Archives For New Creation

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.

handbeach

The future speaks to me when I hear the sound of the ocean. I’m taking a few days to myself at the beach to collect my thoughts, soothe my soul and restore my focus. Life has a way of placing weights upon your soul that only a voice from the future can unburden. Somehow, the wind and the waves unite as one. If you listen with an eternal attention and awareness, you can hear the promise of God to one-day make all things new again.

Yesterday, as I was sitting on the beach, I closed my eyes and just listened. I could hear the sound of the wind and the waves. They danced as one, yet you could hear their uniqueness. The waves seem to be much heavier and solid sounding than the wind with its whirling and flowing pace.  Yet, together, the wind and the waves sing a song of a future that is sure.

The water moves in harmony toward the shoreline in constant complexity. A complexity that speaks to me that God is always involved in His creation and also my life. He never stops changing the shore of my life or your life. Each time the water retreats back into the ocean, it leaves a new layer of mystery to explore behind.

The vastness of the ocean overwhelms us, but it doesn’t overwhelm God. Each drop of water is accounted for as much as He knows the exact number of hairs on your head. Each drop of water counts and each drop matters to the whole of things. I matter! You matter! Mother Teresa once said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”

The future speaks to me when I hear the sound of the ocean. To my soul it whispers, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)

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.

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.”

20121229-evil

I’m starting to understand more and more as I grow older the better question to trouble in the world and evil in the word is “How long?” and not “Why God?”

I’ve arrived at a place where I no longer have to have an answer for trouble; nor do I have an unquenched need to have God give me an explanation for all things wrong and evil.

Instead, I’ve learned to live in the direction of healing and correction of all the wicked and evil in the world. After all, that is what the Christ follower is called to do.

We are called to follow the Price of Peace. My prayers are prayers for God to bring an end to all the evil and turmoil. The message of the Bible is God has promised to end evil, and I just stand, walk and believe. “One day,” will become “The day” all evil ends.”

I trust in the fact that God is perfect love and has a perfect power, and yet things often look out of control and dark. However, I don’t have to look for answers to why evil. I just have to look at the answer for evils final defeat, and that answer is Christ.

I’m not called to understand the evil of this world. I’m called to be a light in it until the light of Christ and His glory floods the earth forever. I don’t have to understand evil, and I don’t have to accept evil. I’ve accepted Christ, and He alone is the undefeated King.

Christopher Wright writes, “Evil has no proper place within creation. It has no validity, no truth, no integrity. It does not intrinsically belong to the creation as God originally made it nor will it belong to creation as God will ultimately redeem it.”

Now my beloved Christ followers…go and live the light and watch as darkness slowly dies. WE WIN!

Revelation 21:1
21 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

chrome-split-lock-washers

Many years ago when my children were small, they wanted a swing set. We lived in California at the time, and all the rest of our family lived in North Carolina. Several times a year, family would come and visit, and we always had a great time together.

Once, my in-laws came to visit, and they brought my brother-in-law also. The kids were so excited to see them and to be able to spend time with them. It wasn’t long however that the subject of the swing set came up and before another hour has pasted we were at the store picking out just the right one.

We bought the swing set and headed home. The kids were so excited they couldn’t contain themselves. We arrived home and unloaded the swing set in the back lawn and my father-in-law, my brother-in-law and me began the joyful job of putting it together.

The first thing we did was throw the instructions to the side. After all, that’s what any red-blooded male does, right? Anyway, we finally got it put together, and the kids were playing on the swing set and loving it. I began to clean up the trash and boxes, and while doing so, I came across a bag of lock washers we had left out.

That’s is correct! We forgot to put any lock washers on the swing set. It was at this time we made a choice I would so regret. We decided it was sturdy enough without them, and it would be okay. Over the next several months,  I saw first hand just how important the lock washers were. The swing set began to move in places it had no business moving. I was constantly tightening and re-tightening bolts to keep the swing set functioning properly.

