Archives For N.T. Wright

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The restoration of our true humanity began at the cross and resurrection and will be completed at the second coming of Christ. The first step of the journey of restoration is to give your self in complete dependence to God who is the shaper of the clay. C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self.”

The resurrection of Christ gives to us the gift of being valuable signpost pointing to the one true way. By surrendering to Christ working through us, we are helping to restore the world and point others to the only hope humanity has. We are called to be a part of building for God’s kingdom.

We are being shaped by Christ, and His Spirit has filled us to  shape the world around us. We are called to dependency on Him in order to show the world His glories power working through weakness. Our very lives announce redemption is possible through Christ alone.

Salvation is at work in us. We are rescued, and we are being rescued in order to open the eyes of the blind.  We are vessels God finds joy in working through. Yes, He works in us and even for us, but the work through us is of greater value to a lost and dying world.

As Christ followers, we are pictures to the world of God’s kingdom that is now and not fully yet. In the words of N.T. Wright, “Those in whom the Spirit comes to live are God’s new Temple. They are, individually and corporately, places where heaven and earth meet.”

As you walk through you day, remind yourself again and again that God is walking through you for the sake of others. It will change the way you evaluate your day. I promise.

voice

Is it possible for your life to be a prophetic voice to the world? Can your life and mine as Christ followers be lived in such a way that our everyday life can describe and predict what will happen in the future? I believe the answer is an indisputable, “yes.”

The moment you trust Jesus as Lord, a work of God begins in your whole life. God’s goal is to finish what He has started in your life. You have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus, and you have the power of the Holy Spirit living on the inside of you.

To put it in very simple terms, you are being shaped by God’s will and purpose. Every act of obedience He calls you to obey is shaping you more and more into His image. You are being shaped in the now from the viewpoint of His revealed end of Revelation 21:1-5.

As Christ followers, we are to embrace God’s end story reality and set our life in the full direction of that goal. We exercise faithfully our living faith in the now, how it will one day fully be when heaven and earth come together once and for all.

There are many examples that do well to illustrate this profound and exciting truth. I will share just one. Let’s say you wanted your body to look a certain way. You would first envision a preferred future for your body to look like, and then you would begin working daily toward that preferred shape by exercising and adjusting your eating habits to attain your goal.

This same is true with your kingdom life and this world. When we come to understand and live the virtues of the future kingdom we are announcing with a prophetic voice that Jesus is the one true Lord. When we live God’s future now, we show in advance His future will one day be a present reality for eternity.

In God’s future,  there is no more crying, pain or death. You can be assured there are no more injustices. All things will be made new, and all the old will have passed away.  I love Matthew 25 where Jesus says, for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

When we give someone that is hungry something to eat, we are saying to him or her, “One day you will never hunger again.” When we give to someone who is thirsty a cool drink of water, we are saying to him or her, “One day you will never thirsty again.” The same is true with the rest of God’s kingdom works. In each act of kindness done in the name of Jesus, we are a prophetic voice shaping the world for His glory.

Is it possible for your life to be a prophetic voice to the world? I believe the answer is an indisputable, “yes.”

YouAreTheTemple

You are a meeting place of heaven and earth if the Spirit of God lives inside of you. You are God’s temple. Everywhere you go your create a sacred space of His presence. Each of us stands individually, and yet at the same time, we don’t stand alone but rather we stand corporately as the body of Christ, the dwelling place of God Himself.

In this broken world, we stand as witnesses of His glory . In this broken world, we stand as a testimony in advance that the world is indeed being healed and will one day fully be so. Brian Zahnd once wrote, “Christianity as the ongoing expression of the Jesus story lived out in the lives of individuals and in the heart of society is a beauty that can redeem the world.”

Because we worship Him with all of our lives we take on something of the character of Christ who we worship and when the world sees that beauty, they want to belong to it. It is our call, and our duty to help the world to see and recognize its true creator that lives inside of His followers by obeying Him to love our enemies and standing up for justice.

From Genesis forward, God has dedicated Himself to working through His creation of humanity. We are His image-bearing human beings that are called to shine as light in the darkness. We have failed Him often, but yet He loves us and seeks to bring Himself glory through our lives. He plans to set all things right in the end and still yet He uses our lives to push everything toward that day of final redemption. We truly are a meeting place of heaven and earth for an unbelieving world to witness because Christ is living in us.

We serve the rescuer of the world and to Him alone belongs all the glory. We exist to worship God and to labor for His kingdom that will never be shaken. With knowledge of this magnitude, we can live with an abundant song of joy and victory in our hearts right now. As one writer has so eloquently put it, “It is about practicing, in the present, the tunes we shall sing in God’s new world.”

