Monday, December 31, 2012

Five Ways Jesus Revealed Grace | Paul Ellis

Paul Ellis, whose blog is Escape to Reality, wrote a post last February titled Five Ways Jesus Revealed Grace in which he shared some of the ways Jesus showed us what grace is through His words and actions. Here is a summary of those five ways. To see what said about these five things go check out his blog.

How did Jesus reveal grace?
  1. By showing up!  
  2. By proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord
  3. By telling stories about grace
  4. By showing (and preaching!) unconditional forgiveness
  5. By preaching faith over flesh
Here are two quotes from his post as well. One from the beginning and one from the end:
Have you ever noticed that Jesus never said the word “grace”? Doesn’t this strike you as odd? After all, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Jesus is supposed to be Grace personified. So why didn’t He talk about it? The word “grace” appears just four times in the four gospels and not once does Jesus say it. In contrast, the word “law” appears hundreds of times, often in connection with Jesus’ preaching. Paul dedicated his life to preaching the gospel of grace, but Jesus was the greatest  law preacher of all time.

To know His love is to know His grace. They are inseparable. God is gracious because He is love. Why did Jesus come? Jesus came to reveal the grace of a good God who loves us like a Father. He came to bring us good news of great joy that is for all people.
Jesus = Grace

Related Links
Escape to Reality Top 12 Posts of 2012 
What is Grace? Joseph R. Cook
Bono Interview: Grace Over Karma
Grace - More Than We Deserve (Video)
An Interview with Max Lucado About Grace

Photo - CC - Katie Landry, title “Merry Christmas”, flickr

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sovereign Over Us - Aaron Keyes

Sovereign Over Us - Aaron Keyes

There is strength within the sorrow, There is beauty in our tears
And you meet us in our mourning, With a love that casts out fear
You are working in our waiting, You're sanctifying us
When beyond our understanding, You're teaching us to trust

Your plans are still to prosper, You have not forgotten us
You're with us in the fire and the flood
(You're) faithful forever, Perfect in love
You are sovereign over us

You are wisdom unimagined, Who could understand your ways
Reigning high above the heavens, Reaching down in endless grace
Youʼre the Lifter of the lowly, Compassionate and kind
You surround and You uphold me, And your promises are my delight

Even what the enemy means for evil
You turn it for our good, You turn it for our good and for your glory
Even in the valley You are faithful
Youʼre working for our good, Youʼre working for our good and for your glory

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A List for Self-Examination - Tim Keller

Tim Keller wrote a blog post yesterday on the City to City blog titled Blemishes in Christian Character: a List for Self-Examination. In it he talked about a letter written by John Newton, Blemishes in the Christian Life, in which "Newton points out that while most Christians succeed in avoiding the more gross external sins, many nonetheless overlook blemishes on their character by passing them off as mere “foibles.” They “may not seem to violate any express command of Scripture” and yet, they are “properly sinful” because they are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit that believers are supposed to exhibit."

Below is a list Tim Keller has come up with for self-examination based heavily on Newton's original list. As we come to the end of one year and the beginning of a new one it would do us good to have a time of reflection keeping in mind that we are not saved by our works but that God has good works for us to do.
Austerus is a solid and disciplined Christian, but abrasive, critical and ungenerous in dealing with people, temperamental, seldom giving compliments and praise, and almost never gentle.

Infitialis is a person of careful and deliberate character, but habitually cynical, negative, and pessimistic, always discouraging (“that will never work”), unsupportive and vaguely unhappy.

Pulsus is passionate, but also impulsive and impatient, not thinking things through, speaking too soon, always quick to complain and lodge a protest, often needing to apologize for rash statements.

Querulus is a person of strong convictions, but known to be very opinionated, a poor listener, argumentative, not very teachable, and very slow to admit they were wrong.

Subjectio is a resourceful and ambitious person, but also someone who often shades the truth, puts a lot of spin on things (close to misrepresentation), is very partisan, self-promoting, and turf-conscious.

Potestas gets things done, but needs to control every situation, has trouble sharing power, has a need to do everything him or herself, and is very suspicious and mistrustful of others.

Fragilis is friendly and seeks friends, but constantly gets his or her feelings hurt, easily feels slighted and put down, is often offended and upset by real and imagined criticism by others.

Curiosus is very sociable, but enjoys knowing negative things about people, finds ways of passing the news on, may divulge confidences, and enjoys confrontation too much.

Volatilis is very kind-hearted and eager to help, but simply not reliable—isn’t punctual, doesn’t follow through on promises, is always over-extended, and as a result may do shoddy work.
As I look at this list I am most grateful for God's grace in Christ Jesus for me. I always fall short but look forward to that day when I will be just like Jesus. It is this hope that helps me get through each day plus knowing that God uses the weak things of the world so that He gets the glory. Draw near to Him and He promises to draw near to you.

Do you fall short? Do you feel weak many times? Welcome to the club!

