Friday, May 24, 2013
From the Preacher's Heart
"I'm Gay": The Slogan of the New American Hero
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 Comments (0)
“This is a huge step forward for our country. We’ve got your back” (First Lady Michelle Obama). “I hope that everyone, particularly Jason's colleagues in the NBA, the media and his many fans extend to him their support and the respect he has earned” (former President Bill Clinton). Billie Jean King, the former tennis great who went on to win the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work advocating gay rights, said, “This is a day of celebration for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transsexual) community and for all of us. I look forward to the day when the news of anyone coming out, is a non-issue and once we reach that point we will know we have arrived.” In addition to these two comments, President Obama personally called Jason Collins to congratulate, celebrate with, & support him. ESPN opened their world-renowned SportsCenter telecast yesterday evening with a celebration of Jason Collins as if he had recently won a championship or been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Sports Illustrated has Collins on their cover.
Who is Jason Collins, and why are terms like “hero,” “bravery,” “leadership,” & “character” suddenly being used in the same sentence with him? Did he rescue one of the victims in the Boston bombings a few weeks ago? Has he given his life in an effort to disarm the nuclear weapons in North Korea or Iran? Nope, he did neither of those things. Jason Collins is an NBA player who yesterday became the first active male athlete to announce publicly that he is gay, and for this announcement he is receiving almost universal praise & applause. He is today’s new American hero. In fact, during the previous 24 hours anyone who hasn’t offered unconditional support & praise of Jason Collins has been ostracized & identified as “intolerant.” Just ask Chris Broussard.
After Collins’ announcement yesterday, Chris Broussard, a basketball analyst for ESPN, was asked to be a part of ESPN’s show “Outside the Lines.” During the interview, Broussard, a Christian, offered his opinion on Collins’ announcement. (You can listen to Broussard’s comments here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCOXBgBjDgY) Broussard unashamedly said that he disagrees with Collins’ sexual lifestyle. He labeled it as “sin,” adding other Biblically-grounded comments. Broussard has now become the piñata that the media, the LGBT, and human rights’ activists are beating & persecuting. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Broussard fired by ESPN for his comments. Obviously, tolerance only applies to those who share the same perspective & ideals of “the agenda” in America.
The spiritual & moral landscape of America has been running downhill at an increasing rate for quite some time. Yesterday’s announcement & the subsequent praise for Jason Collins should alarm, anger, & sadden Christians, but it shouldn’t surprise us. Please understand that nothing less than unconditional support for homosexuality will be accepted in America. The homosexual agenda doesn’t simply want a table at the banquet in which they can debate their position; they want to own the banquet and exclude anyone who would offer a contrary opinion. For example, Greg Laurie is a California pastor who was invited to lead the National Day of Prayer event at the Capitol in Washington DC. Now, serious pressure is being put on the organizers of the event from gay rights’ activists to disinvite Laurie from Thursday’s event because he preaches that homosexuality is sin against God. Only a few short months ago, Pastor Louie Giglio voluntarily removed himself from saying the inauguration prayer due to the vehement demand from the activists. Dialogue won’t do…the homosexual agenda demands control.
As Michael Catt noted this morning, “Revival won’t begin in the White House. It will begin only in the church house.” Christians must seek the face of God. We can’t expect God to move upon the hearts & sin of the nation until we have allowed Him to move upon each individual heart & the sin in our life. Christians must speak the truth in love, even if we become ostracized & ridiculed like Chris Broussard, Greg Laurie, or Louie Giglio. Spurgeon warred against the moral decay of his day in a controversy known as the “Downgrade.” President Obama has labeled the moral decay of this nation as “the evolution of America.” So, just as the Apostle Paul and Charles Spurgeon used spiritual weapons to wage war against the spiritual enemies of their day, let us use those same weapons to wage war against the evil in our day. Be strong and take courage for the Lord your God goes before you!
Walking with Christ,
"Don't Forget the Procedure!"
Monday, April 15, 2013 Comments (0)
Joshua 5:9 “And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.’ And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day.”
