Friday, December 31, 2010
Thomas Nelson Publishing, in this series Ancient Practices Series, allot space and time to deal more comprehensively with not only the premise behind engaging spiritual practices, but also looking more in depth at seven of these ancient practices (fixed-hour prayer, fasting, sabbath, the sacred meal, pilgrimage, observance of sacred seasons and giving). In the first volume, Finding Our Way Again: The Return of the Ancient Practices, Brain McLaren begins to masterfully approach the role of spiritual practices within the process of one’s personal transformation with fresh perspective. If you’re new to the subject of engaging spiritual practices/disciplines, this book offers a great introduction. If you’ve read the classics such as Celebration of Discipline, Spirit of the Disciplines, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, etc, this book offers much more than a mere rehashing of old rhetoric. I look forward to working through this entire series this upcoming year.
*I received this book for free in exchange for my unbiased review through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze Program.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Ommwriter is a new concept in text editing that isolates you from environmental and disjointed-thought noise and creates a private space where you can concentrate. It can serve as a great median for reflection, journaling and prayer. And, best of all, it's free...
Ommwriter by herraizsoto&co from herraizsoto&co on Vimeo.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Light the candles of Hope, Light and Joy. Now light the fourth Advent candle, the candle of Love.
so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
(John 3:16 NLT)
As we pause today in heart-preparation for this season, we once again look at another characteristic of God - Love. God is love. It’s not a feeling that He has, it is something that He is. This love prompted Him to give of Himself on our behalf. Just as love prompted action from God, so love prompts action from us. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can offer to others this season is the very gift of ourselves. The gift of attentively listening to another. The gift of inquiring with wonder and care into the life and soul of the person presently present before us. Love is expressed when we are able to resist the urge to interrupt, dismiss and overlook another. Love is alive when we slow down enough to notice the promptings of God and the disposition of others.
Only as we accept the God who is love into our life, are we able to truly love with the kind of love that is depicted through the words of Scripture. Advent is a time for kindness, thinking of others and sharing with others. It is a time to love as God loved us. As God loved by giving of Himself, so do we. As God is love, so let us be love.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Relight the candles of Hope and Light and now light today’s Advent candle, the candle of Joy. The Greek word for joy is chara, which means “rejoicing, gladness, enjoyment or bliss.” In many ways it means “to celebrate.” The birth of a new baby or the first sight of a new born seems to have a mysterious way of bringing joy to all who are near.
The Gospel of Luke tells of how the angel told the shepherds that the birth of Jesus would be “good news of great joy for all people” (Luke 2:10). Scripture actually says, that at this angelic proclamation, there appeared a multitude of heavenly hosts that began celebrating and praising God.
The birth of the Christ-child brought joy to earth, but the joy doesn’t stop there. When a person begins to follow in the ways of Christ with a surrendered life, Scripture says that all Heaven joins in and celebrates. As we enter this holiday season, let’s celebrate, really celebrate Jesus - the fact that He came to earth and the truth that He desires an intimate relationship with us. He is still Emmanuel - God with us.
Lord, thank you for the joy that you bring. Today we celebrate You.
Make a list of friends and family members that you’ve not had contact with in a while. As a family, create a card for them. Perhaps each member of the family can contribute something unique - a photo, a picture drawn, a Bible verse, a memory, etc. Send these to them as a way of bringing joy to another during this Christmas season.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Jesus came to open the eyes of the blind. The Bible talks about two different kinds of blindness. Some people are physically blind. They are not able to see the beautiful colors and lights of Christmas. They cannot see the things of this life. The other kind of blindness that the Bible speaks about is spiritual blindness. Spiritual blindness is the worst sort of blindness. People who are spiritually blind cannot see the truth of God’s word. They do not understand the things that are eternal.
At night, as a family, go into a room of your home and turn off all the lights. Try walking around without stumbling, tripping or running into things. It is hard to find your way around in the dark. Those who are spiritually blind also live in a world of darkness. They do not know or believe God’s Word so they do not understand how God wants them to live, what God wants them to avoid, or where God wants them to go. Those who are spiritually blind walk about in this life not able to see the things God wants them to see.
