“Jesus Christ is the Good News!”

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” Acts 8:35 ESV.

good-news

The Good News is about the person Jesus Christ, His relationship with Father God, and the inclusion of humanity within the Triune God circle.

In the last century, the gospel message has quietly shifted away from the person of Jesus and toward the events of His life. Rather than emphasize his personhood, his incarnation, and his connection with Almighty God, the message we most often hear today reflects the events of his life. Most specifically his death and resurrection. Both acts are significant. However, both events are important solely because of who HE IS.

Again, these last several hundred years, the gospel message has shifted away from the Triune God (Trinity) toward a moralistic Holy God. Today when asked to describe God, many people would first state He is a Holy Being. The Holiness concept though emphasizes a God of righteousness rather than a God of relationship. Today’s main stream view of God has more to do with rules and regulations than unconditional love, unlimited joy, and overflowing peace.  Many people still view God as a stern, faraway grandfather figure rather than a Heavenly Father whose desire is an abiding, familial relationship with His adopted children.

Likewise, the good news of the Incarnation has been displaced by the passion of the Cross. Rather than emphasize the inclusion of the incarnation, today’s preachers like to highlight the god of sin and the accomplishment of the cross. Again, the personhood of Jesus seems to take a second position even at the cross.

As stated, the Good News is more about the person Jesus Christ than an event in his life. For instance, if the Good News was solely about his death, why did he wait thirty some years before dying. Couldn’t he have died earlier as a two year old babe under Herod’s killing of children in Bethlehem after His birth?  Again, the Good News in not just about His resurrection. Yes, like all the events in his personhood, they fulfilled Scripture and His eternal plan for humanity. However, if He wasn’t God become human, all He achieved would be worthless for mankind.

Could there be more about Jesus than you ever realized? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians that God was reconciling the world through Jesus’ life. For example, when Jesus was baptized, he didn’t do it for himself, but for you and I. When Jesus walked in obedience to His Father, again he didn’t do it just for himself, but for you and I. When Jesus exercised faith, again he also did it for you and I. The Incarnation is Jesus wrapping human flesh around his Godhead. From then onward, humanity became permanently connected with Jesus Christ. He entered humanity’s darkness and walked out victorious for your sake and mine. As water baptism pictures, you and I are included with Christ in his life, death, and resurrection.

His ministry also restored the truth of His Father and the mutual submissive love relationship which existed between both.  In addition, His personhood is also the bridge that connects you and I with His Father. And since we are connected with Jesus, everything He has done or will do includes you and me. The Bible states approximately three hundred times that you and I are “in Christ.” Such statements remind you and I that we have a personal union with Him, that we participate with Him in His life, that we are also incorporated with Him in fellowship with others, and most importantly, our identity is found in HIM.

This is the Good News.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Discipleship 360
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!


Copyright 2017 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

BLESSED AND BROKEN

For many of us, our journey through life contains moments of high satisfaction along with times of painful struggle. The shock that many young people graduating from school this year will eventually receive is realizing how unprepared they truly are to face the reality of life. For many, life is still a fantasy watched through a video screen. Movies and film clips that are programmed and reprogrammed until the scene is perfect becomes a blind standard of expectations. The “why not me” mentality confronts many self-reliant individuals who want more from life than an “average” existence. For many, happiness is the goal and money is the prize. Yet for others, survival is the norm and hope is the plan. Like many who have chronologically gone before us, life’s future challenges and obstacles are not included in our journey’s plan toward success.

Someone once told me at an early age that life consists of blessings and brokenness’s. I didn’t fully understand it at the time, but looking back now, I have to totally agree. Like the caboose on the train track, we are traveling down a path anchored by two rails on both sides of the track. On our left side are the blessings. On our right side are the brokenness’s. (Or for others the sides may be switched, but the results are the same). As we travel through life, on any given day, we experience the joy and thrills of victory, meaning, and love. Yet on the same day and possibly even moments apart, we may also experience pain, sorrow, and fear. There is not a person I haven’t met who has denied it. Some people may emphasize the blessing more than the brokenness and others focus on the brokenness more than the blessing, but if they are honest they will admit that both exist at the same time.