What incredible peace and joy must have overcome Joshua and the Israelites upon hearing God speak these words, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” Shame, slavery, and shackles had continued to haunt & taunt the Israelites even after they had crossed out of Egyptian borders. Their rebellion in the wilderness led to reproach from other nations. Sin, shame, and dreadful slavery all went hand-in-hand, just as they do today. Then God gave the blessed promise at Gilgal. Gilgal, which means “a wheel or a rolling,” was aptly named as it was the place where the guilt and shame of everything related to Egyptian bondage were forever removed and rolled away. A fresh, exhilarating start in Israel’s walk with God was beginning.
The human tendency is to read a promise of God like this one in Joshua 5:9 and claim it as our own. We want the demons & shackles of our past removed, and we desire to hear that we are blessed by God. We long to take hold of our “Promised Land,” watching God overthrow all obstacles & enemies who may stand in His way. We really like the sound & thought of experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven in our lives, homes, and churches, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with desiring any of these things! But before we too quickly move into how the promise of God played out in Israel’s victories at Jericho (Joshua 6), Ai (Joshua 8), and Canaan (Joshua 10 & 11), it is imperative for us to remember that Gilgal was also the place where the people were circumcised. The promise of God didn’t come without the supernatural procedure from God.
This physical cutting away of skin in Israel signified the covenant of faith between God and His people. In the New Testament Paul tells us that we must have the circumcision of Christ, which is cutting away the flesh of rebellion towards God. It is heart circumcision which results in our “being crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20) so that it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives within us. The spiritual Gilgal is where repentance from self-centered worldliness occurs. The spiritual Gilgal is where the procedure of being born from above takes place. The spiritual Gilgal is where God “rolls away the reproach of Egypt (and slavery to sin) from you.” We can never hope for the Promised Land of God’s favor until we go through the painful procedure of having our sinful hearts torn apart by God’s Spirit so that He can put a new, pure heart within us.
Perhaps today, you need a Gilgal experience where God “rolls away” the guilt, slavery, and shame of your lifestyle which continues to hold you in bondage. Allow the Spirit of God to perform his supernatural surgical procedure on your life, and you’ll begin to experience life anew. Perhaps you are already a Christian, but something seems to be amiss in your life, home, and church. Return to your Gilgal to reflect upon the procedure and promise that God performed so many years ago. Whether it is spiritual awakening or revival that we desire, many of us need to spend some time at Gilgal this week.
Walking with Christ,
"Is My Worship Impacting the World?"
Tuesday, March 26, 2013 Comments (0)
John 12:3 “Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
Mary’s intentions weren’t that she be remembered throughout the entire world for all eternity as the one who had anointed Jesus for his burial. Nor was it her motivation to fill the entire house with the fragrant perfume so that others would be reminded that something special had taken place. It never entered Mary’s mind that someone would bring up the cost of the offering she poured on Jesus and languish about the fact that the perfume could’ve been sold and used to help the poor who were in town for the upcoming Passover. While eating dinner and listening to the miracle stories told by Simon the ex-leper and once-dead Lazarus throughout the evening, Mary’s heart had one motivation: demonstrating her love by worshipping the Lord. And, although it was never her intention or motivation, Mary’s pure worship has made a lasting impact on the world since that evening. Her worship became her lasting witness.
Christ continues to use Mary’s worship in impacting the world because it was pure, acceptable worship. Notice a few characteristics of Mary’s worship:
1) Mary takes the position of a slave at the feet of her Master. She understood her role and Jesus’ glory. She was intent on serving & honoring her Master regardless of what others thought or said. Pure Christian worship comes from the heart of a devoted, grateful slave who experiences the greatness, glory, and grace of the Master.
2) Mary let down her hair to wipe the Master’s feet. A woman’s hair is her glory (cf. 1st Corinthians 11:15), yet Mary humbly & unashamedly laid her glory at the feet of Jesus, taking no thought for herself. Her only concern was that the Master be honored. Christ isn’t honored when we “keep our hair up” so as to maintain some semblance of self-dignity before Him. Self-dignity keeps many from purely worshipping the Master who gave up all dignity to die for sinners.
