Trade in your broken life for a new one

I grew up in a very religious home. My father, in fact, was pastor of a Christian church. We attended all the church events, and I heard lots of clear Christian teaching from my earliest childhood.

As a child, I began to understand the awesomeness of God and his amazing goodness. I realized how perfect God is — and how none of us can ever hope to be as good as that. I began to understand that I was separated from God because he was so good and I was not.

I learned from the Bible that God sent Jesus to bridge that separation between himself and humanity. I learned that Jesus died to make it possible for me to be a friend of God, instead being alienated from him. I learned that Jesus offered me a gift of new life and freedom from my sin. I decided I wanted to accept that gift and become a follower of Jesus.

For many years now, I have grown in my relationship with God through Jesus. I have found a deep sense of meaning and God’s purpose for my life. Friendship with God has given me confidence that God has my best interests at heart — even when my circumstances are very hard. I find great joy when I experience God’s love and realize the Creator of the universe cares about me. Most importantly, my life has been completely transformed, and I have discovered that God’s power can take the brokenness of my life and make something beautiful out of it.

All of us struggle with brokenness in our own lives. There’s certainly no doubt that our whole world is badly broken. We try all sorts of superficial solutions to fix our problems, but those solutions fail because they don’t deal with the core issue: Our hearts and relationships are broken.

Jesus can heal your heart and relationships, if you are willing to admit your brokenness and need for a new life. You don’t have to earn this new life. All you have to do is trade in your broken life for the new one. Following Jesus brings healing, hope, and peace. If you need that in your life, you need him.

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Your salvation is too narrow

Your theology of salvation can be too narrow in at least two senses:

— It is a “moment of new birth” theology that has no place for obedience because salvation is not truly seen as a process that continues to work itself out in the present, toward a completion in the future. Consequently, it also has no adequate teaching about the consequences of disobedience, because “once saved, always saved.” If disobedience carries no  mortal consequences in eternity, then obedience is not actually necessary to salvation.

— It is a “spiritual transformation only” theology that does not see the transformation of everyday life as an essential part of salvation. We teach that sin has broken every aspect of individual life, communal relationships, even creation itself, yet we do not have an adequate explanation of how salvation relates to those other aspects of life and existence.

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The best way to be persecuted

Are you concerned that our devolving culture will persecute you for being faithful to Jesus? Your best strategy is to be, like Jesus, eager to do good for people in need.

“Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” (1 Peter 3:13-14 NLT)

Many of the people who most hate Christians have never met a genuine Christian. They were injured by religionists who wore Christian masks.

Many Americans who think they are Christians are deceived. In fact, they are self-absorbed members of a social club. Evidence that they are hardhearted toward the poor and oppressed is easily found by consulting their calendars and checkbooks.

When Christians become followers of Jesus and begin personally caring for “the least of these,” when God-haters see the authentic people of God wholeheartedly pursuing Kingdom justice, the social landscape can shift dramatically. An opportunity arises to show and share the truth about our brokenness and God’s restoring love.

They may not listen. Haters may still hate. But at least you will be persecuted for being legitimate followers of Jesus, instead of being hated because you look so much like the fake Christians who only caused more pain in an already broken heart.

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‘Totally fried by a major nuclear bomb’?

Dear Global Zero celebrities, I have one question:

You say failure to accept the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran means “We could be forced into a war with Iran” and “totally fried by a major nuclear bomb.”

So my question is: Where would Iran have gotten the nuclear bomb they will use to fry us?

WATCH: Joking of nuclear war, celebrities endorse Iran deal

 

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Conscience and ‘the heart of liberty’

“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” — John Roberts

Surely that includes the right to order my life by my conscience, doesn’t it?

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On ‘abandoning the faith’

I have heard Christian leaders talking about recent culture events in terms of “apostasy” and “abandoning the faith.” What we are facing is very serious, but many may not endure if they do not first understand what the danger is. I offer you this: http://wp.me/P4jov-G

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More than immortality

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. … He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News. (2 Timothy 1:9,10b NLT)

We have limited the Gospel, salvation, mission, even discipleship to being about “spiritual” life and the hereafter. But God did not break the power of death just to illuminate the way to immortality. He also set us free to live abundant life here and now. He saved us and called us to live holy lives — not just lives that stand apart from unrighteousness, but lives that are set apart for God’s purpose in the world.

Not only are we each broken by sin, but all of creation is broken. In Christ, God makes it possible for all things to be restored. Some of the world’s brokenness will only be healed when Christ returns to inaugurate the new heaven and new earth, but so much can be restored in this life, if God’s people will just give themselves wholeheartedly to the “love your neighbor” Kingdom and quit living for themselves.

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