Tag Archives: Gospel

From Mormonism to Ministry

Mormons

So, here is my story of how I left Mormonism and became a Christian and subsequently went into Christian ministry. Special thanks to my friend Harold Thornbro for inviting me onto his Podcast (http://truckersgospelmission.org/). You can follow the link here:

http://truckersgospelmission.org/?p=349

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Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”

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“Reach out and touch faith

Your own personal Jesus Someone to hear your prayers Someone who cares Your own personal Jesus Someone to hear your prayers Someone who’s there…”

Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” is one of those songs that have relevance for multiple reasons. Rhythmically the song is as contemporary now as it ever was, you might even say it was ahead of its time.

Lyrically the song was really pertinent at the time because it seemed in some ways to be a sort of backlash against the rise of the Tele-Evangelist in the late 1980s; at least there is a subtle reference to that in the language of the song, for example:

“Feeling unknown
And you’re all alone
Flesh and bone
By the telephone
Lift up the receiver
I’ll make you a believer”

Images of Jim & Tammy Fay Bakker or Jimmy Swaggart might especially come to mind as they were at the height of their ministry just before their subsequent falls at the time. However, the writers of the song weren’t simply addressing the TV preachers of their time, rather, they were addressing the individual needs of people to have a savior.

Think about it. The invoking of the name of Jesus calls to mind the divine and sacred—and it forces people to think of the significance of a savior LIKE Jesus, without having to really come to grips with THE SAVIOR Jesus. How did this come about? Well, according to a Rolling Stone article from years ago the biography, Elvis and Me, about Pricilla Presley’s life with her late husband Elvis had inspired the notion of Elvis as a kind of savior to Pricilla.

Searching out saviors isn’t foreign to our own personal story, some turn to drink, or drug, or sex, or to self-glorification. But then again some people turn to saviors who are either close family members or friends. Jesus even encountered this notion of making idols out of the people we love, for example in Luke 14, Jesus said:

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Now harsher words may have never been spoken, but Jesus is using a method of argumentation to make a point. Jesus doesn’t mean we should hate one of the greatest gifts we have been given (that would mean breaking God’s Law), like friends and family. No, Jesus means that our love for the Person of Jesus should be so great in comparison to all other loves that it would almost seem like hatred to others by way of contrast.

Personal Jesus expresses a longing for a personal savior in fleshly form, for Pricilla Presley that may have been Elvis, for others it could be sports figures and other entertainment icons, or people in our family, or even our very children. People that we have not only looked to for inspiration but have actually placed our hopes, dreams, and aspirations upon; perhaps even putting them on a pedestal where you might even say they are worshipped.

But the Gospel tells us that the longing for a personal savior in fleshly form is found in no one else than Jesus Christ; God in the flesh, who became a person to be personally known. Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus challenges believers to think about the idols that take human form but are mere shadows of what we find in Christ. And to unbelievers the song talks about the longing to be saved and rescued by a someone and to that we turn to another song from a different time and a different day, it goes like this:  

“We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Spread the tidings all around: Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Bear the news to every land,Climb the steeps and cross the waves; Onward!—’tis our Lord’s command; Jesus saves! Jesus saves!

And not the Jesus that we create, but the Jesus who created creation and then became a person to be personally known. A.K.A. the word that became flesh (John 1:1-14).

Next time onR3Din the culture segment we will be taking on the Terminator franchise in something I am calling “John Connor and Jesus Christ: Terminator in Light of the Gospel”

 

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Sermons That Have Changed My Life #1: “God is Not a Beggar?…” Dr. Russell Moore

I have listened to this one singular sermon multiple times. There is a beauty in the way that Moore preaches that makes him unique in many ways: southern charm, story arch, and most importantly the redemptive story of Christ crucified for sinners. If you take the time to listen you will be dramatically impacted as Dr. Moore takes on this most important theme of the God who reconciles people to Himself through the ministry of reconciliation He has given to us. Listen here:

http://www.russellmoore.com/2009/08/28/god-is-not-a-beggar-why-your-ministry-must-become-more-pathetic-before-it-can-be-less-pathetic-2-cor-516-613/

Continue to follow R3D as we examine life, ministry, and culture in light of the wonderful Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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Kingdom Invasion for Christian Morality

This was a sermon that I recently preached on the book of Micah 6:1-8. This is one of the key stone arches in book, but what is interesting is that in order to really facilitate the ethics that God requires we must first be transformed by the Spirit of God through the Gospel of Christ. Our morality derives from the invasion of the Kingdom of God in and through our lives, otherwise our morality is based in trying to conform to a Law that we can uphold.

You can find it here: http://ncmbc.org/Audio/Micah/072813m.mp3Image

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War Cry: Life in the Spirit of Christ, Part I: The Divine Nature of the Holy Spirit

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Do you know what you mean by these words, so often repeated—the Holy Spirit? What place has God the Holy Spirit in your religion? What do you know of His office, His work, His indwelling, His fellowship, and His power?

I believe that the times in which we live demand frequent and distinct testimonies upon this great subject. I believe that few truths of the Christian religion are so often obscured and spoiled by false doctrine as the truth about the Holy Spirit.” ~J.C. Ryle

 

As I preached this morning one of the overarching points I wanted to make was that we can, as a Christian community, sometimes have our vision of God obscured by either focusing in on one attribute of God to the exclusion of other—this can create an imbalance in worship and also distort the one true vision of the God of the Bible.

What is the countermeasure? Well, sound doctrine is a major component here. Doctrine sounds divisive, and it is. But it can be good to find out that the Christian church has stood upon teachings like the Tri-unity of God and the deity of Christ as ways of separating them from enemies of the Cross of Christ.

So, in this series (and the sermon will uploaded soon) we seek to examine and hammer out the particular nature and character of the Godhead and have a fuller grasp of the One God, revealed in Three Distinct (Never Separate) Persons.

The reason this is so important is because the Church has to learn to speak clearly and articulately about what we believe; working from within in the context of scripture—leaving the empty chatter and false visions of God behind us. It is like what the Reformer, Calvin articulated, “…how can the human mind measure off the measureless essence of God according to its own little measure… Let us then willingly leave to God the knowledge of Himself…” And if we can only know God by coming to His word for His self-disclosure…then by all means go to the sources, turn to the book, read the Old, Old Story—get the vision of God from God Himself.

Find the sermon link here (special thanks to my good friends and fellow Christians, Harold Thornbro and Brian McKinney, who have done the hard work of keeping our sermons up to date at http://www.ncmbc.org, thanks guys): http://ncmbc.org/Audio/Genesis/081813m.mp3

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