouth, and a tattoo on his leg that says, “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”

We are called offered, by this risen Jesus, this great gospel and to those who receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gives the right to become children of God.”