Billy Graham Library

I had the privilege and honor to visit and tour the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte NC. You might think, “Okay, a library in honor of an evangelist, that’s nice.”

Well, walking through the rooms watching the videos of his life and whom he impacted for the gospel is amazing. By the end you see a video of the basics of his message, “I have one message for you, God loves you.” After seeing and hearing what I saw, by the end (and I don’t know if it was the power of the Holy Spirit or the power of the message of the Gospel) I was weeping with joy knowing that message is true.

“For God loves you so much that He sent His only begotten Son, whosoever believes in Jesus will not perish, but have eternal life.” This message in John 3:16 is an enduring message. It is so basic and yet so profound. Let me explain in more depth…

God is a God of judgment, He created you and has a standard for how you are to live. And if you do not live up to that standard, you will be judged. No one has ever lived up to this standard. And so all should be judged. But God loves you. He loves you so much He provided a way for you to receive His mercy. Jesus came and lived up to God’s standard and He showed God’s love and mercy. And then He sacrificed Himself on the cross for you so that if you repent of your sins and turn to the love of God and accept it through Jesus, you will be saved. You are accepted by God in Jesus. Jesus is the answer to all you troubles, all your pain, all your problems. He is your hope. He is the hope of the world.

What you need to do if you want to receive God’s love is: 1) repent of your sins; 2) pray, “Dear God, I know I’m a sinner, I repent, I accept your love and mercy through Jesus based on His sacrifice on the cross. I receive the gift of heaven. And I make Jesus my Lord and Savior”; and 3) go find a bible honoring church that preaches Jesus is savior and Lord, and get plugged into that community becoming a disciple of Jesus.

Grace Church Seattle is a place where the bible is honored and Jesus is preached as Lord and savior. If you live in Burien, Des Moines, White Center, West Seattle or South Seattle, come to Grace. We meet on Sundays at 10:30am. We are at:

10323 28th Ave SW, Seattle WA, 98146

GODSPEED

Did Jesus Exist?

To quote a liberal scholar who does not believe in Jesus from a religious perspective as Savior and Lord:

“To be sure, they are doing their theology in order to oppose traditional religion. But the opposition is driven not by historical concerns but by religious ones.

“But why would mythicists be so violently opposed to traditional religion? My sense is that it is because they believe that historic Christianity…has done and continues to do more harm than good in the world…

“I have to admit that I have a good deal of sympathy with these concerns. But I am also a historian who thinks that it is important not to promote revisionist versions of the past for ideological reasons rooted in nonhistorical agendas. The writing of history should be done by following strict historical protocols. It is not simply a means of promoting a set of personal likes and dislikes.

“I should say that even though I happen to share some of the biases of many of the mythicists when it comes to harm that has been done over the years in the name of Christ…I also see that a tremendous amount of good has been done in his name, and continues to be done…

“But neither issue – the good done in the name of Christ or the evil – is of any relevance to me as a historian when I try to reconstruct what actually happened in the past. I refuse to sacrifice the past in order to promote the worthy cause of my own social and political agendas. No one else should either. Jesus did exists, where we like it or not.” – Bart D. Ehrman, “Did Jesus Exists?” pp. 338-339.

 

This seems to be a warning by a liberal scholar to his peers against revisionist history, which is happening in many university settings.  My challenge to you is to read as many good books with an opposing view of your perspective as you read good books that agree with your perspective.  By doing this you will be trained to think through issues and not just take the liberal professor’s or the pastor’s word for it.  But make sure they are good books.  If you simply go to Barnes & Noble to the Jesus or Christian section and try to select a book to read based on the title or cover without knowing the author’s bent and bias, you will likely buy a book with convincing but poor scholarship (avoid ALL books by Rob Bell – he is a convincing communicator and a bad scholar).  If you choose to read Bart Ehrman’s book, I recommend you also read “Breaking the DaVinci Code” by Dr. Darrell Bock or “Jesus and the Gospels” by Dr. Craig Blomberg or “The Rise of Christianity” by Dr. Rodney Stark or “Evangelism in the Early Church” by Dr. Michael Green.  Start with Bock or Stark, the other two mentioned are more scholarly.

