Jumat, 31 Mei 2013



"A true faith in Jesus Christ will not suffer us to be idle. No, it is
an active, lively, restless principle; it fills the heart, so that it
cannot be easy till it is doing something for Jesus Christ."
-George Whitefield

"You are what you are when you are alone!"

"Anything that cools my love for Christ is the world."
-John Wesley

"You may say, 'God doesn't hate anybody. God is love.' No, my
friend. You need to understand something. Jesus Christ taught,
the prophets taught, the apostles taught this: that apart from the
grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord the only thing left
for you is the wrath, the fierce anger of God because of your
rebellion and your sin." - Paul Washer

"If we are to better the future we must disturb the present."
-Catherine Booth

"We're suffering from a believism that never has believed and a
receivism that never has received and it leads to deceivism."
-Vance Havner

Rabu, 29 Mei 2013

More GREAT QUOTES -Sermonindex.


"Men's hearts are being searched...it is a tremendous sifting time,
not only of actions but of inner motives. Nothing can escape the
all-searching eye of God."
-Frank Bartleman, AZUSA STREET.

"This life is a dressing room for eternity - THAT'S ALL IT IS!"
-Leonard Ravenhill

"Consecrate, then concentrate..."
- Dwight L. Moody

"Only when we are captured by an overwhelming sense of awe and
reverence in the presence of God, will we begin to worship God in
spirit and in truth."
-Alistair Begg

"How often God visited the Jewish Church with judgments because
they would not repent and be revived at the call of His prophets!
How often have we seen Churches, and even whole denominations,
cursed with a curse, because they would not wake up and seek
the Lord..." - Charles Finney

"The law shows the distance that exists between God and man;
the Gospel bridges that awful chasm and brings the sinner across it."
- C.H. Spurgeon

When God Closes Doors

When God Closes Doors

Jayne Thurber-SmithThis Guest post is written by Jayne Thurber-Smith.
Jayne is an award-winning writer for various publications including Faith & Friends, Floral Business magazine and The Citizen of Chesapeake newspaper, and is also a sports contributor to cbn.com.
She and her husband’s favorite activity is being included in whatever their four adult children have going on.
You may contact Jayne in one of the following ways:
If you would like to write a guest post for this blog, check out the guidelines here.
Open DoorI was completely burned out from working at a busy call center. I was trying to help my four children get through college but I wished I could find something I enjoyed a little more. I simply did not have the patience for the irate and often unreasonable customer service calls I handled, sometimes one hundred per day.
So when a position opened up in the marketing department next door, I put in for it. I was thrilled when I received a call for an interview with Human Resources and doubly thrilled to get called for a second interview with the actual department heads. I thought we all hit it off.
But that’s where it ended.
After two weeks of anticipation I stopped in to see HR and asked if I was still in consideration. I was politely told no. It had come down to me and someone with a Master’s degree and guess who got it? Impossible. I had been so sure it was mine. Why was someone with a Master’s degree interviewing for jobs that did not require it? Why were they not applying for jobs that required a Master’s degree?
As I returned to my cubicle, deflated, I couldn’t hide my tears. My supervisor, thank God, was a loving, kind Christian and he knew I was up for the job. He could tell by looking at me what the answer was.
He took me aside and said softly “I don’t know if this was Ishmael, but I know God has Isaac.” He immediately brought to mind the Bible story of Abraham trying to rush God by having a baby with his servant Hagar, before his wife Sarah bore him a son as had been promised.
That was completely the coaching I needed to strengthen my resolve. I knew God promised in 2 Samuel 22:31 that His ways are perfect. I knew there was a job more suited for me somewhere and so did my supervisor. I shook off the self-pity and kept job hunting.
Within two months I got a response to an application I put in for a job closer to my home, perfect for me in every way. This time I landed it. I’ve been there for two years now and every day I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I now have my “Isaac,” which I wouldn’t have kept looking for had I merely settled for “Ishmael.”

Cruciform God

Cruciform God

The greatest expression of what God is truly like is found in Jesus when He died on the cross.
Jesus on the Cross
While most Christians affirm the centrality of the cross for the mission and work of Jesus in bringing reconciliation and redemption to this world, it is relatively rare in Christian circles (but thankfully, becoming more common!) to state that of all the ways which Jesus reveals God to us, it is on the cross where God is most clearly seen.
If you ask the average Christians how God is most clearly revealed in Jesus Christ, they may talk about His teachings, His miracles, or maybe even His resurrection from the dead, but few would point to the cross. The cross is critical to the Gospel, people would say, and essential for accomplishing the mission of Jesus in the world, but it is not usually thought of as the primary way in which Jesus shows us what God is truly like.

