Tag Archives: Salvation

Book Review: Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart

Book Review:  Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart by J.D. Greear

The Good:

Clear as Whatever the Opposite of Mud.  I don’t think I have read a description of salvation that was so clear and simple.  Anyone that is confused or even over-confident about salvation, this is a book you could put in their hand with confidence.

Hi, My Name is Jeff, Here’s a Book.  Someone asked me about the book as I started reading it, and I told them after just two chapters I wanted to give the book to everyone I knew.  The content is that good and vital to a proper understanding of the Gospel.

Weren’t You Just Here?  I often would circle back to the very sentence I just read to make sure I got it right.  I don’t often do this in books, but with this one it was different.  The material was so significant, I wanted to make sure I truly comprehended what I was reading.

The Bad:

That’s Some Bold Sauce.  The author was not shy.  There were some bold declarations of theological terms, where he would define them.  Now I didn’t see any errors, but that would be a dangerous path for me to walk down.

The Grade:  A.  With a topic of salvation so central to the Christian faith, this book should be on your shelf to read and refer to on a regular basis.  Don’t let the title of the book put you off.  In fact it seems the author isn’t that big of a fan of the title either.  It’s a small book that packs a punch and will organize what you know, and allow you to be articulate in your witness and knowledge of the Gospel.

 

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God saved me, now what?

Before I get to the point…watch this incredible story of a Dad and his son.

You have experienced Amazing Grace if you have salvation.  And you have been given new eyes, a new focus, new meaning…a new life.  You have new sight.  You have been looking at the ground all this time…at this world hoping to find happiness, joy, and fulfillment.  Now, you can look up, and you can SEE.  You have been given new life.  From death to life.

And with these new eyes, How dare we look down on anyone else in the sense that we are any better – No, if anything we should have a better understanding of where they are – and where they could be!  It should break our heart – motivate us to share how they could be rescued, delivered from death to life.

To sum up…you have salvation, NOW WHAT?  Live a life as if you have been given a new life (because you have), and share this new way of living with those that have not experienced it.  LIVE & SHARE!

This is a clip from this sermon.  Clink on the link to hear more.

 

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How to Climb The Mountain of Righteousness

You are at the base of the tallest mountain in the world.  Let’s say no one has ever made it to the top due to treacherous slopes, dangerous animal habitats, and weather conditions where no human has ever survived.

Yet, with your can-do-it spirit, your Marmot coat, one of those unbreakable water bottles that doesn’t spill, some rope, and a packet of foot warmers…you charge the mountain. All around you, you see others making the same attempt, and all of them are failing miserable. But you still try, and try, and try again.

Oceans-Deep-Daily-Devotional-and-Meditation-on-Psalm-36-6Seems foolish, but this trip up the impossible mountain happens every day for so many people. This impossible mountain is called righteousness. As it says in Psalm 36:6, “Your righteousness is like the highest mountains”…that is, God’s righteousness. We live in a world that is trying to climb the impossible mountain of righteousness, and even though they keep failing to reach the top, they keep trying.

You will never reach the top on your own. But there is hope. Jesus is at the top of the mountain, reaching down with His hand. His hand offering forgiveness, new life, and eternal hope. But, in their hardness of heart, very few look up. Determined to climb the mountain on their own, they never look for help…they fail to see Jesus, their only hope for reaching the top.

Romans 3:23 tells us we all fall short of God’s glory. That is until we trust in Jesus. When we give our life to Jesus, He gives us His righteousness…He takes us right to the top of the mountain and our eternal journey begins.

Will you take His hand? He is reaching for you now. Stop trying to climb the mountain on your own and keep falling…grab His hand, and enjoy the view.

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More of this sermon can be heard here.

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3 Reasons People Do Not Find God

According to Acts 17:27, God is not far away. So how do people miss God? If God is sitting in front of everyone with open arms, why are so many turning the other way, or missing out on a relationship with the Creator. Here are 3 reasons why people miss out on “finding” God.serendipity

Fail to Look. Men, we are famous “give-up lookers” – we ask our wife – “Hun, where are the keys?” “In the diaper bag” – 2 seconds of looking – “They’re not there”…we get frustrated…BUT WE FAILED TO LOOK! Heard this happens, not like I have personal experience with this.

People – don’t fail to look for God. So many are looking in the wrong places for answers to life, and God is right there waiting. John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

There is only ONE way…and many are taking a wide turn so far from the truth – finding it hard to come back…but you are not as far as you think. No matter your past, no matter what you have done – one simple turn to God – and you can find forgiveness, eternity, and salvation.

Distractions. So many distractions in our lives from what really matters. Our enemy, Satan, has become a master and taking our eyes off of God. Let me give you an example. If you go out to lunch today, just look around – see how many families are actually talking to each other vs. their faces glowing by the screen of their smart phone/tablet. Our jobs, families, sports, current events…while they are not evil, can distract us to finding God.

Darkness. That phrase “feel their way” is the same description used in Homer’s classic “Odyssey”. It described the blind Cyclops who was groping to find Odysseus in the cave…knowing he was there but unable to grab him in the darkness.