As we are all human, made in the image of God and yet negatively impacted by our alienation from God, we all experience godly and ungodly moments. The real question is which side are we going to emphasize in our life? For most of us, our human condition wants to control the environment around us instead of trusting a living God. Therefore, we focus on trying to manage (plan, organize, and control) the broken side of life. Others though have come to learn to place their brokenness into the hands of a living God whose divine nature is to redeem, restore, and bless others. The broken-side treats others as the enemy. The blessed-side relates with others as God’s children hidden in Jesus Christ but blind from ignorance and unfriendly spiritual forces. The broken-side uses and manipulates others for their personal agenda. The blessed-side paints a vision of options and lets others freely decide which is best for them and their community. The broken-side takes all they can get for themselves. The blessed-side gives to others without any expectation of a return. The broken-side pities themselves while blaming others. The blessed-side graciously thanks their Provider and prays that others may come to know Him. Through all of life’s journey, the blessed-side eventually realizes how blessed we truly are because God carries us through our brokenness. We have learned to acknowledge our brokenness and allow God’s Spirit to regenerate us. We know who our Savior is. We don’t deny or hide from our brokenness. Instead we like Paul acknowledge that when we are weak, then God is strong in us. For that we are thankful and realize how truly Blessed we are.

How about you? What ways has God taken your brokenness and blessed you or others through it?

OUR PRAYER

PRAY 9

Blessed Father, Son, and Spirit: thank you for your gracious blessings. Many of them we take for granted. Yet we acknowledge that you are the author and giver of everything that is good. You are our Healer, Redeemer, and Restored. Help take our brokenness and turn it into your blessings. Make our weakness your strength that is glorified to everyone we meet. Let your blessings flow through us and touch the people in our world. Let everything we say, think, and do be a blessing for others and for you.

Yours In Christ,

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Author of Great Business Emulates A Good God
Portal: EnjoyLifeInChrist.com

If You Are Seeking a Devotional Study, Check Out My New Book Be Radical…Follow Christ.

Who is Your Most Intimate Companion?

 

 word 14

“…but I have called you friends,…”

John 15:15

When you walk with God, you have the ultimate companion. You have someone who is always there when you need them. Someone you always are able to depend on. Someone you know is your friend independent of the situation.

When you follow Christ though, you quickly come to realize that you are not the most popular person in the world. You are not a rock star, or basketball superstar, or a famous Hollywood movie star. You are unique. And your uniqueness turns many people away from you because you are not acceptable to world standards. Yes, the righteous will find you uncomfortable to walk with. The rich will find you a stumbling block. The powerful will find you threatening the status quo. The experts will question your credentials. The elders will find you rebellious. The sinner will accept you as one of them until they realize your abhorrence to sin. The naive will consider you their messiah until they find that you preach acceptance of personal responsibility for your actions. The minority will push their agendas on you until they realize you have no distinction between races, sexes, or political affiliations. The right wing will consider you a liberal while the left wing insists you’re a conservative. Your pastor thinks you are uncommitted. Your family says you’re a little strange. Your neighbors love you but can’t seem to accept you as you are. Your coworkers respect you but wonder when you are going to become normal. Your children honor you and accept your eccentricities as part of the aging process. And you wonder how come your companions are few?

Jesus selected twelve disciples that where the closest to him. Of the twelve, three where the most intimate with him, Peter, John and James. Jesus didn’t have a physical wife or children of His own. His companions consisted of those who walked with Him on Kingdom’s mission. He ministered to them while they ministered to Him. His companions came to Him by His Dad to start the work that He was prophesied to complete. Not everyone was excited about the Kingdom of God. Only those people whose passion towards the Kingdom came alive did Jesus bring dose to His bosom. and one of them was going to betray Him. Many of them didn’t even capture the real vision of the Kingdom during His ministry. Yet Jesus chose them, ministered to them, taught them, loved them, played with them, and worked with them, giving them the best years of His life including the ultimate, life itself.

The best companion we all have is Jesus and the friends He brings to us while sharing the gospel of the Kingdom. Our companions are few, but true.

Dr. Mike

DOES JESUS RECOGNIZE YOU?

