Baptism


I was rightly convinced decades ago. Reverence for Jesus, the fear of God, (in the book of acts, in the first century) was not at all like Christianity today. The people were not baptized as a beginning of their Christian walk. They were baptized because they were "walking".

They were not baptized because they believed the message of the gospel. They were baptized as a sign and seal that they were living the Gospel.

How does that compare to what you have witnessed?

From God,s Perspective


Divide a second into the smallest possible pieces. Less than one of those segments is the entire life of any man in the fullness of eternity. The blink of an eye.

(How do I put this thought into words so that I won't offend anyone, yet share an immense perspective? But if people want to be offended they'll find some reason.)

The salvation of humanity is important enough for God to send his beautiful Son to be crucified by His people, yet on their behalf. And not just they, but any who will believe.

How many of us, and how often, have we either bottled up or stood directly in the way of the Gospel?

We say we love him. And in many ways that's absolutely true. But how often have we seen the importance of the Gospel from God's perspective?

We've heard the story: God sent His only Son that He may be the propitiation for our sins. From the moment God placed His Son's soul in Mary, to the very last breath He took, His life among us was The Supreme Sacrifice.

No love of Man can compare.

What is the will of God?

Spiritual Dynamics


A politician sat down with his advisors, that they might conspire how to get him reelected next year.  His record was not stellar.  By a considerable margin, he might well lose the next election.

They discussed six or seven alternatives, but none of them were rated very high in probability.  But the last option rang like a new brass church bell.

“If you are reelected”, one of them said.  “You could easily pocket 7 million over the next four years.”   The politicians eyes smiled, but in his soul the word “if” stood out largely.  He turned to look at Fred.  “What’s your point Fred?”

Fred began.  “It takes money to make money Stan.  How would you like to get 7 million for a 10 percent investment?”   He captured Stan’s imagination like a magnet to iron filings.  “Why don’t you make a conspicuous donation to father Briers little Church?   He’s got a tiny little place and a lot of land to build on.  We will make sure it’s leaked to the press that you are a godly man, and can be trusted.  I guarantee it’ll pop your numbers over the top.”

Stan fell in love with the idea.  The next day Stan and six of his Advisors showed up at the little Catholic Church.  After a bit of small talk, Stan handed father Brier a check for $725,000.

Father Brier accepted the check with great joy.  And Stan’s advisors made promises to help advertise the new building.  Soon father Briers Church would be full of people! 

The priest was overjoyed.  The building was completed long before election time.  The people floated in, as promised.  Needless to say, the income of the Church rose dramatically, and Stan got reelected.

The politician had done what politicians do; they often use whatever means is necessary to secure their position.  But the priest had done something he should never have done.  I’m not referring to accepting the money.

The priest considered his building as the Church.  And from that misconception everything else fell flat. 

A man can own a building.  A man can gain a title.  A man can play politics with the things that are in his hand.  But no one can own the Church.  The Church belongs to Jesus, the Christ of God.

No building, no title, and no politics, are able to wrench it out of the Lord’s hands.  Forgetting that the word church refers to “the called out ones”, can be a grave mistake.

The priest may be happy today.  But he has missed the fluid dynamic of the Holy Spirit’s power.  Stop up the flow of a river, and it will eventually turn putrid.

By His Grace

Cut to the Chase


When you go to church on Sunday morning, will you be prepared?  Or will you go with only a partial clue as to why you’re there?

Wishing is useless.  But I wish that in my forties I had known what I know now.  I had all the right knowledge.  I said all the right things.  And everybody thought I really understood.

So no one took me aside, that they might mentor me.  No one challenged my life.  No one asked me to prove the things I was saying.  So I fell flat on my face and squandered a beautiful gift from God.

I will not blame anyone.  They couldn’t possibly have known how shallow my faith really was.  And frankly, out of the hundreds of people I knew, only two had the things I have now.

When you go to church on Sunday, will you be prepared?  Will you go there to worship the Most High God with everything you have?  Or will you worship him with everything he is willing to give?

There is a statement I wish someone had said to me.  “When you worship the Lord, try to percieve the first worship session in heaven.  Then worship the Lord as if you were not here.”

We are so caught up in the things of this world.  We are so caught up in the things called “Church”.  Mistakenly, we think that if we have banded together with men in the name of Jesus, we have fulfilled a proper worship of the Most High God.

There is so much more I could say about this.  But I’ll bet you have many things to say in regard to this also.  And I have learned that it is so much better when we understand these things personally. 

But I will give this a shove in the proper direction.  What we are looking for is the full power of God in a Christian.  Not just the proper words, knowledge, or timely arrival in the proper place

It might be good to ask someone you can trust, to sit you down and grill you about Christianity.  Submit to all their questioning.  Let them either prove what you really have, or show you plainly what you lack.