The darkness…it is sin. Sin is the darkness…and because of that darkness, many find it hard to find the light. Sin is getting in the way of finding God. But you know what – God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for those sins – to wipe them away – and if you put your trust in Him today – He can forgive them and place them as far as the east is from the west.

Listen, God is not far away. Like that lost item we spoke of earlier – when you find it, you almost kick yourself, because it was there the whole time. 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” God is patiently waiting with open arms – for you to take place in his family. The adoption papers are all signed and approved – it’s up to the child to come running to the Father.

 

Disclaimer:  “Find” is in air quotes, because it is truly God that finds us.  But this is the words used in Acts 17, describing someone’s conversion experience.

Entire Sermon can be found here:  http://mbconline.org/images/files/sermons/2015_sermon-archive/MBCOnline.org%20Sermon%2008-30-2015.mp3

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Who Needs The Cross?

Let’s say your neighbor or friend told you to undergo chemotherapy…would you? Well, no, especially when you feel healthy, have had no symptoms, no lumps, and you have no evidence of a need for chemo.

Let me ask you this…does your attitude change when the doctor shows you the MRI, the test results, the blood levels…revealing you have cancer. Do you see a need for the chemotherapy now?

Listen, it is only when you see yourself as sick that you go to the doctor. You don’t go to the doctor to visit and chat about sports and the weather. It’s not worth the waiting room experience, is it? No – you go to the doctor when you’re sick. You undergo chemo when you have cancer.

Same thing when talking about with your soul – you will never go to the Savior Jesus Christ asking to be saved – if you don’t think there is anything to be saved from…you don’t feel like a sinner or think you are sinner…so why would you need to be forgiven?

Well today, I’m the doctor coming to you with the deadly results – you have a genetic defect…in fact, all of us are infected…and it is called sin…and the only cure is the cross. Jesus’ death on the cross. Who needs the cross? YOU DO! I DO! We all do!

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Taken from Sermon on 5/31/2015 – can be heard here

 

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Lessons Learned From Tragedy

Recently, tragedy struck our church. A young man died serving our country, and protecting our freedom. His parents lead music at our church, and are the kindest and most giving people. But my goal in writing today is not another rendition of “when bad things happen to good people”.  These are lessons I’ve learned specifically this week when life gets hard.wrongful-death-lawfuel

Importance of Church Family. This cannot be stressed enough. Honestly, I have no idea how people get through hard times without a loving and caring church community. Our church has acted like a family through this. While the immediately family is suffering, so is the church family, but it is the church family that can provide unlimited support through cards, calls, meals, prayers, and encouragement.

New Understanding of Grace. While God’s mercies are certainly new every morning, His grace is sufficient. These two phrases have come to mind on numerous occasions this week. These truths need to be held dear during hard times. Lean on God’s grace and mercy, and know that even in the tears of the night, you will wake up to theses blessed promises in the morning.

Power of Prayer. If you have ever experienced a tragedy like this in your personal life, you may have experienced the power of prayer. You can actually feel the prayers being lifted on your behalf. The burden is lighter because it is being carried by loving brothers and sisters of Christ.

Renewed Appreciation of Salvation. I John 5:13 says we can know for sure we have eternal life. In these times when a believer is taken from us tragically, your appreciation for salvation goes through the roof. Knowing for sure that someone trusted in Jesus Christ provides eternal comfort.

God’s Sovereignty. Even though you can never fully explain these events, tragedies, and trials, you can trust in God’s sovereignty. God has a plan, and there will be evidence in the events that follow. God often uses tragedy to build His kingdom, to change lives, to bring us closer, and to provide change. Look no further than when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to the cross…to build His Kingdom, to change lives eternally, to bring us to a saving relationship with the Father, and to provide not just a change in our lives, but a transformation.

It has been said that you trials are always a part of your. You are either leaving a trial, in a trial, or about to enter a trial. God has warned us this life would be full of trouble, but he does not leave us empty-handed. Our Heavenly Father will get us through, and this week was a reminder of the capable hands of the Lord.gods-hands

 

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Why a $325 Million Contract Does Not Equal Happiness

Giancarlo Stanton. If you are a sports fan, you know the name. He is the Miami Marlins star outfielder that just signed a 13 year, $325 million dollar contract. To put it into perspective, this baseball player will make more in one at bat than my current annual salary! Every hour, he makes nearly $3,000 or $70,000 per day. That’s insane, and still some writers say he is underpaid.

stanton_signing.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxImmediately following his contract signing, he goes out and parties the night away. His exploits included attending a night club and drinking from a $20,000 bottle of champagne. I blush at the price of a milkshake at Steak n’ Shake sometimes. I can’t imagine paying more for a drink than for my family’s minivan.