To God be the glory!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Is Hell Real? Slides and Notes - English and Romanian

Here are the slides I will use today during our weekly outreach to the young people in Nouă area of Brașov. It will be the sixth teaching in a series I am doing on the gospel with them. Down below the slides you will find the notes from the teaching as well.
The teaching each week will include the following:
  1. Review of previous weeks teachings
  2. Teaching for the current week
  3. Summary of the key points of the gospel

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gospel Quotes - It's All in Vain If

"All your church attendance, all your religious activities, your Sunday school attendance medals, your journals, having a “quiet time,” reading the Scriptures—it’s all in vain if you don’t have Christ.

We are saved, sanctified, and sustained by what Jesus did for us on the cross and through the power of his resurrection. If you add to or subtract from the cross, even if it is to factor in biblically mandated religious practices like prayer and evangelism, you rob God of his glory and Christ of his sufficiency.

Romans 8:1 tells us that there is no condemnation for us, not because of all the great stuff we’ve done but because Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death.

My sin in the past: forgiven. My current struggles: covered. My future failures: paid in full all by the marvelous, infinite, matchless grace found in the atoning work of the cross of Jesus Christ." -- Matt Chandler

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Matt Redman - 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) 4:21

Matt Redman - 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
Lord, I'll worship Your holy name

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Advent: God with Us (5:03)

Christ is coming. He has come, and He will come again. This is the message of Advent.

Related Links

The Christmas Mission (2:32)

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Story of Christmas - An Animation (12:57)

An excellent explanation of how Christmas fits into the big picture of the gospel and the Bible.

Related Links

New Graphic Quoting C. S. Lewis - English and Romanian

Here are some new graphics I made quoting C. S. Lewis. They are HD sized (1920 x 1080). You can download them here: English  Romanian. If you click directly on the photo Blogger will open it and you can right click and download it but the size will be smaller.

O Come All Ye Faithless (1:28)

Jesus came not for the faithful but for the faithless!

Related Links

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Babyhood of God - Oswald Chambers

“The tremendous revelation of Christianity is not the Fatherhood of God, but the Babyhood of God – God became the weakest thing in His own creation, and in flesh and blood He levered it back to where it was intended to be. No one helped Him; it was done absolutely by God manifest in human flesh. God has undertaken not only to repair the damage, but in Jesus Christ the human race is put in a better condition than when it was originally designed.”

“Beware of posing as a profound person; God became a Baby.” -- Oswald Chambers

H/T - Trevin Wax

Related Links

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What are the Consequences to Sin? Slides and Notes - English and Romanian

Here are the slides I used a week ago yesterday during our weekly outreach to the young people in Nouă area of Brașov. It was the fifth teaching in a series I am doing on the gospel with them. Down below the slides you will find the notes from the teaching as well. I've added the Romanian notes.

The teaching each week will include the following:
  1. Review of previous weeks teachings
  2. Teaching for the current week
  3. Summary of the key points of the gospel

Christmas Creed

Christmas Creed

I believe in Jesus Christ and in the beauty of the gospel begun in Bethlehem.

I believe in the one whose spirit glorified a little town; and whose spirit still brings music to persons all over the world, in towns both large and small.

I believe in the one for whom the crowded inn could find no room, and I confess that my heart still sometimes wants to exclude Christ from my life today.

I believe in the one who the rulers of the earth ignored and the proud could never understand; whose life was among common people, whose welcome came from persons of hungry hearts.

I believe in the one who proclaimed the love of God to be invincible:

I believe in the one whose cradle was a mother's arms, whose modest home in Nazareth had love for its only wealth, who looked at persons and made them see what God's love saw in them, who by love brought sinners back to purity, and lifted human weakness up to meet the strength of God.

I confess my ever-lasting need of God: The need of forgiveness for our selfishness and greed, the need of new life for empty souls, the need of love for hearts grown cold.

I believe in God who gives us the best of himself. I believe in Jesus, the son of the living God, born in Bethlehem this night, for me and for the world.


Related Links

O Little Town of Bethlehem (5:42)

Hear what the people of Bethlehem have to say about Jesus.

Related Links

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Unique Gift of Christmas | Tim Keller

“No other religion–whether secularism, Greco-Roman paganism, Eastern religion, Judaism, or Islam–believes God became breakable or suffered or had a body. Eastern religion believes the physical is illusion. Greco-Romans believe the physical is bad. Judaism and Islam don’t believe God would do such a thing as live in the flesh.
But Christmas teaches that God is concerned not only with the spiritual, because he is not just a spirit anymore. He has a body. He knows what it’s like to be poor, to be a refugee, to face persecution and hunger, to be beaten and stabbed. He knows what it is like to be dead. Therefore, when we put together the incarnation and the resurrection, we see that God is not just concerned about the spirit, but he also cares about the body. He created the spirit and the body, and he will redeem the spirit and the body.