PRAY 9

Dear Wonderful Dad:

You are my success, joy, and recognition in everything I do. You surround me with your Grace and Presence each and every day. You give me more than I deserve. You make my cup overflow with your abundant riches.     Everything I own is a loan from you. You created everything for us to share in and we likewise share it with others. Without you there is nothing worth owning, possessing, or having. You add value to everything because you created value. I can never express my gratitude and thankfulness for your involvement in my life. Everything is because of you.

 

If I have not express my thanks to you today, let me say thank you again and again. If I have already expressed  my  thanks  to  you today, express it again. There is not enough time in a day to thank you for your Grace, your Gifts, but more importantly just knowing you. We humbly thank you and express our gratitude.

 

Thank you, Jesus.

 

 word 14

 

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  Luke 6:46

 

“>Why do you serve?

 

Do you want to let the world know how good of a person you are? Does it make you feel important? Or is it just a part of your nature? Do you truly believe it is more blessed to give than receive?

 

I just finished reading an old Discipleship Journal magazine which had an article entitled “Secret Service.” The article outlined how a few Christ-followers are serving others incognito. They practice the scripture of not letting your right-hand know what your other hand is doing in serving others. When they help others they do it either through a third party or in secret. At the end of the day, all glory goes to God and the act. They just receive the personal satisfaction of helping others without the fanfare. I love it.

Was Jesus’ primary attitude to draw attention to Him or to help others for their sake with as little fanfare as possible? Did Jesus die for us because He wanted to achieve personal glory or because He Loves us? When He walked the earth, who did He give the glory to?

 

As His disciple, I have learned that the glory and honor belongs to Jesus, my Heavenly Dad, and the Holy Spirit. All the glory and praise is God’s. I have come to realize that everything I accomplish, whether in service or for personal gain, I achieve only because of God’s grace. For starters, He gives me life itself. He gives me the air to breathe, makes my heart tick, and mind to operate effectively (unless I damage it). He  gives  me  His  Spirit  of compassion  and love. He allows me to work and earn an income. He allowed me to be born in America, the land of physical wealth and personal freedom. He blesses me so I can bless others. He provides me the opportunities to serve. He teaches me the joy and privilege of serving. No wonder all the praises and glory go to Him. Everything begins and ends with Him.

 

We don’t need  the  recognition  anymore.  Our recognition  comes from Him. We are His disciples and He takes exceptionally good care of us. All recognition goes to Him.

 

 

Dr. Mike

 

FAITH IN WHAT?

Whenever someone says that they have faith, the question arises, “faith in what or whom?”

If you probe enough in a person’s narrative, you will find the worldview that the person builds their reality from.  Is their foundation for “faith” in happen-chance? a “faith” in self? a “faith” in another person? a “faith” in “big brother?” or a “faith” in “karma?” Wherever the faith is focused toward reveals the person’s source of life and their reality.

In political slogans, we are asked to have faith. In business circles, we are asked to have faith. In relationships, we are asked to have faith. Faith is one of those words that has become a generic, abused child. However, when faith is properly employed, reality becomes more real in a person’s life. When faith is built on a true, solid foundation than kingdom reality becomes a life-giving source that makes oneself and those around him/her to flourish.

If someone is looking for a Biblical definition of faith, check out chapter eleven of Hebrews. If you want a another practical definition, substitute the words belief and trust in the work of the Triune God every time you come across the faith word. It will give you a more precise meaning of the word faith as used in scripture. But for those whose basis is not scripture, faith is only an empty cliché to distort the power and grace of God. Yet be not surprised, Biblical words and concepts have slowly eroded over time to become a water down version of its original meaning. That is why we all need to become practicing theologians to some degree.

faith

My belief and trust is in Jesus Christ. He allows us to take part with Him in His story which is restoring creation back to God’s original intent. He has my back. My belief and trust is built on His faith, His work of salvation, His plans for humanity, and His ability to make it all happen for  His goodness and the goodness of all under His dominion.

So the next time you hear someone mention faith, be sure you both have the same definition of faith in mind. Otherwise, who is being radical and missing out in the enjoyment of life in Christ?

Dr. Mike

MINISTRY INSIGHTS FROM A TENT MAKER

 theology 6

Paul worked for 1 ½ years with a husband and wife team (Aquila and Priscilla) while conducting missionary work in Corinth (Acts 18:2).  While working as a tent maker, he continued to teach the Word in the local synagogue.  It is of interest how he employed the word “work” throughout his life and teachings, especially in relationship to what God is doing and what His people are doing.  The importance of work is highlighted throughout his letters.

