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Saturday, June 30, 2007

How to Get to Heaven? (A Tract from Baptists)

A tract landed on my front doorstep this morning entitled 'Heaven...how do I get there'? Let me know if you agree with the interpretation within the tract - and what needs to be changed.

"Heaven, how do I get there?" is one question we all have to ask ourselves. Our society has been filled with one person’s teaching after another. We have to remember that eternal life depends upon the very Word of God. The way to KNOW how to get to Heaven is by going to the Word of God, not another man’s teaching. To get to Heaven we must know and believe these 4 things:

(1) WE ARE ALL SINNERS
Romans 3:10: "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."
Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
Every person who walks the face of the earth has done wrong. Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever taken something that was not yours? Have you ever had a bad thought? Everyone has done wrong. Do you believe this?

(2) THERE IS A PENALTY FOR OUR SIN
Romans 6:23a: "For the wages of sin is death…"
Revelation 21:8: "But the fearful,and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolators, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death."
We all know that we must die physically someday. Just pick up any newspaper and read the obituaries and we see that people die every day and at every age. After physical death, there is also spiritual death. We decide now while we are living, the place where we will live after physical life – Heaven or Hell. The penalty for our sins is death in Hell. If we get what we deserved it will be death in Hell.

(3) JESUS CHRIST PAID THAT PENALTY FOR US
Romans 5:8: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 6:23b: "… but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
God loved us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die for us.
John 3:16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Jesus Christ is God’s gift to man. A gift is FREE. All you have to do to receive a gift when someone is handing it to you, is to reach out and take it.

(4) TRUST AND TAKE JESUS AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOUR
Romans 10:9, 10, 13: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
Friend, why don’t you bow your head right now. Pray, and ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins to come into your heart and save you.

(5) SINNER'S PRAYER
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I deserve Hell. I realize that You died on the cross to save me. Please forgive me. Please come into my heart and save me now. I am trusting only in You for my eternal salvation. Help me now that I am saved to serve you faithfully. Thank you, Lord Jesus. – Amen

Did you do the above? You will go to Heaven; not by what man teaches, but by God’s Word. Titus 1:2: "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began."

What do you think...way to heaven or mis-interpretation of the gospel?

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

dry

“Being created in the image of God means that we were created to look like God – not on the outside, but in our character and in our souls.” (Point of Grace)

i've been dry of words for a while, but i'm gonna try and break that. i came across this quote about a month ago, right after i had spoke a word to an awesome group of teen girls. i spoke at probably what's been one of the lower points of my life, where i was doubting...not my belief in Him, but more so my life purpose and portrayal of Him. my life felt out of control and i couldn't even voice it to those around me. as i look back, i realize that some of my clearest words come out of the low points, because i've been stripped of everything that really shouldn't be there in the first place.

this quote spoke deep...even when things seem out of control and i feel further away than ever from who i deem myself to be, His image does shine through. should i already have know this? yeah, but who says i didn't...sometimes, i guess my eyes just need a reopening...thank goodness that grace on more than a one-time basis.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

jolly and jack









i stumbled upon this letter a while back- it's from may 2000. thought i'd post it today, on father's day...


Hey Dad
I have been thinking about you these last few days, and so I thought that I'd send you a note.
I am really proud of you (THAT sounds lame!) and I bring you up continually in conversation. I'm not sure you knew that, so I thought I'd fill you in : )

A friend of mine and I were talking about our Dads the other day, and he asked "What exactly does your Dad do?"


I thought about it, and in a moment of startling clarity, I realized I had the answer:"He leads people."

For years I have known this, and yet not known it. You see, in the 70's nobody that I knew was talking about leadership... they only talked about being boss. In today's vernacular people address, indeed actively PURSUE the same qualities more positively under the more socially acceptable umbrella of LEADERSHIP. People want to be led by strong leaders who have vision.

Leadership is something that makes my heart beat fast. The idea of rallying a pile of amazing people around me who are all uniquely qualified to meet the challenges associated with whatever mission I happen to be on is thrilling. I even take pride in knowing that there are things that people can do that they are not even aware of which I can spot. Leading people towards God, then, is something that, for me, far surpasses anything else I've ever done because the mission itself is so perfect.

In digging through the Word over the last couple of years, I have discovered three recurrent themes that can be summed up in the two phrases that are repeated throughout the Book:


1) "That they would know that I am God"... that God would be glorified.
2) "That they will be my people and I will be their God"... God's greatest glorification comes from communion with his crowned of creation: us.

and although it is not explicitly in there, a third theme would be:
3) "That they would bring a friend"


To lead people in this direction is, for me, more satisfying than anything in the world.
BUT I am a leader because of you.