It doesn’t matter to me how you respond to these things.  Who am I to order anyone around.  But what you stand to lose is a pittance.  There is no profit at all in being incomplete.  What you stand to gain is immeasurable.  What fully profitable things might be accomplished if you fully belong to God?

You could be like me, and wait until you’re 60 to get a partial clue.  Assuming God will be merciful and let you live that long.  Or you could just cut to the chase today.  What could you be in Christ if you gave everything you had to find out?

I thought it might be good to add the following.  Instead of looking for only one man to grill you about your Christian life, perhaps you want to look for a team of three. 

And who knows, in the process of questioning the three may be grilling themselves.  Certainly a profitable circumstance for all.

Humility is the target.  Profitability to Jesus is the cash flow.

By His Grace

Marginal Christianity 101


Have you settled for social Christianity?  Do you go to church like a good little boy, because it’s what we’re supposed to do? 

It is socially acceptable to have a painting of Jesus on a wall in your house.  It’s even okay to have a worn out looking Bible on the coffee table.  And if somebody has an emergency it’s okay to pray some kind of helpless prayer.

All the while such people use the Holy Lord’s name in vain.  They keep what they know about the Gospel to themselves.  You may occasionally find them in a Christian book store.  But you’re not likely to find them living a holy life.

Is this what you’ve become?  Is that what Christianity means to you?

I’m not going to browbeat you.  And I didn’t write this to make you feel bad.  But I want to help you examine that kind of Christianity.

Why would anyone be satisfied with some small settlement for eternity, when he could have been a son of God?  Why would anyone do something at the marginal levels, when they have the promise of the Holy One to help them aspire to greatness in the kingdom of God?

You do realize, don’t you, that we’re talking about eternity here.  At 100 billion billion years, you would still be considered a child.  That’s a long time to live with a regret.  For your sake, I’m speaking like a man, in that there might be what can be called marginal Christianity.

Personally I don’t believe there is such a thing as marginal Christianity.  Because I don’t recall a place in the Bible where God says that’s okay.

Instead, I find list after list of description belonging to those who do not receive eternal life.  So that begs this question, why would any sane person want to play games with eternity?

I know what the problems are my friend.  If you start talking about God you lose friends, and fast.  You’ll be forced to give up a lot of pleasures.  You will likely have difficulty with your spouse.  If you have teenagers, they are likely to think you have gone insane.  You may lose your job.  Even your many friends at church may turn their face when they see you coming, just like you do to God’s people now.

But if you want marginal Christianity, have at it.  What am I going to do, tie you to a chair and beat you with a rubber hose?  It’s entirely your choice, isn’t it?

But have you considered what’s at stake?  You may lose everything on this earth.  But you gain an unspeakable joy forever.  You may be driven to the place where you do not have one single friend.  But for eternity you will have a family who will never desert you or accuse you of any wrong.

You will suffer anguish over the things you have done.  That’s what repentance provokes.  That means you lose a lot of sleep.  But isn’t that why you have seared your conscience with a hot iron?   You have cauterized your shameful history, lest it bleed out into your mind.  For you can’t put up with any guilty thoughts.

You don’t look back at the bad things you’ve done, because you can’t take the shame of it.  But if you don’t join with Jesus, God will show you these things himself.  And when he does that, there will be no opportunity for you to make repairs.  And at that point there is no more offer of forgiveness.

But you’re welcome to keep your marginal Christianity.  You will not do harm to eternity if you are not there.  No one in the kingdom of heaven will talk bad about you.  My friend, they won’t even remember your name.

The people who are disobedient to the Gospel, do not have eternal life.  But you can keep your marginal Christianity, while so many strive with all they have to enter in.  Just where did you expect to fit in?

By His Grace

To What End?


Why do you protect your family?  Why do you work so hard to earn a living?  Why do you go to church?  Why do you read the Bible?  Why do you study devotions?  Why do you pray?  Why do you speak the name of Christ?

Are all these things only for show?  Or are they so that you can become as devoted to the Living God’s Christ as are the Holy Angels?

When you have done these things for years, have they produced a holy man?  Or have you found yourself only becoming a socially acceptable Christian? 

What is the fullness that God desires in all his people?  What does that look like?  Can you point to someone and say, “That is it”?  Can anyone point to you and say the same thing?

It is like men to pursue a dream, only to find a place where they are comfortable.  What about death to all the things in this world?  Does that sound comfortable to you?  What about a beating by the hands of men because you have spoken the Gospel in their presence?  How many friends have abandoned you because you love God?  What about a burning willingness to obey God’s command, regardless the outcome?  Does that apply to you?

I ask this many questions, because you are the only one who can answer them for yourself.  I do not command anyone to do anything.  But I have an obligation to ask my brothers these things.  And they distinctly apply to me also.  And why would anyone not ask his brother at these things?

Who will shake the world for Christ?  Will it be you?  Who will cower in a corner, amassing all kinds of peace and luxury.  Will that be you?

By His Grace