Simplicity friendly, child approved
This day on August 23, 1995 my best friend, my dad died. Although I was only 18, I remember him being a gentle, giant with great wisdom, who loved God greatly and loved people with words and actions. I remember little nuggets of life lessons that he would tell me like…
- “Those that don't listen, have to feel.”
- 75% of things in life will be things we don't want to do."
- “You won't speak to my wife like that!!! Do you understand?”
I could go on and on… but this time the thing I recall most was his way of making things seem simple that others complicated. At this point of my life I'm learning more and more about the importance and power of clear GOSPEL conversations and presentations.
For example… have you ever walked out of a service or an event and someone asks you, “What happened today?” and you say something like, “Whoa, it was good…” but you realize that you can't repeat what was said and you think to yourself, “I have no idea what just happened.”
Charles Hodge says this, "The gospel is so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches."
The Bible sheds light on Jesus being about the preach a clear GOSPEL message. So simple that as he travelled he spoke to all generations of men, women and children. It's even recorded in John 6:1-14 that a boy was willing to give up his food because of a need that was present. I think that in most of our churches today that would be one of the modern day miracles… that young people who listen to this gospel are inspired to meet the needs (physical, emotional and spiritual) of others around them.
This scripture reference provokes two immediate thoughts in me.... The gospel we speak should:
(1) be clearly understood by all generations.
(2) leave the listener saying, “I understood what I just heard and I'm compelled to tell others.”
Please understand that this is NOT JUST FOR THE PASTORS AND “LEADERSHIP LEVEL PEOPLE.” So I encourage every believer…
-Let's communicate a gospel that inspires others to go to PRAYER for others.
-Let's communicate a gospel that inspires others to CARE for others in words and action.
-Let's communicate a gospel that inspires others to SHARE the clear message of the good news of Christ.
This message is simple:
God created us to be with Him. But our sin has gotten in the way of this relationship. We can do good things but it won't outpay the price of sin. God made a way by becoming a man (Jesus) and paid the price for our sin. Everyone who puts their trust in Christ alone for salvation will receive eternal life. That decision will put you you into a relationship with your savior that starts now and lasts forever.
If that makes sense to you for the first time… My question is what's stopping you right now from putting your trust in Christ alone for salvation? If nothing, then right now trust and believe in Christ alone for salvation. Then, I would encourage you to find a local church or a person that you know has a relationship with Christ and continue this process.
If you have any questions message me.
Regret can be a good emotion. If used positively it can provoke the feeling of “I've learned from my mistake and I'm making efforts to not repeat them.” With that being said… I put my faith in Christ at age 6 but I regret not fully reflecting my love for God in words and actions in teenage years while my dad was still alive. This life that I live today is not so my dad would be proud of me but because I've encountered the love of a Father to the fatherless and by receiving his grace through faith I'm compelled to live my life in a way that reflects the change on the inside. For this reason I want to do my best to be like my earthly dad and do my best to communicate a clear message about my Heavenly Father.
Grace and peace!
My friend Tom McCall does a fitness training program and in the last year I've seen it grow into something incredible. But lately it's gotten pretty serious. So serious that his wife Andrea has recently broken some records in lifting. The cool part is that although they are killin’ it as a couple Tom uses his gift to help people in the community reach their fitness goals. But behind the scenes I know they go the extra mile and make exaggerated efforts to make sure people reach their goals.
Have you ever been to the gym and see the people that go ALL OUT and you're like, “Why am I even here? I’ll never be able to get there...” and maybe at that time you just stop and start watching the TV in front of the treadmill OR you just stop going altogether? Or maybe you're the person that goes ALL OUT and walks around knowing it and flexing. Or maybe you're the person who can go ALL OUT and you're willing to help those reach their potential.
I believe God has some incite for us in Luke 18:9-14. “The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector” 9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Here we have two people, very close to each other physically but at the same time very far from each other. In other words we have the proverbial Pharisee “meathead” bragging about his "bench" and thankful that he's not as weak as the one struggling on the "bench” aka the Tax Collector. In verses 11-12 I can imagine seeing the Pharisee flexing and posing in the mirror of his own righteousness and works. Then in verse 13 I can see the Tax Collector struggling on the bench. I then get an image of Christ smiling at the one “struggling on the bench” because he’s a member at “the gym of life” knowing he can't lift life on his own because he needs the Holy Spirit as a spotter. And I see an image of Christ giving the screwface look to the “meathead” saying, “C’mon man, you were there several times. In fact there was a time that you used to need a spotter.”
-Do I even “lift” to where I realize I still need a spotter?
-Do I even notice weights in my life and others that I need to lift in prayer and in action?
-Do I even lift the cares of close friends in prayer and in action?
-Do I even lift the cares of those I come in contact with in prayer and in action?
-Do I even lift the cares of my city and the ones who look, act and behave differently than me in prayer and in action?
-Do I even lift the cares of the world that I live in in prayer and in action?
-Am I looking in the mirror of my own righteousness and looking down at others who are struggling to lift bro?
This type of self reflection will cause us to become slower and speak and quicker to listen.
The moment we put totally put our trust in Christ alone for salvation was the moment we realized we couldn't lift on our own and needed a spotter. Sometimes when we are removed from having community with others in the “gym of life” we forget Luke 18:9-14. We tend to walk through the “gym” of our communities or social media feeds and look down on those who don't lift like us and forget that we need a spotter too.
So you could have the proverbial Pharisee “meat head” approach or come alongside a “Tax Collector” like Tom and Andrea and disciple them through the lifting process.
For the record… Give me a fellowship of tax collectors helping tax collectors who know they can't lift on their own and know they need a spotter… they may not look as “attractive” while staring all day in the mirror of righteousness but they tend to be more humble and helpful.
What's your bench press like?