Everyone Who Calls on the Name of the Lord Shall Be Saved

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Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 9.23.26 PM.png“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved…” (Acts 2:21)

Did you catch the universality of the invitation to salvation?

EVERY ONE

  • Not just the saintly ones…EVERY ONE
  • Not just the white people, the black people, the yellow people, the red people, or purple people…EVERY ONE
  • Not just the straight ones, or the gay ones, or the we don’t mind either ones…EVERY ONE

The invitation to receive the gift of salvation is open to EVERY ONE.

AND…did you catch the absolute exclusivity of the invitation to salvation?

Everyone WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD will be saved.

  • Not everyone is saved by default. Only those WHO CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD will be saved.
  • You have to call on Jesus. You have to call on the name of the Lord.
  • Did you know every time you utter Jesus, you are literally saying “Save me”? The name Jesus, in the Greek is “Ihsus”, which is a derivative of the Hebrew “Yeshua”.
  • Both “Ihsus” and “Yeshua” literally means “Savior”, “Deliverer”, “Rescuer”
  • Every time you utter the name of Jesus, you are literally saying “Save me.”

In Acts 4:12 we are told, “Salvation is found in non one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to humankind by which we must be saved.”

The pathway to salvation is through Jesus and Jesus alone. It is absolutely exclusive. And yet, this pathway to salvation is open to all. Salvation is universally available to all who will call on the name of the Lord.

Churchianity vs Jesus Living

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It is quite possible to read the Bible, go to church, memorize chunks of the Bible by heart…do all these churchy things and completely miss out on God. The Pharisees were experts of all these churchy things and Jesus made it crystal clear that they completely missed the Kingdom of God.

None of these are bad things, of course. They are good things, but none of these are the goal of the Christian life. It’s quite possible to do all of these things and miss Jesus completely. The goal is Jesus. All these things point to Jesus.

One of the most amazing things about this Jesus thing is that when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, this Jesus, this Savior, Lord, King of kings, Lord of lords, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, this Jesus promises to be a real presence in our lives.

What this means is that every time we open up the Bible to read, every time we open our hearts to pray, every time we worship, Jesus is fully present. It’s as if, when I was reading the Bible and journaling earlier today at Starbucks, Jesus was sitting in the chair in front of me!

Imagine that! The living Christ present with me, hanging out with me.

That’s exactly what Jesus promises. Jesus is present to Christ-followers through his Holy Spirit!

So, go ahead! Talk to him! Let him know how much you love him and are thankful to him. Really, do it. The next time you read the Bible, pray, or worship, do it as if Jesus is right there with you….because he is!

Why Church is Full of Crap…and That’s Ok

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I know…I can smell it from here too.

That’s what cow-stalls were created for: cows. And because there are real, living, eating, and you know…the other thing that happens after we eat…cows, stalls need to be regularly cleaned and taken care.

Proverbs 14:4 says, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of the ox come abundant harvest.”

If you want a clean, non-crappy, sanitized manger don’t put cows in it. You might have a clean manger, but if you’re a farmer, you’re not going to have much of a harvest. A clean manger but no power, no harvest.

The church exists for people. And wherever there are people, there’s crap because every single person comes with their scars, their past, their demons, their baggage, theirs struggles and their sin. But church and ministry exists for people. In fact the signs and manifestations of God changing people are people! And the more people there are, there’s bound to be more crap.

And that’s good.

  • Dealing with crap is a good thing! There are people there, and God is at work
  • Managing well, responding with grace and integrity to crap…that’s what Godly leadership is

So, lead well. The church is full of crap…and that’s ok. I didn’t say it was pleasant. Just look at that picture. You know that place stinks.

But I would much rather that have than then a clean, sanitized, life-less, empty manger.

How to Respond to Evil by MLK Jr

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While evil men plot, good men must plan.

When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind.

When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. 

Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.

Martin Luther King Jr

Christianity – Belief? a Way of Life?

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Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 2.53.33 PM.pngWhat do Christians believe?

If we were to ask folks on the street, we would get quite a few answers:

  • Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God
  • Christians believe Jesus rose again from the dead
  • Christians believe being gay is sin

If we were to ask the same folks, “How do Christians live?”

……….silence……….

Christians have not shown the world a better way to live because Christians live pretty like everyone else.

When Christians cannot show a different way of living, our beliefs have very little credibility.

How to Break Free From the Dis-Ease that Has Become the Norm

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Free from guilt and shame. Joy-filled, grace-filled. Grateful. Fully alive.

Sadly, most of us have no idea what these words mean.

We all know that we once knew how it felt to live that way…just look at any child.

They haven’t learned how to cope with guilt and shame…yet.

We have coped with guilt and shame for so long, coping, medicating, ignoring, quieting, covering our guilt and shame has become the new norm…in our “growing up” we have grown out of grace and forgotten what it’s like to be free…free from guilt…free from shame.

So, today, millions live with emotional pain, physical weariness because of our alienation from God. The dis-ease has become the new norm.

But in our quiet moments…in those moments when we have the opportunity to quiet our souls…in those moments when we can free ourselves from the noise and the distractions we’ve placed in our lives to cover our guilt and shame…in our quiet moments, we remember…we remember the life we are meant to live…the life we long for…

Free from guilt and shame. Joy-filled, grace-filled. Grateful. Fully alive.

Yet, the greatest shame is that the guilt-free, shame-free life is available to all.

That’s the way God intends for all of us to live.

How can we live the life we were meant to live?

“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5)

The word “acknowledge” means to “make known,” “to declare,” “to confess.”

How can we live the life we were meant to live?

  1. Confess your sins to God
  2. Receive his forgiveness

Are you ready to experience what it means to be fully alive once again? Ready to be done with guilt and shame?

Free from guilt and shame. Joy-filled, grace-filled. Grateful. Fully alive.

God is waiting to hear and forgive your sins…

 

 

Why Dying Organizations Die

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An organization recognizes that the way they are currently running their business is not working. They recognize that changes need to be made.

The board of the organization asks some people from the board to do the hard and time consuming work of exploring, studying, and examining different possible ways forward.

A small group of people are tasked with finding new ways forward. They are even given an apt name for their work – Task Force.

The people on this task force diligently study, meet, discuss, explore.

  • Dozens of conversations with other like organizations and how they do business.
  • Dozens of conversations with other like organizations who are experimenting with new ways of doing business.
  • Dozens of meetings to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the different options.
  • Hundreds of combined hours of discussing the merits of the different approaches and drafting a way forward to present to the board.

After hundreds of combined hours of service from the Task Force, the report and recommendations are presented to the board.

The board, seeing that the recommendations call for changes (that is what they asked for), decide they don’t like the changes.

  • We’ve never done things this way before.
  • We’ve always had a full-time executive.
  • We’ve never shared staff before.

And in a matter of minutes worth of discussion by the board, the board rejects the recommendations and decides to continue doing business the way they’ve always done business.

Hmm.

  • Hundreds of hours of work.
  • Dozens of face to face meetings.
  • Hundreds hours of conversations.

Mind you, changes that are necessary because the way the organization currently does business is no longer working.

Mind you, changes that were asked by the board because they recognized changes were necessary.

All dismissed within a few minutes of discussion by the board that asked them to do the work to begin with.

Now substitute the word “Board” with “Presbytery.”

Yup.