"Where then is thy glorying? It is excluded. By what law? Of deeds doing? Nay, but by the law of faith. For we deem a man to be justified by faith, without works of the law." - Romans 3:27-28 (Wycliffe NT)


"Anytime the Christian makes sense in a Bible study or sermon, you can almost bet your life you're not hearing Christianity."
Pastor Tom Baker


We Are Not The Initiators

We played no part in the initiation of Creation. We did not initiate our salvation. We were never meant to initiate anything. Christ Jesus does all of this. He is the initiator. We need not ask Jesus to "come here and fill this place" or the Holy Spirit to "make His presence known." He's already here. How can you ask He who is omnipresent to be anywhere?Isn't He who is omnipresent everywhere? Certainly. We accept that He is already among us because He says He is! Now we can stop getting ourselves involved and move out of the way and rest. If we would just do that and take "us" out of the equation we would know His presence like He meant. Instead, we continually ask Him to do things He's already accomplished. Let the One True Initiator initiate.


I Won't Hold You Back Now

Can we hold Jesus back? Can we keep Him from doing anything? Do we have the power to suppress His power or will? Does He not work if we don't let Him? Is Jesus waiting on us to say it's "ok"?

- Laboriously typed from my iPhone!



Modern Christians seem to always be in desperate search for relevancy. Grasping at anything to make what they believe somehow fit with current trends. This couldn't be a more daft pursuance. Christ's crucified, risen and substituted life for His people is in fact the most irrelevant event in all history. Here's what I mean: it is impossible to make this relevant to anyone in todays current thought process. Furthermore, Jesus has never been a relevant idea since the creation of the world. Everyone resists that truth. But truth doesn't have to be relevant. In all actuality, the most truly irrelevant thing is our corruption of making His Gospel less important than our church services, our giving, our various styles of worship, buildings, spiritual gifts and maybe most sadly, our behaviors. The list could go on and on. The church, overall, has gotten rid of preaching Christ centered messages in hopes that they can reach more people and create more community so that they can be relevant. Which really means they can have more numbers show up! Look around your church. If you see a large group of people, your pastor probably doesn't preach the Gospel every Sunday. Because if he did, there would be less of you there.


Blogging From the iPhone.

Just thought I'd try a blog post from the iPhone.

Now for a quick nugget.

Adam and Eve's sin was not that they did a wrong thing or a bad behavior. In fact, God had already called them good. They simply decided that God couldn't be trusted. And that is what we all do to this day. We want to call our bad behaviors sin when in actuality, we just don't trust God to make us right people. God is not waiting for us to choose between right and wrong. He desires our trust. He has already made us right.

P. S. This must be what it looks like blogging from the iPhones perspective. Plus I wanted to try the handy add a pic from this app!

- Laboriously typed from my iPhone!



I received an encouraging e-mail nugget today and wanted to expand the thought a little. This is adapted from an analogy by Hans R. Waldvogel, who is also the nugget of the week.

Let's say a woman was given a new washing machine but doesn't know what to do with it. She is so used to using an old washboard to clean her clothes that the only thing she can think to do with this new machine is to rub the dirty clothes against the insides of the drum to get them clean. Since this obviously doesn't work, she goes back to the old way of doing things and uses the "reliable" method; the old washboard. Finally, someone comes to her aid and gives her instructions on how to use the new washing machine and how easy it is. Instead of rubbing her knuckles bloody, she would simply put the dirty clothes in and add soap and the machine does all the work for her while she sits and relaxes.

Now imagine that someone offers to do your dirty laundry while you take it easy. You agree. But after a few moments you start to feel guilty that they are in there working and you are resting. So you get up and go help. This is exactly how modern Christians think. Even though they've been given this new "machine" they don't know what do with it and even if someone comes to do it for them they don't want it.

Here's what has happened: Instead of accepting the New Covenant that Christ gave, modern Christians are stuck using the Old Covenant methods of getting themselves right, or clean, before God! We are all guilty of this. But we can't continue this any longer. We have but one active participation in our relationship with Christ, only ONE! And that is to rest in His work. Our work is to NOT work. It is hard to do but it's what is required if we want to be alive in Christ!

We cannot mix the old with the new. The new has replaced the old. Get free'd up!