Christmas shows us that God is not just concerned about spiritual problems but physical problems too. So we can talk about redeeming people from guilt and unbelief, as well as creating safe streets and affordable housing for the poor, in the same breath. Because Jesus himself is not just a spirit but also has a body, the gift of Christmas is a passion for justice.

But Christians have not only a passion for justice but also the knowledge that, in the end, justice will triumph. Confidence in the justice of God makes the most realistic passion for justice possible.” -- Tim Keller
Related Links

Presence (2:16)

God's presence appeared to Moses as a firey bush as well as an earthquake. To Job God came as a powerful whirlwind. The reaction to God's presence was always one of fear but when Jesus came all of that changed. God was now approachable and personal and because of His saving work we can now enter boldly into God's presence.

Related Links

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gospel Quotes - All Things New

“If you read the Bible from cover to cover you realize that it narrates (proclaims!) a true and cohesive story: the good news that  through Jesus Christ God has entered history to liberate and renew the world from its bondage to sin and suffering. This is the story of God, who pursues the restoration of his creation at the cost of his own life. He is making all things new (Rev 21:5)! That’s the simple and yet profound, life- and world-altering plotline of the Bible.” -- Michael R. Emlet

'Tis the Season (2:07)

Christmas is supposed to be filled with joy, but this year has been rough for many and there's not much joy in sight this year. Are we out of luck this Christmas?

Related Links

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Christmas Gospel | Scot McKnight

Awhile ago I shared a post written last year by Scot McKnight on "The Christmas Gospel". This year he has written a four part series with the same title. In it he explains how what is written in the gospels about the birth of Jesus reveal to us the gospel message.
  1. The Christmas Gospel 1 
  2. The Christmas Gospel 2 
  3. The Christmas Gospel 3 
  4. The Christmas Gospel 4
Related Links

Christmas in a Nutshell (2:00)

Admit it, you've given some terrible gifts. There's someone who has never given a bad gift, though...GOD! For Christmas, however, He gave us something no one could've imagined. 

Related Links

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas is About a Tree (4:10)

Paul Tripp shares about why Jesus came.
Related Links

Christmas Spirit (The Right Way) 2:07

Christmas trees, Christmas lights, and Christmas cookies... it's easy to get carried away with the spirit of the season. But is this really what Christmas is all about? Maybe this year we can have some Christmas spirit... the right way.

Related Links

Monday, December 17, 2012

Falling Plates (4:08)

A short film about life, death & love.

What is the Gospel? D. A. Carson

The gospel is integrally tied to the Bible’s story-line. Indeed, it is incomprehensible without understanding that story-line.

God is the sovereign, transcendent and personal God who has made the universe, including us, his image-bearers.

Our misery lies in our rebellion, our alienation from God, which, despite his forbearance, attracts his implacable wrath.

But God, precisely because love is of the very essence of his character, takes the initiative and prepared for the coming of his own Son by raising up a people who, by covenantal stipulations, temple worship, systems of sacrifice and of priesthood, by kings and by prophets, are taught something of what God is planning and what he expects.

In the fullness of time his Son comes and takes on human nature. He comes not, in the first instance, to judge but to save: he dies the death of his people, rises from the grave and, in returning to his heavenly Father, bequeaths the Holy Spirit as the down payment and guarantee of the ultimate gift he has secured for them—an eternity of bliss in the presence of God himself, in a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.

The only alternative is to be shut out from the presence of this God forever, in the torments of hell. What men and women must do, before it is too late, is repent and trust Christ; the alternative is to disobey the gospel.

The Christmas Story (1:44)

A unique presentation of some verses from the Christmas story. Created with broadcast quality graphics. A fresh take on a timeless story.

Related Links

Saturday, December 15, 2012

How Does Sin Begin? Slides and Notes - English and Romanian

04. How Does Sin Begin? from William Anderson

Here are the slides I used a week ago yesterday during our weekly outreach to the young people in Nouă area of Brașov. It was the fourth teaching in a series I am doing on the gospel with them. Down below the slides you will find the notes from the teaching as well. In the notes you will find my thoughts on the verses from Genesis that are not on the slides. I've added the Romanian notes.
The teaching each week will include the following:

  1. Review of previous weeks teachings
  2. Teaching for the current week
  3. Summary of the key points of the gospel

Mary Did You Know? - Cee Lo Green (4:12)

Featuring scenes from producers Roma Downey (Touched By An Angel) and Mark Burnett's (The Voice, Survivor, Shark Tank, Celebrity Apprentice) epic mini-series THE BIBLE which is coming on March 3, 2013.

 Mary Did You Know? - Cee Lo Green

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
That your baby boy has come to make you new?
And this child that you delivered
Will soon deliver you

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy would give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy would calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know
That your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby
You kiss the face of God
Oh, Mary, did you know?
Mary, did you know?

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
That your baby boy will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
That your baby boy is heaven’s perfect lamb?
And this sleeping child you’re holding
Is the great I am

Related Links