Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Gold-miner's compliment

Mark Twain once told the story of a 42-year-old gold-miner who was designated to introduce him for a lecture in a log school-house. The miner objected, saying:

“I don't know anything about this man. Anyhow, I only know two things about him. One is, he has never been in jail, and the other is, I don't know why.”

Monday, June 17, 2019

Energy Drinks vs National Security

The US military has even warned against troops consuming too many energy drinks since doing so has been associated with sleep disruption, leading to periods of fatigue during briefings or on guard duty.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

3 times in 84 years

A little nine-year-old boy approached me at Camp Awana one day. He was the he was only the third person in my 84 years, and 63 years as a Christian, to ask me if I was saved. I assured him that I was.

He then ventured, “Doc, I was saved a week ago last Monday. My, it’s wonderful to be saved. And to think that I’m going to walk the street golden streets. And I’m going to see Jesus face to face. I can hardly wait to see him.”

He had the right idea.
Source: Breese, DaveLance, A Testament of Grace, 1978. pp. 212.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Speaking Openly

Jesus said, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing” (John 18:20).

Sometimes I wonder how far this goes. Does this mean we should never speak in secret? Is this limited to teaching?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Following Jesus

In keeping with the evangelism messaging theme this week, today I want to look at another way we describe being a Christian: being a “follower of Jesus.”

I have nothing against following Jesus and becoming more like Him. That, however, is not what makes someone a Christian. Followers of Islam say they follow Jesus, too.

The question is not, Who do you follow?

The question is, Have you trusted Jesus as your Savior?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Cold War Memories

June 12 is a date with a few layers of significance for me.

On this date, in
1918, my grandfather, Ralph E. Hansen was born.
1924, President George H.W. Bush was born.
1987, President Ronald W. Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down this wall,” speaking of the Berlin Wall.

For some of us these people are history; for others they are memories. I recently heard the claim that those born after 1980 have no personal memories of the Cold War. I was born in 1977, and I remember things about the Cold War from the 1980s.

In my family, a couple of us kids were born before 1980 and a couple after, so I had a ready sample to test this hypothesis. I asked my brother born in 1984 if he has any memories of the Cold War, and he does not. Just as I did last 9/11, it seems appropriate to share, and record for posterity, my memories of the Cold War.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Separation from God

This week I'm taking a closer look at some of the things we say when presenting the Gospel to others. Yesterday it was “changed lives,” and today it's “separation from God.” Yesterday was about what happens if you trust Jesus; today is about what happens if you don't.

“Fire and brimstone” have fallen out of favor as ways of presenting the consequences of not being a Christian, of rejecting God's loving gift of His Son. (The most recent popular use of the word “brimstone” I remember is from Shrek, and it was in a much-diminished sense of the term.) Despite being in older translations of the Bible and having been a significant part of spiritual renewal in the past, few church leaders today mention, much less dwell on, the the severity of God. We prefer His goodness instead. The Bible speaks of both “the goodness and severity of God” (Romans 11:22).

As heard from Bible-teaching, Gospel-preaching churches and pastors, the consequences of not trusting in Jesus are usually described as a person being “separated from God.” This is true: “your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you” (Isaiah 59:2). This is also not a complete or vivid description of the full eternal consequences of not trusting in Jesus as your Savior.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Changed Lives

This week I want to take a closer look at a couple evangelistic invitations that have become popular in the evangelical Church today. The first is “changed lives.” It may go something like, “Come to Jesus, and He'll change your life.”

For some people, a changed life would be a good and welcome thing. They have lots of problems, may feel the weight of their sin, and so putting their trust in Christ and having the Lord fix their mess would bring much relief. I have no complaints about appealing to needs people feel in this way.

For other people, they may see no need for change in their life at all. They may be quite well-to-do, have learned self-reliance, have been successful, have means, and have much this world has to offer. For them, they may see a “changed life” as a lateral move at best. Where's the upside for them?

Sunday, June 9, 2019

10 times Jesus asked about desires

“Why did you seek Me?” (Luke 2:49context) — Jesus first recorded question

“What do you seek?” (John 1:38context) — Jesus first ministry question

“Do you want to be made well?” (John 5:6context)

“What did you go out to see?” (Luke 7:24-26; Mathew 11:7-9; context)

“Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67; context)

“Why do you seek to kill Me?” (John 7:19; context)

“What do you want Me to do for you?” (Matthew 20:21; Mark 10:36context)

“What do you want Me to do for you?” (Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:51; Luke 18:41context)

“Whom are you seeking?” (John 18:4,7; context) — to Judas' detachment

“Whom are you seeking?” (John 20:15; context) — to Mary

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