By Lance Witt on Sep 6, 2017
"It may be that the great sin of the church in our generation is the trivializing of God. The Jesus Christ, in whom the fullness of deity dwells, is not to be boxed in, airbrushed, made over, tamed, explained or explained away. I am deeply convinced that the way you live will be a direct consequence of how you see God."
It has now been 45 years since I made the commitment to believe in Christ and his death on the cross for my salvation. At the age of 12, with simple kid-like faith, I believed. I don’t remember feeling anything physically, but I do know that Jesus invaded my life. That decision set me on a course that continues to shape my life today.
For more than 4 decades I have walked with him. I haven’t always been a faithful follower. I have strayed and at times been a disobedient child of God. As with any relationship, there have been times where I have felt distant. There have been times when we haven’t talked much. There have been times when I couldn’t figure him out. But there have been plenty of times when I have been unbelievably close to him.
Even though I have known the Lord a long time the relationship hasn’t gone stale. There is no way that I could adequately express in words all that Christ means to me.
My life overflows with gratitude that he would allow me to know him and that he would adopt me into his family. He doesn’t owe me anything. I don’t deserve his grace. I am fully aware how unlovable I can be and how much darkness resides in my own heart.
And yet, this great Creator who holds the stars in his hand and who rules the universe unconditionally, accepts me. This same Jesus who guides the history of humanity and has need of nothing, pays attention to me. I want to know him more and want to love him more.
It is not an overstatement to say “He is my life.” I have bet the farm that he is who he claimed to be. There is no plan B, no escape hatch, no loophole, and there is no turning back. I wouldn’t have it any other way. As the psalmist says “his love is better than life.”
Quite honestly, when I hear some pastors talk about Jesus today, I am perplexed, frustrated, and sometimes offended. At times I find myself thinking “I don’t know what Jesus your talking about. The Jesus you describe is not the one I know or the one that Scripture speaks of. At times I am angered because my friend Jesus, that I have known for more than 45 years, is being misrepresented.
This week and next week I want to share 3 pictures of Jesus as seen in Scripture.
1. Jesus as the CEO and Owner
Jesus is large and in charge.
Many people I know have taken the awesome, powerful Jesus of the Bible and shrunk him down. For many, Jesus resembles a genie in a bottle—we believe that he exists to serve us—we let him out when we need him—we give him our demands and expect him to grant our wishes—and then, we stuff him back in the bottle until the next time we need him.
We want a deity that is manageable. We want a God that we can explain and control. The tendency of many Christians and even pastors is to re-make Jesus, to concoct the kind of Jesus that I can accept; the kind of Jesus that fits my way of thinking, the kind of Jesus that makes sense in the 21st century. We fashion a Jesus that accommodates our lifestyles and never confronts us. Inevitably, when this happens, we create a Jesus far different than the one portrayed in Scripture.
Blaise Pascal wrote “God made man in his own image, and man returned the compliment.” And, in many respects, we have re-shaped and created a God in our own image.
It may be that the great sin of the church in our generation is the trivializing of God. The Jesus Christ, in whom the fullness of deity dwells, is not to be boxed in, airbrushed, made over, tamed, explained or explained away. I am deeply convinced that the way you live will be a direct consequence of how you see God.
He is the CEO of the universe and when you begin to grasp how big and majestic and magnificent and powerful he is, you can never be the same. Your perspective will forever be different.
Our spiritual forefathers always warned us that there are two foundational truths that we must hold in equal balance: God’s distance (transcendence) and God’s nearness (immanence) Jeremiah 23:23 (NIV) "Am I only a God nearby," declares the Lord, "and not a God far away?
Jesus is the creator of all, ruler of all, and absolute sovereign over all that exists.
Think for a moment about the size of our universe which he created.
It is so vast that it takes a beam of light (which travels some 700 million miles per hour) over 100,000 years just to cover the length of our galaxy called the Milky Way. And our galaxy is only one among billions in the known universe.
If the sun were hollow, 1,300,000 earths could fit inside. A star named Antares (if hollow) could hold sixty-four million of our suns.
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. . . Everything has been created through him and for him. He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together. Colossians 1:15-17 (NLT)
True Christianity is not about adding Jesus to my life. Instead, it is about devoting myself completely to Him – submitting wholly to His will and seeking to please Him above all else.
Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be destroyed, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29 (NLT)
That reality should lead us to worship him in humility and awe. This week as you pastor may you constantly be aware of God’s greatness and majesty. He is a “consuming fire.”
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By Karl Vaters on Sep 7, 2017
"We’re always decrying the rise of the consumer culture within the church. But how should we expect people to act when pastors act like CEOs marketing Jesus as a product?"