Thursday, January 31, 2013

Training: Penal Substitutionary Atonement Part 3

This is the fourth video in this training series.  You can find the previous videos in the links below.

To recap, penal substitutionary atonement is a fancy theological term that answers the question, "What did Jesus do by dying on the cross?"  The word penal tells us that His death on the cross was the just penalty for the crime of sin.  The word substitutionary tells us that His death was actually paying the penalty for our crimes and sins. Jesus traded places with us sinners.  Today's video will focus on the word atonement.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ever Changing Me

Yeah... I want to watch this...
Just a simple thought today.  Last night, after Christy and I had finished an episode of Bones, I was skimming through the Netlix menu.  I spotted TinkerBell and the Secret of Wings and my reaction surprised Christy and actually embarrassed me if I'm honest.  I saw it and said something along the lines of, "Sweet!  I haven't seen this one yet.  I'll have to watch it."

Now, before you think I've lost my mind, let me inform you that I meant that I would have to watch it with Michaela, you know, my 17 month old daughter who is in love with TinkerBell.  However, if I'm totally honest, I find myself legitimately interested in seeing this next movie.  I've seen two of them already and want to see how the next portion of the tinker fairy's saga plays out.

Call me girly or soft or whatever but I never would have reacted like that or wanted to see this movie at all two years ago.  The point is, Michaela has changed me.  Her interests have somehow become my interests.  Things that excite her are actually somehow starting to excite me.  The more time I spend with her, the more my interests are being transformed by her.  Hopefully, this will work both ways and she will be a big Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and, more importantly, Jesus fan when she grows up.

I'm not actively trying to be like Michaela or gain her interests.  I didn't have a conversation with my heart or personality and try to convince myself to like the things she likes.  It just happened as I spent time with her.

That, I think, is exactly how it works with God.  We don't start off like God.  We each start off with our own set of selfish and sinful desires.  But the more time we spend with God the more we will begin to change.  I'm not talking about trying to change ourselves by quoting doctrinal statements or telling our heart to change.  I'm talking about just spending time with God and it just happening.  Being in His presence and praying and reading His Word will change us.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. -- Romans 8:29

God wants to make us like Jesus.  How?

When we spend time with Jesus, the desires of our heart will begin to change to match His.  We become less self focused and more others minded, less concerned about our kingdoms and more concerned about His.  I've seen it happen to me.  I'm not perfect yet, but I'm also not the rude, selfish, arrogant, sarcastic, intellectual bully I used to be... though he does still rear his ugly head on occasion.  How about you?  Have you been changed by His presence?  Are you trying hard to change your own desires?  Have you tried just sitting at His feet and spending time with Him in His Word, worship, prayer, and fellowship with His people?  I hope so, because it's a close relationship with Him that changes us.  

May you find yourself ever more like Christ as you spend your time with Him.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Training: Penal Substitutionary Atonement Part 2

This is the third video I've put up to discuss the theological concept of Penal Substitutionary Atonement.  If you're just joining in, you can find the INTRO HERE and PART 1: DEFINING PENAL HERE.

As a recap, we have learned that phrases like "Jesus died for your sins" are often misunderstood by non-Christians and not necessarily fully understood by Christians either.  Penal Substitutionary Atonement is a theological term used to address the issue of what exactly Jesus' death did.  The word Penal is used to convey that His death on the cross was related to the crime of sin and the just penalty for sin which is death.  Today's video will hopefully explain the second word: Substitutionary.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lessons from the Sons of Thunder

Yes, I know that is lightning and not thunder...

Boanerges.  It means sons of thunder.  Jesus gave that nickname to James and John in Matthew 3.  This is just speculation, but I think He chose that name for a reason.  I think James and John were energetic and loud.  I think they were the kind of guys that were the life of the party.  They brought the boom and the noise with them wherever they went.  They were used to the spotlight.  They craved the spotlight.  That's what I think at least.

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. "Teacher," they said, "we want you to do for us whatever we ask." "What do you want me to do for you?" he asked. They replied, "Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory. -- Mark 10:35-37
James and John believed rightly that one day Jesus would be King and they wanted to be the number two people in the whole kingdom.  They desired greatness for themselves.  They wanted the glory.  They wanted the fame.  They wanted the attention.  They wanted the position of power.  They wanted the position of privilege.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Training: Penal Substitutionary Atonement Part 1

As I mentioned last week, I've created some training videos for people at my church.  You can find my quick intro HERE.

Before you hear what I have to say, take a look at the following Scriptures.

For the wages of sin is death... -- Romans 6:23a

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.--Daniel 12:2

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power--2 Thess 1:6-9

But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca, is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell.--Matthew 5:22

God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.-- Psalm 7:11

As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." -- Romans 3:10-12

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. -- Isaiah 64:6

The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. -- Psalm 5:5

Hopefully, this begins to unpack this theological concept of the penal substitutionary atonement for you.  Let me know what you think or if you have any questions!  Part 2 will be up next Thursday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Follow Hard

I think I would have said no to Jesus.

I mean, why on earth did Peter say yes?

Matthew chapter four tells us that Peter and his brother Andrew were fishing.  It was their job.  We know that Peter was an average kind of guy.  He had a home, friends, and a family.  We also know that Peter was married because Jesus heals his mother-in-law in Luke chapter four.  He's married and he has a job, a home, a wife, a family, and friends.  All reasons to say no.

Jesus, a complete stranger, walks up to Peter and Andrew one day while they are fishing.  Peter didn't know Jesus.  To Peter, Jesus was just some preacher he had heard people talk about.  Jesus hadn't even done any amazing miracles yet.  He was just some preacher.  And Jesus walks up to Peter and says, "Come and follow me."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trying Something New: Training Videos

I've created a series of videos to use as training for people at my church.  These videos cover the theological concept of Penal Substitutionary Atonement.  It's a long winded title that addresses the question "What did Jesus do on the cross?"  I've put the introduction to the training below.  Give it a watch and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Super: Joshua is Wolverine

Wolverine was never one of my favorite characters from the X-Men, but he's hard not to like at least a little. He's tough as nails and always ready for a fight.  His instinct is to shoot first and ask questions later. . . or stab first in his case.  He is an independent warrior who has to learn how to play on a team when he joins up with Professor X and the X-Men.  He isn't used to following orders and his less than cool head make it difficult for him to obey.  Often this quality of Wolverine's gets the whole group into trouble.

We can be a lot like Wolverine.  Maybe we lack adamantine claws and mutant healing abilities, but we all possess his stubbornness at times.  We have our way of doing things and don't want to follow the rules or someone else's orders.  We often act without thinking things through.  Whether it's our boss, teacher, parents, or anyone else telling us what to do, we think we know better at least half of the time.  But what happens when we get this Wolverine-esque attitude with God?  What do we do when we think we know better than the Almighty?

There is a man in the Bible who fits Wolverine's description rather well.  He is a warrior through and through, solves problems with fighting first, and has a defining moment that revolves around obeying his commander.