Archives For Jon Walker

threecrossesIf you want to start a heated debate among a group of Christians, just bring up Paul’s admonition that wives should submit to their husbands. But that debate is a distraction from the bigger issue: All Christians must submit to Jesus.

Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer has convinced me that the number one reason so many of us are stuck in spiritual immaturity is that we commit to Christ rather than submit to Christ.

The difference is this: We may commit to bringing dinner rolls to the church social and have the best of intentions to provide them, even getting off work early in order to serve our locally famous, family-recipe yeast delicacy. But no one expects you to quit your job and spend all your savings in order to provide the rolls, let alone center your whole life on the rolls. In fact, people would think you were crazy.

Have we reduced following Jesus to a similar commitment? If we’re barely willing to adjust our schedules to serve Jesus, is there any hope we’ll adjust our whole lives?

Commitment still leaves us in control, deciding, according to our own agendas, when or where…

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For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV)

New Years ResolutionsHow are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Have you already given up on them?

One of my friends made these resolutions to guarantee success —

  • I won’t lose ten pounds this year.
  • I commit to watching the Super Bowl this year.
  • I will listen to my iPod at least four days a week.

There is one guy who I suspect played for keeps when he made New Year’s resolutions. You know him, the zealot who could never do anything half-way, the let’s-get-real-about-our-faith Apostle Paul.

My thought is Paul only had one resolution on his list New Year’s list – ‘This year I resolve to know nothing but Christ and him crucified.’ (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Paul’s message is radically simple: Salvation is in Christ alone.

  • It’s not Christ plus your call to ministry.
  • It’s not Christ plus your theological education.
  • It’s not Christ plus the size of your congregation.
  • It’s not Christ plus your powerful preaching.
  • It’s not Christ plus how many you lead to Jesus.
  • It’s not Christ plus your years of sacrifice.
  • It’s not Christ…

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We should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Romans 6:6–7 (NIV)

When my oldest son was two years old, he’d sometimes push away food, making a face and saying, “I can’t like it.”

“I can’t like it” implies my son didn’t have a choice, as if he’d been pre-programmed to not like something, no matter how hard he tried.

It’s a cute phrase coming from a two-year-old, but not so cute when we say the same thing to God: “Sorry, Lord, I can’t do that because I can’t like it . . . and, therefore, I can’t do it!’’ What we really mean is “I won’t do it.”

Are you with me here? We tell God we can’t change, we can’t handle a difficult situation, we can’t abandon a bad habit, we can’t learn to love that person who has the unique ability to push every one of our buttons every single time.

Yet, we really mean is we won’t control our anger; we won’t stop overeating; we won’t love our wives like Christ loved the Church; we won’t respect our husbands as the Bible directs; we…

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Channel“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV)

In faith, I know these things to be true:

  • God is full of love and grace, and he fills me with his love and grace.
  • God’s work within me is to clear a channel for his love and grace to flow through me into the lives of anyone and everyone I meet.
  • I may not be there yet, but I am “confident of this, that he who began a good work in will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).
  • And I know “God is able to make all grace abound will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV).
  • He will make my joy complete because I no longer live in darkness, but I now live in the truth and have fellowship with God (1 John 1:4; 1 John 1:6).
  • Through the “Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship…

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“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16 NIV)

You cannot make yourself the light of the world. Jesus says you are the light of the world because of your relationship with him. “The God who said, ‘Out of darkness the light shall shine!’ is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts, to bring us the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6 TEV).

God speaks the light of Jesus into our hearts, and his light shines so powerfully through us that we are like stars in the universe that point the whole human race toward real life (Philippians 2:15-16).

This is a portrait of discipleship. Jesus, who is the light of the world, re-creates us…

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“Risk your life and get more than you ever dreamed of.” (Luke 19:26 MSG)

If God tells you to take a step of faith but you hesitate to take it until he shows you what the second step will be, you’re not waiting on God. He’s waiting on you.

