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Stories are best understood from the perspective of the author, not the reader. In fact, it is one of the reasons we read: to entertain and learn from someone else’s viewpoint. When reading a letter, we best understand what the writer is trying to communicate when we “put ourselves in their shoes”. In regards to the Bible story, most Christians believe that God is the author; it is His perspective and “shoes” we should adopt when we read and share it.

Generally speaking, most Christians struggle to understand the central purpose of God in the Church Age. Most of us think the story of the Bible is about us. This misguided thinking centers around our perspective of the next three days – what we observe and give focus to on Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.

Therefore, it should be helpful to consider the next three days from God’s perspective. What do those days mean to Him? What is His purpose in them? What’s in it for God?

For those of you struggling with the notion that Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday are about God and His benefit, we offer the following passages. First, there is God’s word to Ezekiel regarding the new birth.

Therefore, say to the house of Israel, “Thus says the Lord God: ‘I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went.'” Ezekiel 36:22

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” Ezekiel 36:26-27

“Not for your sake do I do this,” says the Lord God, “let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!” Ezekiel 36:32

We learn from this prophecy of the new birth that God blesses His people for His name sake. The New Testament carries the same message, captured powerfully in Paul’s letter to the Colossians.

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and
for Him.
Colossians 1:16
Read the rest of this entry »

As I mentioned in my previous article, God prepared my wife and I for His call to more – what we call “our house fire adventure” – with a few encouraging words. The last, and the one I want to focus on here, was, “You need to grieve”.

Of all He had to say to us, this is the word we would not have thought of ourselves; nor would we have imagined the impact it would have on our journey. We didn’t understand it at the time, but we chose to be obedient.

Once it was safe, my wife and I went into the house and assessed the damage. Every picture on every wall was destroyed. Smoke had found its way into every closet and drawer. It is absolutely amazing what high temperature smoke can do to treasured items.

So, we held each other and cried. Later, I led our children (individually) into their rooms. One of them grieved; the other got mad. One was able to move on from the tragedy; the other suffered for years.

Most only think of grieving in relation to the death of a loved one. It is the process we must go through to “get on with our lives”. In our tragedy, my wife and I learned that grieving is a grace of God for more.

Our response to God’s call to more requires our leaving something behind. Many times, it is security, long held beliefs, even people and places we have grown to love. Rarely does this call not involve a dying to ourselves.

So, there is grieving.

God’s call to more is His invitation to a higher level of glory.  Responding positively, we soon experience the process of transformation (2Corinthians 3:18). The Greek word for “transformed” is metamorphoo: the death of a caterpillar, that a butterfly might emerge.

Grieving is not something most people readily embrace, because we associate it with negative events. I am encouraging you to see grieving as the grace God has provided for all His children. Knowing our weaknesses, He has given us grief that we might more easily and productively walk through His transformation. Read the rest of this entry »

Being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires that one obey His command to make disciples. It is the commission He gave to everyone that would follow Him. If you do not currently understand, believe and commit yourself to obey this command, you should stop here and go search out this matter for yourself.

Those that have committed themselves to the Great Commission must realize that Jesus intends to use us as vessels and instruments, to make disciples to Himself. They are not our disciples. They may be “following us”, but that must only be true because we are following Him. When they look at us, it must be to behold Him as in a mirror.

Furthermore – and this is critical – we are not making disciples unless those we are discipling are also making disciples. This is a place we often get stuck; and a matter to which we should be giving more thought. For example, how do we know that they are making disciples if we only talk at them once a week?

You may need to stop here and consider the meaning of this for your ministry. That’s okay; you can come back later.

Now, to answer the question: Why is disciple making so hard? Or, put another way: What can we do to get our people involved again in the Great Commission? Read the rest of this entry »

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