Key Text: Philippians 2:5-11

Philippians 2:5-11 is one of the most well-known passages in the Bible about what Jesus did in leaving heaven to come to earth.
Many read this passage as a description of the downward spiral into humility and death which Jesus undertook for the sake of humanity, so that this downward spiral eventually resulted in the worst of all possible humiliations, death on a cross (Php 2:5-8). As a result, God raised Him and reversed this downward spiral of humiliation by giving Jesus an upward descent into glory and honor (Php 2:9-11).
There is nothing wrong with this interpretation, and Paul is certainly placing great emphasis on the sacrifice of Jesus in taking on sin and shame. But what is often overlooked is that this downward spiral into humiliation and then the resulting upward spiral into glorification is only a secondary point for Paul in this text.
The primary point is the fact that in everything Jesus did, He was revealing the very nature and character of God.He came, says Paul, in the “form of God” (Php 2:6).
Now again, when most Christians read verse 6 (and some Bible translations even help in this regard), we often add the word “though” or “although” to the first part of verse 6 (cf. NAS, NRSV). In this way, the reader is led to believe that the following description of Christ’s actions are contrary to the character and nature of God: That although Jesus was God, He turned His back on His divinity, and gave it all up to come to earth. Read this way, the ultimate humiliation of Jesus comes in verse 8 where Jesus became obedient to death, even to death on a cross.
Many teachers and Bible scholars have noted, however, that a better way of reading this text is not to say that although Jesus was God He came to earth to suffer and die, but rather, since Jesus was God He came to earth to suffer and die. When read this way, the cross is not the ultimate humiliation of Jesus, but the ultimate manifestation of the divinity of God in Jesus. This “position” in theology is known as “cruciform” theology. It emphasizes the cruciform nature of God, that God is most fully revealed through the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross.
This helps make sense of verse 8 as well, so that rather than it saying that Jesus’ ultimate humiliation was “even death on a cross” (NAS), the text should read “especially death on a cross.”
When Philippians 2:5-8 is read in this light, we see that the cross is not the ultimate expression of Jesus emptying Himself of divinity, but is exactly the opposite: The cross is the ultimate expression of Jesus revealing Himself as divine. In showing us who God truly is, and what God is truly like, Jesus made Himself of no reputation, took the form of a bondservant, came in the likeness of men, humbled Himself completely, and finally, ultimately, especially suffered a cruel and torturous death on the cross. This is what God is truly like. This is who God truly is.
If want to see God, we can look at the entire life and ministry of Jesus, but God is especially revealed through Jesus on the cross.
On the cross, Jesus reveals a God who does not cause others to suffer and die, but who suffers and dies Himself for the sake of others.
Cruciform God
On the cross, Jesus most fully reveals God to us! What does that tell you about God?
Once we have seen this, we can see that the cross of Jesus is not only reveals the essence of who God is, but is also the place where Jesus achieved His greatest victory over sin, death, and the devil, and where Jesus finally and ultimately destroyed the devil’s work. It is on the cross, Paul says, that Jesus disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them through His death (Col 2:14-15).
So why did Jesus come to earth? One of the primary reasons was to destroy the devil’s work. And since Jesus reveals God to us, not just in His life, ministry, teachings, and resurrection, but also (especially!) through His death on the cross, then as we read Jesus back into the Old Testament, and as we seek to understand the violence of God in the Old Testament, we must keep the mission of Christ to destroy the devil’s work first and foremost in our minds, and especially the critical aspect of Christ’s work upon the cross.
What Jesus accomplished on the cross in destroying the work of the destroyer allows for a vastly new understanding of how to understand the violent passages of God in the Old Testament.
But to really see what is going on, we need one more bit of information to make the puzzle pieces all fit together in a grand tapestry of beauty and grace. We will begin to look at this final piece of the puzzle tomorrow.

The Love and Horror of the Cross

The Love and Horror of the Cross

We have come a long way in trying to explain the violence of God in the Old Testament (See the list of posts at the bottom.) I am nearly ready to offer my proposal… But there is one more piece of the puzzle to lay on the table before we start putting all the pieces together.

Jesus Became Sin for Us

the horror of the crossThe final piece of the puzzle about how to understand the violence of God in the Old Testament in light of life, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ is found in 2 Corinthians 5:21.
In this text we read that Jesus became sin for us. Paul writes that God made Jesus “who knew no sin to be sin for us.” We must not try to soften the implications or significance of what Paul writes.
It is not just that Jesus took our sin upon Himself. No, He became sin.
He took His righteousness and swapped it with our sinfulness. Every sin we have ever committed was not just “credited” to the account of Jesus, but He was actually made to be that sin!
The horror of this must not be missed. But neither should the love.
The horror and the love of what Jesus did on the cross helps us understand what God was doing in the Old Testament, as I will explain in future posts.
But this post will simply relate a dream I had as a boy which I think shows both the horror and the love of the cross.

A Dream About the Love and Horror of the Cross

When I was about ten years old, I had a nightmare about Jesus dying the cross. I vividly remember seeing His broken and bleeding body hanging upon the cross. As I watched, I noticed a few black ants coming up out of the ground and climbing up the cross toward Jesus. As they climbed, more and more ants swarmed up out of the ground so that by the time the first few ants had reached the bloody feet of Jesus, all the ground around the cross and the lower portion of the beam was a roiling mass of blackness. This swarm of ants scurried up the cross and over the body of Jesus.
swarm of antsI could tell by the way Jesus twitched and squirmed that the ants were not just climbing over His body, but were biting Him as well. I was surprised that Jesus did not cry out in pain, but I knew that if He did, they would enter His mouth and eat Him alive from the inside out. As soon as I had this horrifying thought, Jesus looked me in the eyes and then opened His mouth wide. As expected, the mass of ants swarmed in and they ate Jesus alive. Soon, there was nothing left of Jesus, only a black mass of ants.
I woke trembling, with tears in my eyes.
I knew, of course, what the ants were. They were my sins. Each tiny ant represented one of my sins. And there were millions upon millions of them. At first I thought that there was no way all those sins were mine; they had to have been the sins of the whole world. But that look from Jesus told the whole story. They were my sins, and mine alone. There were so many, they were beyond counting, but He took them all on, every single one.
And I knew that this is what He had done for the entire world, for each and every person.
Most surprisingly, however, I felt no accusation from Jesus. No anger. No condemnation.
Just love.
Strangely, and most vividly of all, there was not even a sense that He wanted me to try to sin less. When He looked me in the eyes, it was as if He said, “Look at me. I am already covered with millions upon millions of biting black ants. What difference will ten more or ten less really make? If you want to stop sinning, it is for your benefit, not mine. No matter how much you sin, I will take it all on. And whether you sin or don’t sin, I will continue to love you just the same.”
I have often thought about that dream. But recently, as I have sought to view God in light of what Jesus tells us about Him, I have begun to see that the dream not only reflects what Jesus did for all people on the cross, but also reflects what God has always been doing for the sins of the whole world. We will begin to see how tomorrow.