The Bible says that when we follow Jesus, we never walk in the dark, for He is the Light of the world (John 8:12). May we determine to always follow Jesus.
Today we relight the candle of HOPE. Now we light the candle for the second Sunday in Advent. This is the candle of LIGHT.
As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we remember that Jesus is our hope and the light showing the way of salvation.
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
Additional Family Bible Study At another setting this week, read the Christmas Story from Matthew 2:1-15 with your family. List all the different people in the story. How did each welcome the Lord Jesus Christ? Talk about what it looks like for us to welcome Christ Jesus today?
Thursday, December 02, 2010
The Nativity Story is one of these such passages - one filled with insight, power and relevance that can burst into our very present circumstances, but we mustn't assume we know what's going to happen. The more "familiar" a text has become to us cognitively, the more cautious and slowly we should approach it. Perhaps, as one would approach a dove - slowly, softly, gently, quietly - so as not to startle it and miss the close encounter that is at hand. I intentionally and prayerfully try to engage the text of Scripture in such manner, especially with passages that have become well learned (or at least well-heard) like the nativity passages.
On that note, I'm pretty excited about the new series we began last night called Nativity Reflections.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
...It is one thing to know Jesus Christ loves us and another thing to realize it. In prayer we slow down to a human tempo and make time to listen. In prayer we discover what we already have. You start from where you are and realize that you are already there. We already have everything, but many of us don't know it and therefore don't experience it. Everything has been given to us by the Father in Jesus. All we need now is to experience what we already possess. The most precious moments of prayer consist in letting ourselves be loved by the Lord." ~Lion and Lamb, Brennan Manning, 159, 154
Monday, November 29, 2010
Throughout history, various cultures and people have chosen to set aside a season designed especially to recapture the anticipation of the arrival of the Christ-Child. This season is called Advent. Advent is the Latin word that means, “a coming or arrival”. It’s a time where Christians (as families and community gatherings) prepare themselves in reflection and anticipation for the coming of Christ.
Friday, November 19, 2010
It was the Holy Spirit that enabled the apostles to be understood in their own language and to be ‘cut to the heart.’
So it is with us today! While many may speak the ‘same’ language, so much seems to get lost in translation. From a meeting behind closed doors to a message preached from the stage, all too often people only seem to hear what’s being said through several filters. At times this can cause conflict, disagreement or even hardness of heart, all because it never made it to “their own language.”
Sometimes this happens, because we’ve been conditioned to only hear what we want to hear. At other times, we never listen in the first place. We’re too busy reloading what we’ll say next. This often becomes apparent as soon as one speaks, rather than seeking clarity, understanding or to see things from the speakers perspective, we assume we know where they’re coming from, derail, and begin crafting a response (often totally unrelated to what was just said). Sometimes, we don’t even wait for them to finish talking to interrupt. We take the liberty and begin talking over the person, even while they’re still talking. This is always a dead give away that we weren’t listening to start with. Much of this could be remedied as we learn and engage other humans with love, respect and dignity, but ultimately we each need the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to empower us to speak in such a way that others hear us in “their own language,” and as others speak for us to understand them as well.
God fill me with Your Spirit. May I speak and communicate in such a way as to be understood by all, in their own language and situation and may Your Spirit cut to the very core of the heart…
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
We all like a little affirmation here and there, it doesn't matter who you are. Unfortunately, it's easy to fall into the trap of living for the compliment or into the head-spin of asking yourself, what was wrong when you don't get your quota. But let's not kid ourselves, compliments, can at times be like Christmas presents to distant family members, it's just something we do.
There are, however, compliments that push beyond the veneer of superficiality and obligated courtesy. Recently, I recieved such a compliment. Two days after last week's teaching, Drawing a Prayer to God, I was visiting my sons school and was approached by a fourth-grade teacher. She begin to communicate:
I'm always looking for ways to engage my students in new and creative ways. Constantly, I'm asking God for ways to help my students engage God in real and authentic ways. Yesterday, I retaught your whole teaching on prayer from Wednesday night. Then I handed out paper and markers and instructed them to begin drawing a prayer to God. I was amazed at what transpired. Students were fully engaged in what they were doing. Some were actually weeping as they drew. Others, that I've not seen engage outwardly in prayer or worship, became some of the most focused in the room...
the whole congregation saying Amen!-
to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Jesus told the early disciples to “wait” for “the promise of the Father.” (Acts 1:4)
This wasn’t some hopeless waiting, for they had seen the Son risen with many “convincing proofs.” Now, the reality of what they had observed was about to take residence within - and permeate their whole being and existence. What a stark difference this was to be than the disciples perspective just a few weeks earlier as they walked on the road to Emmaus saying, “but we were hoping...”