3) Mary worshipped with what she possessed. The flask of perfume was indeed costly, but what is honorable about worship that costs nothing? I believe Mary understood better than the apostles what Jesus was about to endure, and with his suffering in view she couldn’t withhold her full expression of love from Him. There was no hesitancy, only pure heart-filled love and worship. Having the benefit of the New Testament Scriptures that detail the sufferings and sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, how can we be hesitant about offering our talents, homes, time, and money to the Master?
In Mary’s act of pure worship, we see that “this completely unself-conscious act given to Jesus turned out to be the very means by which the aroma of glory to our Lord was spread to others. As Mary humbly gave herself, with no thought of her own glory, she became a primary means of spreading the blessing.” God sovereignly used Mary’s worship to impact the world. The purity of Mary’s vertical worship had powerful horizontal implications. Her worship of Christ became her witness to the nations.
What is your flask of perfume? Will you make it your flask of worship? If you’re concerned about how great an impact you will make, your worship with that flask isn’t pure. Simply lay your life, and all that is associated with it, on the altar as a sacrifice of worship to the One you love and seek to honor. Only pure vertical worship has powerful horizontal implications.
Walking with Christ,
"Did Jesus Pass Math Class?"
Thursday, February 21, 2013 Comments (0)
“I wish I could have been there. To walk with Jesus and his disciples through the streets and Temple of Jerusalem during the week of the crucifixion would be priceless.” In many ways, these sentiments are mine. Think about being a part of the following: 1) Following Jesus into an ecstatic Jerusalem as the crowds shouted…it was like a spiritual pep-rally! 2) Being amazed as that once healthy fig tree withers from the roots overnight. 3) Seeing the looks on the faces of the money-changers when Jesus toppled their tables. 4) Hearing the Prince of Preachers describe the Great Tribulation like he did in Matthew 24 & 25. And we haven’t even gotten to the events of Thursday evening, Friday, & Sunday morning! Being there would have been exciting, scary, heart-breaking, & life-transforming all at the same time. Truthfully, I couldn’t tell you how I would respond to Jesus’ questions, teachings, & miracles. (I pray that I would respond with uncompromising faith, obedience, & devotion, but it isn’t likely.) However, there is one event during Jesus’ last week when I know exactly how I would have responded. I would have looked & sounded utterly stupid, and chances are you would have too. In fact, had most any American been traveling with Jesus in Jerusalem during the week of his crucifixion, this one scene in the Temple would have led any one of us to ask the question, “Jesus, did you pass math class?”
Jesus is walking through the Temple constantly unloading on the hypocrisy of the Sadducees and scribes. He is calling them out! Then, the Master walks over and sits where he can see the Temple treasury. He’s people-watching. We’re people-watching with him. “Did you just see that guy put that $10,000 check in the offering plate? Wow!!” We’re impressed…Jesus is not. Then, after watching for thirty minutes as people continuously put bag of money after bag of money into the treasury, this old widow-woman comes walking up and puts two paper-thin copper coins amounting to nothing into the pot. “What is that? What is she thinking?” We’re not at all impressed…Jesus is. Jesus pointedly remarks to us, “Um, guys, this poor widow has put in more than all those other folks with whom you’ve been impressed during the last half-hour.” I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself, “Uh, what? Jesus, did you pass math class? Can you even count?”
Jesus can count just fine. The difference between us and him is this: in his Father’s math class, the method of counting is based on sacrifice, not abundance. The widow gave in such a way that required her to trust in the provision of God if she was going to eat her next meal. “Christ’s standard of commendable offering is not our superfluity, but our deficiency—not what will never be missed, but what costs us some real sacrifice.” Real sacrifice stems from a heart of real trust, real love, and real obedience. Real sacrifice reaps the reward of pleased Master. How can we look at the lesson of this sacrificial, dependent widow without evaluating whether or not our giving & living demonstrate dependence upon the Provider? How can we experience the life that was given to us by the Great Sacrifice without stopping to ask whether we’re really sacrificing anything at all? Giving out of abundance may impress the pastor and other church leaders, but giving that costs is the only giving of which Jesus approves. We may have passed our earthly math classes, but have we passed the Father’s math class by understanding that His method of counting is based on sacrifice, not abundance?
Walking with Christ,
"Have You Had the Stomach-Bug?"
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 Comments (0)
Mark 11:12: “On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.”
