Just Believe In Jesus-That’s It

Just Believe In Jesus

It really is just that simple… just believe in Jesus.
Jesus never told anyone that they had to change their ways before they could enter the “Kingdom”. Even when the thief on the cross along side Jesus said, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Jesus didn’t say, “Hey buddy, do you smoke or drink alcohol or do drugs or cuss? Have you ever been divorced or you’re not gay are you? First you have to clean up your act and then maybe we’ll talk about you coming to Paradise.” No, he never said that.
But that is the usual way that people think change comes about. The normal way to change someone is to say if you do this and that, then you will be get the reward that you deserve. Not with Jesus. Jesus says just believe in me and I will give you everything right now… change will come upon you as your love for Jesus manifests itself.
Too many people think that they must quit all of their bad habits before they can ask Jesus into their lives and become a Christian…wrong!
You don’t have to change anything about yourself. Jesus loves you just the way you are. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, or what you are doing. Jesus loves you unconditionally. And when you ask Him to come into your life-you will begin to see miracles.
It’s free…just try it. What have you got to lose. Just say, “Jesus, I believe in you and I would love for you to come into my life. Let me feel your spirit within me. Guide me and comfort me. Give me peace and Joy. Thank you Jesus. -Amen”
Just believe in Jesus!
And by the way… in answer to the question, “Do dogs go to Heaven?
“Yes, they most definitely do!”

Praying to God 101

Praying to God 101

The other day, a good friend of my exclaimed to my that she was ready to start praying but confessed that she did not have a clue about how to pray. I told her that it wasn’t that long ago that I had confessed the same thing.

This is what someone told me and it has really been a blessing. I hope that it might help someone else out there also.

Prayer is just talking to God. It is probably the most important thing you can do. But it is also the easiest thing to do. You can talk to God anytime and anywhere. You can pray in the car, in your bed, while you’re washing dishes, in the department store, on your knees, on your feet, with hands folded or arms raised.

You should have a special time that you reserve for God but you can also talk to God all day long. If you see someone who is hurting you can just say, “God, please bless that person”. Or if you hear an ambulance siren you might say, “Lord please help that person and help the doctors to have wisdom.” Or if something good happens to you, be thankful and say, “Thank you Lord”.

It is habit you have to develop at first. I like to try to remember to say, “Good morning Lord.” as soon as I wake up because God has been there with me all night watching me sleep. It would be rude not to say something to Him when I first awake. Put a sticky note on your alarm clock to remind yourself at first.

Sometimes I just visualize Jesus sitting next to me in the car and I try to talk to Him just like I would any other friend. Jenny and I like to pray first thing in the morning. It’s so easy to forget though especially when you’re running late or something. But I find that if I don’t take the time to pray first thing, that in a matter of minutes I become consumed by all the daily chores pulling at me and before you know it, you’re lost in the things of the world again.

He longs to hear from us. That is why He created us.

God’s Original Master Plan Didn’t Include the Cross

Before He Created the World, God’s original master plan was to live with us. That’s why he created us in the first place.

God’s original master plan always included living as a human being on earth with us. God wanted to include us in the love relationship of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The plan didn’t become a rescue operation until after the fall out in the Garden of Eden.

Ephesians 1:3-14
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Picture of Jesus holding child's hand

You Are Entangled With Jesus-What? Just listen to Boyd!

Greg Boyd at his best!

What does it look like to be entangled with Jesus?

I have a theory… Heaven is right here on earth… right now, you know, like in different time dimension. Or maybe in the non-temporal dimension. Hey… it’s just my theory. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,”Ephesians 2:6

This is one of my favorite messages from Greg Boyd. If you’ve never listened to him, please give it a shot. You may think he is crazy at first but hang in there… it will be worth it. I first heard of him when I read “The Case For Christ” (great book!). Boyd was one of the theological professors that author Lee Strobel interviewed in his quest to prove that Jesus was just a myth, legend or at most, a great teacher and mystic.

