Archives For Justification

What makes someone spiritual?
How do we evaluate who is a good Christian and who is not?

This is the core issue in the book of Galatians. Paul went in preaching a message of Christ, not culture. The church in Galatia was being tempted to add Jewishness to their faith, and Paul wants none of it.

Try your best to read between the lines of Galatians 3:1-3. 

It’s not too difficult to see Paul’s feelings. He is extremely angry. Nowhere else in Paul’s writings do we see him insulting a church so much! Paul is telling them they started with the Spirit. The beginning of their journey with God was salvation. Salvation was completely an act of God, nothing of themselves. Now they were changing the rules and relying on the flesh.

Why did they trust God to get saved but now trust something physical such as circumcision to be righteous, or pleasing to God?

I know, you never have days like this.

Even as a missionary, when something does not go your way, the emotions and doubts come. Those secret fears we have buried deep inside of us raise their head and whisper their lies.

Here are three lies that we deal with as a family on the missions field.

1. Can this be our home?
We came home the other day to a “For Sale” sign on our home that we rent. We knew it was coming. Yet there it was, screaming loudly, “You have no home.”

My son saw it as he came home from school and immediately began weeping for twenty minutes. We moved to South Africa when he was one, and into our current home when he was two. This is all he knows. All his memories are attached to this structure of concrete and brick.

Often, it seems our Christian lives are consumed with attempts at pleasing God. Sunday school sayings of “read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow” echo through our minds.

How do we know we are pleasing to God?

In my travels and ministry, I meet very few people who can confidently say God is pleased with them. Many avoid saying it for fear of sounding arrogant or self-centered.

The doctrine of justification tells us we are pleasing to God.

This is the teaching that Paul is expressing to the Galatian believers who are being told to add works to their faith. Read the following passage to see.

Galatians 2:15-21(link – click on this and read the passage. Yes, this is included in the 7 minutes!)

Paul affirms that by their faith, they have received the gift of justification. It was not by adding circumcision or any other work.

Top Reads of 2011

December 5, 2011

It has been said that “readers make leaders.” I believe reading and listening to books is a huge way we can be intentional about our growth as individuals and leaders.

One of the most popular portions of our family ministry website, has been the page where I list the books I have read throughout the year. In 2011, I read or listened to 75 books.

In this post, I have chosen my top reads to review for you.

To see more about these books, click on any of the pictures. You can even order them straight from this page and have them in time for Christmas!

Switch – Dan & Chip Heath
A fascinating book on something most of us hate. Change.

The 1,2,3 Money Plan – Gregory Karp
One of the best and most practical money books I’ve read. (I have read a lot!)

“Poor people are lazy.”
“You must eat snakes and play with lions(if you live in Africa).”
“Americans are fat.”

People are famous for making assumptions and stereotypes. Often they are extremely painful.

We recently had a time on our missions campus of sharing different perspectives from various cultures. We laughed, we cried, and we felt each other’s pain.

I’m reminded of three things that I know to be true. It is also these three things that I need to be challenged to regularly apply in my life in missions.

1. Avoid Assumption
I know plenty of lazy rich people and even a few thin Americans!

No one enjoyes being boxed in by assumptions. When they happen in a cross cultural setting, it is easy to become isolated and critical. Victory comes when we don’t see each other by our nationality, skin color, or economic status; but rather as people.