By now, you’ve probably heard of or experienced the stomach-bug that seems to be making its rounds this winter. Nasty stuff. As I was reading through Mark this morning, the ole stomach-bug came to mind, specifically regarding Jesus in Mark 11:12. Why is the One who turned five loaves & two fish into a meal for thousands so hungry? It is Monday morning of Passion Week (the week of Jesus’ crucifixion) when we read that Jesus is hungry. The previous day, He had ridden from Jericho into Jerusalem on the young donkey with the crowds shouting Psalm 118:26 about him, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Sunday seemed to be a party atmosphere, and most people eat during party times. But, on Monday morning Jesus is hungry. We know that during the four nights before the Passover & betrayal Jesus stayed in Bethany with his close friends Lazarus, Mary, & Martha. Did they not feed him? Were they not hospitable? Far from it! They loved Jesus and were more than willing to serve & cook for him (remember from Luke 10:40 how Martha labored in the kitchen). So, why was Jesus hungry?
After reading about the events late on that Sunday afternoon & evening, it becomes apparent that Jesus hasn’t eaten because his spirit is deeply disturbed by the situation ongoing in Jerusalem & its Temple. From Luke 19:41-44, we know that after Jesus’ celebrative ride he mourned over Jerusalem & lamented the hardness of the people’s hearts. We also read in Mark 11:11 that Jesus took an investigative walk through the Temple on that Sunday evening absorbing all the “defiled religion” that was taking place (he would be back the next morning to confront the “defiled religion”). As one Bible scholar notes, “The Temple was doing ‘business as usual,’ and Jesus was deeply grieved by this.” Jesus was hungry on Monday morning because he was heart-broken on Sunday evening. His stomach had no appetite because his spirit was filled with a righteous anger toward sin & the hypocritical religion of Israel. Although we can’t be certain, it isn’t a stretch to think that upon arrival in Bethany that Sunday evening Jesus skipped supper to find a quiet place where he could pour out his heart to the Father.
Have you ever awakened hungry? Have you ever awakened to a hunger that resulted from a day of missed meals because you had the “stomach-bug” of sensitivity toward a personal sin that you can’t tolerate any longer? As you do an investigative walkthrough of your personal devotion & the local church body with whom you worship, have you ever wept over the presence of hypocritical religion to the point where you couldn’t eat? Have you ever sowed the tears of spiritual mourning in hopes of reaping a spiritual harvest in joy? Jesus wasn’t constantly mourning and neither should we. However, Jesus’ spirit was gripped by what he saw in the Temple, and there are times when you and I should be spiritually gripped by what we see & experience in our world, so much so that all desire for food is momentarily quenched. May there soon come a day in your life when you awake to an intense physical hunger because you’ve had the spiritual “stomach-bug” that has quenched your appetite.
Walking with Christ,
"Fit for a King"
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 Comments (0)
Mark 1:3 “Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.”
“Make sure those clothes fit before you tear off the tags,” my momma used to remind me. “That goal-line stand was a fitting end to the game,” the sports enthusiast might scream. The clothes needed to be suitable for my body, and the ending needed to meet the high standard at which the game was played. In the culture of Jesus’ day, when kings would make trips to various cities, it was customary for the servants to go days beforehand & make certain that everything was fit for the arrival of the king. Things had to be suitable & meet a high standard for someone in such an honorable position as king. The servants would “prepare the way” & “make the paths straight” by leveling the bumpy, pot-hole filled roads & making them easily passable for the King. These servants would also continually prepare the people in the host cities for the king’s imminent arrival. It was a difficult & often unnoticed responsibility, but the focus of the servants was that everything be fit for the king. Don’t you do something similar in your home when special guests are expected? I’m certain that you want everything to be fit for the occasion.
It is this custom which Mark 1:3 pictures in describing the role of John the Baptist. His preaching of repentance was a call to the people to prepare their hearts for the coming of King Jesus. In essence John was telling them, “The unrepentant, unregenerate heart is not a suitable place for the King to dwell.” God loves the sinner & He desperately desires for the sinner to be reconciled. However, there is an important reason He cleanses us at the moment of regeneration: An evil, dirty, materialistic life is an unfit home for the King of Glory.