I've been stewing on these thoughts for a while and have finally gotten the chance to blog about them. (i.e. the kids aren't climbing all over me!) It's really a simple question: Does anyone really care about the Gospel? By that I mean, are we not so incredibly blown away by what Jesus has done for us that we can't keep quiet about it? I mentioned in an earlier post that I talk about Jesus with my non-Christian friends WAAAYYYYY more than my professed Christian - church going- Bible reading - praying friends. I find this so unbelievable. I mean, sure, I hear the occasional "I'll pray for you!" or "Praise God!" or something like that but come on! Is that what comes from the life of a Christian? Jargon? Convenient phrases that really say nothing? I don't think Paul or, say, Martin Luther were very silent long after they discovered the fullness of Christ's Gospel in their lives. I frankly can't believe it's not the ONLY thing we as Christian brothers can even talk about once we are together. Now, we obviously all have other personal interests. I like talking about astronomy or politics or music. There is obviously a place for that talk in our lives. But again, I'm always stunned at the lack of conversation we as brothers and sisters in Christ engage in outside of Bible studies or church. It's as if as soon as that's over there is almost a sigh of relief that it's over and you can now talk about something you really care about. Like your careers or what's on TV or recipes or something. Every few weeks I'll get a notification e-mail or a FaceBook post that let's me know that God has blessed somebody with something or a job or helped them do something or improved their life in some way. Or they'll be asking for prayer in regards to personal things in their lives and usually those requests involve some sort of improvement in their day to make life more convenient for them. That sounds harsh and it should because it's true. Truth should be offensive. There is no reason to not come together as Christians and support each other through prayer and comforting words. However, the very reason we can call ourselves Christians lies in the person and work of Jesus Christ. If we truly understood what He did and I don't think we all do, we could never be silent about it. It would be a part of our daily conversation. Not every now and again with updates on how good life is all the sudden and oh yeah Praise God! I mean having that deep understanding that we are completely deserving of nothing and we can proclaim boldly that He has already made us perfect and given us everything we need even if life around us doesn't look so. I'm not making a new law that says you aren't saved if you are not constantly talking about Jesus but I am saying that we don't do it. And that should concern each and everyone of you. Pause for a moment and think to yourself if you truly understand the depths of Christ's finished work. If not ask me. I'd love to talk about it! And talk, and talk and talk.........Thanks for reading.


I'm sure you've heard it said that it would take more faith to believe what atheists believe than what a Christian believes. How could this be? This is a crucially bad argument. What folly in this statement. It clearly takes ONLY faith to believe in the precepts of Christianity and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore it cannot take faith to believe in anything else, specifically evolution.



I've discovered a lot about my faith by conversing with atheists. I have two dear friends who are atheists and I talk to them more about Christ than I do with most of my Christian brethren. (Look for a blog post about that soon!) Having these two friends has been very eye opening and thought provoking. I understand the "other side" better than I did. I had them pegged quite wrong. You won't get much help from most of today's Christian outlets on how to talk with an atheist. They are really missing the mark. They have a certain formula on how to deal with their objections and what your response in return should be. In other words, they teach you to "prove" your Jesus! But the atheists aren't buying it. None of us have any reason to believe what we believe as Christians. We come up with things to make us feel better about believing so that we don't actually appear crazy. But come on, this Jesus fella claimed some wild things and don't even get started on that crazy Old Testament God. If you sit back and start from the beginning and lay out what you believe about Creation all the way to Christ's life in you, it is apparent nonsense. However, we have been given the "secret ingredient" that others aren't - that is faith. Faith is the key - it is the gift that is necessary to have it all make sense. The reason an atheist isn't going to get what you're saying is that they have not received the gift of faith. We can talk and talk and talk and try and prove or convince them to no end. Until you realize they don't operate in faith, you will never get anywhere with them. That's not to say you throw in the towel and give up. I'm all for defending the faith and giving a reason for the hope that is within us. And that faith comes from hearing the Word. And what is that Word? It is none other than Jesus Himself! Until you truly hear Jesus you'll never have the faith to believe it all. Don't think for a second that you can muster that faith or by your brilliant apologetics that you'll be able to convince them to have faith in something so unreasonable to them. Only Christ can do that. But they must hear Him not you. At the end of the day, I agree with them that I have no reason to believe what I do; no proof exists for it. But I believe it as only one that has been given everything by Christ can believe it. I must look out of my mind to them. On that I will also agree with them. But by the grace of our Lord, He allows me to know Him according to His great will and purpose. On that I say, Amen!



I found this very interesting while reading "Concerning Christian Liberty" by Martin Luther. He had many confrontations on paper with folks he disagreed with. Here are some profound things he said to this particular pope, Pope Leo X. What would happen if we were to write like this to our local Pastors who are preaching and teaching everything BUT the Gospel?