- How often do I lived with hopeful expectancy?
- Have I lost the posture of perpetual waiting on the Promise of the Father?
- Have I become cordial in my asking and domesticated in my longings?
They demonstrate extravagant expectancy in their question to him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) Misguided as this question and image of restoration may have initially been, it nonetheless, illustrates great faith and expectancy that things could actually begin to change here and now.
How often, we look at the world around us and the situations thereof, only to cast off restraint out of pessimistic doubt that the world could actually be changed. As the song goes, we’re just waiting on the world to change, but by the hands of someone else, for it seems out of our own grasp. But, the disciples believed that if the Lord could conquer death, surely He could also conquer the living.
- Have I lost the art of asking big, praying large with extravagant expectancy?
Friday, November 05, 2010
by His hand upon me, all the details of these plans.”
I have a leather journal that goes with me most places. At the same time, I've found there are times/things that I am able to better process through typing. Typing is a bit faster, not to mention the chance of me actually being able to read it later are significantly higher :-)
I also use a program called journler, that is helpful in capturing and organizing thoughts. Another online journal-type feature that I've found useful for prayer of examines and scripture reflections is Examen.me.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Tonight, I'm introducing the idea of praying beyond words. Here's a snapshot of my thoughts...
Monday, November 01, 2010
Millions of people are wasting their lives pursuing dreams of happiness that don't rise above a good marriage, nice kids, a successful career, a nice car, fun vacations, nice friends, a fun retirement, a painless death, and (hopefully) no hell. John Piper calls this a tragedy in the making. He argues that we were created for joy. We were designed to have one life-encompassing passion.
In this book he describes his own journey in discovering this great, single passion. And He pleads that at all costs we pursue our joy in the crucified Christ, who is the glory of God. The cost is great. But the joy is worth any cost. Don’t buy seductive, tragic promises of worldly joy. Don’t waste your life.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Where does inspiration come from...? At times it seems like inspiration for a message, teaching, writing, song, etc comes from some mystical place. Yet, more often than not, it's simply the byproduct of becoming aware of what's going on within us and around us, along with a sense of the divine spark lighting on fire (as it were) the mundane bushes before us...
“Earth is crammed with heaven,and every common bush is on fire with God;but only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
As I'm writing and developing thoughts, there are a few artists I tend to pull up in the iTunes to play in the background. One of those is Brooke Fraser. In the following clips she shares about what it looks like for her to capture inspiration in the everyday moments and encounters of life.
FLAGS PREVIEW - Writing from Brooke Fraser on Vimeo.
"Creativity, has been said, consists largely of rearranging what we know
in order to find out what we do not know.
Hence, to think creatively,
we must be able to look afresh
at what we normally take for granted."
— George Kneller
or history in a museum.
The creative explorer
looks for history in a hardware store
and fashion in an airport."
— Robert Wiede
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Friday, October 08, 2010
Martin Buber once commented about the power of stories:
"A story must be told in such a way that it constitutes help in itself.I'm fascinated not only how our very lives have been shaped by stories, but how powerful stories become in the authentic creative telling. Creativity is often simply pausing long enough to allow new ways to emerge for telling an old story. It is the very pause of contemplation that becomes the path that simply takes one deeper into the story itself.
My grandfather was lame. Once they asked him to tell a story about his teacher. And he related how his teacher used to hop and dance while he prayed. My grandfather rose as he spoke, and he was so swept away by his story that he began to hop and dance to show how the master had done. From that hour he was cured of his lameness.
That's how to tell a story."
The following is a short video by Storyteller Jay O'Callahan talking and demonstrating the power of stories.
