More “In Christ” Quotes

"There is only one place where we are right with God and that is in Christ Jesus"

"Pray with the realization that you are perfect only in Christ Jesus."

-Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest, June 21)

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This site is a labor of love for Christ as I am led by the Spirit. If you have an interest in this concept of evangelism tool-making and encouragement and have creative skills with images, graphical powerpoints, infographics, mobile apps and want to join me in building this site, feel free to contact me at .

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27 07, 2013

The “Promise”, In Christ, and Evangelism

[tagline_box  description=”I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. –Philemon  1:6“][/tagline_box] Discerning what it means to be “in Christ” paves the way for the Christian to be used by God in evangelism.  More fundamentally, without understanding the “promise” of God woven through the Scriptures, there is bound to be discouragement in life. We devote countless hours to our worldly pursuits without spiritually meaningful endpoints. These represent  mere shadows of the promise of God. Do you work hard to complete a project to be used, read, or seen by many? Maybe you have all the gear and know how for the big catch that you know is waiting in that lake? Or you have studied all the recruits and cleared your calendar and plan to get to every game leading to that elusive national title certain to happen this year? Or maybe you hit the neighborhoods religiously in search of that great garage sale find that is a true “steal”? The “promise” of a certain glorious endpoint will produce continual dedication to that pursuit. I believe the biblical promise of God should supersede the fleeting promises of worldly pursuits and understanding this “promise” is the first step.

[tagline_box  title=”” description=”‘If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble.’-Oswald Chambers“][/tagline_box]

This “promise” of God I keep referring to goes back all the way to the covenant God made with Abraham. He is told that through his seed all nations will be blessed (Genesis 12:3,7). Abraham’s descendants shall be “like the dust of the earth” (Genesis 13:16) and “the stars in the sky” (Genesis 15:5, 22:17) and “the sand on the seashore” (Genesis 22:17)—these are the startling metaphors used by God to describe this blessing. And this covenantal promise has been passed down to those in Christ as described here by Paul:

”Consider Abraham ‘He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness’? Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be be blessed through you.’ So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith….But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe…If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:6-9,22,29)

Theologian J.I. Packer provides this insight:
The fulfillment of the old covenant in Christ opens the door of faith to the Gentiles. The “seed of Abraham”, the defined community with which the covenant was made, was redefined in Christ. Gentiles with Jews who are united to Christ by faith become Abraham’s seed in Him (Gal 3:26-29), while no one outside of Christ can be in covenant with God (Romans 4:9-17;11:13-24) (Packer, 1993, p. 89)

I will not devote more time to discussion of the promise, but encourage you to view this great recent video message.

As just a sampling, God’s word richly tells us that “in Christ” we are

  • Made alive
  • Fruit-bearing
  • Without need
  • Given the desires of our hearts
  • Told “Yes” to all His promises
  • Free to approach God
  • Dwellingplaces of God’s Holy Spirit
  • Sealed with the promised Holy Spirit
  • Doers of good works
  • At Peace with God
  • Brought near to God
  • Created new
  • Inseparable from God’s love
  • Redeemed
  • Forgiven
  • Given the fullness of God
  • Hidden and waiting to appear with Him in glory

These promises in Christ provide some serious weapons against worldly discouragements. Evangelism-sharing the true gospel of salvation from the spiritual death of sin by faith– improves our understanding of what we have in Christ (Philemon 1:6). And if we better comprehend the inherited covenantal promise traced from the time of Abraham and what it means that we are a “seed”, then we know that nations shall be blessed and God shall be glorified through us “in Christ”.

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24 05, 2013

Oh, The Places You’ll Go(with God)!

Developing relevant information “tools” for any endeavor such as evangelism takes time. It usually involves gathering information from varied resources, or collecting information from a very large and detailed resource and formatting it in a way that will be understandable and useful for those who will use the tool. This first “tool” I will post goes back many years and it provides a way to challenge “graduates” of various kinds to not leave God out of their lives. In fact, they should bow before Him in humble gratitude in all situations because He did not even spare His own Son, but “gave him up for us all.” (Romans 8:32)

I would venture that many thousands of graduates each year receive the book  Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. I received a copy myself from my oldest sister when I graduated from Florida State University back in 1992. Interestingly, I had started preparing for this tool entry on the site recently and I happened to see a college-aged patient in the hospital. As I was talking with this patient about her illness, I looked towards the window and noticed a brand new copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go! sitting on the air conditioner. 21 years have passed since I received my copy and yet, sure enough, the patient told me she received it at a graduation event that had taken place recently.

The problem here is that this beloved book goes entirely counter to a God-centered (Theistic) view of the world. It is entirely atheistic in its dialogue and ultimately appears to portray a secular humanistic view of a person’s life events. I know that it is only a storybook, but this is not the kind of information that true Christian parents, family, or friends should pass on as some legitimate form of “truth” about their life journey. The Bible is an inspired collection of 66 books encompassing history, wisdom, prophecy, poetry and other forms of prose. There is much to be gained from applying relevant verses to life’s journeys including both the ups and the downs.

The Oh, the Places You’ll Go (with God)! tool is a spreadsheet of bible verses with the relevant corresponding page numbers from the Dr. Seuss book. This allows the “graduate” to receive their “traditional” storybook gift while at the same time balancing the story’s philosophy with sound biblical truth, pointing the graduate to God during this important transition in their life. Click the button links below to be taken to the tool. The PDF can be color printed and placed inside the book, or even better, the verses can be manually written into the book (a labor of love with an example seen above) so that the reader  immediately sees the comparative biblical view.

Parents typically invest all kinds of effort into the safe and loving care of their children to get them to milestones like graduation. An important analogy, described by theologian J.I. Packer, regarding our own relationship with God, emerges. A young child will hear “baby talk” from a parent. That “baby talk” does not really represent who that parent is, but that child will grow in their trust and love of their parent if that “baby talk” conveys truth (e.g. “No, No, No. Hot!”, “Eat. Yummy.”). We need to realize that God communicates with us through His Word like “baby talk”. Much of God will remain mystery to us, but if what we do know  is truthful and life-giving, then “the truest expression of trust in a great God will always be worship, and it will always be proper worship to praise God for being far greater than we can know.” (Packer (1993), p.53)

Oh, the places we’ll go with God! Amen.

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