Thursday, March 28, 2013

Death, and why it matters

This week millions of Christians around the globe are preparing their hearts, minds, and souls for Easter Sunday and the worshipful experience to be had celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This week is also a time for reflection, sacrifice, and understanding of what Christ death and our own deaths truly mean.

These past two weeks have been rather hard for my family and I because we had to say goodbye to the patriarch of my mothers family. My Grandpa, Norman Wisely, passed away last Saturday at 2:30 in the morning and he met Christ for the first time in that exact moment. My Grandpa, albeit dead on Earth, was alive in Christ and experiencing glory and a glorified body for the first time! His death brought forth his new life with Christ in Heaven! Of course I was sad to know he would no longer be on Earth with us, but I was joyfully jealous of him because he was where any Christian would rather be right now in the presence of the Maker and Perfecter of our faith.

His passing spurned me to think on death and well this post is dedicated to my Grandpa and to the thousands of Christians who have gone on before him.

As the great Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer said often "When Christ calls a man he bids him come and die", and we who claim Christ have already died in some ways. We have died to our old selves and died to the sinful passions that fueled us and have been reborn and awakened to the sweet grace that Christ gives us in salvation and new life. In his book The Cost of Discipleship in the foreword the late Bishop of Chichester G.K.A Bell goes on to expound upon Bonhoeffers quote and says this "There are different kinds of dying, it is true; but the essence of discipleship is contained in those words." Bells words speak on dying in a whole new sense that many Christians overlook in their own lives and I want to speak plainly to you now and break this down logically and biblically so you can truly grasp the nature of death, and why it matters.

Death is all around us, it is in nature, in movies and literature, it is in schools, hospitals, churches, businesses, and even within our own bodies. As I type this thousands of cells are dying inside my body and new ones are taking there place. Death is natural, emotional, physical, and spiritual and necessary. Death is not something new, but it wasn't originally Gods intention for mankind. Death is a product of sin and thus a separation between God and mankind. Death is not beautiful as some poets and lyricist may have you think, but it is not as gruesome as the authors of horror novels and screenplay will have you think either. Death is mysteriously dangerous and yet satisfying in more ways than none. Death as I said before is necessary, it is a payment for the live we have lived on Earth, and it has been fulfilled by the death of Christ on the cross.

The reason death matters is the Gospel. The reason death is important to Christians is because of how we as followers of Christ are no longer separated from God by the chasm of Hell. Death had to occur for us to obtain access to God. Death had to occur to atone for our sins. Blood had to be shed in a sacrificial way in order for sins to be forgiven and in order for death to be conquered. Death matters because Christ died for you and I so that we may no longer wander this Earth bound for Hell. Death matters because God sent His own Son to die for us so that we may be saved through Him. The call to Christ is to die because to truly call oneself a Christian you must have put your old ways to death and been reborn a new creation by Christ blood. As Paul the Apostle says in Philippians 1:21 " For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" To die is to gain eternal life with God and to live is to live out Christ through our lives here on Earth. We are called to do such so that when the time comes for our physical death we will have already been through one death and this time this death brings about eternity in Heaven. That is why death matters and that is why this week is most important for Christians because we are constantly reminded of the sacrificial death of Christ and the life that He brings.

God bless,


All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version (ESV) published by Crossway

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Apologies and intro into death, and why it matters.

Forgive me for being absent for a few weeks. There have been several things happening in my life and the life of my family that required me to be free at a moments notice and it kept me from thinking about what I should write next. I do apologize for the absence and I would like to let you know that I am currently working on a series over Death, and why it matters. It should be very exciting seeing as how it is Easter week, and how death is very important to our Christian faith and doctrine. Well look forward to a post soon. Pray that God grants me the correct words to use and that the message of the Gospel is not clouded by my ramblings.

God bless,


Friday, March 8, 2013

Purposeful life with Christ

Recently I re-read David Platts Radical and I was instantly challenged like I hadn't been before about how many times I've focused on attaining materialistic pleasure and the desires of the flesh. I was shocked at how deep my sin went and it didn't take much introspective searching to see that I'd offended God just as the vilest offender and murderer could.

Now as a student of the Word I understand that God does not judge sins differently, but that He judges all sins impartially and equally because He sees all sin as rebellion against Him and His will for our lives. I though as a human judge sin differently and in my mind I am right, but no I am never right when judging sin because I have no authority to judge the sins of man. You may be thinking I'm chasing a rabbit right now, but as every good Baptist preacher does I have a point to this. The focus of David Platts book was to challenge the Christian in the church and force him/her to search within their hearts and discover how to follow Gods will and live a life worthy of the calling God ordained them with. The point I'm making is that I have begun to judge my sins and I am no more worthy of salvation than anyone including the murder, thief, and adulterer, but God has granted me grace and salvation through Christ Jesus. Now after searching my own life and looking at my own walk with Christ Jesus I have realized I'm severely lacking in my prayer life, in my giving of tithes and time, and in making disciples.

To amend this and to live my life as Christ has commanded me to and to honor the sacrifice that He willingly gave Himself up to be for me I am taking the "Radical Experiment"that Platt speaks of in his book:

The Radical Experiment
  1. Read through the entire Word
  2. Commitment your life to a multiplying community
  3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose
  4. Spend your time in another context
Now I will do all these things and challenge each and every one of you to do so as well.
Reading through the Word in a year is easy, now reading it in a year twice is going to be harder, but I feel like God demands my time and His Word deserves to be read thoroughly and discerningly. My life is committed to a multiplying community right now through FBC Fayetteville, but in the summer I will be starting a new season of life with pursuing my passion to plant churches and share the Gospel by working with Cross Church and the staff that Dr. Floyd has brought together. This will be challenging for me, leaving my home church that has poured into me and loved on me since my freshman year of college, but God has other plans for my life and I must follow His call. Sacrificing my money for a specific purpose is hard as a post-college bachelor, but one thing I do love doing is mentoring and discipling younger men and youth through meeting with them and sharing life with them. I do this a lot by grabbing dinner with guys, getting coffee, cooking out, and just doing life. Now all of that requires money and I give it generously for their betterment and for the betterment of my own spirit. Spending time in another context is very easy for me because I do love serving in the mission field and I do enjoy giving up weeks upon weeks to share the Gospel with an unreached people group or just pouring into college students in China. I have a huge passion for missions that cannot be quenched by just one week out of the year. It has to be continually fed by constant missional living and constant reliance on God.

That's the challenge and in a year you and I both will be more blessed than we possibly could have imagined beforehand.

God bless,