Jesus Became Sin for Us

Jesus Became Sin for Us

became sin for us2 Corinthians 5:21 may be the most horrifying verse in Scripture, for it reveals the fact that Jesus, who was holy, righteous, and perfectly sinless, became sin for us. God made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us.

The Horror of the Cross

Can you imagine the horror, the shame, and the guilt that poured upon Jesus while He hung upon the cross?
We, who are born in sin and who are accustomed to sin’s constant presence within us, still feel shame and guilt when we sin. Imagine then how it would feel for God in the flesh, who is perfectly holy and righteous, and for whom sin is the exact antithesis and opposite of everything about His being, to not just take on a few sins, but to actually become sin for the entire world? It is shocking and horrifying to think about.

The Love of the Cross

But it is also incredibly loving, for God, who alone knows the full ramifications and consequences of sin, knew that only in this way could He have the relationship and fellowship with us that He so desires. Only by taking sin upon Himself could He finally, ultimately, and completely defeat sin, death, and the devil. So He did it.
Jesus became sin for us and gave us His righteousness.
Jesus accepted our sin into Himself.
He breathed it in, soaked it up, and allowed it to consume Him from within.
Why? Because He loves us, and He knows that if He does not become sin for us, if He does not let sin consume Him, it will destroy and consume us.

Jesus Became Sin

Jesus became sin for usThe truth of 2 Corinthians 5:21 is for every single person who has ever lived and who will ever live. It is for every single person who has drawn breath. It is for every single sin that has ever been committed and ever will be. Jesus draws them all into Himself and becomes sin for us!
On the cross, Jesus is both the most beautiful thing the world has ever seen, and the most loathsome. Jesus is the most righteous and the most sinful. The cross of Jesus is full of love and horror.
Love, because of what Jesus did, but horror, because of what Jesus became: He became sin. This is the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:21. Jesus became sin for us. God made Him to be sin. Jesus was despised, rejected, and loathed (Isa 53:2-6). People looked upon Him with revulsion. Even God rejected Him (Matt 27:46).

God Became Sin

All of this helps us understand exactly what was going on in the violent portrayals of God in the Old Testament. If it is on the cross that Jesus most fully reveals God, and it is on the cross that Jesus became sin for the world, then this means that God also was becoming sin for the world.
Just as Jesus became repulsive on the cross by taking on the sin of the world, the proper response to reading about the violence of God in the Old Testament is to be repulsed. We are repulsed by the violence of God in the Old Testament because we are supposed to be repulsed. The violence of God in the Old Testament is God taking on the sin of Israel.
This is a challenge thought, I know, so let us approach it from another perspective, from the perspective of God Himself. To do this, we must remember everything we have seen in this series so far (see the list of posts below).
We must remember that the Bible is inspired and inerrant. It records exactly what God wanted recorded. We must remember that when we read about God in the Old Testament, we read Jesus back into those passages, rather than read those depictions of God forward onto Jesus. We must remember that Jesus came to destroy the devil’s work, and that the primary way Jesus did all this is by taking all the devil’s work into Himself upon the cross by becoming the sin of the world.
God inspired the Old Testament authors to write about Him in a violent way so that He could do the same thing for Israel that Jesus did on the cross: Just as Jesus became sin for us, God became sin for Israel.

Go Ask Your Mother

Go Ask Your Mother

Make sure you thank your mother today for everything she has done for you throughout the years. All the meals she has cooked, the clothes she has washed, the floors she has cleaned…
And thank her as well for having more knowledge and expertise about life than anybody else you will ever meet. That is why as children, no matter what problem we were facing, we knew mother could solve it. And when we couldn’t find mother, and went to dad instead, it was to ask the only question which maybe he knew the answer to:
“Hey dad… where’s mom?”
So I laughed when I saw this image last week:
mothers know everything
It’s true, and we men know it…
So thank your mothers today… and fathers, thank your wives!

Getting to Know Our Neighbors

Getting to Know Our Neighbors

This practical post on getting to know your neighbors is by Sam Riviera. Sam is a frequent contributor to this blog. See the bottom of this post for more articles in this series about getting to know your neighbors.

neighborsMy wife and I know most of the people in our neighborhood and in the two adjoining neighborhoods, a total of about three hundred homes. Several neighbors have told us that we know more neighbors than anyone else in the neighborhood, and asked us how that happened, since many of our neighbors have lived here longer than we have.

