Monday, March 19, 2012

Relay For Life.

Thanks to the great people that I work with at Newton Federal, we have started a team to help raise money for Relay For Life this year.  I have started a personal fundraising page with a starter goal to raise $500.00.  I know my friends and family will help me top that amount easy.  The donations go to help fight cancer, which is a disease that touches EVERYONE in one way or the other.  It has especially touched my wife Becky's family, losing her mom Jodi 13 years ago to colon cancer.  I know that Jodi's life and fight with cancer glorified God and touched so many lives.  It brings an awareness to God's sovereignty and even a "losing" battle with cancer magnifies His power to us.  Also, I believe in God’s power to heal, by miracle and by medicine. I believe it is good to pray for both kinds of healing. Cancer is not wasted when it is healed by God.  He gets the glory when this happens too and that is why cancer exists.
I believe Relay For Life is one way that God uses the hearts and minds of people to help heal cancer.  I am honored to be a part of this fundraising this year and hope my friends and family join with me on this.  Here is the link to my Personal Donation Page.  Thank y'all in advance!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Your Love Amazes Me

It’s our nature to try to please people and look for pleasure.  We were made for it, created to take pleasure in God, for His glory.  John Piper calls it “Christian Hedonism.”  The Bible tells us that the chief end of man is to love and glorify God forever.  Isaiah 60:21 says “Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.”  Romans 11:36 tells us, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”  Noticing a theme?  God’s glory is found when He carries out His promises to man.  The whole sum of the Bible shows this Promise.  At the Liberate Conference at the end of February this year, Michael Horton taught on the Promise.  He said that Christians are not under a contract where we have to live up to our part of the bargain.  It is not a situation where we need to do something, some kind of work, to earn our blessings from God.  Horton says we are part of God’s Last Will and Testament.  We already have the blessings from the Promise.  Christians are God’s chosen heirs to that promise.  Heirs don’t earn their reward.  They only have to be part of the family.  As Christians, we are adopted as God’s children, now In Christ.  What are those blessings?  Christ’s Righteousness!  What?!  If this grace and love doesn’t make you say, “This can’t be true”, then you aren’t understanding how BIG and radical it is.  That amazing grace is where God gets ALL the glory so that no man can boast.  This doesn’t just happen at our salvation, at Jesus’ life-death-resurrection.  It also isn’t just at our death and glory in Heaven with Jesus.  We have all the peace and blessings here right now.  Like Pastor Tullian says, the “now-power” of the gospel is so freeing.  God’s grace is the power of our sanctification, becoming like Jesus, today.  We aren’t saved by grace and then somehow now it is up to us to “get better” or earn our blessings as Christians.  I don’t know about you, but I KNOW I would be in big trouble if that were the case.  That in itself is where Christians keep that yoke of slavery to Sin that Jesus came to free us from.  In Galatians 3, Paul tells them they are fools!  Verses two and three say, “Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”  It is for freedom from this burden that Christ came.  He came to set the captives free.  Grace liberates us from so much.  Most of all it liberates us from ourselves!  Grace frees us from burdensome work for God into a joyful obedience.  We can now be risk-takers knowing that God is sovereign and working ALL out for our good and His glory.  It frees us from trying to gain acceptance from others, we already have it in Christ.  All of this gets me to my point and what the Bible says about our “work”.  Our work should be to “believe better.”  The only way to do that is with constant reminders of the gospel of grace.  (*The Apostle Paul helped to do this in each of his letters in the New Testament, so get in the Word!)  That while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  That right now, you are seen as perfect and as righteous as Jesus.  You are “justified by the Justifier.”  I always see a quote from Martin Luther that reminds me of this.  It is usually in Latin but what it says is, Christians are “simultaneously sinners and justified.”  It is an amazing thing to think about.  We know we still sin, but we are no longer seen that way.  We are slowly but surely being transformed by grace to become like Jesus.  Our only hope is in this free, one-way love from God through Christ alone.  Can I get an “Amen!”?

Go in Peace,