God is at work in you today. Walk meek and rejoice that He desire to use you to bring Him glory in the world.

live-like-jesus

The latter part of the verse found in Luke 6:35 rocks my world and I think it will rock your world if you read it slow enough for it to read you. Jesus of course, if you will remember, is talking about loving your enemies.

Jesus is saying things like, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” He then goes on to take His grace and mercy to deeper extremes that often causes our flesh to cry out, “INSANITY!”

I can’t speak for you, but if I wrote those verses myself, it would have to read something like the following to make sense to me. I would write, “Crush your enemies, do the worst thing to them before they can do something bad to you, don’t pray for them that abuse you, they deserve what they have coming.” I think you get my point.

It’s deep in us to seek revenge on those who mistreat us, and to point the accusing finger at the unjust and evil people of the world. However, the latter part verse 35, found in Luke 6 deals the ultimate conviction to the soul.

Luke 6:35 says, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, (THEN HERE IT IS) for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.”

Yes, that is correct! You read that right. God is KIND to the ungrateful and the evil. Now that is love. That is God’s love, and it should be our love. If He can love like that, then He can still love like that through us if we submit to His control and leading.

Anyone can have a ‘invite a friend to church Sunday,’ but can you have a ‘invite an enemy to church Sunday?’ Now that would change the world- don’t ya think?

I know you can love the loveable, but can you love the unlovable, the ungrateful and the evil? God does and I’m convinced that you and I can also. It’s hard but not impossible.

I challenge you with the words of N.T. Wright,“Think of the best thing you can do for the worst person, and go ahead and do it.

God has called us to be like Him and being like Him means you must love and seek to do good to the ungrateful and the evil. I bet if you do, you just might smell a little bit like Jesus.

Serving Jesus can’t be detached from serving others; otherwise you are not serving Him at all. Also, serving Jesus without serving your enemy is not serving Him at all also.

Peace

holdingnose

N.T. Wright once said, “Moral reformation which leaves the heart untouched is about as useful as tying bunches of grapes on to a briar-bush.” I  totally agree with his assertion.

Adding more good things to your life in the effort to become holier than the next guy without heart transformation can only lead to more darkness. God is interested in our relationship with Him as the source of our light.

Often, someone trying to prove to God and others how good they are, end up becoming obnoxiously zealous with a spiritual stink.  You can never walk your way into a deeper relationship with God by moral reformation that is self-generated.

Moral reformation is birthed out of a surrendered relationship to the potter who alone can shape you into His own purpose. Any and all enduring reformation comes from time spent with God.

He is the vine, and we are the branches. We must allow the fruit to grow from the perfect source. We can’t grow our own fruit without Him, and we can’t offer our own fruit back to Him as something special.

Morality isn’t ultimately an individual thing for the Christ follower. Morality is found in the soil of a fierce relationship with the creator.

Do you have a spiritual stench?

Bad Friday

March 29, 2013 — Leave a comment

Good_Friday

It was a bad Friday for the powers of darkness. It was a Good Friday for a world needing redemption.

He created the world and saw that it was good.  He redeemed the world and said, “It is finished. When Jesus died on the cross, He reached to the deepest place of collapse and with His might power, He rescued the world with His unmatched love.

We now stand in the victory won on the cross, and we live by the power of the resurrection breathing in the air of the new creation. The world is now different; therefore, we can live different.

We can and must behave as kingdom people that have had their lives renewed in order to witness to the world. We are citizens of heaven called to colonize this world with His beauty. Resurrection is an event that is still in progress for the deliverance of the world and humanity to the glory of God.

Your life and mine must point to the redemption and rebirth of God’s creation in order to witness of hope assured.  Our hope is not the world’s hope. Our hope is assured in Christ Jesus.

N.T Wright once wrote, “Good Friday is the point at which God comes into our chaos, to be there with us in the middle of it and to bring us his new creation.”

I end the devotion today by sharing a few lines of an old hymn.

This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:

Jesus Who died shall be satisfied, And earth and Heav’n be one.

hopeassured

“Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple…” (Mark 11:11)

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a colt to accomplish what he was born to do, he was embodying the greatest upstaging the world had ever witnessed, and it forever changed the world.

Jesus knew what was ahead of Him. It was to be the pinnacle of his story. He set his face like flint in order to meet it head on. He had been preaching the kingdom, and now he had to fully embody all that he had spoken of.

God was sending salvation, a rescuing to all those who would accept it. Evil was directed toward stopping the mission, like Pharaoh and his armies in Egypt. However, now was the time of the new Exodus, the greatest of all Passovers, and it was unstoppable.

Jesus turned over the tables in the temple and everything came to a standstill. To borrow a phrase from  N.T. Wright, It was a signpost pointing to the reality standing right in front of them. The temple was no longer needed. Jesus was the reality everything had been pointing toward.

