Friday, April 29, 2011

Who do you say that Jesus is"

"I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

Many people disagree about the identity of Jesus Christ.  Many think he was a good moral teacher.  Others might think he was a great prophet similar to Buddha, Mohammed, or others.  Still others might just think he was a loving, compassionate person who was unjustly killed. 
The culture we live in encourages tolerance of any beliefs and denies that there is any absolute truth. People are deceived into thinking that there are many paths that lead to the same God....or many think that they themselves are a god and that everyone is his own god (New Age).  We MUST challenge people to investigate for themselves who exactly Jesus is and examine His claims.  If someone says he/she does not to believe in Christianity, or that Jesus is THE way, truth, and life, we must ask them to examine the facts. 


We also need to examine the facts so that we can be more effective witnesses.  However, we also must not forget that it is not what we know or how we share the gospel, the Holy Spirit is One who convicts and draws people to God! 


Take a moment and pray for the people in your life who do not know Jesus. 




Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Light and Shadow"

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky proclaims the work of His hands"  (Psalm 19, HCSB).

My heart beat stopped at first glance of these mountains in Winter Park, Colorado.  It humbled me and put me in awe of God.  My friend reminded me the other day of how it is a miracle that this King over all loves us and died for our sins.

This morning, a couple of weeks after seeing the beautiful scenery in the photo above, I read status updates and news about the deadly tornadoes in Alabama.  When I lived in Texas, I remember meeting families and hearing their stories of loss during hurricanes.  I pray for the families who are suffering presently, in Alabama and in other parts of the world.   

Jesus has risen, and I pray we rest in knowing He is here.  I pray we remember that God  - who created all and who has the deepest love - loves us.  Also, I pray we remember to share the hope we find in Him with others.

"When all seems lost
when we're thrown and we're tossed
we remember the cost
We're resting in the
shadow of the cross."
-David Crowder Band, in their song "Shadows"

Link:
News about Alabama storm, with summary and photos - news.nationalgeographic.com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting Ready for THE Royal Wedding!





"But you are a chosen race, a ROYAL priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light"! ♥1 Peter 2:9♥ (hcsb)

The Royal Wedding...It's all over the media, Royal Wedding BUZZ is everywhere, especially this week as Prince William & his bride to be, Kate, prepare for their big day. There are many many preparations taking place before the big wedding day.


This event has caused me to think about The Bride of Christ and the many many preparations that are taking place as Christians are preparing for the return of the King of all Kings, Jesus Christ! As The Bride of Christ, are a Child of The King, and we are called to be daily getting ready for The Groom of all Grooms = JESUS? What are some preparations we must "make herself ready" for the Marriage of the Lamb that is described in Revelation 19:7 "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the Glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready."?


1. Make Sure You Are A Member of The Bride of Christ! Accept God's INVITATION to THE Royal Wedding = HEAVEN, by Accepting Jesus and your Lord & Savior!! Has there been a specific time that you admitted you were a sinner in need of a Savior and believed that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead as you confess Him as Lord of your life and accept the Gift of Salvation? "Come!" Anyone who hears should say "Come!" And the one who is thirsty should come. Whoever desires should take the Living Water as a Gift."! Revelation 22:17

2. Make Specific Daily Preparations as A Member of The Bride of Christ to be Ready for The Marriage of the Lamb! How? Accept God's Plans For Your Life!! ♥Jer.29:11-13♥ Make Yourself Ready Daily = Believe, Pray, Read/Study your Bible, Share your Faith with Others, Join a Bible Believing Church and Serve the Lord, Turn from wrongdoings as you keep your heart clean & holy in the Lord through confession/forgiveness, Disciple Others, Obey The Lord through Love of THE GROOM~JESUS!

"So if anyone purifies himself/herself from these things, he/she will be a special instrument, set apart, useful to The Master, prepared for every good work. Flee youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But reject foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they breed quarrels. The Lord's must not quarrel, and must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance to know the truth." 2 Timothy 2:21-25 (hcsb)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAWeHo8E7OE (If We Are The Body - Casting Crowns)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Priority of Gospel

I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (Philippians 1:12-14, ESV)

Advancing the gospel means that the message of Christ must take priority in our lives. It is easier said than done. Start your day with Christ.

