Top 10 Posts of 2012

Christian life with Jesus Christ1) Love Like Jesus series: The most popular posts of 2012 begin with a series. Jesus commanded us to “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NKJV) But He never provided instruction as to how we’re to love–or did he? Posts from the new Love Like Jesus series examine every encounter Jesus had with a person or a group, in chronological order. Each interaction is analyzed and a way for you to make application in your own life is provided.

You can check out the top Love Like Jesus post by clicking on Love Like Jesus–Love the UnlovableOr check out the whole series by clicking on Love Like Jesus.

2) Senna Part 2–Teach Us to Number Our DaysOne of the most compelling stories I’ve ever heard is that of Formula 1 race car driver Ayrton Senna. I was surprised to find I’m not alone. Senna Part 2–Teach Us to Number Our Days is one of the most popular posts I’ve ever written. We can learn some valuable lessons from his life. If you’re interested in Ayrton Senna, you might also like Senna Part 1–Senna vs. Prost–Esau Ran to Jacob.

3) Sex and Your Future–Trading 45 Minutes for 1,000 YearsContinue reading

Churches unite to help thousands of stranded passengers in Moscow’s airports

Stranded at Moscow airport

Apparently the U.S. isn’t the only country dealing with flight delays. Due to a recent ice storm that hit a large area of Central Russia hundreds of flights have been delayed. The airport in Moscow is designed to hold around 3,000 people but the crowds have swollen to 10,000 due to the flight delays. Interestingly, in this nation that not so long ago claimed atheism as their national religion, Churches and Synagogues have stepped up to assist with food, bottles of water, and perhaps most appreciated of all, bunches of those moist towlette thingies. If you’re interested you can read more at Churches unite to help thousands of stranded passengers in Moscow’s airports | Russia | RIA Novosti.

How great is it to see God’s people in action.

This is how it should be because the Bible tells us that…

…the fruit of the Spirit is love…

Galatians 5:22

Bennett Christmas 2010

Bennett Family Christmas 2010

Bennett Family Christmas 2010

I’ve been away for a few weeks this month. One week was spent at a conference on Emergency Cardiac Care and another with my family celebrating Christmas.

As is often the case with the lives of the Bennetts, our Christmas celebration turned into an adventure. We attempted to drive to Crater Lake National Park but ten miles or so North of Fort Klamath we encountered a white out. I’ve never experienced anything like it, even while growing up in Illinois. Everything was just, well, white. After some debate we turned around — OK so I was the only one who wanted to continue, but we did debate, even if it was five against one. We wound up at a snow park where we enjoyed some great sledding and took this photo. The dogs loved the snow.

The Emergency Cardiac Care conference was interesting because they had fifty survivors in attendance. These were people who were revived by CPR, and/or defibrillation, and/or cath lab intervention. Hearing their stories reminded me of Christ’s intervention that saved me.

My thanks to David Smith and Nathaniel Bennett for their guest posts during my absence.

This week you’ll see a short post on Genesis 6:16, then beginning Sunday I’ll continue blogging through the Bible taking up where we left off at Genesis chapter 7.

May God richly bless you this Christmas season!

…don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Romans 6:3-4

In Him,

kurt

Luke 1 — You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus

Photo by drproehl

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

…no word from God will ever fail.”

Luke 1:30-35, 37

There he sat in the lounge chair, snacking on munchies with his friends while watching one of his favorite movies. They were more than friends really. After working twenty-four hour shifts with these men, after saving lives with these men, after fighting fire with these men, they were his family. It always felt good to be around them. He was completely relaxed, completely at peace, and completely content when the bell went off.

“Beep, beep, beep,” the pre-alert sounded. “Structure fire, flames and smoke seen from an upper floor of a highrise. Address is…” As was often the case, the tone of the female dispatcher’s voice said as much or more about the call than her actual words. This wasn’t a false alarm or burned toast. This was the genuine article.

He moved quickly and easily from the lounge chair and made for the apparatus bay where his fire engine waited. Like a mother duck with ducklings, the Captain unconsciously listened for the noises of his crew making their way to the engine. First running, then the sounds of his men donning their protective gear, then the sounds of doors slamming – one door, the driver’s, then another, then another. As he entered the cab himself he heard the engine start, he heard the bay door open as he looked down to zip up his turnout coat, then he heard the siren.

“8102 responding,” he said into the radio as he simultaneously pushed the responding button on his mobile computer.

“Do you know where we’re going?” he asked the engineer. As usual he did.

The headsets came on and one of his firefighters asked, “What do you think Cap?”

“Sounds like the real deal to me,” the Captain replied. “We could be first in. Be prepared.”

“First in.” First in had special implications. Incidents that start well usually go well. Incidents that don’t start well…

“What are we taking up?” one of the firefighters asked. The crew reviewed the list of equipment that they’d need to take with them: two inch and three quarter hose packs, thermal imaging camera, irons for forcible entry…

It was barely more than five minutes when they heard the dispatcher say, “Units responding to the highrise fire, we have a report of multiple trapped victims on the fire floor and on the floors above.”

