The Book That Understands You

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130 ESV

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Ever read a book that you couldn’t put down because it was like the author wrote it knowing everything there is about you? She knew what excited you. She took you from an emotional high to a painful low. She knew what got your goat. She knew how you thought. She knew what you would do next and deliberately turned the next chapter against your perceived ideas. Everything about you that you haven’t shared with another soul was being drawn out of you through the pages of the story.

Now some people may shy away from such a novel. Others would want to read the sequel and couldn’t wait until the story became a movie. Such a book would probably be a number one seller for years.

Some people may not be aware of it, but the Christian Bible has been a number one best seller each year it has been in print. It is a book that truly understands you and me. It has violence, sex, power, political intrigue, suspense, surprise outcomes, and other unbelievable results. It showcases romance, rags-to-riches stories, and the difference one person makes in the lives of others. It captures human nature at its finest and worst. It explains how you are wired and what can be done to transform it. It is a story with more plots than a graveyard.

You want to know why you behave the way you do? Read the book.
You want to better understand why others are the way they are? Read the book.
You want wisdom in dealing with the people in your world? Read the book.
You want your life to have greater adventure and excitement like the movies you enjoy? Read the book.
You want to develop a relationship with someone who understands you better than anyone else? Read the book.

As you read the book you discover more about its invisible Author. You come to know the people who He associates with; the people who are drawn to him. As you read the book, you begin to better understand yourself, your motives, and your potential. You learn better ways to relate with others. You become more like the heroes written in the book. You understand their pain and joy because you share in the same venues.

The more you read, the more you begin to realize that the book truly understands you better than anything you ever read before. Then you begin to realize it is so because its prime Author created you and wants to have an ongoing, long term, intimate relationship with you. It begins when you read the book!

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

Theology 101

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:9

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Why is theology important?

Recently we had a lively discussion regarding the importance of theology. The majority of the group believed that the Bible was all that they needed. That theology was man’s attempt to lead people astray. They looked at the Bible through the eyes of one simple worldview. They admitted that all they knew was what they initially learned. They didn’t want to take the time to understand why their brothers and sisters in other denominations believed what they do. As far as they were concern, what they believed was right and others were wrong. They didn’t realize that everyone already has a theological belief. The question is “what is yours?”

First, theology is simply the study of God. It studies the Bible from a wholesome point of view. Instead of extracting pieces of the Word at a time, it looks to bring all the pieces together to form a coherently understanding of God’s hand in the matter.

There is a study of God for a multitude of different subjects. For example, the theology of salvation, the theology of grace, the theology of creation, the theology of the Kingdom of God, the theology of (add whatever subject you can think of and there probably is already a formal study on the matter).

The thought that what one believes may not be absolutely correct bothers some people. The idea that others may have more truth on a subject matter may also be humbling for a few.
The relevancy of any theological belief is simply the Christ-like fruit it bears. If love, joy, and peace is the mainstay of a person’s life, then maybe one may want to listen and learn. We all have a theological belief system in play. The question comes to how close is the study to reality and truth. Of course reality and truth is measured through one person: Jesus Christ. And yes there is a theology of Christ, called Christology.

The more we come to know and understand God, the more we are humbled and at awe of His divine work and physical masterpiece. The better we understand the beliefs of others, the easier it becomes to communicate and relate with them. Therefore, when one’s theology is grounded in Christ, His Word, and Spirit, the journey through life becomes more immeasurable with gratitude, love, and joy.

I may not agree with others theological position at times, but I do love and respect them. My heart fully understands that whoever may be closer to the truth, God in His time will reveal that to us too. The important thing is to continue grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. That is a simple theological position that every mature believer I meet quickly agrees too. And so do I.

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

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

Be Radical

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits[a] of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:6-8

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What does it mean to be radical?

The dictionary.com provides several definitions.

  1. of or going to the root or origin; fundamental: “a radical difference.”
  2. thoroughgoing or extreme, especially as regards change from accepted or traditional forms: “a radical change in the policy of a company.” a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles; extremist.
  3. favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms: “radical ideas; radical and anarchistic ideologues.” a person who advocates fundamental political, economic, and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods.
  4. forming a basis or foundation.
  5. existing inherently in a thing or person: “radical defects of character.”
  6. Mathematics/Chemistry. pertaining to or forming a root. denoting or pertaining to the radical sign. The set of elements of a ring, some power of which is contained in a given ideal. A quantity expressed as a root of another quantity.
  7. Grammar. of or pertaining to a root.

 

Like many words in the English language, it depends on the context of the subject matter. When I use the word radical, it typically means to focus on the root of the matter; the original intent, the foundational basis, the uncompromising position of basic beliefs that are fundamental to life and purpose as found in Jesus Christ.

To be radical in Christ is to adhere to the core teachings and purpose behind the Incarnate God. It is to be true to His Word, Purpose, and Intent. It is to be in an intimate, close relationship with Lord Jesus. It is to focus on life through the central eyes of Christ via the Holy Spirit’s influence. It is to eliminate all the additional pomp, rituals, and speculations and focus on the basic core meaning and purpose of Jesus Christ’s life as He lived and lives. It is to live life the way the Triune God created life to be. It is practical and livable, not religious and superstitious. It is to exercise the beliefs, values, and core principles of God’s original intent from the foundation of the world. It is to walk in agreement with God as He constructs His new creation. It is to walk in His redemptive plan of salvation as He restores creation to His original design.

To be radical in Christ is this and so much more. Each day we look through the window of faith and behold a world that all mankind wants but can’t bring it about until Jesus Christ returns. He will establish order and rule the Kingdom Way. For now, we are being prepared to lead and serve His way. This is my radical.

