Relationships, Not Rewards

Christians are called to love. To love like Jesus requires grace! As I reflected last time, loving like Jesus means loving and giving and sacrificing with no thought of the reward. Jesus died for us without calculating a reward. He knew that a lot of people would forget Him, or not return His love. But He died for us anyway. And He freed us from the bounds and obligations of law! Now we live in grace, filled with His Spirit. And by His Spirit, we love our neighbors like He loved us.

When I help somebody out, I do it because I love them. I don’t do it so that I can get right with God by scoring charity points. I don’t need to! Jesus already got us right with God. Continue reading

Why Jesus Died For Us

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44

Jesus looked at Jerusalem and He wept. He looked at Jerusalem and He said, “I see what’s going to happen to you.” It was still a few decades away, but Jesus could see what was coming. The Romans would demolish the city and nearly everybody in it would die. Jesus wept because these were His people and He loved them. He loved humanity. He loved us – you and me.

Jesus loved humanity so much that He died for us, even while knowing that in two thousand years, a lot of us would not even care that He existed, much less care that He wept. Continue reading

Don’t Think of Pink Elephants!

I’ve created a word picture for you.

Every day, I pull out of my driveway to go to work. Every day, the GPS says, “Make a right.” So I make a right. I’ve discovered that the GPS knows the way.

I trust the Spirit of God to help me navigate too. The Spirit of God helps me navigate my life. In every little detail, I try to just listen to Him. He’s like my GPS voice, a voice that says, “Make a right.”

But what if instead of just saying, “Make a right” every time, the GPS voice said, “Make a right, just don’t make a left.” Continue reading

A Silence Broken By Love

In the 400 years between Malachi and Matthew, the people of Israel didn’t hear from God. We’re talking about 400 years of silence. 400 years! From our perspective, that’s the 1600s to today. It was as if God ceased to exist in the land. It was turmoil.

As I know God right now, it would be incredibly bad if He was quiet for 400 years. Continue reading

Let’s Set the Captives Free!

Those of us who are not enslaved are so happy to hear about Jesus, who came to set the captives free.  Just imagine how much sweeter His message will sound to the millions who are literally, physically enslaved the world over!

Churches are increasingly participating in the fight against human trafficking, and they should be. Jesus came to set the captives free, so that’s what the church should be doing. Jesus asked people what they needed and then met those needs. That’s what the church should be doing. Our love comes from Jesus, who died so the slaves could be free.

You’ve Got to Show Who Jesus Is

Saved by grace alone?  Doesn’t that let us off the hook?  Is it true we can do anything now — or nothing?  Last time I discussed how salvation by grace is a call to action.  This time, I expand on that.

I’ve had a lot to say about grace as the unmerited favor of God, but that’s only part of the story. Grace is also the Spirit of God working through you. You’ve got to show who Jesus is! And if you can identify the artist behind this cartoon, please let me know.