"Wherefore, most excellent Leo, I beseech you to accept my vindication, made in this letter, and to persuade yourself that I have never thought any evil concerning your person; further, that I am one who desires that eternal blessing may fall to your lot, and that I have no dispute with any man concerning morals, but only concerning the word of truth. For many years now, nothing else has overflowed from Rome into the world--as you are not ignorant--than the laying waste of goods, of bodies, and of souls, and the worst examples of all the worst things. And the Church of Rome has become the most lawless den of thieves, the most shameless of all brothels, the very kingdom of sin, death, and hell; so that not even antichrist, if he were to come, could devise any addition to its wickedness. Under the influence of these feelings, I have always grieved that you, most excellent Leo, who were worthy of a better age, have been made pontiff in this. For the Roman Court is not worthy of you and those like you, but of Satan himself, who in truth is more the ruler in that Babylon than you are. Therefore, Leo, beware of listening to those sirens who make you out to be not simply a man, but partly a god, so that you can command and require whatever you will. It will not happen so, nor will you prevail. You are the servant of servants, and more than any other man, in a most pitiable and perilous position. Let not those men deceive you who pretend that you are lord of the world; who will not allow any one to be a Christian without your authority; who babble of your having power over heaven, hell, and purgatory. These men are your enemies and are seeking your soul to destroy it. They are in error who attribute to you alone the right of interpreting Scripture. In brief, trust not in any who exalt you, but in those who humiliate you."

Matthew 23:12 - "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."



This is something I left on a message board in response to someone complaining that Christianity was divisive as a religion. I wanted to set him straight that his comments were equally divisive.

We are all divisive. We are all segregational. All of our thoughts, speech, standards and actions are divisive. We only want what's best for us and therefore what's best for us MUST be best for others. Other views differing from our own are just simply incorrect or outside of reason or uninformed, etc. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you don't have this bias to what you adhere to. It' much easier for us to point out the folly in others thinking or beliefs than to find the giant holes in our own. Just don't pretend that you aren't divisive. The fact that you hold a specific belief in something divides you from someone who doesn't hold the same belief. Here's the real rub: both of you can't be right. One of you can't even be MORE right than the other. Something is either absolutely true or completely false. There's no grey area here. There is no way to believe "what might be right for them may not be right for me" because they may perceive they have a "right" to murder, pedophilia, theft, abortion, etc. You would then agree that you can't just do what you please. A majority of people can still be wrong even if they agree on any given subject. A majority of people may vote in a bad candidate for government. We are "side choosers" no matter how you look at it. Don't wade in the void of indecision. Don't be afraid of absolute truth. It exists with or without you.



Are you searching for God's direction in your life? Are you looking to use your talent that He's given you? What is God's will for your life? Should you move? Should you take that job? What does He want? Where is He leading you? You may wonder some or all of these things. I have done so as well. Here's what I've learned. He doesn't care! What?!?! Here's what I mean. Your purpose in life is simple: preach the Gospel. You don't need 40 days to figure out your purpose. No matter what you are or where you go, tell people of Christ's complete work done on the Cross for them. Tell them of His Resurrection that now gives them life. If you want to take a new job, take it! If you want to live in a different city, go for it! If you have a talent, use it! That doesn't mean you have to use it only in church. Do what you want to do with the resources you have. Just take the saving message of the Gospel with you and proclaim it. Don't get caught up in how "God's blessed me with a great talent, I should use it for Him" or "God's called me to preach." God has commissioned all of us for preaching. If you are good at speaking, you may want to be a preacher. If you are good at greeting people, go greet people. If you are a good business man, start a business and become successful. Just proclaim the Gospel while you do it.
I am a professional drummer and maybe I'm pretty good at it. But I don't sit around and worry that I need to use my "God-given talent" for Him. As if He needs anything from me! My profession is secular and at my job, I proclaim the Gospel. It's a matter of changing your view from "God has given me a talent and I must use it" to "I have a talent that I enjoy doing and I will preach the Gospel wherever I do it." If God was in the business of giving out special talents for us then why didn't He make me better than Buddy Rich?!?!
God doesn't need to give us specific things in specific time frames to guide us here or there. We are here. We are where we are. We are where we are going. We are working where we're working. Go and do those things while proclaiming the Truth that has been given you. You will be doing God's will!! You can rest in that. Amen.



Do you find yourself waiting on God to give you a sign? Maybe you would like Him to appear to you so you know that He is real. Or perhaps you would like Him to grant you a special spiritual gift that makes you feel closer to Him. You may think that any one of those things would be sufficient in God proving His faithfulness or realness to you. But you would miss the mark totally. God does not need to give you a huge obvious sign to make you believe anything. God simply shows us through His written word of what He has done for you and I through His Son Jesus. It is His gift of faith that He supplies to us that brings us to belief in that simple proclamation. We need nothing more. It is sufficient because He is sufficient. Amen.