Good News!!!

English: A "Jesus Saves" neon cross ...

I have something on my heart.  Something that shapes me.  Something that can shape you.  Something that can shape the world.  This something is called the Gospel.  Doesn’t hearing that word ring a traditional tone?  It scares a lot of people away.  In a way, I can understand why.  In a religious way, people have gotten caught up in the mechanics of the Gospel and there’s no heart change.  This has caused a crazy amount of judgement, hypocrisy, and selfishness among those who claim to follow Christ.  It leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.  It’s the opposite of how it should be.

Let’s be really simple here.  The word “gospel” literally means GOOD NEWS.  That puts a little twist on things.  Many people don’t view the Gospel as good news and that’s sad.  It means, as “Christians”, we have really dropped the ball in a lot of ways, me included.  So what’s the buzz about?

The Gospel is a true story about a man named Jesus Christ.  He was God, with skin and bones.  He was God in the flesh.

Why did He come?  He came for you and me.

Sin is at the root of who we are as humans.  We fight, we battle, we’re prideful, dishonest, self-seeking, nasty people.  At the root of it all, we really are.

Despite all of this, Jesus came to earth for thirty something years to set and example of love and to suffer an undeserved excruciating death on the cross……for us!  Why?  BECAUSE HE LOVES US.  Each of us, no matter who we are or what we’ve done.

What happened next changed the world………He rose again on day three.  What does this mean?  It means that He took all of our junk, all of our hatred and all of our evil to the grave.  It means that Jesus Christ conquered sin and death.  It means that He provided a way for you and me to have a direct, personal relationship with God.

Before Jesus came, there were many rules, regulations and laws required to follow God.  There was a lot of religious stuff to do in order to earn favor.  After the cross, Jesus got rid of all of that.  Now, it’s not about what we do, or what we say, or where we go, or what we wear, or how we pray.  It’s about what we believe and Who we believe in.  All that’s required is belief in Jesus Christ, who He was and what He did.  It’s by grace that this is done.  Nothing we’ve earned and certainly nothing that we deserve.

What happens next is beautiful.  Once we acknowledge Jesus as our God and Savior, change happens.  Control is released.  The realization of how temporary this life is begins to take shape.  Perspective is changed.  Blue skies become bluer.  The grass looks greener.  We begin to realize that we are made in the image of God.  That we are special.  That we matter.  That, no matter what we do, whether we’re good or bad, happy or sad, we have a God who always loves us.  There is no need to feel guilt, shame or condemnation anymore.  Those were all taken care of on the cross.  We are called to ask forgiveness and repent or turn away from our sins and we are forgiven.  No hoops, no rites or rituals.

This is the good news friends!  Through Jesus, we are set free!  Through Jesus, we love more.  Through Jesus, we find a peace that goes beyond understanding,  We know that no matter how rough life gets, this is temporary.  We have a home in heaven that is eternal.  It will last forever.  What a gift, what a hope, what an impossible thing to fully wrap our minds around!!!

Does life suddenly become perfect and problem free once we accept Christ?  Heck no!  We are guaranteed issues in life, big and small.  What Jesus offers is peace, strength, perspective and hope AMIDST the troubles of this life.

We are all called to come as we are.  With our baggage, our doubts, our questions, our fears, our failures, all of it.  He knows who we are better than we know ourselves.  So why not come?  His desire is to have a relationship with us all.

God Bless,

Paul

Guest Post: “The Green Diving Ring”

swimming pool

This a post by my friend and brother Kevin Behnke (aka “Kbu”).  He’s an old college buddy turned Husband, Dad and Pilot.  I value his relationship, his inspiring walk with God and his words of wisdom.  Please enjoy:

Being a father has been one of the most rewarding and wonderful gifts God has given me in this life. I have learned so much about life by, simply observing my son play. This past weekend was no different. When I walked in the door from my early morning flights I was knocked back like I am most weekend days by the little man’s full speed running hugs from our living room to the front door, usually followed by the question…”daddy can we play?” That day it was, “daddy can we go swimming?” I promised after we’d run a couple of errands, we’d pick some pool toys up on the way home and go swimming.

The toys he chose were Batman goggles and colorful diving rings. We couldn’t get home fast enough to play with his new toys. Our whole afternoon was spent diving for those rings. Finally daddy needed his break. He asked if he could keep swimming while I watched. He continued to throw the rings out and then dive after them. On one of the throws the green ring was thrown a little deeper than he’d dived before. The ring laid on that fine line where I felt he could try and dive for it safely, so I encouraged him to go for it, each time he’d come up and say “I almost got it daddy”. After the 5th time with no luck at grabbing it, he took a break on the pool step, looked over at me with a pondering expression on his face…I figured he was going to ask me to come in and get it for him. Then by my surprise he asked me to use the pool broom to fish the ring in closer so he could dive down and get it. I got quite a chuckle watching my little 5yr old maneuver the 8ft pool broom under water. HE DID IT! He pulled the ring close enough into the shallows were he could dive down and grab it.

The little man was so proud of himself, he felt so accomplished after he picked his green ring up from the bottom of the pool. As most parents do, I affirmed him with the “good job buddy, I knew you could do it”. In that moment the sensation of the proud father came over me and I couldn’t help but get that cheesy smile parents get (if there were an audience I’d a said “yep that’s my kid”!) In the next moment I looked up into the blue sky and said, “thank you God for letting me be his daddy”!

If we can get excited in simple things our kids accomplish, I can’t help but imagine how excited God must feel when He sees one of us work so hard using the tools He provides for us so we can dive down and grab that green diving ring in our life. I am sure he chuckles too, watching us maneuver or 8ft pool broom around too!

What resonated with me in watching my son grab his green ring is to never give up when the challenging tasks we face seem unattainable. Sometimes it helps to take a break and sit on the pool step of life for a moment, take a look around, because God may just have our pool broom on the side to help us grab our green diving ring!