Friday, October 01, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
We do violence to the biblical revelation when we ‘use’ it for what we can get out of it or what we think will provide color and spice to our otherwise bland lives. That results in a kind of ‘boutique spirituality’ – God as decoration, God as enhancement.
Rather, when are to submit our lives to what we read, we find that we are not being lead to see God in our stories but to see our stories in God’s. God is the larger context and plot in which all our stories find themselves."
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
When you attain a leadership position, everything changes. Leadership requires distinct behaviors and attitudes.
your success is all about growing yourself.
Now that you’re a leader,
success is all about growing others.
There are Eight Rules of Leadership:
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Solo Remix :: An Uncommon Devotional by Eugene Peterson
Other posts regarding a reflective-reading of Scripture are Food, Marination & Lectio Divina and The Art of Meditation.
Saturday, September 04, 2010
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
nothing is hidden from its heat.”
Reread that passage again, this time out loud.
The circuit David describes here is the rotation of the Earth from the viewpoint of a man on Earth and is not teaching that the sun revolves around the Earth. By comparison, we use works like “sunrise” and “sunset” to describe the Earth’s rotation, when technically the sun does neither.[i]
“There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio,
than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Hamlet
Friday, September 03, 2010
Have you ever bought something new and tried to assemble it? Chances are, if you’re like me, often those pieces don’t always seem to fit as snug and sturdy as I remember the store display being. Or, what do you do with the three bolts left over? “Did I forget something?” I’ve asked myself more than once. “Oh well, it looks fine to me. At least it’s standing…” “It’s only leaning a little to the right.” “The wheel does seem to be wobbling a little bit, but I think it’s okay.” Any of these sound familiar? Sometimes the extra pieces turn out to be a little more significant than others and before long the whole thing falls apart.
Imagine if you had been contracted by God to design and assemble the universe, or perhaps just little ole Earth. Consider the following intricacies of the planet we live on.
If the earth were as small as the moon, the power of gravity would be too weak to retain sufficient atmosphere for man’s needs; but if it were as large as Jupiter, Saturn, or Uranus, extreme gravitation would make human movement almost impossible.
Thursday, September 02, 2010
"Christianity needs a powerful voice in today's world. Such a voice can come only from strong leaders guided by God and devoted to Christ. Spiritual Leadership will encourage you to place your talents and powers at His disposal so you can become a leader used for His glory."
his eternal power and divine nature—
have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”
(Romans 1:20 NIV)
“Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
even from everlasting to everlasting,
you are God”
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
What thoughts, emotions and questions does this arise for you?
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
The heavens are telling the glory of God, and their expanse declares the work of His hands. The Apostle Paul wrote, that “by taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being.”
This series will take you on a rich journey through the cosmos, allowing you to peer into God's universe to discover the amazing magnitude of His greatness and grace.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
This month, christian audio's free e-book is Ministries of Mercy: The Call of the Jericho Road by Tim Keller.
Keller uses Luke 10, the parable of the Good Samaritan, as the paradigm for the church’s understanding of mercy. He seeks throughout the book to answer the question the expert in the law asked to Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”, by explaining the parable and bringing the rest of Scripture to bear on the question.
Some of the questions Keller addresses in the book include:
- Is everyone called to mercy, or only those who are gifted in mercy?
- Should I show mercy to my neighbor even if I don’t feel like it?
- Didn’t the poor just get themselves into the mess they’re in? Do they really deserve my help?
- Is it ever merciful to withhold giving to someone?
- How do sharing the gospel verbally and living out the Christian life balance?
The first half of the book deals with the principles of mercy ministry, and the second half gives some practical ways you can start putting the principles into action at the church level.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Here’s where the interesting observation comes in.
On a given day, my children could be engrossed in a movie of some sort. I can nonchalantly walk through the room, grab the youngest child, put them on my lap, spread a box of puzzle pieces on the floor... and within seconds. The couch is empty, the movie is mere background noise and I have kids all around me fighting over who gets the corner pieces. I can waltz through the room and say, “Oh... I’ll see you guys later... I’m gonna go for a bike ride around the block...” (pause)... and I have three kids begging to go with me. Did I mention the heat index is a hundred-and-eight? Suddenly, being hot is no longer a factor. Regardless of the activity, if I merely begin doing it, engaging it, etc - my children join me. Interesting!