I think that it has always been easier to see the ways that I am NOT like you (which has always been hard for me, as a boy wants to be like his dad) because I have always looked at skills, not qualities. As we all know, I will NEVER possess the skills of basic physical problem-solving that have paved a career and post-career highway around the planet for you... your understanding of the principles that drive this physical world is unparalleled and your genius continues to be rewarded. How can an artistic son live up to that? However, I've just been looking in the wrong places for the bloodline. You have always led people toward your visions. You have always been able to draw people around you who could see your vision and embrace their role in it. That has always been leadership- they just called it supervision... okay, "Super-Vision"

In other words, the things that I am the most- the qualities that drive me to do almost everything I do well- come from my Dad. They just find different expression in me because the skills are different.

I think I get it now.
Thanks Dad.

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Monday, June 11, 2007

the Jesus pavilion (part 1)


See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (colossians 2.8)



in looking at this passage, i was drawn towards a couple phrases that were challenging. i love that scripture can be this living, breathing revelation of God which invites interaction, depending on what we bring to it when we read.

because it often makes more sense for me to work backwards through something, the first challenge came at the very end:

'this world rather than on Christ'

now, typically, believers in Christ read the phrase this world as referring to that great big dark evil place where gargoyle-like human caricatures live out these fallen sex, drugs and rock and roll lives dedicated to hedonism and self-destruction. however, as i read this passage with different eyes (or perhaps just somehow receiving it with a different heart) i noted something troubling.

see, christians are notorious for creating their own little worlds, complete with culture, language, art, social networks... the full meal deal. now, whereas this should, i guess, be a good thing in that it should be a social and spiritual alternative to godless living or whatever, in many cases it is simply another thing. alternative, sure, but not a whole lot different than any other coming-together of human beings. instead of being somehow missional and impactive, faith communities can run the risk of being reactionary and exclusive, communicating either indirectly or directly through its social distinctives (referred to as convictions) that others must somehow resort to this strange self-imposed ethnic cleansing, giving up their friends, their culture, their recreation etc in order to take part.

better be a pretty darn amazing church service.

where it gets a little crunchy for me is the idea that this Jesus Pavilion approach to the spiritual journey isn't actually based on Christ... not really. i would even venture to say that it's based more on human tradition and the basic principles of this (new but not really that improved) world rather than on Christ.

hollow and deceptive? all ethnocentricity is.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

helpless


Friday June 1, 2007

10:55pm

It is with great sadness that I let you know that Jayda passed away and left her earthly home tonight at 10:55pm local time.

However, it is with great joy that I announce Jayda has arrived in her new heavenly home. She has received her miracle; salvation and a new body in glory.

Thank you for all your prayer and please continue to pray as we walk through these next weeks.

God Bless,

Chris




it is with profound dismay that i receive notes like this.


on friday i sat helpless, watching my friend remain wearily vigilant as his beautiful wife lay sighing in a palliative hospital bed underneath a borrowed quilt.


in one of those moments i was struck with the cruel irony of mortality. on the one hand, i just wanted jayda to be free. go- dance with God. i whispered courageous words in her ear about how chris and their little toddler son kiel would be okay because they were surrounded by incredible love and support from the people around them.


you gotta wonder who you are trying to convince with stuff like that...


these words were betraying what was on the other hand: this heavy awareness that the time for father and son to be without wife and mother was fast approaching. and my friend sat quietly stroking the face of his beloved, fingertips caressing a bare arm, imprinting as deeply as possible these last tactile experiences, these final moments of physical warmth and exchange.


the irony of mortality is so often found simply at the centre of the conflict between what one wants for oneself and what one wants for another. i mean, does the loving husband pray in that moment for the final healing miracle- death itself- for his soulmate, while clinging desperately to even the most minuscule slivers of life together that remain, holding dear even the lightest touch, grimly resigned to the fact that each of these may be the last?


reminds me of those waking moments as a child when i used to try desperately to hold onto the things from the dream that had made that dream so great- only to fail every time as conscious mind and physical reality once again took their rightful places as prime interpreters of the life experience, banishing the unconscious to darkness and silence once again, save for the occasional random interruption in the form of some weird deja vu thing.


all these things poured out of a snapshot moment in someone else's time that was burned indelibly into my own personal hard drive. everything seems to be rehearsal for everything else as our hearts try to make sense of the heaviest circumstances and situations from a distance. the questions we pose are posed by our hearts in response to the calamity of others in the hope that somehow we'll have what we need when it's our turn.


yeah. mortality leaves us feeling way out of our depth.

how common is this experience?
how many have lain under this quilt
while others have helplessly by their side attended?

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