You are probably wondering my point. Athletes sign exorbitant contracts all the time. See Kevin Durant, or this list when you have a spare second. You will wonder where the money comes from, and what in the world they do with all that coin (I know I would be tempted to put it all in gold coins and swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck). Big deal (pardon the pun) right? In the end, it isn’t a big deal at all. In fact, I think of the many athletes that squander their money, only to find themselves selling their Super Bowl rings, going bankrupt, or putting their mansions on the market.enter-through-the-narrow-gate-001

What is missing? I can’t help but think of Giancarlo Stanton after he wakes up from a night of partying. Did the money really give him the satisfaction he was hoping for when he picked up the pen to sign that monster deal? (Read Ecclesiastes 5:10-20 for the answer to that question)….

For those that didn’t take the time to read Ecclesiastes, I’ll give you the short answer “No!”. Money can’t buy happiness. In fact, even the hip hop community makes the claim “Mo Money, Mo Problems”. But yet people still buy lottery tickets, flood to casinos on pay day, and hope for that next promotion. But what does money promise? Nothing that lasts.

Although in Matthew 7, we learn that few will take the narrow road to eternal happiness. Many will take the broad road filled with shallowness, futility, and corruptible gains. While there was nothing wrong with Stanton’s contract per se, I just wouldn’t waste your time being jealous of it. For those who know Christ, your reward is much greater.  If you don’t know Christ, I encourage you to sign your life over to him…it’s a contract with no fine print, but many built-in incentives, it’s not performance based, and it lasts forever.

Matthew 5:12a – Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven

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What is Your Life?

Take a look at James 4:14.  What a profound question in the heart of that verse…”What is Your Life?”.  James decides to answer the question with a reference to the brevity of life.  But the question got me thinking.  At the end of my life as my life flashes before my eyes, how will I answer that question?  Even in my 30’s, reviewing the slide show of my life in my mind brings numerous emotions to the surface such as joy, excitement, wonder, curiosity, fear, grief, triumph, sadness, bewilderment (junior high days), pride, thankfulness…you get the idea.

But as I keep going back to that daunting question, “What is Your Life?”, it is not easy finding a defining moment or answer for that question.  That is, until you take a deeper, more spiritual look at your life.  What determines a successful life is not necessarily the moments you had on earth, but what was done for eternity.  The little girl I sat with on the steps of a Backyard Bible Club and led to the Savior, the moments of reading God’s Word to my kids, or the acts for others that were purely motivated to simply share the love of Jesus…these are the moments that determine my life.

I encourage you to take a look at this video, and through the tears that will probably form in your eyes, think about your life in rewind.  When your eyes close in this life, will they open to an eternity in paradise?  The only way to know for sure is to ask God to forgive your sins, and put your eternal destiny in God’s hands, and trust Him with your life.  For more information go here, or watch this video, listen to my sermon from yesterday, or comment below.

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5th Quarter Video Ideas

It’s 5th Quarter season again.  Many of you are gearing up for that 5th Quarter Party, and hoping for a great turnout from the big game.  If you need some help planning, check out this blog post and this one too.  Maybe your speaker cancelled on you, you need a back-up speaker plan, or you simply wanted to show a video this year.  Here are some video ideas that may work:

 

Other Ideas: 

Feel free to comment and leave video ideas that you have used in the past.  Let’s help each other make these 5th Quarter parties a success…which means seeing students meet their Savior, Jesus Christ!

 

 

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Evangelism Events

Continuing our Evangelism blog series, our next stop is evangelism events.  You see, what is the point in training our students in evangelism, if we don’t allow them to use it.  As Andy Stanley says in his book, The Seven Checkpoints, “We waste our time and breath if we tell our teenagers that God has equipped each of them for ministry and then not provide opportunities for them to do just that.”

Listen, the sky is the limit here.  Events range from dodgeball to paintball, shopping to scavenger hunts, and formal dinners to eating contests.  If you are a youth worker reading this, you could probably rattle off 200 evangelistic events off the top of your head.  If not, next week, I’ll provide a list of event ideas for you.

This week is more about the preparation and purposeful evangelism of each event.  You know, there is a time and place to host an event for unity or to get to know students.  But for the most part, events need to have a purpose, and when it is evangelism, be purposeful in your planning.Evangelism

Here are 4 things to implement in your next evangelistic event:

  1. Hunting is not allowed.  Your evangelistic events should not be a hunting experience, where you shoot down visitors with the Gospel, and simply have a count by the end of the day.  NO!  Have a detailed plan of follow-up for these events.  Counselors available immediately after the speaker/gospel are vital to the students first steps in the family of God.  Registration cards for long-term follow-up and discipling are a must.
  2. No age limit.  Who said the speaker and workers had to be adults.  Get your students involved.  Let them be the speaker.  Let them plan the event and the details.  Give them opportunity to use their gifts for the sake of the Gospel!
  3. I need a witness.  Testimonies are powerful.  If you are not a speaker, or your student has trouble coming up with a message…give your story.  Your story of salvation is the second best story ever told.  The first is the Gospel.  Tell them both!
  4. Join the Party.  When someone gives their life to Jesus, join the party in heaven.  Don’t just raise your hands with heads bowed, have them stand up.  Cheer for what happened.  This may not work everywhere, but when someone accepts Christ, celebrate it whenever possible.

 

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