I found the interview interesting enough that I searched for more information about Boyd on the Internet. I learned that he had started his own church in Saint Paul, MN by the name of Woodland Hills Church and had a website. His sermons were (and still are) available for download. I started listening to him. That was back in 1999 and I’ve been hooked on him ever since. You can go back to his first recorded sermon in 1993 if you like. Actually, I love to go back and listened to some of his older sermons from time to time. He is really brilliant but also scatter brained at the same time… kind of like the absent minded professor. This sermon, in particular is probably not the best one to start out on because you have to really hang in there for a while to start understanding what the heck he is talking about. You have to be willing to hear him all the way through till he gets to the point.  But it will be worth it to find out how you are entangled with Jesus. I think Greg Boyd is a modern day prophet. His perspective on Jesus is revolutionary. I dare you to listen to this message all the way through.

Believe In Jesus… What Have You Got to Lose?

Believe In Jesus

Why Believe In Jesus?

Do you or people you know ever wonder why Christians believe the Bible? What makes it more trust-worthy than any other religious book? No book that has been more attacked, analyzed and criticized than the Bible. Does it stand the test? Greg begins a three-part series on beliefs to build your life on. Why believe in Jesus?

During this beautiful Easter season, the most important question arises: Did Jesus really rise from the dead? The Christian faith and all its transformative power depends upon the truth of Jesus’ resurrection. To be sure, there are very good responses to the very hard questions regarding this.

Here are the top 5 arguments about believing in Jesus’ resurrection along with some responses. We will go in descending order.

5) The story of Jesus’ resurrection could just be a “legend.”
Because there have been some other parallel stories in history where a person supposedly was raised from the dead, some people believe that Jesus being raised from the dead is a legend. This argument doesn’t hold well because of the nature of legendary material. Legends usually take decades to develop and they usually need the right cultural environment to develop. Based on the 1st century Jewish context’s use of oral tradition to combat legend, as well as the very short amount of time that the Jesus account had to develop into the Gospel, it’s not that plausible that the Jesus story is a legend.

4) The story of Jesus’ resurrection could be a lie.
There have been different elaborate lies that people have told about fantastic things happening in history. However, Jesus’ resurrection does not fit into this category. When one thinks of all of the persecution the early Christians suffered as well as the hostile eyewitnesses who would have been looking for lies, it seems like there was tons of pressure to tell the truth if they weren’t doing so originally. We’d have to answer the question about why there aren’t any “defectors” from the lie…if it were a lie.

3) The Gospels seem to be contradictory.
When looking at any ancient written materials, it can be quite difficult to understand what one is reading. If one is not careful, one can take a misunderstanding or misapplication and believe that it’s an outright contradiction. This is definitely the case for the Gospels. There are multiple accounts of the same situation and we should expect there to be some level of difference in some of the details. The major thing is that the Gospels are wonderfully consistent in all of the main aspects of the story of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

2) There’s no corroborating evidence for Jesus’ resurrection.
If the record is to be set straight, one must understand something about history. Many times, the historical records of certain major events like the Persian wars or the movement of Alexander the Great were given to us by only one source. Even though we have so few sources that were written a long time after the event, no one really doubts the truth of the claims made in these books. With the Jesus story, we have four Gospels, the New Testament writings, and references by non-Christian historical sources like Josephus and Tacitus. Also, many of the sources are very close to the event itself. Taking all this into account, there actually seems to be more corroboration for the life of Jesus then there does for some other significant historical events.

1) Modern people can no longer believe in “miracles” like the resurrection.
Even our scientific discoveries today are showing us that life is not as “cut-and-dry” as many would like to think. There’s a lot more to the universe than we originally thought. It has taught us to be more humble about what we think is or isn’t possible. Taking this learning to the miraculous, it is not helpful to deny the possibility of miracles just because it hasn’t occurred in one’s experience. Things that are statistically improbable “miraculously” happen many times. Jesus’ resurrection fits into that category.