It’s like they wanted to do something more active and engaging, they just didn’t know it! They needed to be lead. They needed to be shown. They needed to be engaged. I wonder if much of our parenting frustration is caused simply because we tell them what to do, but fail to show them how to do it? We ask them if they want to do something, when all they need is to be invited to join us.
Now, let’s turn the tables a bit.
How does this principle apply to our own spirituality? How often do we not want to do that which is most needed to do? Perhaps engaging some spiritual practice (Scripture, Prayer, Serving, Fasting, Giving, etc)... I’ve discovered, quite often we’re just like our children. One of the keys to spiritual maturity is being able to discern what we need and how to do something about it. Often, I’ve learned that if I simply begin engaging a practice or discipline, before long (like my children) I actually enjoy and find pleasure and benefit in doing it. I just need to be lead.
Often we spend too much time following our heart,
and not enough time leading it...
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Christianaudio.com is offering this as a free audio download for the month of July. Go here. As you check out insert the coupon code JUL2010.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Recently, Robinson gave another talk Bring on the Learning Revolution. Here, he makes several interesting comments that have great relevance on education, creativity and personal pursuit of passion(s). Several of his later remarks would make great conversation pieces as it relates to the Church. Rather than extract various thoughts and quotes, I've simply posted the 18:00 presentation.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
In short, first of all, we are told that every year “in the spring” the kings would “go off to war.” It was a part of the rhythm of the king(s). On this particular occasion, the text says, “David remained in Jerusalem.” Things go down hill from there…
Something happens every year about this time. As schools wrap up, people begin to get in “summer mode.” There’s a mindset that many people undertake. An element of ease fills the air. We begin to think about vacation. About unwinding. About getting away.
Is there anything we could learn from 2 Samuel 11?
Interestingly, studies among Christian publishers show that books sales significantly drop during the spring-summer season. People still buy the Christianized romance novels and the like. However, as it relates to the books on spiritual formation, growth and development -- sales diminish.
Many churches even seem to fall prey to this. Expectations are lowered. At times less energy, creativity and resources are invested in messages, series and programs. Numbers are expected to drop.
Be that as it may, summer is actually a time to be intentional about one’s personal growth, as well as that of the local church. Many of us have more time. What would it look like to really dig into a formative book or an in-depth study of a book of the Bible?
Many have extra time and increased desire to engage others in community. How could the local church use this to create venues for others to get together?
What would it look like (for individuals and church ministries) to raise the bar over the summer season?
"Woe to you who are at ease in Zion."
Thursday, June 03, 2010
God indeed has a purpose for you. God’s purpose is much larger than what you accomplish in this life - it encompasses who you become. Sometimes, however, there is a gap between where we’re currently at and who God is calling us to become.
The New Testament book of Ephesians is full of practical insights to the process God uses for us to begin to see that gap become smaller and smaller, as we more and more become the person God has designed us to be.
This summer, at New Community, we're going to be diving into this exciting study in personal transformation.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
As Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit--the Helper--so that we could be true and living witnesses for Christ. Unfortunately, today's church has admired the gift but neglected to open it. What is the the true source of the church's power? The Holy Spirit. Chan contends that we've ignored the Spirit for far too long, and we are reaping the disastrous results. Thorough scriptural support and compelling narrative form Chan's invitation to stop and remember the One we've forgotten, the Spirit of the living God.
This month Christian Audio is offering this as a free audio download. Just type in JUN2010 in the Coupon slot.
Friday, May 07, 2010
Here's an interestingly look at Sunday Mornings... Does it resemble your church?
Thursday, May 06, 2010
In a Christian world represented by private individual relationships with Jesus, altar calls, and personal holiness, Richard Stearns asks, "Is there a hole in our gospel?' Stearns states, "If your personal faith in Christ has no positive outward expression, then your faith – and mine – has a hole in it."
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
It is a cleverly designed workbook with lots of graphics and even more questions intended to take you on a journey through the ideas. To get the best flavor of this workbook, here is a sample question from each week:
- How much time per week are you willing to give to building deeper relationships with them?
- Who in your life needs you to be an advocate for them now?
