“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” – John 6:37
Her name is Kirsten Powers:
“I started dating someone who went to Tim Keller’s church, Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City. Out of curiosity, I went with him. But I told him upfront that I would never become a Christian; that it’s never going to happen. After about six or seven months, I began to think that the weight of history is more on the side of what [I was hearing at this church] than not. Tim Keller had made such a strong case, that I began to think it’s not even smart to reject this. It just doesn’t seem like a good intellectual decision.
“Really, it was like God sort of invaded my life. It was very unwelcome. I didn’t like it. Obviously, I started having a lot of different experiences where I felt God was doing a lot of things in my life. It’s kind of hard to describe, but I did have this moment where the scales just fell off of my eyes, where I was saying, ‘this is just totally true, I don’t even have any doubt.’ …I don’t really feel like I had any courage when I became a Christian, I just gave in. I wasn’t courageous; I didn’t have any choice. I kept trying to not believe but I just couldn’t avoid [accepting Christ]. If I could have avoided it, I would have. There is nothing convenient about it in my life or in the world I live in. It’s not like living in the South where everybody is a Christian. I live in a world where nobody is a believer. But God pursued me.”
Read the rest here.
From Donald Whitney:
Many of us struggle to make conversation at Christmas gatherings, whether church events, work-related parties, neighborhood drop-ins, or annual family occasions. Sometimes our difficulty lies in having to chat with people we rarely see or have never met. At other times we simply don’t know what to say to those with whom we feel little in common. Moreover, as Christians we want to take advantage of the special opportunities provided by the Christmas season to share our faith, but are often unsure how to begin. Here’s a list of questions designed not only to kindle a conversation in almost any Christmas situation, but also to take the dialogue gradually to a deeper level. Use them in a private conversation or as a group exercise, with believers or unbelievers, with strangers or with family.
- What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas?
- What was your best Christmas ever? Why?
- What’s the most meaningful Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
- What was the most appreciated Christmas gift you’ve ever given?
- What was your favorite Christmas tradition as a child?
- What is your favorite Christmas tradition now?
- What do you do to try to keep Christ in Christmas?
- Why do you think people started celebrating the birth of Jesus?
- Do you think the birth of Jesus deserves such a nearly worldwide celebration?
- Why do you think Jesus came to earth?
Of course, remember to pray before your Christmas gatherings. Ask the Lord to grant you “divine appointments,” to guide your conversations, and to open doors for the gospel. May He use you to bring glory to Christ this Christmas.
Don’t minimize your sin. Repent and believe the gospel everyday!
Here is a phrase we hear thrown around a lot in christian circles – “trust in Jesus.” But what does that mean? Doesn’t that sound a little vague? How do I know if I’m “trusting Jesus” or not? Is it a kind of feeling I have inside? Does it wax and wane? What does it really mean to “trust in Jesus?”
Paul Grimmond, in his book, “Right Side Up: Life as God Meant It To Be” answers these questions well:
Let’s think about it in terms of my friend, Phil. If I said, ‘I trust in Phil,’ what would that mean? It would probably mean that Phil is a dependable sort of guy that I would be happy to rely upon in certain circumstances to do certain things. He might be the kind of friend I’d be happy to leave my wallet with (because I know him to be honest), or who I’d be willing to have swing the hammer if I were holding the nail (because I know him to be steady and experienced and good with a hammer).
In other words, ‘trusting in’ or ‘relying upon’ Phil is based on firmly believing certain things to be true about him such that I would place myself in his hands, and be quite confident that he wouldn’t let me down.
‘Trusting in Jesus’ is like this. It means firmly believing certain things to be true about Jesus – that he came into the world as God’s Son, that he died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins, that he rose again to be God’s king, and that he is the only one who can stand as a priest before God on my behalf – and then acting in dependence and reliance [emphasis author’s] upon those things about him. If I say that I believe Phil is honest as the day is long, but I won’t actually hand my wallet over to him, do I really trust Phil? Of course not. It’s the same with trusting Jesus.
Because I know and trust that Jesus is God’s good and perfect king, I will fall down before him and submit my entire life to him, knowing that whatever he tells me to do will be excellent and for my good. And because I know and trust that Jesus has died and risen and ascended to God as my priest, I will completely depend upon him for the forgiveness of my sins and eternal life. I will place my life in his hands, knowing that he will save me from the judgment I deserve and that submitting to him as my king will mean ‘life’ with a capital “L.”
Are you trusting Jesus in this way?
Great thought here from Ray Ortlund:
“You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9
You and I are not integrated, unified, whole persons. Our hearts are multi-divided. There is a board room in every heart. Big table. Leather chairs. Coffee. Bottled water. Whiteboard. A committee sits around the table. There is the social self, the private self, the work self, the sexual self, the recreational self, the religious self, and others. The committee is arguing and debating and voting. Constantly agitated and upset. Rarely can they come to a unanimous, wholehearted decision. We tell ourselves we’re this way because we’re so busy with so many responsibilities. The truth is, we’re just divided, unfocused, hesitant, unfree.
That kind of person can “accept Jesus” in either of two ways. One way is to invite him onto the committee. Give him a vote too. But then he becomes just one more complication. The other way to “accept Jesus” is to say to him, “My life isn’t working. Please come in and fire my committee, every last one of them. I hand myself over to you. Please run my whole life for me.” That is not complication; that is salvation.
“Accepting Jesus” is not just adding Jesus. It is also subtracting the idols.