Friends, King Jesus is here! His infinite worth & glory have arrived! Our Creator desires to fill the home of our heart to the point of overflow with Himself. Shouldn’t we at least give Him the opportunity to continually make us into suitable hosts? Shouldn’t we at a very minimum give Him some uninterrupted time each day when he can “level the bumps” and “fill the pot-holes” of our lives? Shouldn’t we strive with all our being to “prepare the way of the Lord & continually make his paths straight?” Starting today, make your time & life available to be enriched by His powerful Word. May your life & my life constantly be a warm & welcoming vessel that is fit for the King!
Walking with Christ,
Christmas Series: "A Crescendo of Praise"
Friday, December 21, 2012 Comments (0)
Luke 1:46-49: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
Which of us who have been touched by the same Spirit that touched Mary’s womb shouldn’t also be singing this Christmas, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior?” Was Mary’s “lowly estate” any different from our own? Was Mary in greater need of God’s mercy than any one of us? A person in such a “lowly estate” requires the strength of someone mighty. Just as a lame man can’t rely upon another lame man to carry him, so we can’t rely upon other sinners for our needed grace & salvation. We need one who is holy & mighty, and God fits the description perfectly. Indeed, the chorus that should crescendo from our hearts & lips is the song of Mary, “For he who is mighty has done great things for me & holy is his name!”
What? Has God not also done “great things” for you? Has he not caused His brilliant light to shine into your darkness, removing the sinful scales from your eyes so that you can gaze upon His greatness & glory? Has he not poured his white-hot love into your midst so that for the first time you could feel the heat that melted your frozen, lifeless soul? Did he not cast your sins into the deep ocean of his Son’s blood & clothe you with the righteousness of Christ? Did God not also fill your heart & mind with the peace that surpasses all understanding? Is he not daily conforming you more-so into the image of His glorious Son? Did he not wake you up this morning so that you might have another opportunity to serve your Master & let the sweet fragrance of obedience flow through His nostrils? Were the promises of his Word concerning your eternal destiny with him not enough? Oh friends, there is no doubt that he has done these “great things” for those of us who are in Christ! And there are 10,000 more reasons my heart could find to encourage you this Christmas to bless the Lord & worship his holy name. Christmas should be the Church’s crescendo of praise for the “great things” that our God has done.
Walking with Christ,
Christmas Series: "A Proper & Perfect Demonstration"
Thursday, December 20, 2012 Comments (0)
Luke 2:13: “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God & saying…”
Have you ever wondered why this great angelic army, known as the heavenly host, were the ones praising God? Why was it that this army of angels so enthusiastically shouted, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace upon those whom His favor rests?” Why them? What was their motivation? Please remember, not one member of this army would experience the salvation that the Savior brought. Neither was this army to be the recipients of the peace & favor they were proclaiming & celebrating. (By the way, isn’t it interesting that God used an army to declare peace?) Yet, here they are from horizon to horizon joyfully singing over the shepherds. How many were there & why were they there? One preacher offers his perspective, “I think every one of God’s angels was there because this was the most amazing event that had ever happened in the entire universe.” They praised & proclaimed for no other reason than their joy at what God was doing.
If the angelic army, who would experience no salvation or enhanced peace from the newborn Messiah, responded in pure worship, what should be the heart response from those of us who have experienced the gift of salvation from the Messiah?!! It certainly shouldn’t be anything less than what the angels gave. What we see from the angels is a proper & perfect demonstration of how we should respond to the gift of God this Christmas. “This angelic army comes to let it be known how this event is regarded in heaven and should be regarded on earth.”
The angelic song is a proper & perfect demonstration for all believers because there is both vertical worship & horizontal witness. Vertical worship to God for His gracious gift…Horizontal witness to the world with the Gospel of peace. Likewise, our response to God’s gift of Jesus should be both vertical & horizontal this Christmas. Our hearts should be filled with worship for God & a desire to witness to others concerning this provision of peace. May we take our cues this Christmas from the angelic army who gave us a proper & perfect demonstration!
