Jesus has become me?

4 07 2018

adult attractive contemplating face


Have I become like Jesus or has He become like me?

For most of my life it was my desire to become like Jesus. I was told that this should be my greatest desire. Countless discipleship programs have been written (including writing my own) to help fulfill this ambition.

I discovered, shockingly, that my intention was nothing short of practicing Old Testament Law. It was based on my effort, my own pursuit of Him. I was excited to learn the full truth of the Gospel that Jesus has instead, become like me. The Law says “ try to be”. The grace of Christ says, “I already am”. God doesn’t say, “Try to be like Christ”. He says that I already am “perfect in Christ”, that “Christ is my life”, “to live is Christ”, “I have no other life”. (1)

How did that happen? How can it be true considering that I am just a human with weak flesh? Read the rest of this entry »

What is a Christian?

24 05 2018

not-a-fuller-brush-manIn season 2, of Netflix’s original series “The Crown” Billy Graham is pictured preaching to a curious Elizabeth II and her family in her private chapel at Windsor. Graham’s topic is “What is a Christian?”. He uses Colossians 1:27 as his text to define a Christian as someone who has invited Christ into his life (1). What he spoke about is the central truth of the Christian faith. But while this truth has been the core of our faith it is also the most misunderstood. If you ask most brothers or sisters to explain it you will get a variety of answers that still miss the essential meaning.

Traditionally, Christianity has held to the doctrine of a Jesus removed from earth by the resurrection and is somewhere in heaven “seated at the right hand of the Father”. The only time that we will see Him again is when He returns to earth to judge everyone (2). In the meantime, the Holy Spirit, who is Himself relegated to nothing more than a “power” or an impersonal force, has been sent to help man until man is transported to heaven. This has made Christianity nothing more than a belief system offering man a promise that if he keeps the faith, with the help of the Holy Spirit, he will get to join Jesus in heaven someday. Thus, most believers are dutifully “holding on” until that day. “Christ in you” is nothing more than having a “deposit” on the future.

The truth is that Jesus is not somewhere in heaven chatting with the Father until He is told to come for us. He is HERE NOW! He didn’t die on the cross to make a path for us to heaven but to make a home IN US for the Father and Himself (3). The whole purpose of the cross and the resurrection was not to take us out of the earth but for He and Father to come live in us in this earth. “I go to prepare a place for you” is not referring to yours and my personal, celestial palace, it’s God’s home in us (4). God’s home address is your heart and mine, not left of some obscure planet.

To claim to be a Christian means that you are the embodiment of Christ, not just the owner of a free ticket to heaven. He is a living person, residing in your human flesh. You are His temple, His vessel that displays His person. Jesus and you are one with Him and the Father (5). To deny any part of that truth is to deny the ultimate desire of Christ, to make your life His life on this earth. This is the central truth of our faith. It may be hard to explain and maybe accept but no less the truth.

It’s time to “be Jesus”.


(1) Netflix: “The Crown”, Season 2, Episode 6.
(2) See the Nicene Creed
(3) Jn 14:23
(4) Jn. 14:3
(5) Jn. 17:21-23

TheTragic Illusion

4 05 2018


God and manWhen someone declares that their life is really one with and as Christ they often get a common response from their Christian brothers and sisters, “That is hard to believe”, or “That’s just not true.” It’s akin to the same reaction that Jesus Himself received from the Pharisees when He declared that He and the Father were one. They cried out, “Blasphemy, Crucify him!”

As Jesus was facing His last hours before His crucifixion He prayed this prayer, “That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (Jn 17:21). Was that prayer ever answered? It depends on what viewpoint you are using to interpret what God says, the tree of knowledge or the tree of life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Is Resurrection Life just for dead people?

9 04 2018


Recently one of our men joined me in viewing the movie “Paul the Apostle”. I can’t say that this film should be on your “must see” list but there are some things about it that may be of interest to some.

The film portrays a dark and fearful time in early Christianity near the end of the first century. Emperor Nero of Rome was making it his mission to stamp out the followers of Christ by capturing any Christian he could and making human torches out of them at night. It is in this environment that Paul himself was a prisoner, waiting to be tried as a terror to Rome. According to the film, Nero had conveniently blamed him for the fire that nearly destroyed the city in 64 AD.

The key point of the film is about suffering and death especially as a martyr. In fact, it is dedicated to the many Christians who have been martyred over the years in countries around the world. The film’s writers created an interesting plot through which Paul and Luke impacted their Roman captors with the great truth of the gospel – resurrection life. The last scenes are especially touching with Paul and the other martyrs being seen again with Christ.