Follow Jesus to Your Neighbor’s House

We enjoy getting to know neighbors. It may appear to come natural to us, but we make it an intentional part of following Jesus.
In this series I will discuss some of the methods that have worked for us in getting to know our neighbors, how we move some of the relationships beyond just being acquainted, and what we’re doing now to move those relationships to yet another level.

Living in Neighborly Isolation

Most of us drive home from work, push the button on our remote garage door opener, pull into the garage, close the garage door, and go into the house. If we emerge from the house that evening, we may go only to our backyard, possibly to play with our children, or to grill something on our outdoor grill. The next morning, we raise the garage door, back out, and wave to a neighbor as we pull away from our house.
If we hire a lawn service, we may rarely spend any time in our front yard. If we’re lucky, we may know the people who live next to us, but probably don’t know most of the people who live two or three houses away from ours. We may notice a house with an unkempt yard, or the house with several broken-down cars parked in front. But we don’t know the people who live there, and assume they’re probably lazy.
Many of us find our friends and build relationships at work, church, or among relatives. When we have a party, those are the people we invite. When the party runs a little late on a warm summer evening when all of our neighbors have their windows open, and our guests are laughing and singing and some neighbor calls the police to complain, we’re offended. We silently make a vow to get even with every neighbor who does anything to annoy us. We have our rights and have to stand up for them! Right?
That’s what Jesus would do, right? Didn’t He throw the moneylenders out of the temple, His temple? If Jesus could display His righteous anger, shouldn’t it be OK for us to do the same?

Loving Our Neighbors Like Jesus

We have discovered there is another way, a way that not only doesn’t get the neighbors upset with us and us mad at the neighbors, but a way that looks a whole lot more like Jesus.
This “other way” begins with getting to know our neighbors.

Mourning with those who Mourn

Mourning with those who Mourn

being with those in painDo you know someone who is mourning a great pain or tragedy? Maybe they lost a parent, a spouse, or a child. Maybe they contracted a terminal illness. Maybe their house burned down or they lost their job.
In such situations, Christians have the bad reputation of saying and doing the wrong things. We sometimes believe it is our job to “fix” people’s problems by giving them pat answers to painful experiences, or by trying to get people to overcome their pain. If you have ever been in a painful experience, you know how upsetting some of these comments can be.
For myself, I am no expert in dealing with the pain and mourning of others, but I have had some painful experiences in my own life, and have talked with many people who have told me about painful experiences they went through and how people responded. The following are some suggestions for how to be with those in pain without making their pain worse. These are suggestions for mourning with those who mourn.
There are four things NOT to do, and four things to do.

Don’t Blame God

Christians don’t intentionally blame God when tragedy strikes, but often, if we really listen to what we are saying, we tell people that God is responsible for taking their child, their husband, or their parent.
We say things like, “This is all in God’s perfect plan. He must have wanted to take little Bobby home to be with Him. God has something better in store for you. His ways are higher than our ways.” When talking with people in their pain, make sure that not a single Christian cliche comes out of your mouth. Not only are Christian cliches never helpful, they almost always border on heresy.
In one of my times of personal tragedy, I actually had someone tell me that God was using this tragedy to prepare me for something worse.  That was encouraging. So not only was God destroying my life in the present, but it was all to prepare me for some way He would destroy my life even more in the future? This just doesn’t sound like God.
No matter what a person is going through, don’t put the blame on God. He doesn’t take children away to teach parents lessons. He doesn’t send cancer to teach us to pray. He doesn’t burn up houses to help us depend on Him.

Don’t Judge

Along with blaming God, some Christians also like to blame the person who is hurting. The classic example of this is in the book of Job where Job’s four friends tell Job that the only reason bad things are happening to him is because God is punishing him for some sin. If Job would just repent, they say, everything will turn out okay.
Despite the fact that we have the book of Job and everybody knows the story, it is surprising how common this line of reasoning still is among Christians. When bad things happen to people, the first instinct many of us have is, “Well, if only they hadn’t…” And look, it is true that sin has consequences.
But just because someone is experiencing pain in their life, this does not automatically mean that their pain is a direct consequence of sin.
Even if it is, and we know it, and they know it, it is still not helpful, loving, or kind to point their sin out to them in the midst of their tragedy.
If someone is dying from lung cancer, they don’t need to reminded that it is because they smoked two packs of cigarettes every day for 30 years.
Whether we know the reasons for a person’s pain or not, it is never helpful or loving to bring it up. So don’t do it.

Don’t Compare

Another thing to not do is compare horror stories.
When facing the pain of others, we are often tempted to talk about our own painful experiences and how we got through them. This is rarely helpful. When a person is facing great pain, they don’t want to hear about your own pain. This is their pain; not yours.
Besides, usually the comparisons are illegitimate. I know a family that lost a son in a tragic hiking accident. While they were in mourning, a man came up to the father and said, “I know just how you feel. My favorite horse died last year.”
The father told me afterward that he wanted to slug the man. He probably should have.
No two tragedies are identical, and so it is not helpful to bring up your pain to others who are experiencing pain, even if the tragedies are similar. If a family loses a teenage daughter in a car accident, this is still quite different from a family who loses a teenage daughter to a deadly disease. In the second situation, the family has a chance to say goodbye, whereas in the first they don’t. Of course, in the second situation, the family is faced with watching their daughter slowly die, whereas in the first the family does not.
So don’t try to compare. Their pain is there pain, and there is nothing you can do or say to help. This brings up the fourth thing not to do.

