SO WHAT if Jesus was Born?

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I think its so easy for Christians to think, “Jesus was born? I got that. Jesus as God became man. I accept that. Jesus was born of a virgin? Sure, no problem. Jesus took on humanity. I believe that, too!” So what?! What difference does it make? How can I live that out with my life? I want these next few blog posts to explore how 5 different biblical characters responded in their lives to Jesus being born.

Let’s first take a look at Joseph. Matthew 1:18-25, “18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife,25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.”

Wouldn’t you love to know what Joseph was thinking? Remember, these teenagers (Joesph and Mary) didn’t have the Christmas story to read. It was all new for them. Here’s a little of how I like the think the conversation may have went. Mary: Joseph, we’re going to have a baby! Joseph: Who in the world is we?! We have never done anything close to conceive a baby! Mary, just be honest with me. What happened? Mary: Well, an angel visited me last night, and… Joseph: Wait! An angel? Just because you think he’s all “angelic” doesn’t make it okay! Mary: Joseph, God made me pregnant. Joesph: Mary, that’s just too far. You can’t just say “God made me do it.” Continue reading

A CBSM Parent’s Honest Testimony (Colossians 2:6-15)

My Parenting Testimony & Colossians 2:6-15

Why Am I Writing This?
Legalism is as deadly to parenting as it is to all other areas of Christian life. That is why I am writing this testimony–I pray that you will learn from my sins. Legalism is a destructive force in families that masquerades as good discipline, consistency, or even “good parenting”. Legalism is probably embedded in family traditions and culture. The concept of legalism I am using is simple: living with an emphasis on rules over God’s grace. God’s grace is his unmerited favor. His favor toward us appears in all of our lives, for instance, in the air we breath, the food we eat, and in the families, jobs, and homes that we have. God’s special grace on those who follow his Son appears, for instance, in the spiritual gifts he gives to Christians and of supreme importance his favor appears in the gospel of Jesus Christ and in giving his Son to die on the cross to pay for our sins so that by this amazing grace, through our faith, we may be saved from hell and live eternally with God in heaven. (ESV, Ephesians 2:1-10) If you have not placed your sincere faith in Christ, that is the first thing you can do for yourself and for your children, to the glory of God.

How are grace and rules related? Understanding and embracing God’s grace, in all its forms, and keeping Christ’s sacrifice at the forefront every day, motivates us to want to please and honor God. Isn’t that the attitude you want for your children!? Living by grace, we voluntarily seek to please and honor our Lord with every thought, word, and deed. We voluntarily seek to expand the ways we please and honor him. In doing so we freely live within an ever expanding universe of love for Jesus Christ and for his ways and for his thoughts. Because God is infinite, and we seek to live in his universe of righteousness, we have infinite freedom. Living by rules, though, we seek to know only the boundary established by the rules so that we can exploit every bit of space allowed by the rules. Our freedom is limited by the rules because rules are finite and rigid, and so only by exploiting all the space within the boundary can we maximize our freedom. In practice, we either edge as close to the boundary as possible–which is foolish(!), or we set up more rules to be sure we stay away from the boundary–which further reduces our freedom. Living by rules we find ourselves asking, “Am I allowed or required to do this?” instead of, “Will this please and honor my Lord?” Living by rules, we impose on everyone around us our personal interpretation of the rules. Living by grace, we know that God sheds his grace differently on each person and therefore we are humble, understanding, forgiving, and loving toward others. Can you see the implications for parenting? Continue reading

CBSM on Suicide: Student’s Testimony

After getting tons of feedback from many adults, college students, and teens…here is one of the most impacting stories I received from a student outside of our student ministry. You will love this!

Student testimony I received
“I was raised in the church all my life and was considered a leader among the senior high of my youth group. Up until my senior year, everything seemed like smooth sailing; good grades, active in sports, large body of friends. I was even considering attending Boyce to become a youth pastor. Then my world was rocked by an event I cannot forget. My life has not been the same. One night, which was the last day of Disciple Now of my senior year, I was laying awake in the basement of one of the pastor’s houses late into the night. Caused by no other impetus but Satan’s murderous intentions, I could not stop thinking about leaving the house, hopping the fence, and running out in front of a truck on the nearby highway.

The thoughts were not assiduous, however, they seemed to be recurrent for no particular reason. After my first fall semester at college, I hit a wall of depression and anxiety… needless to say, I was so confused. I once had everything, but now my life fell apart. I could not go to Boyce because of finances, my friends all went away to school, I could not concentrate, remember, or think cognitively anymore. On top of it all, I quit following Jesus; in retrospect I never did truly follow Him. I sought professional counseling and was prescribed medication by my physician. Yet, nothing could assuage Satan’s hold on my heart. I bought his lies. The climax was me taking over 30 combined pills of ambien(sleep medication) and zoloft (antidepressant). My mom found me unconscious on the floor of the bathroom and rushed me to the ER. I was rejuvenated and then taken to a behavioral hospital where I spent 5 days. Even after my discharge from the hospital I continued to run from God. I made a whole hoopla of poor decisions, but everywhere I turned for joy there was inevitably closed doors. After a failed attempt to meet up with a local girl for implied purposes, I fell before God with heart racing and tears streaming. It was 12:01 AM June 6 2009. I could not run anymore. I gave my life to God and bowed before Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Pharisees once thought they had everything… for many years of my life, so did I. By God’s exercise of his sovereignty in the precious overflowing of enduring grace, I have learned that now I have everything. I once tried to take my life in despair, but now I cleave to my Heavenly Father and fix my eyes on King Jesus. He is my worth, my rock, and my hope.

Teens need this message of crazy, radical, divine God love in Jesus Christ. I will be praying for you.