gospel

You Are My Credentials

“You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.” – 2 Corinthians 3:2 The Apostle Paul was once asked, “What are your credentials?” Paul was appointed by God to found the hugely successful Church of Corinth. Corinth was a port city that incorporated beauty, wealth, and was multicultural. Within the culture of Corinth, many were formerly enslaved due to debt or war and rebuilt their lives; one was considered successful based on an individual’s ability or achievement, and this personal reconstruction allowed the society to thrive. Envision dog-eat-dog on one hand, but incredible wealth and success on the flip side by people who are determined, industrious, and entrepreneurial. In this climate, Paul learned quickly due to his humility he was not fully accepted. The church was embarrassed by his working trade and his inability to speak well by Roman standards. Yet Paul was very accomplished

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It’s Just Saying “Yes”

“As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.” – Mark 2:14 The way you get into heaven is by trusting your life to the crucified and resurrected Jesus Christ. That’s the Gospel, by the way. Every religion in the world has some sort of balance sheet for your life. If your good works in whatever cosmic way outweigh your bad works, you go to heaven. That’s actually considered heresy in Christianity. We believe that no one’s good enough; that’s how we’re all equal — that we’re all a bunch of sinners and we need Jesus. And when we’re saved by Him, our life is a response to the fact that He loves us as children.  You see, He loves us just as we are, not as we should be. And

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Jesus Won the War

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:10-12 I believe that as Christians, you and I are in a war with the enemy. It’s imperative to acknowledge that we have an enemy and that he comes to steal and destroy. However, though it sounds contradictory, I don’t want you to be afraid of him because he’s a defeated foe. Don’t tune out teaching about your adversary, but on the other hand, don’t feel discouraged, oppressed or worried about his influence in your life. As a believer in Jesus Christ, baptized into His

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God is Love

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” – 1 Peter 5:8-9 On this Valentine’s Day, or the day of love as we often refer to it, I want to encourage you with the thought that you are not only loved by your family and friends, but by God, who is the definition of love — the One who wrote the book! Of all the things our vast Creator could have defined Himself as, He chose to say that He is love. Take a minute to let that sink in. The One who spoke the universe into existence with a word, the One who moves mountains and sets the stars in the

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You Are a Mind

“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” – Romans 8:5,6 Dallas Willard, an American philosopher and Christian scholar, once made the assertion that a human being is first and foremost a mind. What do you think about that? A person has a mind that influences a will and from that will, decisions are made that forge the course and trajectory of their life. This is why there is so much power in changing the way we think, both individually and as a society. In order for real change to be affected in churches, schools, and ultimately the world as a whole, minds must be

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The One Who Changed it All

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord– and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.” – Isaiah 11:1-3 The Jewish people awaited the arrival of their Messiah with bated breath. They knew that when He came, He would save the world and alter the flow of history, even though they were living in the midst of persecution and constant battle. “God, have you forgotten us?” and “God, why all this suffering and evil?” were some of the cries, but there was a prophetic voice declaring that one day He will come and make things right! Perhaps no book did a better job of portraying this

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The Anti-Fragility of Jesus

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” – Galatians 3:26,27 After discussing how love is anti-fragile, I want to continue our conversation focusing on God’s anti-fragility, more specifically Jesus and the early church. Jesus Christ exemplifies what it means to be resilient. More people followed Him when others cursed Him and lied about Him. More people talked about Him when they said He was sent by demons. They grew jealous as He grew in popularity, and eventually crucified Him; but little did they realize, that was the worst thing they could have done! Why? Because new life spilled into the universe as a result of His death and resurrection! Everything shifted at that point, and time was snapped in half like a twig. Because the veil was broken in half, history

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Sent Into the Storm

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.” – Psalm 107:28-31 Did you know that sometimes God intentionally sends us into a storm? He is our Heavenly Father, and now and then, He will do what any good father would do and lead us through a difficult situation to teach us how to face our fears. I remember having a fear of water as a child that lasted for many years. This is not ideal for a toddler living in Southern California, as we are close to the ocean and my family would frequently visit.

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God Turns it Around for Good

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 Well, here I go again with a lesson in history, but it’s always amazing to me how much we can learn by studying those who came before us. That said, today, I want to talk about Henry VIII, who was the King of England in the 1500’s. His first marriage was to a Catholic woman named Catherine of Aragon, and she was from Spain. As time went on, she was unable to bear him a son, and since having a male heir was the only way to ensure that his royal lineage would outlive him, he wanted the marriage annulled. He was certain that if he wed another woman, he would finally get his baby boy; the only problem was that in

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A Place to Belong

“Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.” – John 8:35 The powerful heart of the Gospel message is that God made a way for us when there was no other way. No amount of good or righteous deeds could build a bridge back to right standing with Him — we needed Him to do the work, and He did. We were infected by the poison of sin, and we were helpless to heal ourselves until He stepped in and made Himself the antidote; all we had to do was say “yes” and partake. At the moment we received Jesus as our Lord, we belonged to His family, and our souls breathed a sigh of relief. No longer did we have to seek a place to call home, for as His children, we inherited the love of a perfect Father and

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