Often, in our walk with Christ we can leave out what looks like is not needed and then we find out it’s not only needed but vital and necessary. In 1 Peter 3:17-22 there is a portion of scripture if you are not careful you will read over and leave it in the box so to speak.

Peter is moving along and has talked about physical suffering. Then he moves us behind the curtains to the spirits of suffering and how they have been defeated in Christ Jesus.  In other words, he doesn’t leave the washers in the box.

Jesus has defeated the unseen evil forces of this world that afflict you and me. It may not seem like it because we still suffer this side of heaven and earth coming together. However, I want you to know today that your suffering doesn’t determine your identity because your identity is in Christ. The powers of darkness have been broken and defeated. (Now but not fully yet)

I like to think of it this way. The President-elect of the United States is the title used for an incoming President of the United States. There is a period between Election Day and Inauguration Day.  The President-elect has a vision that those who believe in him follow. They follow and act out that vision even before his final taking of the office on Inauguration Day. The same is true of us as Christ followers. We live out what Jesus has accomplished by the cross and resurrection. We wait by moving forward with the help of the Spirit in this sinful and broken world.

You might find yourself suffering in the now, but one day suffering will be no more. Until then, follow the path, the same path Christ walked for each of us. The path of suffering that leads to the eternal sunrise of the 2nd coming, where death, hell and the grave will be casted away forever.

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!

Two Things Done Alone

January 22, 2013 — 2 Comments

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“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.” -Martin Luther

Salvation is not gained by osmosis. You must have a moment where you believe on Christ for yourself.  You can accept Christ; you can reject Christ, but you can’t ignore Him. He will never go away. No one can follow Christ for you; you must take hold of His invitation for yourself.

Claiming God through a Christian heritage is only bragging on the right choices your family has made in the past. Their choices are not passed on to you. You must choose Christ alone. When you do make the choice, then you are not alone anymore. You are part of an eternal redemptive family.

Now, what about your own dying? Well, that too must be done on your own. However, as Christ followers, we die by living fully human in Him. The bible says in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

We believe alone. We do our own dying. And the fruit of doing those two things will one day overtake us. Read it for yourself.

Revelation 21:1-4
1 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Behind The Glass

January 21, 2013 — 3 Comments

hospital-nursery

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” Martin Luther King Jr.

I love to watch children play together before they manifest selfishness, racism, and a host of other fallen world personality reflections.

It’s seems to be a little taste of the God’s future Kingdom manifesting in the now.

It’s a short window, but it seems to exist. Behind the glass is a little taste of heaven. All you have to do is go to a hospital and observe the babies behind the glass of the nursery.  Grown adults from every culture and race can be seen looking through the glass at a community of babies that have yet to learn the voice of a fallen world.

In other words, we learn the language of this fallen world once when come out from behind the glass. I’m not here to debate if we are born this way or learn our fallenness.  I’m sure it’s a combination of both. We are born sinners, and we learn to sin pretty well.

But what if there is another language to learn? What if there is another community to be part of?

The answer to both questions is, there is! It’s called the Kingdom of God. It is God’s rule and reign in the here and now. The resurrection has brought the future forward.

Christ Followers have another language and community that we are part of.

We know there is another Identity that was stamped on us when we gave our life to Christ.

When we were born again into God’s Kingdom, we were called to a Kingdom way of loving and living among the outside others. We were given a new language of love to learn

It’s a community that seeks to live how it will one day fully be when God sets all things right at His coming. Part of that the future is leaking into the present through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The Kingdom of God is about unlearning our old stamped identity and learning a new way of being human.

The bible ends with a multitude of people and a calm sea of humanity living and worshiping God in their glorified bodies in a world that has finally been put to right forever.

As Christ Followers, We have been called to reflect God’s future Community among the lost of the world. We are God’s love language to the world. We are God’s community that is setting things right. We are God’s temple. Now go live like it.

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