Don’t Try to Help

Unless you can bring a loved one back from the dead (and PLEASE, don’t tell someone you can!!! I hear horror stories about this all the time), or unless you can get someone their house back or their job back, do not try to help. You cannot help.
grievingChristians want to fix things, to help, to relieve the pain, the dull the ache, to take care of the problem. But in times of great personal tragedy, we can do none of these things, and whenever we try, we usually only make things worse. It is much better if you just go in with the mindset that you cannot help.
Once we realize we cannot help, we give up trying, and this liberates us to do the things that we can do in these situations, things that are loving and kind. What sorts of things? Here are four:

Be Present

One of the best things you can do when someone is facing great personal tragedy is just to be in the same room with them. Not talking, not trying to fix things, not trying to cheer them up or give them a theology lesson, but simply and only to sit there with them.
There is great comfort in having people around you in times of tragedy.
And the nice thing about being present with those in pain is that you don’t have to try to think of something to say or do. You can just sit there.
Again, Job’s friends are initially a good example of this. When they arrived, they simply sat with Job for seven days and seven nights (Job 2:13). The trouble started when they opened their mouths.
When people are experiencing great personal pain, just being present with them is often more meaningful than anything else.


If someone has experienced the loss of a family member, we often think that they don’t want us to talk about them. But in my (limited) experience, it seems that many people want exactly the opposite.
Not talking about a person makes it seem that along with the person’s physical death, their memory has died as well. But when memories are all we have of a loved one, we want to remember, and we want others to remember. We want to laugh at the funny things they said and did, remember the stories that made them unique, and point out their contributions to joy and happiness in this world.
Of course, take your cues on this from those in mourning. Our first task is just to be present. Only bring up memories when the grieving family members indicate that they want to talk about their departed loved one. Once they do that, don’t try to change the subject. Remember the person. Honor them. Praise them.
Also, you may not think so, but it is sometimes helpful to remember the anniversary of the person’s death. On the one-year anniversary of the person’s death, send a card, make a phone call, or stop by for a visit. This is a touchy thing to do, and some people do not appreciate it, so be cautious.


One of the universal experiences of tragedy is that people who go through it simply want to the world to stop for a few days. It is shocking to be reminded that people are still going to work, taking vacations, and living life. The world has come to an end for the person going through great tragedy, and often they just want people to recognize and accept this timeless void with them.
This is not a time to look at your watch, make plans, discuss the future, talk about work, or anything that involves the steady turning of the world and constant passing of time. When you are with those who mourn, do your best to help time stand still. One of the ways we can do this is in the last item below. We can serve.


When a person or family is going through personal tragedy, they don’t want to think about things that show the passing of time and that life is going on around them. So things like cooking meals, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn are often good things to do for families and individuals in their pain.
mourn with those who mournThese actions are not substitutes for being present with the person, however. If we are not present with them, but busy ourselves with such tasks around the house, our actions may be interpreted as wanting to distance ourselves from their pain. So instead, these acts of service should primarily be done when the grieving person is asleep or when they indicate they want to be alone.
This is not an exhaustive list, and I know that not all of these pieces of advice will apply to every person and every situation. But in my own experiences and in my own conversations, these sorts of things are commonly mentioned as being helpful for those people who face tragedy, grief, and pain.
These eight things will allow you to mourn with those who mourn.

God Pleads Guilty

God Pleads Guilty

guilty godThis post continues my attempt to “think by writing” about the problem of a violent God in the Old Testament. Please know that I learn by writing, and by interacting with others (in conversations and on this blog) about these matters. So what I write is not necessarily what I will believe, but is my attempt to think things through based on where Scripture seems to lead me.
So bear with me when I am not so clear (as in the last post), and as I sometimes seem to wander off into heresy (as in this post).
Let’s think through this together!
In the previous post, I said that basically, just as Jesus became sin on the cross (2 Cor 5:21…. and whatever that means… I am still not sure… but am researching and studying it, so if you have ideas, go back there and help me out…), I believe that God was doing something similar in the Old Testament.
I said that “Just as Jesus became sin for us, God became sin for Israel.” Let me try to unpack this a little bit more in the next several posts.
First, let’s start with this shocking idea:

God is Repulsive

When we look at what Israel does in the Old Testament and are repulsed by it, we can know that we are feeling the right thing, for this is what Jesus did on the cross. He became repulsive. He became despised, rejected, forsaken, and shamed (Isa 53:3).
So also with God in the Old Testament. If we despise what He is described as doing, and are tempted to reject and forsake those shameful depictions of God, then we are feeling exactly what God wants us to feel.
Rejection of the violent portrayals of God is good and godly.
Many people believe that God is a moral monster, that He is guilty of horrendous crimes against humanity, that His hands are covered with more blood than Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and Pol Pot combined.
angry godA constant criticism from atheists is that the God portrayed in the Old Testament is not good. They accuse Him of commanding genocide and mass murder, of condoning infanticide, slavery, and rape, of starting wars, sending floods, razing towns with fire and brimstone, and ultimately, finally, after He has killed and plundered His way across the pages of history, He takes those who have suffered and bled by His hand throughout life and as the icing on His bloody cake, He sends them to scream and burn forever in the torment and torture of hell.
And how does God respond to these accusations?