Walking with Christ,
Christmas Series: "The Seed of God's Spirit"
Monday, December 17, 2012 Comments (0)
Matthew 1:20: “…for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”
From the moment of his conception, there should have been no doubt that Jesus would bring divine blessing to the world. Not so much because Mary was a virgin (although this reality is important); rather it should have been obvious because the seed inside Mary was the seed of God’s Spirit. Had he been born from the seed of Joseph, Jesus would have been born into sin just like the rest of humanity. Had he been born from the seed of Joseph, Jesus would not have had the ability to live up to his name, “The LORD is salvation,” because Jesus himself would need saving from his own sins. Think about that!! His blood would be blemished, his death would be deserved, and his best intentions would nonetheless be impotent to cover & cleanse the sins of others. You & I would be helpless & hopeless in our sinful condition, forever alienated from the Kingdom of God.
This is why the words, “for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit,” are so rich & full of meaning for us today. When the Holy Spirit conceives, heavenly fruit is the natural result. In a demonstration of His power, love & grace, God short-circuited the flow of sin by impregnating Mary with a completely different type of seed. Instead of using the seed of a fallen man, God proclaimed, “But now the righteousness of God is revealed,” as Jesus was conceived from heavenly, uncontaminated seed. The result of that seed is One whose blood is unblemished, One whose death is dynamic, & One whose promise of salvation proves effective. And the work of salvation is heavenly fruit at its sweetest for the believer!
This Christmas should be a time when believers celebrate the conception of a Savior from holy seed. In fact, without the holy seed producing the fruit of childbirth at Christmas, there is no Savior. In addition to offering our praise to the One who short-circuited sin’s flow this Christmas, we should also take time to evaluate whether we are allowing the same Spirit to produce the heavenly fruit of continued salvation in our lives. Just as the Holy Spirit conceived inside Mary’s womb, He also impregnates the believer with heavenly seeds that produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, & self-control. When the Holy Spirit conceives, heavenly fruit is the natural result.
Walking with Christ,
"Christ in Me"
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 Comments (0)
Romans 15:18, “For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me.”
Anything worthy accomplished in the Christian life is due solely to the power of Christ which is at work within us. Likewise, anything accomplished without Christ’s leadership isn’t even deserving of honorable-mention. Christ is both the Captain of the ship & the engine which makes the ship go…He provides the guidance & the power. Can you imagine a basketball boasting of its own beauty & accomplishments while in the hands of Michael Jordan or Lebron James? If not for the glory of the player, the basketball sits lifelessly in a stale, dark corner of some nameless gymnasium. If not for the glory of the Christ, each of us sits lifelessly in some stale, dark corner of some hopeless world. Paul understood this truth, which is why he wouldn’t dare boast of anything he had accomplished unless the name & power of Christ were first listed. Paul wouldn’t dare rob God of the glory & honor that were due to Him. And, Paul didn’t boast under the disguise of humility either.
The Apostle Paul had for years traveled all over Europe & Asia Minor preaching the Gospel of God. Take a moment to reflect upon all of the churches which had been started, the barriers which were overcome, & the millions of lives which were being transformed under this Apostle’s ministry. Surely, the temptation was real for Paul to say at least a little about his own role in these accomplishments! Had Paul communicated all these numbers in the right way, he could’ve received an increase in pay for exceeding quarterly estimates. Had Paul presented his accomplishments in an articulate, self-aggrandizing manner, he could’ve demanded more say-so in business & staff meetings. Had Paul known how to effectively market his writings in LifeWay & his sermons as a Podcast or DVD, he would have undoubtedly been invited to preach at every Southern Baptist Convention Pastor’s Conference for the rest of his life! Yet, Paul genuinely chose to boast only in the cross of Christ & the power of Christ. This servant of Christ knew that “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). Paul’s accomplishments were Christ’s accomplishments. Paul’s accolades were in fact Christ’s accolades.
Nineteen hundred & fifty years later, these truths remain the same. Unless Christ is working through us, nothing of significance occurs. If our talents, abilities, & achievements are lifted up, we are powerless to save anyone who would look upon us. But, if Christ be lifted up, He is more than capable of saving all who look upon Him. You & I are simply called to be obedient vessels through which the power of Christ has uninterrupted freedom to demonstrate His glory & power. I leave you with this sobering truth today: “If it isn’t Christ in me, then it’s just me.”
Walking with Christ,