Who Are You Leaving Behind?

There is a reason that Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission. “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you” (Matthew 28:16b-20a). The time for Jesus’ earthly ministry was coming to an end. The time for his ministry from heaven was about to begin. His work would continue – starting in Jerusalem, and then Judea and Samaria, and then to the ends of the earth – through those he left behind whom he trained and were then empowered by his promised gift from the Father, the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-8). Continue reading Who Are You Leaving Behind?

Sin’s Spiritual Self-Absorption

But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. (Romans 6:22)

A couple of years ago I received a significant insight during my quiet time that has always stuck with me. There I was – reading my Bible, saying my prayers, writing down thoughts as they came to mind – when it struck me: The vast majority of my quiet time has been spent on myself! I was horrified. Instead of spending my time focused on the Lord, or on my family, or on my church, or ministry, or any of the many other things I should be praying about, I was confessing sin to God, asking Him to forgive me, begging him to give me strength to overcome this, that, or the other. Not that there’s anything wrong with praying these things when they’re needed, but what became clear to me this particular day was the sheer spiritual self-absorption of sin. Continue reading Sin’s Spiritual Self-Absorption

Know Thy Foe

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood… (Ephesians 6:12a)

As Christians, we are at war. There is no denying it or avoiding it. Pretending it isn’t true doesn’t win a single battle, nor does focusing all our attention on the wrong target. For many, the ultimate battlefield can be found at the ballot box, but they would be mistaken. For others, our greatest foes reside in the Middle East, or in China, or in North Korea. They too are misled. Indeed, who we elect into office has vast ramifications for the direction of our country and the geopolitical powers that be often pose existential threats to the lives of many. But as Christians we are warned by the Apostle Paul that the real battle is not with flesh and blood but with the devil and the spiritual powers and principalities of this present darkness. Continue reading Know Thy Foe

He IS Salvation

Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation. (Luke 2:29-30)

All of us experience significant moments in life. As evangelicals, we are firmly rooted in a tradition that acknowledges and places great value on the crisis experience of the new birth, a distinct moment in time when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus and are saved from the guilt and power of sin. Most of us can think back in time and remember exactly when and where we were at that moment. It’s a beautiful thing. Continue reading He IS Salvation

Let Us Go Straight to Him

Let us go straight to Bethlehem then. (Luke 2:15)

The account of the shepherds in Luke 2 is one of the most well-known and recognizable events surrounding the birth of Jesus. There they were, keeping watch over their flocks by night, when suddenly the glory of heaven shone all around them accompanied by the marvelous revelation that a savior had been born in the City of David. We all know how it goes. It’s an amazing story that has been forever memorialized in every nativity crèche ever made. But I happen to think that the story of the shepherds is about so much more than a heart-warming story. I believe that the events concerning these unsuspecting individuals are a picture of every single person’s saving encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Continue reading Let Us Go Straight to Him