1. Take time to read the Word. Start anywhere! Read John. Read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John are all written and tell about the life of Jesus while here on earth.) Read 1 John on the life of a believer. The important thing is to take time to read the Word of God.

2. Pray. Be still before the Lord. Read and speak Psalms or words of worship. Honor Him. Confess your sins and wrongdoings. Allow Him to cleanse you. Thank Him for the blessings in your life. Pray for yourself and others.

3. Ask God to give you a Truth for the day. Look for a Word of Truth from the Scriptures (The Bible). What stands out to you today? What is something that you need to remember all day long? Maybe it is a new truth, maybe on old one. Think on this truth and remember it today. For instance, because He is Risen, we have hope in Him! The Gospel is our priority. It is more important that anything.

4. Then, ask Him to give you an opportunity to share that Truth with someone. Tell somebody. Take five minutes and make an eternal difference in the life of another. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you! You will be changed. They will be changed.

The priority of the Gospel is the most important thing. Let's live that truth today! He is Risen!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jesus is Risen! Go and Tell!


Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” (Matthew 28:1-10, ESV)

Jesus is Risen! Go and Tell!
Happy Easter! Live today as a new creature! Tell someone! You have the GIFT, now go!

There is empty life without Christ. (empty box) Jesus died on the cross for you. He fills your life with meaning and hope.The promise is for eternity. The bow (infinity sign) represents the eternal difference Jesus makes in one's life and the difference we can make in the world.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV)

Invite Jesus to be your Lord and Savior today. You are gifted2go!


Image of Christ from http://blogz.org/.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Silent Saturday: Fighting Spiritual with physical

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard. (Matthew 27:62-66, ESV)

In Matthew, we see just a glimpse of what that day looked like - the day in between the crusifixion and the resurrection. The priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate and tried to protect the tomb (where Jesus' body was laid) by sealing it and placing a guard. Just a visual picture of what still happens today: the world tries to fight God, His power, and Spiritual Truth with physical things. We know the ending; they were not successful. On the next day, Jesus was Risen! The enemy and the powers of darkness defeated! Glory to God in the highest!

Today, the world is still trying to fight God. They don't want to believe in Him. They are blinded by the enemy. The enemy comes with lies and physical barriers. On that day after the crusifixion and before the resurrection, it seemed like the enemy had won. It was a "silent Saturday".

Can you even imagine what those there were going through? All their hopes and dreams came crashing down. There was doubt, hopelessness, and depression. It was probably a day of silence. They must have let their minds wonder what had happened. They knew it was coming and yet I wonder if they were prepared. On the third day, Jesus arose! We know the ending. He is REAL! He is risen! He is Risen Indeed!

I wonder who needs to understand today that Jesus is risen? Who do we need to tell? Who is drowning in the lies of the enemy? Who is depressed? Who has lost their way? Who is trying to fight Spiritual things with the physical things of this world?

Lord, please, help us to tell somebody today: There is no more silence, Jesus is risen!

Movie clip from The Passion of Christ: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTZEGNmlvRc
Photo above from the same movie.

Friday, April 22, 2011

GOOD Friday

"I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and Hades." (Revelation 1:18)


     What does Easter mean?  It means that Jesus is ALIVE!  One of my favorite stories is about a pastor who went on a tour of different religious sites around the world.  When they would come to the grave of the founder of a particular religion, the tour guide would raise his hands and say, "Shhh....quiet.  Here lies the body of so-and-so, the founder of so-and-so religion.  Let's have a moment of silence in his honor."
          The tour continued in the same manner, with the tour guide asking fora moment of silence at the burial site of different religious leaders.
           When they came to Jerusalem, to the tomb of Jesus, the tour guide asked the pastor if he wanted to say anything since he was a Christian.  The pastor said, "Shhh...quiet.  This is where they laid the body of Jesus Christ after He was crucified on the cross for the sins of the world.  And you can shout, you can yell, you make all the noise you want, because HE IS NOT HERE!"


Romans 6:9  "For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him."  We have a living Savior!  Hallelujah!  Let's share that good news with others on this GOOD FRIDAY.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Echoing God's Story

Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?"
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM."  And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
-Exodus 3:13-15, English Standard Version


My first exposure to the painting "I Am Who I Am" by Omar Gonzalez was sitting in a living room of a family, where several artists and supporters of artists were sitting.  Our eyes were focused on the painting that was in front of us: dots were spotted across the canvas, with red, orange, white, and other colors of paint, and they came together to form an image of Moses standing on hills.  It was a sight to see, and as the artist described it, we learned of its deeper meaning to his life and life in general.  Just as God spoke to Moses in the times of the Old Testament, He speaks to us today. 

