The Original Jesus

I had a recent conversation with a friend and fellow pastor and he mentioned that we live in a society that wants to design our own Jesus. 

The Original Jesus by Daniel Darling addresses this very topic.  He looks at the Jesus we have created in our culture today.  As I read through this book, I encountered numerous Jesus-types of our own design. 

The author talks about the "Red-Letter Jesus, the American Jesus, the Braveheart Jesus, the BFF Jesus and the prosperity Jesus" among others. Each chapter looks at a different type of Jesus and then calls the reader to look at what the Scripture really says about Jesus.

I have to say I was more than intrigued.  The book starts off slowly.  I could not relate to the Play-Doh or Guru Jesus but after that, I started seeing a more familiar Jesus. A Jesus that fits our needs as opposed to one that calls us to repentance, to a deeper life, to a true relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Daniel Darling does a good job of calling the reader to get to know the Savior as we see Him in the Word. 

If you get the chance, pick up this new release from Baker Books.

"This book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Publishing in exchange for an honest review."


No Fear in Death

I was preaching on heaven and hell recently.  As I spoke to the congregation, I said, "We are all going to die.  In fact every breath we take is one step closer to the end."

I was taken aback when just then a man in the service began having a seizure.  He was ok and later that week he joked about how he had that seizure at that point in the message.  He was scared in the moment but later saw the humor in it. 

Google the term "fear of death" and you will get 160,000,000 results.

160 Million!

Coping, ovecoming, medical labels...there is a ton of stuff on the topic.  I get the sense that quite a few people out there must be afraid of dying.  I know that over the years I've been one of them.  

As a kid I was afraid of the dark, afraid of death and at times afraid of my own shadow!  My fear of death was not so much the death itself but the possible pain involved in getting there.  I was afraid of the suffering and misery, the long goodbye that is often associated with death. Even after I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I was worried about death.  I have had panic attacks sitting in doctors offices, heart papatations while getting x-rays and near nervous breakdowns waiting for test results.

I admit it.  I've been weak at times.

I know the Bible talks about fear. I quoted 2 Timothy 1:7 and Phillippians 4:6-7 until I was blue in the face.  No matter what I did, fear would only be tamped down but for a moment.  

I found Proverbs 12: 25 to be true. "Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."  I was being weighed down by my anxiety.

Yet today, I can testify that that fear is rapidly diminishing.  I have grown more comfortable in my own mortality. Through prayer and God speaking through a friend and brother, I have been healed of that anxiety.  I know I am going to die and I am ok with it.  My eternal destination is one I long for more than dread.

My son CJ and I had a converations about heaven recently and listening to his child like faith, I found myself longing for the day I can spend eternity with no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears.

I get excited because I am literally dying to meet Jesus!

I came across this quote while reading a Civil War history book today:

"Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to always be ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave." - General "Stonewall" Jackson.

"O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

Victory in Jesus!