Your Name Is On The Tag

On this Christmas, I am thankful for....

My one year of zero hospital visits.

A "job" that I truly love to do at Applegate Fellowship.

A house in Jacksonville.

And last but very least, the Niner's new quarterback.

With the exception of that last one, all of those things are because of...

My parents who love me.

My pops who has been faithful in ministry.

My wife who stands by me.

And my daughters who have not embarrassed me.

(In fact, the very opposite)

All because of the Gift of Faith.

Jesus really is the Gift that keeps on giving.

Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I have been blessed.

I have my flaws.

But I also have faith.

So have faith, dear Christian.

Your name is on the tag!

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

 Not of works, lest any man should boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9.

Show Grace

Grace without Truth doesn't work well when raising teenagers.

Neither does Truth without Grace.

I need to raise them in Grace and Truth.

How?

I am still trying to figure that one out!

My kids will not respond well to my instruction.

Particularly as teenagers.

If that instruction has not first been well founded on love.

Only when they know I love them will they trust my instruction.

That is why Grace is so important.

For it is true of parenting, ministry, theology.

Wisdom is established on Grace.

It is through Grace that one is able to keep the Law.

And not vice versa.

So all of that is this:

When it comes to parenting...

Instructing....

Coaching...

Mentoring...

Or anything that requires leadership....

Show Grace.

That's my opinion and experience, anyway.

And the best part of all...

The New Testament declares it to be so.

Hear About Jesus

Church is soon to begin.

We are going to hear about Jesus.

It always brings such joy to hear about someone you love.

And "faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God."

So if you are not on your way out to the 8:45 service...

I'll look forward to gathering with you at 11:00.

And together...

We will hear about Jesus!

Right In The Center

The Law of Moses will crush you.

Yet you will be happy if you keep it.

Sin and foolishness shall curse you.

It will benefit you to stay away from it.

And that is why I bless the Lord for wisdom!

Legalism is on one side.

Folly is on the other.

Wisdom is right in the center!

It is the Tree of Life.

I encourage you (and myself) to read the Book of Proverbs.

 

A Book By Ben!

My sources tell me that Ben Courson is being published.

He was recently signed to author literature on the subject matter of Jesus.

I pray that God will use the pen in my brothers hand...

Or the I-phone in his hand....

To bring glory to Jesus and people to Heaven.

And that is a prayer that is already being answered.

What a ministry!

What a man!

Keep his work....

His book...

And his life in prayer.

For Christ is going to get glory in all of this.

A Spring In His Step

Yesterday I preached a sermon.

The text was inspired.

The Bible always is.

The homily was adequate.

I suppose.

It usually is about that.

Following the service, I trudged up to my office.

I was interrupted by a teenager.

She was my 17 year old, Bailey.

Standing there with her friends, she busted out a cheer.

"Awesome job, Dad, you are number one!"

I went from slogging to skipping.

(at least in my heart)

I got to wondering...

How might our praise make our Heavenly Father feel?

When we thoughtfully praise Him.

In so many words, telling Him that He is "Number One!"

I have a feeling that somehow....

It puts a proverbial spring in His step!

Gifts Versus Fruit

The New Testament makes the clear distinction between....

The Fruit of the Spirit.

And the Gifts of the Spirit.

Fruit is developed.

Gifts are given.

Therefore, what is more important...

Than preaching a great sermon.

For merely the sermon's sake.

Or playing incredible music.

Just because it is inspirational.

Painting a masterpiece for God.

Because it is beautiful.

Or leading a new move of the Spirit.

Merely for the sake of a "move."

In other words, more important than gifts that are given...

Is to see fruit developed.

We may not all preach a great sermon.

Of play incredible music.

Paint a masterpiece or lead spiritual movements.

Yet, every single one of us can love.

We can forgive our enemy.

Be kind to the stranger.

Pray for our sister or brother.

Hammer a nail or bake a cake.

Buy a lunch.

Or give a ride.

Gifts are given.

Fruit is developed.

Be nice to someone today.

In the Name of Jesus.

And that is greater than any spiritual gift.

 

 

A Honored Failure

"Today you will be with me in Paradise." 

So said our Savior to the thief upon the cross.

Jesus was crucified between to thieves.

Yet Paradise was promised to one.

It has been rightly stated that there are two thieves of salvation.

For you and I it would be robbers of our joy.

One thief is Legalism.

It steals our the joy of our salvation because we are trying to be righteous on our own.

The other thief is Hedonism.

It does not care about righteousness whatsoever. 

One thief says the Gospel is "too exclusive."

The other says it is "too cheap."

Either one will rob us of the joy of our salvation.

The center of our salvation says:

"It is neither exclusive nor is it cheap."

For it is open to all.

And yet it cost Jesus so very much.

So don't be robbed of the joy of your salvation.

Believe the Gospel.

That is it neither "too exclusive."

Nor is it "too cheap."

For as one preacher stated:

"You are honored.

AND you are a failure.

Through Christ, therefore;

you are a 'Honored Failure.'"

Right in the middle.

That is Paradise! 

P.S.  Thank you for that, Augustine, Courson, and Keller