Luke quotes Paul in Acts 20:32-35, ”You yourselves know that these hands of  mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give, than to receive.'”

In the letter from Ephesians 4:28 Paul writes, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. In 1 Thess 4:11-12 he writes, “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”

In the above scriptures Paul emphasized the point of working to support oneself and one’s family rather than live as a beggar dependent on others for necessities. Paul himself demonstrated the importance of having a skill (tent making) that provides a service to others (shelter) and a livelihood for oneself. A Christian is to gladly work “unto the Lord” (Col 3:22-24).  The work one does should not glorify oneself, but God.  In addition, the work should be a means to provide for those less fortunate – “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Also, as work relates to fulfilling God’s plan, He writes in Titus 1:7 that “an overseer is entrusted with God’s work.” Barnabas and Paul was set apart by the Holy Spirit for this work (Act 13:2-3). And not only were they commissioned for this work, but had to support themselves in the process (I Cor 9:6).  He again writes how one’s work for the Lord must stand the test of trials, difficulties, problems,  especially when we shall all be evaluated at the end of this age (I Cor 3:10-15).

He was primarily focused on the Lord’s work and only labored to support himself and his team, not to gain riches. He practiced what he preached.  The work of the Lord was the priority in his life and for all those that the Lord calls (I Cor 15:58, 16:9,10).  While working his craft, he contemplated and compared the physical craft of tent making to the spiritual work God is completing in us as a church and as an individual. His analogy of the body working together as a team with all its parts supporting one another is but one example of lessons learned while working (I Cor 12:12-13).

All tent-makers need to stand up and rejoice.  It is an example for all people everywhere that the craft, skill, profession, and work we perform is more than just to feed ourselves.  It’s a means of grace that we practice.  When we work, we are able to support those less fortunate than ourselves and therefore practice love of our neighbor.  When we work, we learn how God operates in our lives.  When we work, we are able to compare and better understand the spiritual realities we face each day.  When we work, we are able to express ourselves by the results of our labor.  When we work, we contribute to the community we reside in.  There are many valuable lessons we learn while we work. To paraphrase Jesus, “God works, and so do I.”

What other insights of ministry do you think Paul may have received while engaged as a tent maker?

Dr. Mike

WHAT ARE SOME MINISTRY ACTIVITIES THAT REFLECT A BELIEF IN THE APOSTLE’S CREED STATEMENT ABOUT “GOD, THE FATHER ALMIGHTY?”

There are a number of activities that turn belief in the Apostle’s Creed’s statement “God, the Father Almighty” into ministerial activities.  They include: 1):pro-life activities – from making decisions to keep ones baby to foster homes for the discarded child. 2) creation education – from Christian schools teaching creation to individual ministries emphasizing the factual account of creation rather than evolution. 3) exercising creativity – God is Creator and His creation reflects His artistic skills.  Ministries that emphasize the Arts in worship or the writing and development of music, books, film that glorifies God and His Life is an expression of creativity that focuses on God as Father and Creator. 4) Stewardship – God is a Steward of His creation.  He practices conservation and effective management of His creation.  Ministries that teach proper stewardship of ones resources is a prime example.  Also, ministries that focuses on the environment and conservation of our resources is another means of expressing these types of activities.  5) Restoring Father/Son relationships – Ministries that provide counseling or activities that improves the bond between Fathers and their children is another example of a ministry built on the belief of God as our Father.

father 1

All the above ministries are practiced by certain individuals in our local church.  Coming from a small church with very few formal church-wide ministries, most ministries are conducted by a few individuals motivated and led to fulfill their calling in life.  These ministries include all the above from one degree to another.

One approach to emphasis our God’s Authority is to conduct a series of sermons  about His relationship to us as a healthy Father.  Taking scriptures from Genesis, the Gospels, and Epistles, we can show His desire to have a close, intimate relationship with His children.

Isn’t it amazing the many activities we conduct only mimic our Heavenly Father God’s attributes?  What other ministry activities would you add to the list?

Dr. Mike