Back to Basics: Hope Has a Name

I am thankful for the opportunity I have to share Christ through a recurring video series called Back to Basics. The Homepage Network has been wonderful to work with and I appreciate their willingness to broadcast this message. Here’s the most recent installment:

9 Things You Won't be Celebrating in Eternity

I've never met Paul David Tripp, but he has had a profound influence on my life.  I first discovered him when I was assigned the book, Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands, during an internship. I've since profited greatly from his books,  sermons, lectures, and blog.  Paul has a unique ability to gently grab hold of the human heart and firmly redirect it to Christ.

I recently read an article on Paul's blog that helped me reconsider my priorities.  You might find it helpful to consider your own life in light of what he suggests are "9 Things You Won't be Celebrating in Eternity."

  1. SELF - This life is not about you. You were brought into a world that is, by definition, a celebration of the beauty and intelligence of God.
  2. MARRIAGE - No human being can satisfy your soul; only God can. If you place your identity in your spouse - or any other person, for that matter - you'll always be disappointed.
  3. KIDS - Your children are not actually your children; you gave birth to them, but they don’t belong to you. Your kids are from God, they exist through God, and the glory of their lives points to God.
  4. SUCCESS - God calls you to be fruitful and productive, but the moment you take on your success as an identity, you'll become a slave to a never-ending stream of potential opportunities.
  5. RENOWN - Again, this life is not about you. Your primary job description is to be an ambassador for and herald of the glory and renown of your Heavenly King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. COMFORT - Comfort is not sinful, but you'll never find paradise in a fallen world. Also, the work of the gospel will often call you to uncomfortable people in uncomfortable places.
  7. EXCITEMENT - Go ahead and buy season tickets for your favorite football team, but if a touchdown excites you more than the life-transforming ministry of the local church, you need to re-evaluate your eternal priorities.
  8. LEISURE - Again, this world will never be a paradise. It's not sinful to enjoy a vacation, but remember that this life is a preparation for your final destination.
  9. PLEASURE - Pleasure was created by God for you, but the created pleasures of this world are meant to be a finger pointing to the ultimate pleasure - an intimate relationship with the Creator.

Might we all be encouraged to find our identity in Christ instead of the temporary treasures of this life.   


Is it right for the church to point out sin?

One of the great criticisms of the church is that it is inherently condemning.  Many people avoid church because they do not want to subject themselves to the hypocritical accusations of the "holier than thou."  To be fair, many professing christians have perverted the gospel by focusing on the law and neglecting grace.  History is full of stories of churches and individuals who committed terrible acts in the name of holiness.  Many are left wondering, "how can an institution meant to show the love of Christ be so condemning and hurtful?"

Several years ago I went to the doctor for a routine physical.  Everything checked out during my office visit, but my blood test came back showing some abnormalities.  I immediately scheduled a follow up appointment because I wanted to know exactly what was wrong with me.  Why? Because without an accurate understanding of what was wrong I had no hope of being healed. Thankfully I did not have any serious health issues and required no further treatment, but if I hadn't subjected myself to the doctors testing I would not have known the true condition of my health.  

So, what do the doctors office and the church have in common?  They each have your health in mind.  But, unlike a medical doctor, the church is interested in spiritual health.  And I've got some bad news...  the test results are in and there are some abnormalities you should be concerned with.  Like all men, you were you born into sin.  More than that, you've chosen to sin thousands of times since birth.  In a sense, the church exists to point that out.  Her charter includes a call to make disciples of Christ by teaching others to obey Him.  In other words, it is an essential responsibility of the church to point out sin.  But, don't misunderstand what's happening.  The church is not condemning you.  It is merely pointing to the reality that you are already condemned!  You should feel the weight of that condemnation when you learn that you don't measure up to God's standard.  It is only when you see your sin that you see your need for a Savior.  The good news is that we have a Savior!  Jesus lived, died, was buried, and rose again to save you from sin and condemnation.  

I recently had the opportunity to share this truth with my community by appearing on Wellsboro Homepage.  Perhaps this video will encourage you as you consider your your life, Jesus Christ, and the church.