“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

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Who Is God?

 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”  And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man. Mark 8:28-33 ESV.

mark 8

Our concept of God most likely is incorrect. Peter’s was when he rebuked Jesus for portraying a Messiah that was not in agreement with his beliefs.

As the above Scripture indicates, Jesus asked the “Who Am I” identity question to his disciples. Peter correctly answered. However his concept of Messiah (Hebrew translation) or Christ (Greek translation) was distorted. He was taught and read only the Scriptures that identified the Messiah as a conquering hero. A person who was coming to re-establish Israel as the mighty empire it once was like during Solomon’s reign. So when Jesus revealed that he was going to suffer, die, and be resurrected, Peter confronted and tried to incorrectly correct Jesus.

Jesus’ reply must have caused whiplash to Peter’s mind. For Jesus sharply pointed out that his concept of who the Messiah is was incorrect. That Peter’s concept was the image of man’s interpretation based on humanity’s desires instead of the reality of God.

How many of us have the same, academic, partial portrait of God? We may read what others say about God. We may hear what others say about God. And we may even have our personal, third dimension perspective of Him. Yet, how many of us have a real, face-to-face, personal relationship with Him? How many of us know Him as we know our most intimate buddy? Not what people say about her, but what you have discovered yourself while sharing life together. Isn’t that what Jesus referred too when he corrected Peter?

Yes, Jesus is going to suffer, die, and be resurrected Peter. He is not going to play along with your distorted view of reality. Instead He wants you to hang out with him and experience a deep, abiding relationship with each other. Only when you live with a person will you learn what they are truly like.

Jesus the man was the perfect reflection of who God is. That is because Jesus the divine was God in the flesh. Peter’s perspective was a distorted view of who he perceived the Christ to be. How about you and I? Do we truly know who God is?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Does a Friend Need Encouragement…Share Today’s Message!

What Must You Do To Inherent Eternal Life?

And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 18:18 ESV.

ruler 2

This question came from a rich ruler who sought the answer from Jesus. Jesus in His usually manner went right to the ruler’s heart. He started by stating five of the Ten Commandments which relate to human relationship. The ruler replied that he has kept these from his youth. Then Jesus threw the zinger at him. Jesus knew that the one major area of the ruler’s life that came between God and him was his wealth. Therefore, Jesus told him there was one thing he lacked. Too sell his possessions and follow him.

Many Bible teachers emphasize the first part of Jesus’ reply rather than the last part. The emphasis they place is on the wealth rather than on Jesus. Many Christians even today struggle with the answer. What Jesus stated and repeated later is that man doesn’t have the capacity within himself apart of God to do anything that earns him eternal life.

Jesus recognized the idol of wealth in the rich ruler’s heart. He offered him the opportunity to join him right then and there. Yet the decision to sell everything was more than he could do. Like many of us, we come to the place where we realize we can’t do what only God can do. We do not have the sole capacity to do anything to earn eternal life.

Only the Triune God can change a person’s heart. When the Holy Spirit resides and moves within a person’s life, transformation occurs. Only God can replace a stony, hard heart with a soft, pliable one. That is why Jesus stated shortly thereafter that what is impossible for man is possible with God.

We all have idols in our lives. Typically idols are good things in life. However, we make them the ultimate thing. And when they become the ultimate thing, they replace God’s position in our life. That is what makes an idol. Wealth, family, career, education, and food are all good things. However, when they become the most important treasure of our heart, then God is being replaced by a forgery. God knows that we are wired and operate fully human when He is the center of our life. When something else takes that place, we suffer and never experience the rich relationship with Him and others. This is what Jesus saw in the rich ruler.

Jesus gave the rich ruler the opportunity to follow Him. Whether the rich ruler eventually came to follow Jesus or not, we are not told. However, Scripture does reveal to us today that eternal life is God’s gift to us for those who believe in Jesus Christ (1 John 5:11).

So if you haven’t done business with your Maker, maybe today is a good time to look into the life of Jesus and learn what He has to say about your life now and for all eternity.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage your Friends…Share Today’s Message!

It’s Not About Us

 

For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 2 Corinthians 4:5 ESV.

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Sometimes sermons sound like an info commercial to join a church. There are ministers that communicate a silent message that you are missing out on everything God has for you unless you become a member of their faith community.

One of those Ya-Ha revelation moments came when I realized God’s plan is not and was not and will not be centered around me.

The book of Colossians and Ephesians make mention that His plan of salvation, His Kingdom, and all of creation was built by and for Jesus Christ. He is the central figure of life. God calls people throughout history to join Him in His plan for mankind. As we align our goals, ambitions, and vocational ministries around His Purpose, we quickly learn and experience the joy of working along and in partnership with the Creator of the Universe.