Guilty as Charged

When people accuse God of being guilty, He agrees. God pleads guilty. He declares Himself “Guilty as charged.”
I know, I know. This sounds shocking. It sounds like God is admitting sin. Yet we know that God does not sin. We know that He is holy, righteous, loving, and good. We will look in future posts at how God can be holy, righteous, and good, and plead guilty for the sins of Israel, while at the same time being holy, righteous, and good, but for now, let’s just lay out the proposal…
One of the central traits of God is His complete and utter holiness (cf. Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8). God is also completely loving and righteous (1 John 4:8, 16; Dan 9:14). God Himself does not sin, nor does He cause anyone to sin, or even tempt people to sin (Heb 4:15; Jas 1:13). We could go on and on but there is no need. This trail of theology is well-trodden by scores of other theologians and Bible teachers.

God is Holy; God is Love

The argument here is that these numerous and detailed portrayals of a loving, just, and righteous God have left out the most vivid and beautiful examples of God’s love, justice, and righteousness.
What examples are these?
Those that depict God as violent and bloody. Despite all appearances, these are some of the most beautiful and lovely portrayals of God in the Bible… and the most repulsive and repugnant.
the cross and godJust like Jesus on the cross.
The blood on the hands of God in the Old Testament must be viewed like the blood covering the body of Jesus on the cross. It got there, not because God is guilty, but because God took the blame and guilt for the sins of others.
He absorbed the sin, soaked it in, and took it upon Himself.
How did He do this?
He inspired the biblical authors to write that He was the one commanding them to do the evil things that they had already set out in their hearts and minds to do. He did not command them to do evil, but saw the evil that they were about to do, and took that evil onto Himself by claiming responsibility for it. In this way, God became sin for Israel just as Jesus became sin for us.
Okay, that is enough for this post. I will continue to attempt to explain and unpack this in future posts, and eventually look at some actual texts of Scripture where we see this happening. But for now, what are your thoughts?

God the Sin Bearer

God the Sin Bearer

Jesus the sin bearerIn previous posts I have suggested that Jesus became sin for us (2 Cor 5:21), and since Jesus reveals the Father to us, it seems to follow that maybe this is what God was doing in the Old Testament in the violent sections.
There are various ways this could be described. Just as Jesus became the sin-bearer for the world, maybe we could say that God made Himself the sin bearer for Israel. Or maybe we could say that He absorbed their sin, or soaked it up, took it on, took the blame, took the fall, or bore their “sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pet 2:24), and in the case of God, His body and the tree would be the divine revelation of Himself in Scripture.
This does not mean that God is guilty for these horrendous crimes. He is not.
God is no more guilty for the sins of Israel than Jesus is guilty for the sins of the world which He bore on the cross. But Jesus, out of His great love, became sin for us, just as God, out of His great love, also became sin for us.
Jesus intentionally set His face to the cross so that He might bear the sins of the world, just as God had been intentionally inspiring human authors of Scripture to write what they did so that He might bear the sins of Israel. In this way, the dark depictions of God form the very foundation stones on the path of God’s love and grace.

How did God Become a Sin Bearer?

There is great mystery in how this worked for Jesus, but if we read the actions of Jesus back into the actions of God in the Old Testament, and we see there how God took the sins of Israel onto Himself through the inspired revelation of Scripture, then this helps us somewhat understand how Jesus accomplished this for the sins of the whole world on the cross.
Reading the Old Testament depictions of God in the light of Jesus allows us to read about Israel and God’s commands to them in a whole new light. If Jesus perfectly reveals God to us, then God would never command Israel to do the things they do. And yet if the Bible is inspired and inerrant, then we must say that God inspired the human authors to record that He did issue these horrible commands.
scapegoatWhy would God do that? To take the blame. To be the ultimate scapegoat for Israel.
The Israelites—just like any other nation at that time (and even today)—sought to do horrible things to their enemies. Such behavior was contrary to the will of God, and especially against God’s plan for Israel to be a blessing to the entire world (for one does not bless people by killing them).
Yet because God created a world where people have genuine freedom and can behave in ways that are contrary to His will, God cannot take away human freedom when they try to use it in ways that He doesn’t like. To do so would be immoral for God. Because God wants people to live in relationship with Him, and true relationships require true freedom, God cannot take away people’s freedom when they use it in ways that are contrary to His will.
This is also true with God’s chosen people Israel. If they want to go to war to kill and slaughter people, God could not interfere. Instead, however, He inspired the biblical writers to record that He was the one giving the Israelites the commands to go to war against their enemies.
Though God did not want Israel to do these things, when they set out to do them God inspired the authors to write that He was the one who told them to do it.

Why would God Act as a Sin Bearer for Israel?

One word: love.
Just like Jesus on the cross, God takes the evil of Israel and puts it on Himself. He takes their guilt and ascribes it to Himself.
God is not guilty for the sins of Israel, for they are ultimately culpable, but He takes the guilt for their sin because, like any good Father, He would rather suffer for the mistakes of His children than have them face the penalty of the law.
Up until Jesus died on the cross, the question of what kind of God Yahweh was went unanswered. But Jesus revealed ultimately and finally who Yahweh truly is and what Yahweh is like.
We will continue to look at this concept in more detail tomorrow. For now, is this view making more sense? Is it too much to swallow? What are your reservations about this view so far?

