I just got through reading, “RADICAL: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream,” by David Platt and it left me both CONVICTED and INSPIRED to live the Christian life. The premise of the book is that a lot of Biblical Christianity has been distorted by values that Americans often exalt. Platt goes so far as to say that a lot of American Churches have not only embraced values that are not Biblical, but in a lot of cases contradict the Gospel.
Platt writes, “… we have missed what is radical about our faith and have replaced it with what is comfortable,” he goes on to write that we are settling for a Christianity that revolves around OURSELVES… when the central message of the Gospel is abandoning ourselves. It would be too easy to dismiss Platt’s claims except that he basis all his conclusions on Scriptures that can’t be explained away.
Platt points out that if you were to ask the average Christian what the MAIN message of Christianity… most people will say something to the effect, “God loves ME!” and whereas that’s true… is that really the MAIN message? If it is, then the Gospel become all about ME. YES, God loves me, but He loves me so that I may, “make His ways, His salvation, His Glory, and His Greatness known to all the nations.” Wow… talk about a major paradigm shift.
Max Lucado wrote a book some time ago entitled “When God Came Near” that highlights what Christmas is all about. I think Lucado picked the perfect title because that’s what Christmas is really all about—GOD COMING NEAR! He came to earth as a human being so we could—among other things—know Him!
At the birth of Jesus, everything about God suddenly became seeable, touchable, and knowable. Jesus Christ is not only our idea of what God is like, He’s also God’s idea of what man was created to be like. He is FULLY God and FULLY man. He’s not some impersonal force.
Think about how God made his entrance onto this planet as a Human Being. He could’ve come in all of His glory, but who among us would be able to stand? Instead, He came into this world the same way we do, through a birth canal. He comes to us in human flesh because if He came in all His power and glory, we would be forced to follow Him because of the magnitude of that sheer power and glory. God doesn’t want us to follow Him because of His power. He wants us to follow Him because of His love.
Let me say first of all that I love Max Lucado’s writings. His stories are so relevant and his one liners often pack a big punch. In fact, I find myself Tweeting many of his one liners.
That being said, “The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible – NKJV: Inspirational Applications for Living Your Faith,” was HUGE step up from my previous Lucado’s previous Study Bible, “The Inspirational Study Bible – NCV. ” Yes, many of the previous notes are carried over to the new Study Bible; but more notes are added and the type is bigger and easier to read. The majority of the stories are from his best seller books which left me wanting to go back and read them again. The folks at Thomas Nelson obviously heeded people’s advice on how to improve Lucado’s previous Study Bible.
This past Tuesday we had a LUNAR ECLIPSE which in and of itself is not a big deal. A lunar eclipse is when the earth passes directly between the sun and the moon blocking off the sun’s rays and casting a shadow over the moon that makes it appear red. There are anywhere from 0-3 lunar eclipses a year. There will be a lunar eclipse next June and December.
I have to admit that Brent Crowe’s,“Chasing Elephants: Wrestling with the Gray Areas of Life,” was not what I expected it to be. I “assumed” (Crowe challenges readers not to make assumptions) that the book would explain what the “gray area” of life are and then go on to tell us what we needed to believe. That is NOT what this book is about. Yes, it addresses controversial areas that today’s society is wrestling with; but rather than telling us what to believe… Crowe shows us how to THINK and BE in the midst of such controversy, which he grounds in Scripture. In a nutshell, he shows us not so much WHAT to believe, but HOW TO BELIEVE. He does this by giving a series of questions to ask when dealing with a “Gray Area,” that he calls the “How To Believe Grid.”
Sandra Dabney sent me the following humorous gun story that I just had to share: A guy cruises through a stop sign and gets pulled over by a local policeman. Guy hands the cop his driver’s license, insurance verification, plus his concealed carry permit “Okay, Mr. Smith,” the cop says, “I see your Texas CCW permit. Are you carrying today?” Smith: “Yes, I am.”
Some of us need to be DISTURBED! I know I do. Jesus did some of His greatest miracles as a result of being disturbed. Remember when Jesus was teaching in a house and some men were trying to take a paralytic man to Him? They couldn’t get into the house because of the crowd so they somehow managed to carry him up on the roof and dug a hole… and then lowered their friend before Jesus. Talk about a DISTURBANCE! Yet Jesus used that disturbance to not only heal the man, but teach about God’s forgiveness.
So I’m praying not necessarily for disturbances, but rather to be sensitive to the