Believe in Jesus!

Please Note: This teaching was only available in audio (it’s from Greg Boyd’s 1993 sermons) so I had to put the audio with another video in order to upload to YouTube. (YouTube only accepts video) That is why the audio does not match the video.

Pastor Greg Boyd is my hero!
I’ve been following Boyd since I read about him in “The Case for Christ” book by Lee Strobel. I feel like I know him personally as I have downloaded and listened to all his old sermons all the way back to the 90s. Most of the songs I’ve written were inspired by one or more of his messages. Boyd is definitely,at times, inspired by the Holy Spirit. Other times he is definitely “Way out there”. Whatever he is, it is always for real.

I personally believe Greg Boyd is a modern day “John The Baptist”, preparing the way for Jesus’ return.

Believe in Jesus!

You can download all of Greg Boyd’s sermons at CLICK HERE.

Why Believe In Jesus

Why believe in Jesus Christ?”. Or maybe even more fundamentally who was Jesus Christ?
Who was this man?
What are we to make of him?
If nothing else just curiosity should make us ask that. I mean there is by all accounts no human individual that has ever influence the course of human history like Jesus Christ did.
Whatever else you think about him, that much is true for better or for worse
He has changed human history more than any other single individual ever did… more than any other group ever did.
He founded the world’s largest religion and transformed the lives of billions of people so if nothing else just out of curiosity we should ask “What what’s behind all of this?… who was this person … what was he about? who could have pulled this off?
It is also a crucial question because if the bible is true everything hangs on your answer to this question. Who do men say that I am ? Who do people say that I am? If in fact the bible turns out to be true everything depends, ultimately all the questions of life are contained in this question.
What do we exist for?
What’s the purpose of our lives?
Why are we here in the first place?
How is life to be fullfilled?
How can we live life in a fulfilling way
How can I find happiness?
How can I find contentment in the midst of my very troubled world?
A little bit of peace?
They’re all found in the question Who was Jesus Christ?
I want to just outline five options
five possible responses and I think that they are exhaustively the five responses to that one can give to
this question,” Who was Jesus Christ?
Who was Jesus?
We know that his disciples claimed that he claimed He was superhuman and he was not just an ordinary man… not just in ordinary profit and was in fact the son of God.
He claimed to be divine in other words.
And it is a reasonable supposition, I think when you hear someone claim to be the son of god or claim to be divine to immediately suspect that maybe that person doesn’t have all their marbles and so one option as we confront the question of who was Jesus Christ is to suspect there may be
He was just one of these crazy people who believe that there God.
A couple questions present themselves with regard to this option. You need to seriously ask yourself this question:
Given what you know what you know about lunatics, given what you know about madmen, given what you know about crazy people and in our society you should know quite a bit because there are a lot of them around, could a lunatic speak the sermon on the mount? I mean, by all standards; even by those who oppose Christianity admit that the teachings of Jesus are among the most sublime and insightful ever given in world history. Could a lunatic or a mad man or a crazy person do something like that?
Could a madman or lunatic or a person who was crazy have the insight into human nature and the inner workings of the human heart and human mind that Jesus did? You see it throughout the gospels the way he penetrate through facades the way he gets to the heart of issues the way he calls out a person’s true colors. Could a madman or lunatic have done that? Could a madman a lunatic or a crazy person have demonstrated the kind of works and lived the kind of lifestyle that Jesus lived; having a love for those who are unlovable; reaching out to those who were lost, to those who are outcasts and to those who are ostracized; loving those that nobody else cared about? Could a madman or lunatic have done such a thing? Could a madman or lunatic have pulled off the miracles that he did; healing that hand on the Sabbath; healing the blind or all the other miracles recorded in the Gospels; the last one being that he rose from the dead. How does calling Jesus a lunatic explain all of that? His reputation was that of being untarnished, of being by all accounts loving, selfless and gracious. And that is something that lunatics just normally don’t have about them. The option of thinking Jesus was crazy, I think, is ruled out. There is no evidence to suggest he was crazy. All the evidence, in fact, is just the opposite.
So maybe there’s a second alternative. Another thing that we got a lot of in our culture is a lot of charlatans. People that use religion to make a buck. There’s a lot of dollars to be made in religion. There’s a lot of gain to be made in religion. A lot of fame to be made in religion.
Ron Hubbard, the founder of scientology, he went on record as saying the fastest way, the easiest way to get rich in America is a start your own religion. And so the science fiction writer did just that and wrote his “Dianetics” and died a very, very wealthy man. Well, maybe Jesus was someone like that. Maybe he was just doing some kind of tricks or some kind of magic to get people the follow him to get famous, to get wealthy. The world’s known a lot of charlatans. A lot of TV evangelists are in it for the money. They prey on gullible senior citizens. There’s a lot of new age channelers who happen to be called to Hollywood. Isn’t that interesting? And they channel Angels and lure metaphysical principalities and powers that they know not what. They speak these divine truths, they start their own religion in Hollywood because all these Hollywood people follow them. And it’s clear that they’re doing it because there’s a lot of money in Hollywood and lot of people who’ll believe weird stuff in Hollywood. What better place to start a religion? So maybe Jesus was just someone like that… maybe.
Again, several questions posed themselves. Seems to me that if Jesus was a charlatan, he would still be a historical figure. but he go down in history as being, one of the dumbest charlatans that ever lived. Because he didn’t go to Hollywood. He didn’t even go to the big wigs or the high society people. He spent his whole ministry appealing to the lower class, the ostracized, to the outcasts. And there’s no money there and even if they follow you, what kind of fame is that? I mean, you got a bunch of beggars following you. Would a charlatan do something like that? What kind of charlatan makes enemies with all the people that matter? Questioning those in powerful positions? Questioning those in authority? (to be continued)