God uses risks, large and small, to push us into a deeper faith. And so he wants us to step forward in faith, even if we don’t know where the second step will take us. The not knowing is what requires faith, and the not knowing compels us to rely on God to guide us forward.

Regardless of what we see on the other side of a God-directed risk, the reality is God is there. What seems to be a no-guarantee situation actually comes with the greatest guarantee of all — a God-guarantee — that he’s working in your life.

With this guarantee from God, you can enter into the risky obedience of attempting things that are impossible unless God gives you his strength to do them.

With this guarantee from God, you can enter into the risky obedience of…

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By Erin Roach

A recent study confirmed that as adolescents absorb sexual content from movies, they are more likely to attempt to live it out in real life. Statistics compiled in the study point to a major challenge for parents striving to raise godly children.

Among the data reported in the study, published in July by the Association for Psychological Science:

  • One significant influence on engagement in risky sexual behavior may be media — specifically, movie sexual exposure.
  • Among movies released from 1950 to 2006, roughly 85 percent contained sexual content (68 percent of G-rated movies; 82 percent of PG-rated movies; 85 percent of PG-13-rated movies; and 88 percent of R-rated movies).
  • Sexual explicitness of PG-13-rated and R-rated movies has increased over the past decade.
  • Seventy percent of the sexual acts depicted in movies released from 1983 to 2003 occurred between newly acquainted partners, 98 percent included no reference to contraception and 89 percent resulted in no consequences.
  • Adolescents sometimes seek out sexual media, with 57 percent of U.S. adolescents ages 14 to 16 reporting that they use media as a primary source of sexual information.
  • Exposure to tobacco use in movies predicts initiation…

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Praise Holy HandsAnswer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. Psalms 4:1 (NASB)

Lord, we’re desperate for you.  We’re bunched up in confusion, moving by impulse and fear, flitting here and there like a frenzied flock caught in the wilderness of the far country.

We are here! We are here!

We know you hear; you’ve heard us before; you’ve swept in like shock and awe and saved us from our hopeless paralysis.

Do it again, O, Holy One; we are desperate for you. How long will you make us wait?

And you speak to us God, saying, “Yes, how long? How long must I wait while you wear my grace and peace like some cheap cloak bought at the secondhand store? How long must I wait while you chase after worthless things, like birds pushed by a winter’s wind?  How long must I wait while you live out a lie because you think you’ve found the truth in something – or someone – other than me?”

Oh God, I hear your heart. You set me apart; yet,…

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PlansSimon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:68-69 (NIV)

Even if we don’t understand God’s plan, we need to respond to his direction. In fact, when we don’t understand God’s plan that we need to be very focused on doing exactly what he directs us to do.

God allows us to choose to do his will, or to not do his will, and often, he asks us to make that choice before we know the specific details of his plan. That’s because part of his plan is to develop in us a trust – where we trust God’s character and his benevolence.

He develops within you an attitude of prior commitment, a desire to do his will. Part of the strength that God gives you to “do all things through him” is the ability to choose to do his will, even before you know what it is.

But this is where many people stall in their steps toward being on mission. They get into a battle of wills with God, wanting…

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Inner PeaceAnd the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (NIV)

If you lived in a frontier town constantly harassed by raiding parties from an enemy, one option for your military would be to send troops to actually live beside you. These troops would be garrisoned to your town, and their presence would not only provide protection during an attack; they, hopefully, would dissuade the enemy from even launching any more attacks.

This is the implication of Paul’s language in this passage; that the peace of God will be garrisoned within your heart and mind, providing an ever-present protection from within as opposed to the need to stressfully search the horizon for the Calvary to arrive just in the nick of time.

God’s peace and presence is closer than a brother, not a mental state reached by working yourself into it. Jesus became flesh and garrisoned among us (John 1:1–14), and now the Holy Spirit garrisons within us.

It’s a garrison of peace that mingles and indwells your heart and mind, protecting you even as it heals the wounds of worry…

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