Shortly after that Jesus served the disciples in the upper room and shared the story of the Exodus by placing it upon himself. Again, a signpost pointed to the reality that was now in front of them all. Jesus was untimely falsely condemned and placed upon the cross.

He cried from the cross, “It is finished.” He died and was placed into a grave, but the grave couldn’t hold Him. On the third day,  the stone was rolled away, and Jesus was alive forevermore.

I want you to know without a doubt today; your hope in God is not misplaced, it’s assured!

From Hope Assured-Easter Series Legacy Church

Careers Sign post

As a Christ follower, you are never alone. Every time the enemy confronts you, God has already faced him. We are fighting against a defeated foe. We are fighting against a defeated spiritual power that has already lost because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

We serve and follow Jesus who is Lord of yesterday, today and forever. That’s why everywhere you go, you can be assured that Jesus is on the inside of you by the power of the Holy Spirit, creating a sacred space no matter where you find yourself. God is on the inside of you and surrounds you with His love.

You bring the pure love of God, and the very presence of God, into the middle of everywhere you journey. Christ in you creates a sacred space through you. There is something extraordinarily unique about knowing you carry the very Gospel and presence of God among a world of darkness.

His light shines through to everyone you meet. You carry the message that one day heave and earth will be renewed. Your renewed life in Christ is a sign post point to that sure and promised future.

N.T Wright put it this way, “Those in whom the Spirit comes to live are God’s new Temple. They are, individually and corporately, places where heaven and earth meet.”

imitating

Do you have a life worth imitating? I once heard a speaker ask that question and it stopped my world for a while. I asked myself over and over that whole day, “Do I have a life worth imitating?”

My first reaction was, “no!” I could hear a voice coming from somewhere saying, “You’re not horrible but you are way to messed up for anybody to imitate.” I could feel myself giving credence to the voice of distraction. The voice was somewhat correct. I am kind of messed up.  I imagine you feel the same way at times.

Then it hit me. It was the Apostle Paul who said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “ Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” The great and messed up Apostle himself giving a command to allow others to imitate him as he also imitated Christ.

Imitating Christ is the key and not me being perfect. In Christ, I’m righteous and forgiving. In Christ, I’m a mess in the working. In Christ, is the only answer I have because He is the only answer.

N.T. Wright speaking about the resurrection of Christ says this, “The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you’re now invited to belong to it.” You are invited to belong even as messed up as you are and you’re heading toward eternal life. When you understand that, you then can easily understand the necessity to invite other to imitate you as you imitate Christ.

Paul knew a perfect and freeing fact! Listen with your heart to what he wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15-16, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”

Now get out there and find someone to disciple by calling him or her to imitate you. That’s how disciples are made, and yes, sometimes it’s messed up and muddy. That is what happens when you get up closer with each other.

jesus-friend-of-sinners

Technology is always changing. Technology seems to change faster than we can buy the latest update. We buy the latest computer or smartphone, and before we walk out of the store, the next big thing is being hinted at. The only solace is the fact that you and I, as consumers, understand the new will get old and then the new will replace it once again. We know this will occur over and over.

In Luke 5:27-39 Jesus doesn’t speak of technology. I don’t think He had an iPhone on him, but He does speak of things changing. In fact, He speaks of things changing that will never go back to the way they were. The reality is, it’s impossible for the newness He is bringing to fit in the old way of life.

In the time of Jesus, they had a hope that God would deliver His new age, and it would never have to be updated again. In other words, His new age would never be outdated. Everything that was old would fade away, the newness of God would arrive, and that would be that! There would be no repeating of the process.

Jesus is sitting with tax collectors. They were hated, and considered by many, the worst of sinners. The religious kept their distance from people like them. However, Jesus enjoyed their company and brought newness and hope into the middle of their lives. I’ve said before, “You can’t be a doctor and not hang with the sick. Likewise, you can’t be a Christ follower and not hang with sinners.”

Just like Christ, we also must wait among the sinners and share the story that the world truly changed with the coming of Christ and the achievement of His calling. He died for the sins of the world, and He resurrected, thus opening the door of the new creation for us to live new forever.

Jesus broke into the world of sinners, bypassing the strict old ways that keep the sacred away form the unholy and He touched them with His grace, love and compassion. This new way of life was the calling of Jesus for all of us. The old had to be abandoned forever, and the followers of Christ must never return to the old.

In Luke 5: 36-39 we read, “36 He also told them a parable: “No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. 38 But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, ‘The old is good.”

The new covenant brought forgiveness walking. His name is Jesus! We must walk the same way among the broken of the world. When we do, we will upset the religious and the old system. That’s okay, the old has passed. Go and walk anew!