Book Review | Why On Earth Did Jesus Come?

In the booklet “Why on Earth did Jesus come?” John Blanchard tackles the long asked question about Jesus mission. The forty pages really do pack a punch. The discussion begins by exploring the Church’s selection and use of December 25th as the day to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Blanchard explains that the question surround Jesus birthday did not pick up momentum until the third century. For the next one hundred years eight dates were suggested with December 25 being selected because it served as a counter to a “Roman feast held on that day in honour (sic) of the pagan sun god” (pg. 4). Overall the book is a quick read and provides a succinct overview of some important doctrines and misconceptions surround Jesus’ life, ministry and mission.

The book covers many of the major issues regarding the birth of and the purpose for Jesus coming to earth. Here are is a short list of the subjects addressed

  1. The Virginity of Mary
  2. The Immaculate Conception of Mary
  3. The Incarnation of Christ (Theological and Biological Reflections)
  4. The Identity of Jesus (Prophetically, Biblically, Personally)
  5. The Biblical Doctrine of Sin and Depravity
  6. The Act and Process of Redemption in Christ

This is a wonderful resource for anyone that is interested in exploring any of the above topics. The life of Jesus is not something that we can learn enough about. The more we know about him the greater our understanding of his mission and victory over sin. And the more our love for our Savior grows.

Blanchard does not waste words trying to convince you of something that is false. Rather, there is a simple progression through the key ideas and challenges to the work and life of Jesus. While the content is rich, it does not get bogged down in technical jargon. I would strongly recommend this book for a new believer or even a maturing believer that is looking to be reminded of the miraculous life of Jesus.

Faith is… Cultivating the Mind of God | “Faith is…” Series, Pt. 6

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8, ESV)

One of the ideas that the bible strives to communicate is that the way that God operates and the way that God conceives of things is not the same as we do. Now, this may sound like an obvious statement. And, I will grant that on the surface that would be correct. What I want to point out is that this is not the practical reality for most of us who claim the name of Christian. For most people who self-identify as a follower of Jesus, the way that we live out our lives make a significantly different story. We tend to live as if God agreed with, or at the very list tolerates, how we go about the business of life. Because, hey, we are not perfect, right?!

“Faith’s task in the life of the believer is to move closer and closer to the way that God thinks.”

What I have realized is that the primary reason that we have to understand that God operates and processes information and decisions on a different wavelength is because if I do not I will not be able to receive what God gives. The Bible is filled with promises and blessings and curses and God’s perspective is not limited by time, space or consciousness. God comprehends all things perfectly. He sees everything as it should be and works to make it so when it is not that way. Therefore, faith’s task in the life of the believer is to move closer and closer to the way that God thinks. When this happens we are able apprehend much of what God is doing even when we cannot comprehend all that he is doing.

I chose the passage in Philippians because it demonstrates the practical application of what it means to live a life that has cultivated the mind of God. Jesus is our ultimate and final example for everything in life. He is the one that has best demonstrated and actualized a God-centered way of thinking.

Paul in Romans provides us with more of a “cause and effect” kind of definition to this reality.

2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2, ESV)

In the pursuit of a renewed mind what we will be able to discern is the will of God. Now that is not something to be overlooked or minimized. The age old question of every believer has been to know what is the will of God. The implication here is that this awareness will only come when the patterns of thinking that emanate from the world are replaced with those that emerge from God.

One of the key changes that occurs, and I would argue MUST occur, is that the way a Christian thinks must change. This is a non-negotiable of what it means to have faith and be a follower of Christ. We are not here to continue thinking in the patterns of the world. We must become more and more like our Savior having the same mind that Jesus had as he fulfilled God’s will.

Reflections on a Kid Movie | “The King’s Lantern”

In the movie Tangled, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider have finally arrived to see the moving “stars.” They share this exchange about what will happen after the lanterns go into the sky. Rapunzel is afraid that the moment will not live up to the expectations that she has had for 18 years. But, then there is another thought, what if it is everything that she hoped it would be? What would she do then? Flynn’s response is wonderful in its simplicity. He says, “That’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.” That is such a wonderful demonstration of what it means to have dreams, live them and then move on to newer dreams.

What makes this scene even more powerful is that the king and queen continued to release their lantern every year in the hopes that there daughter would never forget that she was loved. The expressions on their faces, the hurt and love all mingled together. And then, as they approach the lantern the camera pans over the courtyard and you see the people of the kingdom. They have come to participate and help the king and queen commemorate this painful reality.

I am struck by these two dreams. Rapunzel’s dream of being close enough to the lanterns to know what they meant and to experience them for herself had pushed her to escape her tower prison. Her parent’s dream of finding their daughter were also being expressed in their faithful dedication to remember their lost daughter. The parent’s dream was feeding and stirring the dream of their daughter.

This complex scene is so powerful because of the simple way that it was done. Even the subtle hint of the lanterns reminding you of Rapunzel’s hair is hard to escape.

The video is below. (You may have to follow the link to see it.)

A Spontaneous Display of Love

I am not one to share or pass on cheesy things. But, being an Army brat I cannot help but be moved by moments like these. I never grow tired of these moments when, finally safe, a loved one comes home.

This is such an example of what love looks like. When this little girl comes to the realization of who is standing there in her classroom, everything else just fades away. This is so genuine and innocent.

My question for you and me is this: Is this the response that we give to God when he walks into the room?

I pray that it would be!

Click through to see video