“Copy,” the Captain said into the radio. His adrenaline was already pumping but this last bit of information felt like an electric shock.

They turned a corner and there it was: perhaps fifteen or twenty floors up, multiple floors well involved with fire. People hanging out of windows. He took the briefest moment to steel himself for what was to come, then he gave his report, “8102 is on scene at a thirty story apartment building with at least three floors well involved, possibly floors fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. We have victims hanging out of windows. 8102 is going to the lowest fire floor. 8153, it looks like we’ll need at least ten alarms.”

“Central copies, multiple floors well involved. 8102 we just received a report of a floor collapse on the seventeenth floor.”

“Copy, floor collapse on the seventeenth,” the Captain said. Then to his crew he said, “Let’s do it.”

They bailed off the engine, entered the building, and began making their way up the stairwell to the fifteenth floor. On their way up, they shouted and directed people to the way of safety.

“8102,” the dispatcher called.

“8102, go ahead,” the Captain answered.

“8102, we have reports of two more floors collapsing. It appears to be the fifteenth and sixteenth floors. We also have a report of fire showing on the roof.”

“Copy,” the Captain said trying to catch his breath enough to speak as he climbed the staircase.

“Cap?” It was his youngest firefighter, “Cap, are we going to make it?”

“We’ll save as many as we can.”

“OK but will we make it?”

The Captain knew they had to climb as far up into the highrise as possible. He knew he couldn’t save them all. He knew they’d have to save as many as they could.

And he knew they probably weren’t coming back.

“We’ll save as many as we can.” he said. The young firefighter could hear the determination in his voice…

Before Jesus was born into this world to save us, He enjoyed a wonderful and amazing life in heaven with the Father. He enjoyed a life that was filled with glory but He chose to forfeit all of that to come down to earth. (John 17:5) He chose to come in order to save as many as He could. He chose to come even though He knew it meant His own death.

Like the fire Captain in our story, what a devastating choice that was for Jesus.

But what a glorious choice that is for you and for me.

The fire Captain left the comfort of his fire station to go up into the highrise to save as many as he could, knowing that death awaited him. Jesus left His life in heaven with the Father to come down into the earth to save as many as He could.

Praise God in the highest for in spite of the terrible death that awaited Him, Jesus chose to come for you and for me, to save us, for God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

Paul, speaking of Jesus, said,

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:6-8

Thank you Lord for choosing to come down to save us.

Glory to God in the highest!

Merry Christmas!


References:

Bible Gateway

Jon Courson

Photo by drproehl

Genesis 1:14-19 — The Fourth Day of Creation

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

Genesis 1:14 – 19

Given this mornings lunar eclipse I thought it appropriate to repost from Genesis 1:14-19. The total eclipse began at 2:40 AM and lasted 72 minutes. You can read about it in the Washington Post article Lunar eclipse coincides with winter solstice.

On the fourth day God created the sun and the moon. The sun speaks of the great light of the world, Jesus Christ, for He said, “I am the light of the world…” (John 8:12) And the moon speaks of the lesser light, you and I, for Jesus also said, of His people, “You are the light of the world…” (Matthew 5:14) The only reason the moon shines is because it reflects the light of the sun and in like manner the only reason we shine, as a light of the world, is because we reflect Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you saw these two lights interact early this morning during the eclipse. A great and important lesson is found in here. When the world comes between the sun and the moon we on earth experience an eclipse and the light of the sun is blocked from people’s view. That is exactly what happens to me when I get caught up in the things of this world. When I become consumed by my performance at work, by a desire to prosper financially, by a pension for entertainment, or other things of the world. When I allow the world to come between me and my Lord, my own light is eclipsed, and I fail to reflect the great light of Jesus Christ. The same is true for any Christian. The same is true for you.

Remember that you and I are the church and as the church goes, so goes the world.

Let nothing come between you and Jesus.

For more go to Ray Stedman’s teaching on Genesis 1:14 – 19 or Jon Courson’s teaching on Genesis 1.

1 Corinthians 6:9–12, 19-20 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial

Submission to Christ (Courtesy of Revelife.com)

The following is a guest post from my friend and brother in Christ, David Smith.

In Chapter 6 of 1 Corinthians, Paul is dealing with a church where some very poor choices are being made. There are people in the church that are living like the world. They claim a faith in Jesus Christ, yet they still openly walk in the sin of the world. Paul then gives a very stern warning that speaks to eternity. I don’t know about you, but when inheriting the Kingdom of God is mentioned, I really pay close attention.

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

As a side note, look at the part where he says “do not be deceived.” This implies that there are people in the world that will try and deceive you concerning these things. Do not be fooled. The lists of sins in these verses are non-negotiable. We know the world will try and deceive us into thinking they are ok, but we must head his warning and not play the fool.