God is NOT Violent

God is NOT Violent

In the previous posts on this topic (see the list at the bottom of this post), many people have raised several valid objections. In the next few posts, let me see if I can clarify my position, and also respond to a few of the objections. This post will try to restate the position in a way that might make more sense… hopefully.
Many believe that Jesus is the “loving and peaceful” side of God, while God in the Old Testament is the wrathful and vengeful warrior God.
God is not violent
But if Jesus truly and perfectly reveals to us what God is like, then the only “side” of God that exists is the side revealed in Jesus Christ.

Is God a Violent Warrior?

To put it another way, if Yahweh was a warrior God, and Jesus revealed this type of God to us, Jesus would have stepped down off the cross, and called a legion of angels to His defense. He would have slaughtered the Romans, and set up His throne in Jerusalem to rule the world with an iron fist (Yes, we will get to the Book of Revelation in later posts). He would have commanded the entire world to bow before Him, to pay homage, and offer tribute. He would have crushed all who rebelled against Him, and set up ways to control every living thing.
His disciples were looking for just such a Warrior King. They were waiting for it. Many times they asked Jesus to act upon what they thought He should be doing (cf. Luke 9:54). I believe that Judas, in betraying Jesus, was trying to goad Jesus into just such an action. Judas wanted Jesus to be King, but grew impatient with the way Jesus was going about it, and so betrayed Jesus as a way to force Jesus’ hand. But Jesus didn’t rise to the challenge. Instead, He died. When Jesus died, all of Judas’ hopes and dreams died as well, and so Judas went out and hung himself. As a result, Judas died without ever knowing the full truth about Jesus.
What is the truth?

God is Not Violent

On the cross, Jesus shows us what kind of God Yahweh is, and how Jesus came to rule and reign, not by might, nor by power, but by self-sacrificial service and taking the sins and guilt and blame of the entire world upon Himself.
This is the kind of God revealed in Jesus Christ. This is the kind of God Yahweh truly is.
God is peacefulIt is on the cross that Jesus put to death the violent portrayal of God in the Old Testament and revealed once and for all that God is not like that. It is on the cross where Jesus revealed what God is really like: He is loving, kind, forgiving, and would rather take the blame for the sins of His children than accuse and condemn them for misusing and abusing the freedom He gave.
By taking the sin of the entire world upon Himself, Jesus revealed that this is what Yahweh has always been doing throughout time and history. He has been taking the sin and guilt and blame of the entire world onto Himself.
By inspiring the human authors to write what they did, God made it look like He was the one responsible for the actions of Israel, the destruction of the flood, the murder of the firstborn males of Israel, and the slaughter of Canaanite women and children. All of these things were going to happen no matter what, but God took the blame for all of them by inspiring the biblical authors to write what they did about Him. God takes the blame. He accepts the guilt.
This is what we see in Jesus Christ. God, when standing before a court of human sinners who have set themselves up to judge and condemn Him, accepts their sentence. He nods His head in agreement with every angry accusation. When the charges are read, He enters a “Guilty” plea. “Christ, in His sinlessness, took responsibility for our wrongdoing” (Martin, 2 Corinthians, 144).

Senin, 27 Mei 2013



"The more we pay for any truth, the better is our bargain."
- William Law

"Prayer is the highest activity of the human soul, and therefore it
is at the same time the ultimate test of a man´s true spiritual
condition (there is nothing so much as prayer life that tells the
truth about us as Christian people). Everything we do in the
Christian life is easier than prayer."
- Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones

"Was there anything Jesus wanted from this earth besides you
and me?... NOTHING." - Zac Poonen

"I have but one candle of life to burn, and I would rather burn it out
in a land filled with darkness than in a land flooded with light."
-John Falconer

"I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I
am moved only by what I believe." - Smith Wigglesworth



"Any objection to the carryings on of our present gold-calf
Christianity is met with the triumphant reply, "But we are winning
them!" And winning them to what? To true discipleship? To
cross-carrying? To self-denial? To separation from the world? To
crucifixion of the flesh? To holy living? To nobility of character? To
a despising of the world´s treasures?..."

"How can a humble God walk with a proud people? That's why He
wants to make you humble, He wants to walk with you! He wants
to dwell in you! He wants you to be the house in which He would
dwell and live and move and express Himself in the earth and in
the heavens!" - George H.Warnock

"Fear looks but Faith jumps."
- Smith Wigglesworth

'The soul and eternity of one man depends upon the voice of another'

"Christ's true church is built of living stones, not of dead wood."
-Alexander Simpson

