Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Testimonies

I received an e-mail from a man who plans to use Growing Up Christian in the college and career Sunday school class he leads.

A High School Principal plans to use the book with his senior Bible class in the second semester.

One home schooling family is using it as part of their Bible curriculum.

I spoke with a dad this weekend and learned he is beginning to go through the book with his daughter.

How are using the book? What is God teaching you as you read it?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Suffering for Christ

Acts chapter 5 records the story of the disciples being rebuked and flogged by the Sanhedrin for repeatedly telling others the Jesus was the Messiah. A spirit of excitement and boldness inspired the apostles to preach the gospel despite the threats of the Jewish authorities. In the end they were flogged and released.

In verse 41 it says, “The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.”

Despite the opposition, rebukes, and physical beatings, they rejoiced. They probably remembered the teachings of Jesus, which told them to expect this type of response to their message. They may have recalled Jesus’ suffering on the cross for them. Or maybe they had a picture in their minds of the holes in His hands and feet, remembering the sacrificial love of their Savior.

They rejoiced; they jumped for joy; they celebrated together. They were excited to be a part in the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

Do we feel the same? Do we act with confidence and boldness as we spread the good news? Do we anticipate resistance to various degrees? Do we rejoice to suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Cut to the Heart

Acts chapter two records the remarkable story of the coming of the Holy Spirit and the powerful message of the Gospel that Peter proclaimed to the crowd. Verse 37 records the remarkable effect on those present, “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

They were “cut to the heart.” The proclamation of the Gospel pierced their hearts, affected their souls, and prompted a radical, life-transforming response. And over 3000 were saved that day.

Have you been cut to the heart by the good news that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you? Have you been pierced by the reality that He loved you so much that He bore the wrath of God in your place? Have you responded by placing your faith in Him and His finished work on the cross? Have you repented and believed?

And as Christians we need to regularly be cut to the heart as we remind ourselves of the sacrifice our Savior made for us. This should inspire us to live all out for Him and propel us forward as we promote Him and worship Him with our lives.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Becoming More Like Christ Everyday - (2 Corinthians 3:15-18)

“Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:15-18

Conversion is amazing! We go from blinded to seeing, from veils covering our eyes to seeing clearly. When the Lord renews our hearts we are free to live for Him by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our motives change, our hearts change, our goals change, and we long to become more like Christ.

The work of being transformed into the likeness of Christ requires a joint effort. God clearly controls, leads, and enables, yet we need to surrender to the power of the Holy Spirit and follow Christ. We surrender and place ourselves in a position to be transformed by God. We open our Bibles and pray and let God transform our hearts and minds. We allow God to work in us by attending church and youth group meetings; He will teach us!. We can yield to Christ in times of praise and worship.

Our holy God calls us to be holy because He is holy. It pleases Him when we make it our aim to be like Jesus Christ.  He has given us His Holy Spirit to enable us to grow in holiness.

God is all around us, but most importantly Christ Jesus dwells in us through the Holy Spirit.  We are in Christ and He is in us.  He enables us to reflect the Lord's glory and to be transformed into His likeness!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Tim Challies Review of Growing Up Christian

Blogger, author, and book reviewer Tim Challies reviewed Growing Up Christian on October 13.

He says, "Growing up Christian is not as easy a task as one might think. There are dangers and temptations unique to growing up within a Christian family and within the church and sadly these difficulties are often downplayed or misunderstood by those who have been converted later in life. Growing Up Christian seeks examine these issues, which, as a person who grew up in a Christian home (ie a “church kid”), are near and dear to my heart. The book is targetted primarily at church kids, though their parents would do well to read the book with them. The author, Karl Graustein, is a church kid himself and is now a principal at a Christian school, so is intimately aware of the issues at stake..."

Read the rest on Tim Challies' website.




Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Discipline Is Good

Hebrews 12:10-11 says, “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Discipline is good. God disciplines us to accomplish good in our lives, to help us become more like him. Discipline is like a guardrail, preventing us from plunging off the road and into deeper dangers.

Yet discipline feels so bad. It stings, it hurts, it humbles. It certainly doesn’t feel pleasant when you are going through it. That's because pain and discomfort are essential to effective discipline as God--often through human means--nudges us back on the right road.

In the end, if we respond to discipline we can expect wonderful blessings – a harvest of righteousness and peace. The condition is listening, applying, and changing in response to discipline. The outcome is a glorious harvest of holiness in our lives.

Lord, help us to embrace discipline. Although it is painful, help us to be trained by it. Remind us of the harvest we will see some day in the near future.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Mark Buchanan - Pastor & Author

Have you read any of Mark Buchanan’s books? It was a great joy to discover the works of this pastor and author in the spring of 2004. He has a passion for Christ, a pastor’s heart, and a gift of writing. I highly recommend all three of his books to you: Your God Is Too Safe, Things Unseen, and Holy Wild.

Read, enjoy, and fall more deeply in love with your God!