In reading this list, we all find conviction. Although as Christians we do not walk in these sins, to say that since I have been saved I have never had a sexually immoral thought or made a decision that greed played a factor or spoke a slander about someone out of anger or frustration would be a lie. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, right? Is Paul sentencing all who have committed these sins to hell?

No, what Paul is saying is that salvation in Christ is submission to Christ. That is, are you submitted to what Christ deems is right or wrong, or are you simply claiming Christ as your Lord, but not submitted to Him? Look at the next verse.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

So they are coming to the table saying “Hey, you said that in Christ, I am free from sin. Sin has no hold over me anymore and because sin has no hold, I can do whatever I want.” And in one sense they are right. In Christ you are free from sin. It no longer needs to reign over your life and eternally you are saved from the ultimate consequence, eternal separation from God. But let’s jump up to verses 19 and 20 to see how Paul closes out this argument.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

This is where the submission to Christ comes in. See, Paul is not saying you must be perfect. What he is saying is that you need to check yourself and see if you are living for you or living for God. Look to the list of sins mentioned above. Do you believe they are wrong? You are free from them, yes. But do you believe they are wrong? By giving your life to Christ by being born again in the spirit and claiming Him as your Lord and savior, you agree that you should not walk in sin. That is, salvation in Christ is submission to Christ. You cannot separate the two.

Paul is calling out those that are living as luke warm Christians. Do you have something in your life that you are holding on to? Do you have something that you are hiding behind the freedom in Christ, yet in hiding behind the freedom in Christ, ignoring what Christ has commanded? If you are, let it go. The game you play is one that could have eternal consequence. Remember, salvation in Christ is submission to Christ.

In walking with Christ we need to constantly be reckoning the old sinful nature of our flesh dead. Do not be deceived, as some were at the church of Corinth. You are free in Christ, but to be in Christ is to be dead to yourself. Carrying your cross is the calling of a Christian. The world has many “prizes” that it offers to those who give in to its lusts. Those prizes will always fail you. As you’re carrying your cross in this life, do not forget to keep your eye on the only prize that never fades, eternity with a loving, awesome, gracious, and beautiful Father God.

Photo Courtesy of revelife.com

Genesis 4:9-15 — “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

“My Brother’s Keeper” by Ronnie T. Tres Reyes. Top Five finalist, 2008 Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office “Isang Pitik sa Charity” photo contest. Reyes describes his photo: “Taken one chilly night outside a McDonald’s along Mindanao Avenue in Quezon City. For over a year, this five year old boy has been taking care of his baby brother every night on the steps of the restaurant. Sometimes he lies on the concrete and allows himself to be the baby’s bed and source of warmth.”

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Genesis 4:9

Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v. 9) Cain’s insolent answer to God’s question reminds us of the same condition of heart found in Pharaoh when he said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him…” (Exodus 5:2) The difference is that Pharaoh didn’t have a direct awareness and communication with God like Cain did. Given the level of direct communication that Cain enjoyed with God, it’s hard to believe that Cain could answer God with such hardness of heart. But that’s one of the consequences of sin. Cain committed the first recorded murder, and his sin had the effect of hardening his heart toward God, causing him to question. Questioning God’s ways is no more rational than not obeying God in the first place. Listen to what God said to Job and his friends when they questioned Him:

“Who is this that darkens my counsel

with words without knowledge?

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?

Tell me, if you understand.

Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!

Who stretched a measuring line across it?

On what were its footings set,

or who laid its cornerstone—

while the morning stars sang together

and all the angels shouted for joy?

“Who shut up the sea behind doors

when it burst forth from the womb,

when I made the clouds its garment

and wrapped it in thick darkness,

when I fixed limits for it

and set its doors and bars in place,

when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;

here is where your proud waves halt’?

“Have you ever given orders to the morning,

or shown the dawn its place,

that it might take the earth by the edges

and shake the wicked out of it?” (Job 38:2-13)

“Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?

Let him who accuses God answer him!” (Job 40:2)

Lord please keep our hearts tender toward You, keep us from questioning Your will, help us to give thanks in everything. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Lord, please keep our hearts tender toward others, keep us far from the way of Cain. (Jude 1:11)

Am I my brother’s keeper?” (v. 9) The way of guilt is to deny responsibility. The truth is that God has in fact made us our brother’s keeper. God tells you and I that each of us should look not only to our own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:4) Notice that Philippians 2:4 instructs us to take care of our own responsibilities as well as those of others. Taking care of ourselves, our own family, our own brothers and sisters in the Lord, and also others, it’s all part of God’s plan for you and for me. Matthew Henry writes that caring for others is, “a great duty, which is strictly required of us, but is generally neglected by us.”

The church is God’s instrument to minister to the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the old of our world.

You are the church.

Love God.

Love people.


“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:34-40


References:

Blue Letter Bible

Bible Gateway

Ray Stedman

C.H. Spurgeon

Matthew Henry