About six months later, I got to see this Gonzalez's piece displayed among fifteen other pieces in a show named ECHOS.  It is being shown at First Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, from April 10-24.  The art is based on sermons and passages of Scripture the artists heard.  As I walked through the lobby to see and read about the artwork, I was in awe of God and how He speaks to us.

It is amazing how God speaks to each one of us.  His character is unchanging and trustworthy, and He still loves us.  He spoke to Moses, to Joshua, to King David, and to Isaiah, as well as to Mary, to Joseph, to Paul, and to John.  The thing that is incredible to me is that He still speaks to us today.  He is Lord over all, and in His Son we see His perfect love and mercy.

As the Easter weekend approaches, I pray that we see opportunities to share how He came to earth to die for our sins and to draw us closer to Him - no matter the medium.

Information about Imago Houston, the group that gathered to put on ECHOS: imago houston - holy week art show 2011

"How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you."
-Psalm 139:17-18, English Standard Version

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Wonderous Cross!

"...looking to Jesus, the founder and profector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured THE CROSS , despising the shame , and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God..." Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

"Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished the race we're in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed-that exhilarating finish in and with God-He could put up with anything along the way: CROSS, shame, whatever. And now He's there, in the place of honor, right alongside of God..." Hebrews 12:2 (MSG)


The Wonderful Cross
(Chris Tomlin~Matt Redman)

When I survey the Wonderous Cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count my loss
And pour content on all my pride
See from His head, His hands, His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ever such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown
O the Wonderous Cross, O the Wonderous Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
O the Wonderous Cross, O the Wonderous Cross
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless Your name
Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing, so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all
O the Wonderous Cross, O the Wonderous Cross
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
O the Wonderous Cross, O the Wonderous Cross
All who gather here by grace draw near and bless Your name

♥Who can we share Jesus with this Good Friday & Easter? Someone needs to hear about THE WONDERFUL CROSS & they need to receive THE WONDERFUL SAVIOR JESUS!!♥
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sKcw9_PQYA
(The Wonderful Cross! Chris Tomlin~Matt Redman)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thankful for Each Worker

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:3-6, ESV)

There are so many great truths in Philippians, especially for overseers and leaders. Last week, I had planned to teach some truths from Philippians in my evangelism classes but time just did not allow it so...I will share a few with you.

I love these verses in 1:3-6. Paul is thankful for those who are partners in sharing the gospel of Christ. He always remembers them in prayer.

This week, I am especially thankful for those who serve with me in sharing Christ. While there are many, I especially want to thank Tracy Jones, Sharon Beougher, Connie Jenkins, Kelli Martin, and Kristi McCartney. Whether it is blogging, proofing, encouraging, or giving of time and resources, these women share my heart to change the world. They pray for me and I pray for them. I could write for weeks about how each one makes a difference but for right now, I just want you to know how thankful I am for partners in ministry. No one is paid and each one makes an incredible impact.

Last week, Tracy was able to be with me at Southern Seminary. What a blessing to minister together. What a blessing to have true friends and partners in Christ. Thank you Lord for those whose hearts want to see others come to know Jesus in a personal way.

Love and prayers to each of you, Jaye

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Hallucination Theory

"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, , that he was buried that he was raised on the third day.  In accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then in the twelve.  Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen sleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles"  I Corinthians 15:3-7

Following the mini-series on evidence for the resurrection, one of the theories that has been examined is a theory that asserts that people just hallucinated about seeing the risen Jesus.  However, this theory is preposterous just based on the above Scripture.


Webster's Dictionary defines hallucination as an "unfounded or mistaken impression or nation--a delusion."  There is no way that five hundred people could have the same delusion.  It would be impossible for several different people to have the exact same delusion, but it would be totally impossible for over five hundred people to have the same hallucination.


Also, if the disciples were hallucinating about seeing the risen Christ, then that would still leave the problem of the empty tomb.  There would have to be some kind of explanation for Jesus' body not being in the tomb. All anyone would have to do would be to produce his body to disprove the resurrection. 