How I Know I Will See My Pets In Heaven

How I Know I Will See My Pets In Heaven

My parents made me go to church almost every Sunday as I was growing up.
Church and Sunday School.
But as soon as I got old enough to make my own decisions about attending church, I quit going.
I didn’t start going back to church again until I was in my forties.
One day I was shocked when I realized that all these people I was going to church with believed that Jesus was the son of God. Really?
Somehow, I had missed that detail in my earlier church life.
I knew all the stories about Jesus and how he was such a great teacher and how he performed all these miracles and such.
He turned water into wine, healed the blind, calmed the sea, walk on water, fed 5000 people with a couple of fish… he even raised a person up from the dead. But the strangest story of all was how he was killed, buried and then came back from the dead and walked, talked and even ate with people after he had been executed.
I guess I never really believed all the stories were really true.
A lot of them were really far fetched but the Bible is full of far fetched stories.
That’s what made it interesting.
I thought Greek and Roman Mythology was interesting too.
But one day I suddenly realized that these seemingly normal people really believe that all these stories from the Bible were real.
I had recently completed a 12 Step program for my drinking problem and had been reintroduced to the idea of a higher being who was in charge and could help us do things we couldn’t do ourselves.
Well, I have always believed there was a God… maybe more than one.
It seemed to me that there were a lot of people who believed in a lot of different Gods.
I had been praying a lot lately and I definitely felt that my prayers had been answered so I was really interested in finding out more about this God. I could have just taken a “leap of faith” like a lot of people do and just accept everything the preacher said as true, but I’m just not wired that way. I started researching the history of the church and the Bible.
The turning point for me was when I read a book called “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. Lee Strobel was a very successful investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He was an atheist and after finding that his wife was turning into a Jesus fan, he set out to prove the fallacy of the Bible thumping Christians. I hate to ruin the book for you but after extensive investigation, Lee Strobel became a Christian.( to be continued)