But a question remains, why is the resurrection life only seen as after death? Read the rest of this entry »

Stephen Hawking – conflicted genius

25 03 2018


HawkingOne of the great mathematical geniuses of modern time died recently. Having been diagnosed with a form of ALS at 22, Stephen Hawking wasn’t supposed to live another 54 years. But he defied the odds and died March 14th, ironically on Einstein’s birthday and Pi Day.

Having lived much of his life as an invalid Hawking made an interesting statement concerning his human condition. He said, “I want to show that people need not be limited by physical handicaps as long as they are not disabled in spirit.” He also stated what he believed as to the existence of a divine creator. He declared, “There is no god. I am an atheist.” Isn’t this a contradiction?

While Hawking may have had a different definition for man’s spirit he evidently did recognize there is something intangible in a man that can influence the quality of his life. Man can withstand many challenges but if he does not have a good spirit, his life is unsustainable.

What is the human spirit? Aside from whatever Hawking believed, the spirit of man is the nonphysical, supernatural reality of his being. It has no beginning and no end. It is the essence of his life and without it there is no life. If the spirit leaves the body, it dies.

But where does the human spirit come from? From the creation story we see it was God who breathed into the “dust of the earth” or dirt, and the result was a living being manifesting the image of God Himself. Every human born after Adam is then God’s Spirit living in a house made of dirt.

This makes man the best example for the existence of God. He is the best manifestation of the Spirit of God. We could say that without God man has no life, he could not exist. Man is not just dirt, or physical matter, he is foremost a spirit being.

It would appear that Hawking was conflicted in his understanding of the spiritual reality and of God. He did prove we can discover much about the physical nature of the universe, but the reality of the spiritual world was another thing. We know that life is not just about the physical but more about the spiritual. As Hawking professed, it is what transcends our physical handicaps. Perhaps Hawking realizes there is a God by now.

The Man with the Little Heart

28 02 2018

thPKYCC5UMGrowing up in the Christian religion I was taught that Jesus wanted to live in my heart and that I just needed to invite Him in, which of course I did. I was also taught that my heart was just a part of my life and a small one at that. This lead to the idea that there were basically two parts to my life, my heart, where Christ came to dwell, and the rest of me where He didn’t live. From then on it was a quest to allow Him to have the rest of me- all the other “hidden” places. The teaching, “less of me, more of Christ” became my motivation. But, somehow, I could never really know when that was taking place or if it had ever really happened.

First of all, what does God say about my body? He says it is actually three things: body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23). In our logical, rational minds, shaped by quantity and space, we have interpreted that to mean “parts” as in parts of machine or of a greater whole. But, how can you quantify the spirit or soul? The spirit and soul are immaterial, they are not quantifiable. There is no size that defines the spirit or soul of man or the Spirit of God. The spirit is boundless, immeasurable. It is not a part of me but another whole expression of myself. God likens it to another body, our spiritual body (1 Cor. 15:40). When our natural body dies we live fully in our spiritual body, which has been there all along, living in and with our natural body.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Greatest Love Story

1 02 2018


My wife and I have gotten into watching Hallmark movies lately. Yes, they are sappy, sanitized, and predictable but overall they are enjoyable wholesome  entertainment. Each story is a creative variation on the same plot- a man and a woman discover love and unity in their hearts for each other. It’s the oldest and most mysterious story in the universe.

Each time I watch one I am reminded of that divine truth. The greatest lover in the universe is of course God. He is consumed with love for you and me. In the form of His Son, Jesus, He entered the earth seeking a wife with whom He could become one flesh. His love ignites our love as His church and we embrace in a romantic union (Eph 5:31,32).

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? A man leaves his parents, joins with a woman and the two become one, sharing everything in life together. They begin to enjoy a oneness that not even they can describe. Mysteriously, they know each other’s hearts, thoughts, desires, joys, and pains. They experience what the Bible calls being “one flesh” Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:30,31). As Blake Shelton sings in his current country hit,
I’m talkin’ you and me with the same street name,
same last name, same everything,
It’s a real thing, a how I feel thing.. 1

This is the mystery of our life in Christ. We are joined with Him and are the “same everything” together. The greatest romance story of the universe is being told through our lives with Him, we in Him, He in us, as us. Never consider that you are just friends, you and Christ. He is not just someone you go to for help or look to for strength. He didn’t just die for you, He came to be one flesh with you, to live in you. He wants to live out that great story of love together with you and Him, forever.

Try on a Hallmark or any other romance movie and see if it doesn’t warm your heart and remind you of the story of the Divine Romance. The ending is always the same beginning.

May you discover a new love and union with Jesus. – His Valentine.

1. From “I’ll Name the Dogs”, Blake Shelton, Texoma Shore, 2017.

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