GODSPEED

 

Discipleship doesn’t happen on accident

This past year I coached baseball for my son and daughter, K-3rd grade coach pitch.  Our team of mostly six year olds was sometimes outmatched by the Rainer’s with mostly eight and nine year olds (really seems unfair, doesn’t it?).  Our team was better matched with the Hawks, which had mostly six year olds.  Those games were competitive and fun.

Our kids learned a lot this year.  From the beginning to the end of the season they learned about how to throw, catch, what base to throw to when no one was on base, and which base to throw to when there was a runner on first and so on (this doesn’t mean they completed the play but I was impressed if the simply knocked down the ball and attempted to throw it to the right base).  We saw improvement from the beginning of the year to the end, and we saw marked improvement compared to the year before.

To successfully coach a team, any team in any sport, you need to know what you are doing.  You need to know the game, you need to know how to evaluate talent and experience, and you need to know how to help the kids build on what they have learned in a systematic way so that they master the basic skills and build upon those so  they can learn new skills and improve as a player.

At the coach-pitch level my main concern with six year olds was making sure they would learn how to catch so they wouldn’t catch a ball in the mouth and decide to quit based on one really bad experience.  So at first I didn’t let them throw to each other.  Instead the other coach and I would work with the kids by tossing balls from 10 feet away in such a way that it was guaranteed not to come near their face.  The kids that could catch I would let play first base or another infield position, but for the kids who could not catch I would put in the outfield (where balls would rarely travel at this level).  They thought it was unfair, but I would tell them they would need to learn to catch first.

For the kids that showed up to practice we saw more improvement than the kids who did not come to practice.  They learned how to take infield (this is a term for practicing how to catch a ground ball and throw it to first, and then how to throw it to second and so on).  By the end of the year the kids that came every week to practice and games were playing the various infield positions, but for the kids who didn’t come to practice there was no improvement, so they continued to play in the outfield.  When they would say, “Ah man! Coach, that’s not fair!!!” I would say, “Well, come to practice and you will improve and then we can put you in the position you desire to play.  But for right now I am concerned that if you can’t catch that you might get hurt.”  This seemed to make sense to them and they would stop complaining.

I am eager to see what will happen next year, to see how much they will improve and if they will start catching fly balls and turning double plays.  This was a fun year of coaching and I hope to have more opportunities to help these kids develop.

Now there was another team we played that had a coach who said that he had never played before and it was obvious in how things played out for their team.  When they would take infield it was dangerous.  The coach would use three balls that he would throw to the kids at any given time.  He would throw a grounder to the third baseman and immediately throw a pop fly to the short stop and immediately a grounder to the second baseman and then catch the ball from the third baseman and immediately throw a grounder to the first baseman and turn and catch a ball from the short stop all while teammates were running on and off the field in the line of fire and while his four year old daughter would play in the sand near third base.  I am actually surprised no one got hurt.

Knowing and having played the game matters.  Evaluating talent and experience matters.  Building on top of previously learned skills mater.  And when you do this over the course of time, your team turns into a well-oiled machine like the Rainer’s who would stomp on the opposition, not only because their kids were 2 years older, but also because it was obvious their coach knew what he was doing.

The same is true in church.  Discipleship doesn’t happen on accident.  It requires a leadership board and pastoral staff that knows the game and is playing the game.  Discipleship requires having an intentionality of how to build people up and send them out to replicate the process.   Discipleship requires the coaches evaluate where people are at spiritually and to be able to discern how to help them take the next steps to grow spiritually.  And by God’s grace, with intentionality, we will develop more spiritual coaches and more small groups and get more people playing in the game.

Our elders and pastors are getting ready to launch a discipleship plan specifically in relation to our Home Communities that is intentional and that will help more people improve at playing the game of life.  When we begin this process, our desire is that you would get in the game with us.  I believe that as more people in our church understand what discipleship is and become followers of Christ who are transformed to become fishers of men and who work together in teams to fish for souls, that we will see a work of God in our midst that is refreshing and inspiring.

GODSPEED