Love Like Jesus–Love the Unlovable

Love Like Jesus -- Socialize with Sinners Influence

(One of our most popular posts–from the archives)

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:16-17


How Jesus Loved People

Jesus loved people by spending time with them, in spite of their sinful lifestyle.


How to Love Like Jesus

There’s a blog I follow called Not Ashamed Of The GospelNot long ago, they posted a three part series about a ministry which reaches out to sex industry employees. I couldn’t help but notice there weren’t many comments offered on the last post in the series, An Insider’s Look — “Awkward!” I think for most people, that post was just too hot to handle.

Finally, one person posted and as best as I could tell he used scripture to infer this post about the sex industry ministry was an example of ungodly men perverting the grace of God.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to comment.

Continue reading

Thankful

I’m so very thankful for our Father in heaven,

for our Savior His Son,

and for His Holy Spirit!

I’m thankful for my family.

I’m also thankful for you.

It might take me all day to list all the other blessings I’m thankful for. God has drenched me in His grace and mercy!

I’m so thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. James 1:17

Thanksgiving and Noah’s Ark

Thanksgiving and Noah's Ark

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (Genesis 8:20)

I think Noah demonstrates for us one of the most important keys there is to walking closely with Jesus Christ. The very first thing Noah did after he stepped off the ark was to sacrifice some of the clean animals and birds to God. I can’t imagine doing that. In my own flesh I would have said, “I have just seven sheep here, should I take the seventh and make a sacrifice? I have to populate the whole world from this diminished tiny herd. Doesn’t it make more sense to wait until the animals have multiplied before sacrificing to You Lord?”

But in the words of Matthew Henry, “Serving God with our little is the way to make it more; and we must never think that wasted with which God is honoured.” Obviously Noah had a grasp of this truth.

And Noah had a grasp of the power of thanksgiving. Imagine with me that you’ve been cooped up in an ark with thousands of animals (and with all of the sanitation issues that implies). You’ve been cooped up like this for more than a year! For 377 days! What’s the first thing you want to do when you get out? Celebrate with a party? Go for a long walk just because you finally can? Build a house for yourself? Play some frisbee football? That’s what I’d want to do but that’s not what Noah did. Noah Continue reading

A Time to Die

Die to self Christian

It’s Time to Die

The last post was about how important it is not to die indiscriminately. In other words the last post was for people who can’t say no, as you might gather from the title: How Not to Become a Christian Doormat.

This post is probably more important and for a greater number because this post is for all of us who don’t want to die. And at some point everyone of us will have to. I’m not talking about the physical death of our bodies necessarily, but rather the time when the Holy Spirit will tell you, “Yes, it’s time. It’s your time to die now. It’s your time to submit to My will and not your own.”

You and I and every single one of us will encounter God in that way. Every single one of us will be called upon by God to die, and frequently.

Frequently because we’re commanded to love, and love so often demands that we die to our own will. And there are all kinds of ways to do that, there are all kinds of ways to die. You might be called to die by allowing that guy at work to take the choice assignment, or by agreeing to your wife buying a new pair of shoes, or even by simply turning off the TV and engaging with the kids.

Or, it could be something much harder.

A Tale of Two Fathers Continue reading

How Not to Become a Christian Doormat–How to know when to die

Human Doormat, pushover, Christian

Doormat

A Dormitory Door Mat

There are these two roommates Walter and Craig who live on the fifth floor of the Barnhart dormitory at the University of Oregon. Craig is on the football team. He’s pretty sure he’s one of the best athletes on campus. He’s really into his sport and his friends, like a lot of guys are during their college years. Two of his favorite hangouts are the weight room and wherever the current party happens to be. He’s a Grand Theft Auto and Madden NFL kind of guy.

But his roommate Walter is different. He’s kind of bookish, if you know what I mean. He’s a good student. He belongs to the college writing club. He’s watched all the Lord of the Rings movies multiple times—on Blue Ray. He’s an English major but he’s taking a physics class, just for fun. He’s more of a Minecraft kind of a guy.

Well one day Craig has a chance to move into an apartment off campus. The day the apartment comes open is the day before a home game, and he wants to move in right away so he can have a victory party after the game. He already invited a bunch of his friends. Getting people to come to his party was no problem. But getting people to help him move wasn’t working out. Not a single friend was available. So, even though he very much preferred not to, he asked Walter.

“Hey, I need you to help me move my stuff over to the apartment.”

“I’d like to but I can’t,” Walter said. “I have a midterm and a group project presentation tomorrow.” He also said yes to a request to give a presentation at his writer’s club right after the midterm. And his parents were arriving for a visit after writer’s club. But Walter was too embarrassed to disclose that to Craig.

“I don’t really see a problem,” Craig said. “I only need you for like, one hour.”

Walter didn’t respond but Craig could see the reluctance on his face.

“Come on Walter, don’t be selfish.”