- Is your own view of the Gospel missing anything?
- What would you need to change to incorporate more opportunities for community to take place in your life?
- Considering the relationships that God has brought into your life, what are your responsibilities to them now?
- Who are some of the people in your life that you are currently investing in relationally?
- As you consider the differences between passive discipleship and apprenticeship, how would you describe your own life?
- How can you work with God so that you are more accessible to people and more available for God?
The Tangible Kingdom Primer is a great way to immerse yourself in thinking about community. It is an area that I need to improve. What about you?Do you thrive at creating community or do you get lost in your own world? What are your pitfalls or keys to success?
Friday, April 09, 2010
A friend of mine, Todd, recently posted the following excerpt of an interview with Atheist Christopher Hitchens. In the interview, he states very clearly Who Christ is for the Christian. Interestingly, he articulates it better than many Christians:
During a recent trip to Portland, Oregon, noted atheist Christopher Hitchens laid down some seriously good theology. Most people recognize Hitchens as the author of the bestselling book God Is Not Great: Why Religion Poisons Everything. Since the book's publication in 2007, Hitchens has toured the country debating a series of religious leaders, including some well-known evangelical thinkers. In Portland he was interviewed by Unitarian minister Marilyn Sewell. The entire transcript of the interview has been posted online. The following exchange took place near the start of the interview:
Sewell: The religion you cite in your book is generally the fundamentalist faith of various kinds. I'm a liberal Christian, and I don't take the stories from the Scripture literally. I don't believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make any distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?
Hitchens: I would say that if you don't believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you're really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.
Sewell wanted no part of that discussion so her next words are, "Let me go someplace else."
This little snippet demonstrates an important point about religious "God-talk." You can call yourself anything you like, but if you don't believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for our sins and then rose from the dead, you are not "in any meaningful sense" a Christian.
Talk about nailing it.
In one of the delicious ironies of our time, an outspoken atheist grasps the central tenet of Christianity better than many Christians do. What you believe about Jesus Christ really does make a difference.
Excerpt from PreachingToday.com
Thursday, April 08, 2010
(Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, 60)
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Except for Jesus, there is more written about his life than any other character in Scripture. Unfortunately, our flashbacks to flannel-boards and David & Goliath story-sound-bytes have shrouded our understanding of David and perhaps kept us from digging beneath the surface of the story itself.
David's life is a fascinating drama that's narrated by a brilliant story-teller. I'm looking forward to what we'll discover...
Sunday, April 04, 2010
twist the crown of thorns into a crown of glory,
and in hands as strong as that they knew themselves safe . . .
They had expected a walkover,
and they beheld a victory; they had
expected an earthly Messiah,
and they beheld the Soul of Eternity.”
In the book, Sit, Walk, Stand, Watchman Nee said, “Christianity begins not with a big DO, but with a big DONE.” He continues:
We begin our Christian life by depending not our own doing but upon what Christ has done. Until you realize this, you are no Christian; for to say: “I can do nothing to save myself; but by His grace God has done everything for me in Christ,” is to take the first step of faith.
If I put a dollar bill between the pages of a magazine, and then burn the magazine, where is the dollar bill? It has gone the same way as the magazine – to ashes. Where the one goes the other goes too. Their history has become one. But, just as effectively, God has put us in Christ. What happened to Him happened also to us. All the experiences He met, we too have met in Him.
that the body of sin might be done away,
that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin.”
That is not an exhortation to struggle. That is history: our history, written in Christ before we were born. Do you believe this? It is true! Our crucifixion with Christ is a glorious historic fact. Our deliverance from sin is based, not on what we can do, nor even on what God is going to do for us, but on what He has already done in Christ.*
Action: Based on this reflection, give thanks to God for what He has done.
was not a vacant grave,
but a spirit-filled fellowship.
Not a rolled-away stone,
Join a group of Christ-followers, and together celebrate the risen Christ…
if we have not died with Him;
the resurrection of our Lord is for us nothing
if we have not been
raised with Him.”*
*Watchman Nee, Sit Walk Stand, 14, 21.
*Joyce Hollyday, Clarence Jordan: Essential Writings, 140.
*Emil Brunner, I Believe in the Living God, 103.