Clearly, we serve a risen  Savior!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jesus is Risen! Dance Your Shoes Off

Dance Your Shoes Off was created to share the love of Christ and to donate new shoes to those in need. Watch this video!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KX2-J6uS-o

In Kingdom work, we should be all about sharing Christ...and applauding those who do so. Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas baptizes more people than almost any Southern Baptist Church (over two thousand every year). Say what you will, question it if you have to...but I am telling you, lives are being changed because of the presentation of the Gospel. Let's pray that each of us, our ministries and our churches, are found faithful to spread the hope of Jesus Christ this Easter season...and every season.

Pass on this video. But more importantly, pass on the HOPE found in Jesus!

Monday, April 11, 2011

HeartCall: Your Purpose


video

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. (Jeremiah 29:11-13, ESV)

I never cease to be amazed at the gifts of women. One of our Women's Ministry Institute (WMI) students at Southern Seminary, created this video using some of the words and verses from the HeartTalk track that I wrote. What a message of hope for the Easter season! I am so proud of Karen Brawner, member and bible study leader at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY! Thank you Karen for using your gifts to share the message of hope!

We are all gifted2go! Jesus is THE GIFT! Let's share the message of hope with women who lead lives of emptiness. Please pass this on! And, share with us how you are telling the good news of Christ!

God loves YOU! Pass it on!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Stolen Body Theory


The stolen body theory says that Jesus' disciples stole His body from the tomb.  This theory is actually in Matthew 28:11-15 and is believed by the Jews. 


The problem with this theory is that it totally overlooks the change in the behavior of the disciples.  None of the disciples had any idea that Jesus would physically rise from the dead three days after his death.  They did not believe the women who went to the tomb and they were hiding out of fear of the Jews.  Then when Jesus appeared to them, they were not overjoyed at first--they were scared and confused. 


Fifty days after this appearance the apostles are preaching boldly and performing miracles in Jerusalem.  It does not add up that if they stole the body that they would become different people. The displayed  such compassion and commitment to the gospel.  All of the disciples, except for John, paid for this claim with their lives.  They would not have given up their lives for a lie!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Life in Rear View Mirror


The other day, I helped a friend deliver a chair and ended up close to the house we lived in when we were first married. I hadn't seen the house in years so I just had to drive by. The place looked great but I burst into laughter when I saw the mailbox. The new owners had added a brick encasement. While it might not mean anything to the normal person, it sure did have meaning to me. I remember many times coming outside and the mailbox being on the ground because someone had cut the corner and run over it! It seemed like we were constantly having to buy a new mailbox. Don't you know that someone just got tired of that and decided to take action? My guess is that this mailbox is there to stay for awhile.

Looking back on my life, there are several things I've learned. Life always seems so much more clear looking in the rear view mirror...yet if I only looked back, I'd crash! Lord, help me to focus on what is in front of me today. I want to learn from the past but press on toward the future!

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Philippians 3:12-16, ESV.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Proof of the Resurrection

I Corinthians 15:17, 20:  "If Christ has not been raised, or faith is futile and you are still in your sins.. . But in fact Christ has been raised frm the dead."

With Easter coming up, I think it is important to equip the ladies in our ministries with the proof of the resurrection since that is the crux of the Christian faith.  Jesus was crucified, died on the cross, and resurrected three days later.  Even Josephus and the Jewish Talmud confirm Jesus' crucifixion.  Since it is so crucial, then it is important to give the objections to it and the evidence for it.  Throughout April, we will take a brief look at some of the theories.


The Swoon Theory asserts that Jesus really just fainted on the cross and only appeared to be dead.  Then Jesus recuperated in the tomb, recovered, and got out.  However, Jesus not only would have had to survive the crucifixion, but would have had to survive the torturous scourging, all the beatings, loss of blood, and piercings of the sword to the heart and lung.  Then he would have had to push away a heavy stone, nd get past Roman guards, walk down the road of Emmaus with strips of cloth soaked in blood, find the disciples, walk through the walls of the room, and convince depressed and disillusioned disciples that all was well, who would in turn be willing to die for a lie. 

This theory not only gives an absurd reason for the empty tomb, but it means that Jesus would have completely deceived everyone to believing that he was the Son of God.  This would go against every facet of his character and teaching.  Therefore, the Swoon Theory has no validity whatsoever and raises more questions than proof.

Next week:  The Stolen Body Theory