Christmas is one of those holidays that I can take or leave. Perhaps it’s because of the way that we have trivialized what the holiday represents. We hang stockings, decorate trees, arrange manger scenes, and give gifts. Of course no one is fooled, it’s the gift giving and receiving that has become the real focus of Christmas. We love to get stuff. And we get joy, happiness, and a lot of squishy good feelings when our loved ones rip off the wrapping to expose our expressions of love. That’s a form of “getting” too. Nothing wrong with that, in and of itself; but we are fooling ourselves if we think that benign gift giving and receiving is really representative of what God gave man in Jesus Christ. God’s great gift to man, in point of fact, didn’t happen on that first Christmas. It happened on Good Friday when Jesus was violently crucified for our sins. Had the crucifixion never happened, and the resurrection, then Christmas would be meaningless. Continue reading
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Years ago, when we lived in Mongolia, I heard the story of a Mongolian man who was working on a business deal. He flew to Europe where he was to close the deal. When meeting with his associate he asked for some privacy in another room so that he might share with his owner the details of the deal and get a decision. After being alone for a while he returned and the two came to an agreement; the deal was done. When asked what he was doing in the room and how he talked with his owner since he didn’t have a phone with him, the Mongolian believer told him that Jesus was his Owner and he needed to pray before making a decision.
Recently, I ran across a similar story about the JESUS Film. Continue reading
What are you looking for in a religion? By involving yourself in religious belief or an organization, what do you hope to gain?
My experience with people from all over the world has revealed to me a single truth: People choose a religion for what they can get out of it. Very rarely do people take up a religious view simply because they want to know the truth about their existence or about the supernatural (though there are exceptions). So let me give you a brief inter-faith journey on what religion offers you. No matter what religion or spiritual view you may take up, all of them offer some things in common. Continue reading
This morning I received a wonderful email from K, a missionary living in [COUNTRY WITHHELD]. She wanted to let me know about how the video series, Walking With Jesus (Africa) has impacted her ministry.
In case you didn’t know, Walking With Jesus (Africa) is a 5-part video series about an African missionary who works to disciple a tribal chief and members of his tribe. The series was produced by the Jesus Film Project.
From the first moment I saw the series I was hooked! You can sample it online at http://bit.ly/1qefYa9. It is truly one of the most remarkable ministry video series I have ever seen.
Here’s what K wrote to me about Walking With Jesus (Africa): Continue reading
A new claim about a married Jesus with kids is making its way around the news and blogosphere. I’ve written about this before. Was Jesus married? DId Jesus have kids? Let’s avoid the speculation and get right to the evidence from the scriptures. In short, the answer is a resounding, “no.” Here’s why.
There is no biblical evidence for a married Jesus. Whether from the Gospels or the writings of the Apostles, the New Testament is not only silent on this, it is quite a bit more than simply silent. Allow me to explain. I’ll provide six reasons from the scriptures why I think a married Jesus is not a reasonable ascertain.
First, the Apostle Paul, writing in I Corinthians 9:5 was defending his ministry and stated as part of his case, the following: “Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?”
Notice that Paul defends the right of marriage by using the other Apostles and the brothers of Jesus as his example. It seems unreasonable that Paul would not mention Jesus being married as his defense if, in fact, Jesus had actually been married. Paul referred many times to Jesus as the model of his Gospel and life. Why then no mention of a married Jesus to justify marriage for the Apostles? Continue reading
I recently had a sobering experience. As part of my role with JESUS Film Project I was tasked to select editing points for the creation of a version of JESUS for commercial television. JESUS has not been seen on commercial television in the US for more than 15 years, in fact, much longer than that. That’s a tragedy since no film has changed more lives or introduced more people to Christ than JESUS. More than 200 million people have professed faith in Christ because of JESUS.
My challenge last week was to choose deletions and edits in the film to get it down from just over two hours to just under 90 minutes. Think about that for a moment. If you have to choose something to leave out of the story about Jesus, what will you choose? My challenge was to choose things that were critical to tell the story and remove things that though important, didn’t necessarily damage the story of Jesus through their removal.
There were some hard choices to make. Continue reading
I was on my way home to Orlando. I left Tucson in the morning to catch a flight to Las Vegas where I would board my connecting flight to Orlando. I sat in my middle seat, my insides trembling. I’ve never been a good flyer. For as long as I can remember, flying has always been scary to me. Only when a flight is completely smooth do my nerves calm down—but I’m always waiting for the next bump. The Tucson to Vegas flight was only an hour, but to me it was an hour of terror. I became so panicked that I turned to my wife sitting next to me and said, “I’m not getting on the next plane. I don’t care how much it costs, we’re renting a car and driving home.” My poor wife, seeing the condition I was in, readily agreed. Continue reading
Do you think of Heaven as a perfect place? What does it mean for a place to be perfect? Many Christians think that Eden was a perfect place because it was a place without sin. Yet, will it surprise you to learn that Eden was not a perfect place? And what about Heaven? What is meant when we think of Heaven as a perfect place? To understand the idea of perfection as the Bible seems to present it, we must first look at the character and nature of God.
Nothing can be added to God’s nature to improve upon himself. We cannot add to his complexity or simplicity or his moral attributes or his power. Everything about God and God’s nature is already perfect without any addition. With God, there is no room for improvement.
Many times people think that the Garden Of Eden was a perfect place. We think of perfection as having no flaw or imperfections or any need for improvement. But the Garden Of Eden did not fit such a definition. The Garden Of Eden was a good place, though not a perfect place. And rather than offering just a challenge to our theology, I think this notion of the Garden Of Eden not being perfect is actually a comfort and creates in me some anticipation for what the Lord has in store for us in Heaven (which is also not perfect).
Now, before you stone me, drop your rocks for a minute while I explain. Continue reading