For our scientific community, it may be shocking. For our non-believers, they struggle with the relevancy of faith. However for those who have surrendered to Lord Jesus, they understand better than most. They gladly serve their King. They seek to expand His Kingdom. They want everyone to enjoy the riches that they have received from heaven’s basket of life. They want God’s love to preeminent their relationships. They want to introduce everyone to their King. They cannot stop speaking about the freedom, gifts, and treasurers of heaven that is now available to everyone on earth.

Yes, God has a purpose for you. But that purpose is His for you; not yours for Him. His purpose slowly becomes your reality as you obey your King’s commands. He will show you through the people you meet, serve, and love. You will experience heaven’s riches; not by chasing after them, but by deeply pursuing an intimate relationship with the person who is the center of life: Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the central core of life. He gives you meaning, purpose, and significance. Not by pursuing yours, but by pursuing HIS.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage your Friends…Share Today’s Message!

Christmas: God Invades the Human Sphere

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us” I John 1:1-2 ESV.

jesus 21

What type of person would…
…empty themselves from the universe’s highest privileges to share life with the lowliest derelicts?
…remove themselves from a sure future into a situation where the risk of failure hangs heavy on one’s shoulders?
…walk away from eternal bliss into human depravity?

How about someone who cares?

He surrendered his rights, privileges, and eternal home by walking through heaven’s looking glass into our human dimension.

As a Man-God he experienced birth, hunger, and filled diapers as a baby. He learned to walk, run, and jump as a youth. He was educated in the Jewish culture, shared family chores with his siblings, and grew in stature/wisdom with God and his neighbors.

He studied the Scriptures. Even debated with the religious academia scholars as a 12 year old.

As the family eldest, he most likely ran the family carpentry business after his step-dad died.

He attended Jewish weddings, funerals, and Sabbath services in the synagogue.

Near the end of his life, he also learned first-hand about pain and suffering. He witnessed the cruelty of people harming people for personal gain. He personally saw the injustice around him. Every human experience you and I share, he experienced.

jesus 20His name is Jesus.

Christmas is not about a baby. It is not about exchanging gifts. It is not even a birthday party. Christmas is our reminder that Jesus Christ invaded our world, restored His claim on Earth, and included us to share in His domain now and forevermore.

Please don’t get caught up in the commercial trappings of Christmas. Instead let Jesus be the center and reason for the season.

And with that…Merry Christmas!!

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Director & Founder
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage your Friends…Share Today’s Message!

The Cross

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” I Corinthians 1:18 ESV

cross 3

What happened on the Cross the day Jesus died?

The sacrificial system stopped.

The broken relationship between God and humanity was restored.

The guilt and shame of the fall was replaced with freedom and liberty.

The war of good over evil was won.

The human race was redeemed from Satan.

Just a simple reminder for those of us that sometimes forget or take for granted the impact of Jesus’ life & sacrifice.

 

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Consultant, Coach, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Preach What?

jesus 1

“But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” Acts 8:12 ESV

 

The other day a pastor on TV emphasized that He preaches the Bible. Another preacher on the other station states that he preaches Jesus Christ. It raised the question. Which is the message of the Kingdom? The Bible or Jesus Christ?

Whenever one elevates the Bible or equates the written word with the personal Word, my historical journey is recalled and danger flags are now waved. It begs the question, how do you interpret the Bible? What is the basis of your preaching? Is the main thing the Bible or who the Bible points to?

When a person preaches Jesus Christ as Savior, Messiah, and Lord, the focus in on the main thing – Jesus. The Bible introduces the reader to Jesus. The Incarnate Jesus reveals God to us. As we read and study the life, work, and heart of Jesus, we learn more about God. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, we learn to follow in his steps. As we study the Bible through a Jesus-centered Triune God worldview, we have a more solid basis of interpreting scripture.

Our focus is to build a stronger relationship with the eternal God. The Bible is simply a means to this end.

Our partnership and participation is with Jesus; not the Bible. He is redeeming humanity; not the Bible. Our job is to abide and follow Him. To listen to His word as He communicates to us. The Bible serves as a means for God to communicate to us through His Spirit. As we read and study the inspired word, we are open to hear his voice. As we learn to hear his voice through scripture, we are more attuned to recognize Him during the activities of the day. It is His Spirit that inspires us, encourages us, and opens us up to serve those around us.

Again, the Bible is the means, not the message. The message is Jesus Christ, His Spirit, and His Domain. Secondary, but including in that message is how we participate with Him through the sanctification phase.

Jesus is the reason we have the Bible. Therefore, if the preaching is not centered around Jesus Christ, be careful. If the message doesn’t explain how Jesus is the foundation of your growth, service, and faith, be on guard. If the emphasis is on what you need to do and not what Jesus has done, is doing, and will do, be suspect. Remember, Jesus came with good news; not more burdens, yokes, and hurdles for you to climb.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married