For some reason every time Walter experienced a pang of guilt he thought of the dentist’s needle injecting lidocaine into his gums. Except instead of his gums, he imagined the needle penetrating his heart. And instead of pain followed by numbness, there was just pain. Craig had a knack for triggering that response in Walter. So did his dad. So did his mother. So did a lot of people.

And there was that word: selfish. A Christian can’t be selfish, can he? Continue reading

What Happens When We Disregard the Laws of the Universe

wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

A Deer Disregards Sir Isaac Newton

I was walking in my neighborhood the other morning and came across the skeletal remains of the deer in this photo. You know, if the deer was still alive, we might say to her, “Don’t cross that highway because you might get hit by a car.”

And the deer might reply (assuming of course, that the deer could understand English), Continue reading

Calling a Christian a Pharisee

Calling a Christian Pharisee

Emil Nolde – Pharisees (1900)

Calling a Christian a Pharisee

I heard a great bible study Wednesday night and I want to encourage you to listen to it. Just click on 2 Chronicles 17:1-19:3 11-06-13 W7101 by Jon Courson.

The reason I’m so interested in you checking out this study is because one of the issues addressed is the use of the word pharisee to describe Christians. And I am guilty of using that word, in that manner.

And I was wrong.

It happened the same day as the aforementioned evening bible study. That morning Continue reading

The Cross with Billy Graham, LeCrae, and Lacey Sturm

I’m always on the lookout for great videos and sadly, so many of them are yawners. Which is why I was surprised at the impact and quality of this one. Especially after the 5 minute mark where we hear two great stories about 34 year old LeCrae and 32 year old Lacey Sturm. You’ll want to check it out.

The Cross, with Billy Graham, LeCrae, and Lacey Sturm.

This could be the last significant communication we see from Billy Graham.

What It Means When We Work Without Rest

stress rest Christian

Work without rest.

I saw these math equations today on a blog I started following recently.

Work – Rest = Trust in self.

Work + Rest = Trust in God.

If you’re interested, you can read the rest of the post here: Your Faith in Math by SammyA. I thought he pretty much nailed it.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Jesus Christ, Matthew 11:28-30

So Your Life Is Falling Apart

How do I become a ChristianSo your life is falling apart. I know, you lost something. You lost your job, or you lost your wife in a divorce, or you lost your father, mother, son, or daughter because they died, or you lost your health. So now you’re in pain, and not the kind that an aspirin can help you with. You’re in the kind of pain that makes you realize you need help–from God.

Well I’m here to tell you some things you’ve probably never heard before about becoming a Christian. You want God’s help, so you’re ready to ask Jesus Christ into your life, but you probably don’t realize what you’re in for. It’s not like you’re buying a gold fish for yourself, throwing him into a bowl of water, and feeding him once a day. Yes Jesus can help you, but remember, He’s the One Who created you. He’s the One Who created the whole world, and more than the world He created the sun and the whole solar system. And more than the solar system, He created the whole galaxy. And more than the galaxy, He created the whole universe. He created quarks, and black holes, and oceans, and mountains, and atoms, and electrons, and clouds, and comets. When you invite Him into your life, yes, you get His help, but along with the power to help you, you get the rest of His power too. He will willingly walk with you through your pain, if you’re brave enough to willingly walk with Him. It takes courage to invite that kind of power into your life.

Another thing about Him: His standards are impossibly high, and you’ll never live up to those standards. Like all of us, you realize you’ve failed in your life. At one time or another, maybe very recently, you’ve lied, or you’ve stolen, or you’ve lusted, or you’ve broken a promise. Other religions try to teach you how to live, but with Christ, God provides you with life. God of course knows about your sins. So God provided His Son Jesus, to die for those sins, on your behalf. Jesus is life. He is the way, the truth, and the life.

You have access to that life, to eternal life, to new life. You have access to Jesus Christ. You can not only experience God’s presence while walking in your pain, but you can experience God’s presence forever. You can live, with Him, in heaven. In fact, God says: If you don’t want to live with Me in heaven, it will have to be over My dead body–the dead body of My Son. If you accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for your sins, if you accept Jesus Christ into your life, if you ask Jesus Christ into your heart, to be your savior, and your Lord, and your friend, then you’ll receive God’s presence in this life, and in eternity.

To accept Him now as your personal Lord and savior simply say the prayer,

Jesus, I’m a sinner. I believe you died on the cross to pay for my sins and I thank you for doing that. I believe you rose again and that you are the Son of God. Please come into my life and into my heart. Be my Lord and my Savior.

The words aren’t magical, what’s important is you opened your heart to invite Jesus into your life. And that’s the beginning.

Now find yourself a bible and read it. (I recommend these bible reading plans on the YouVersion App) Don’t worry about how much you read. Just be sure to read a little from the Old and New Testaments each day.

Find yourself a church that teaches through the entire Bible and attend it. Hang out with other Christians–you’ll be blessed.

Pray, every day.

Tell others about Jesus.

If you have questions, send me an email at kurt@kurtbennettbooks.com.

[Image via Tim Li – Creative Commons]