"We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power."
- R. A. Torrey

Rabu, 08 Mei 2013

Eagles Nest Ministries

Jawaban bagi Indonesia
Indonesia dikenal sebagai sebuah negara kepulauan yang memiliki keragaman suku, budaya dan bahasa daerah. Mayoritas penduduk Indonesia merupakan orang non Kristen dan merupakan negara Muslim terbesar di dunia. Masih ada sekitar 129 suku dari 23 rumpun suku di Indonesia yang sama sekali belum pernah mendengar berita Injil. Gereja Tuhan di Indonesia mungkin telah berupaya memberitakan Injil dalam masyarakatnya namun hasilnya belum optimal. Begitu banyak orang yang menolak berita sukacita tersebut karena menganggap berita tersebut sebagai “kepercayaan asing”. Sebab dibagikan dalam kemasan yang kebarat-baratan, yang mungkin tidak cocok dengan budaya setempat dari masyarakat yang hendak dijangkau. Ada banyak suku yang siap dan terbuka seandainya kita memberitakan berita keselamatan itu dengan menyajikannya sesuai kebiasaan, adat istiadat serta budaya mereka.
Eagles Nest Ministries berdiri 1 Juli 2007 di kota Bandung, salah satunya untuk menjawab tantangan ini. Pelayanan ini dirintis oleh suami istri Dave Broos dan Novie Durant yang merindukan umat Tuhan meresponi Amanat Agung Tuhan (Mat 28:19-20, Karena itu pergilah, jadikanlah semua bangsa muridKu dan baptislah mereka dalam nama Bapa dan Anak dan Roh Kudus, dan ajarlah mereka melakukan segala sesuatu yang telah Kuperintahkan kepadamu. Dan ketahuilah, Aku menyertai kamu senantiasa sampai kepada akhir zaman) untuk menjadi murid dan menjadikan segala bangsa murid Tuhan hingga kerajaan Tuhan diperluas, suatu umat yang bukan “sekedar beragama Kristen” tetapi mengetahui panggilan Tuhan atas hidupnya dan membawa dampak bagi komunitasnya. Dave Broos merupakan hamba Tuhan yang ditahbiskan oleh United Christian Faith Ministries dari Amerika Serikat, ditunjuk sebagai regional director dari Shadow of the Cross di Indonesia (sebuah pelayanan bagi sub kultur di perkotaan), pendoa syafaat Global Prayer Network – Johan Maasbach Wereld Zending dan utusan Injil dari Gereja Oikos Indonesia jemaat Surabaya.
Visi Eagles Nest Ministries adalah “MEMBERITAKAN KABAR BAIK, MEMURIDKAN & MENGUTUS SETIAP ANAK TUHAN UNTUK “MENJADI” GEREJA DIMANA PUN MEREKA BERADA”. Kerinduan kami adalah bekerja bersama dan memperlengkapi semua denominasi gereja, persekutuan, pelayanan Kristen lainnya dalam menyelesaikan amanat agung. Pelayanan ini berjejaring dengan pergerakan pemuridan dan penanaman gereja dunia Zoe Ministries, LK10 dan Outreach Fellowship International.
Missi kami adalah:

Kami menyadari bahwa kami tidak bisa bekerja sendiri tetapi diperlukan kebersamaan dan kesadaran bersama akan kehendak Tuhan. Diperlukan sebuah kesehatian dan kesatuan (meski kita berbeda organisasi tapi satu dalam Tuhan Yesus) agar kita dapat berfungsi sebagai tubuh Kristus yang menjadi berkat dan dampak bagi mereka yang belum mengenal Tuhan.
Bagaimana Anda dapat menjadi rekan kami?
Keberhasilan pelayanan ini berarti juga keberhasilan umat Tuhan di Indonesia. Roma 10:13-15,”Sebab barangsiapa yang berseru kepada nama Tuhan, akan diselamatkan. Tetapi bagaimana mereka dapat berseru kepadaNya, jika mereka tidak percaya kepada Dia? Bagaimana mereka dapat percaya kepada Dia, jika mereka tidak mendengar tentang Dia? Bagaimana mereka mendengar tentang Dia jika tidak ada yang memberitakanNya? Dan bagaimana mereka dapat memberitakanNya, jika mereka tidak diutus? Seperti ada tertulis:”Betapa indahnya kedatangan mereka yang membawa kabar baik!” Kami mengajak Anda untuk dapat terlibat bersama dalam menjangkau jiwa terhilang melalui 3D
Bagi mereka yang mau terlibat dalam mewartakan Injil, pemuridan, penanaman dan pengembangan gereja. Kami memberi diri untuk memperlengkapi baik seorang pribadi maupun gereja atau persekutuan yang hendak bermultiplikasi atau menanggapi amanat agung. Bukan jumlah orang tetapi kesediaan menanggapi panggilan Tuhan adalah tujuan kami. Kami memiliki bahan-bahan pemuridan yang dapat digunakan baik untuk pribadi, persekutuan maupun gereja yang hendak bertumbuh.
Anda dapat berdoa syafaat keluarga kami dalam memenuhi panggilan Tuhan dalam kehidupan kami. Kami juga menyediakan blog yang berisi berita dan pokok doa bagi suku-suku terabaikan baik di Indonesia maupun mancanegara.
Bagi mereka yang mau mendukung kami agar kami bisa pergi memperlengkapi umat Tuhan maupun gereja Tuhan di daerah terpencil atau tak mampu hingga kami dapat memperlengkapi dan mengutus lebih banyak lagi anak Tuhan dalam pemuridan dan perintisan gereja. Bagi yang terbeban dapat menghubungi kami lebih lanjut.
Saya percaya Anda dapat menanggapi salah satu atau bahkan ketiga hal tersebut sebagai anggota tubuh Kristus yang telah mengalami kasih karunia dan anugerah keselamatan. Anda dapat merenungkan dan mendoakan ke tiga hal tersebut demi menjangkau mereka yang berseru,”Menyeberanglah kemari dan tolonglah kami.” (Kis 16:9). Dapatkah Anda mendengar seruan mereka yang terhilang? Tuhan menunggu partisipasi dan pengabdian Anda kepadaNya.
Salam dan doa,
Dave Broos
Kontak kami dapat melalui inbox Facebook atau direct message Twitter, email: davebroos@yahoo.co.uk , telpon 022-92050322 atau SMS 087832744286.