We are rooting for you!

Yours 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

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

Rest in Christ

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30 ESV

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Martin Luther, the initiator of the Protestant reformation movement, was a monk in the Catholic Church struggling to find God before his eyes were open to understand grace through faith in Christ. Like many of his contemporaries, he would pray, fast, and subdue his body seeking answers and direction from God. Yet each practice, discipline, and works that forced him toward God only led him to become more despondent. Then God in His almighty mercy and grace revealed to him the truth. When that moment occurred, Martin Luther discovered real peace for his soul like the Scriptures promises for those who find rest in Christ.

In Christ time, the religious leaders practiced 613 rules in their interpretation of Scripture for everyday living. These rules became the order of importance and the way each person would measure their righteousness before God and man. Many of these rules became a duty and burden for the people. Instead of experiencing the freedom that God intended the people to have, the people felt pressured to perform or be ostracized from their community. Jesus frowned upon this and gave the people an alternative way to live life. Thereby Jesus, per the above quote from Matthew’s gospel, lifts the burden from the people’s shoulder’s and gives them the rest that God originally intended mankind to have before Adam’s rebellion.

Instead of focusing on DOING a long list of things, Jesus stressed having a relationship with him. The rest comes from following Christ; in BEING in a relationship with Him. When we truly realize what Jesus has done for us, that He is our Substitute, He is our Savior, and He is our King, then and only then, will we begin to experience the joy of His Spirit living in us and the freedom He shares with all His subjects.

Jesus does not put burdens on people; people put burdens on each other. Jesus provides uplifting, refreshing joy. His ways allows people to fulfill their design in Him. He wants people to experience the same joy He does. When we connect with Him, follow Him, serve Him, and rejoice with Him, then we experience the abiding relationship of being one with Him, the Father, and the Holy Spirit. And where God is, there is abundant rest. Isn’t that what we mean to be radical in Christ?

We are rooting for you!

Yours 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

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

Jesus the Carpenter

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“Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?” Mark 6:3
“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matt. 3:16-17

What we know about Jesus comes mostly from the gospels. He entered into public ministry around the age of thirty (Luke 3:23). Prior to that time, he worked as a carpenter in the family business (Mark 6:3). A carpenter during the first century was more general than today’s specialist. Today, carpentry is classified in multiple categories from rough carpentry to finish carpentry, from specializing in roof replacement to cabinet making. In Jesus’ time, carpentry involved everything including general contracting, cement block building, and wood carving. Jesus being the eldest most likely ran the family carpentry business after the death of Joseph.

What makes Matthew’s witness come alive at Jesus’ baptism is the statement that our Heavenly Father made BEFORE Jesus’ public ministry. The statement was that He was “well pleased with His Son.” The statement was made BEFORE his Messiah ministry. Father God made the statement after watching Jesus conduct the routine, everyday life of business, family matters, and personal engagements for approximately thirty years.

Our Father loved Jesus not because of what He accomplished or did not accomplish, or was planning to accomplish, but simply because He loved Him. Up-to-that-time, living a private life, before the fame, glamor, and public testimony, Father God was well pleased with Him. Before the miracles, the healing, the preaching, and the teaching, Father God was well pleased with Him. Before the Last Supper, trial, death and resurrection, Father God was pleased with Him.

Our Father God loves us so much more than we may ever recognize. Every sacrifice, every act of kindness, and every matter done for His glory is known by Him and doesn’t increase His love for us. It’s not about the praise nor fanfare. It’s not even about the outcomes. It is having a personal relationship with the God of the universe who knows you because He designed you, gifted you, and prepared a place for you in His plan.

We now live in Christ and simply looking forward to the time when the same words from Matthew 25:21 are spoken to us: “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” Imagine what a difference a carpenter walking with the Triune God could do today in his business, family, and community? Or is this simply just too radical for someone to believe?

I am rooting for you with Christ!
 

Yours 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

Learn. Integrate. Grow.

 

God’s Plan For You

reflection 3

“For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:10-14 ESV

Every time I hear a message about God encouraging the nation Israel through Jeremiah with the above words, I cringe. Most of the time I hold my breath because someone most likely will extract a portion of this scripture to illustrate a point without fully expounding its ramifications. I have been taught to read scripture in context first, understand its cultural and historical significance in its time, and then expound its application into today’s world. Most of the time lately this scripture is used from the pulpit as a short cut to motivate people to trust in God with their future plans.

When read in context, one quickly recognizes that the Lord made a specific promise to Israel. After being disciplined through seventy years of exile, He will restore their nation. A specific prophecy for a specific nation for a specific time in history. What this scripture truly reveals is that the Lord’s purpose will always be accomplished.

What does this mean for you and me?
* God has a plan He started at the foundation of the universe that includes you.
* It is God’s plan, not yours or mine.
* Our plans most likely are not God’s plan.
* The earlier we learn to accept God’s plan and join him in it, the quicker we will experience a deeper relationship with Him.
* As we develop a deeper relationship with Him, the greater His Spirit lives in us, influences us, and empowers us to live life the way He originally created life too be.
* The brokenness of sin slowly dissipates from our lives and is replaced with the riches of His eternal glory.
* We don’t have to wait for heaven; heaven arrives now in Christ as He lives in us.

We do not have to take scripture out of context to make a point. God has a plan that includes you and me. His desire is for all humanity to join him within the Triune God circle. Today, we are heirs, children, and servants of the King of Kings. He joyously and lovingly invites us to now participate in His work to redeem all creation into His original intent (Romans 8:20-21).

So why misuse scriptures to make a point? Isn’t the truth already radical enough?

Yours 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

Learn. Integrate. Grow.