Josh Christophersen

Reign In Life

Saved By Shiny New Gadgets

iPhone Savior

We live in a broken, fallen world. It’s all around us and within us. Deep down, everyone desires to be saved from the effects of it and our own contribution to those effects.

We don’t like the pain, sadness, shame, heartache, boredom, disappointment, loneliness, and loss we feel, so we look for a way out, something to save us.

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We Decided To Be Comfortable

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A long time ago, God sent his son to our world.

The creator became the created.

God became a human.

He traded the comfort of his world for the inconvenience of ours.

He came down. He moved in. He put on our flesh.

Then he subjected himself to rejection and a brutal murder so that we could have a way to be saved, rescued, adopted, restored, healed, and washed clean.

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I Don’t Have Grace For That

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Have you ever heard a Christian say that they don’t have grace for something?

Christians often make the statement, but is it true?

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Futility And Managing Expectations

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A lot of people feel entitled to things going well for them.

This is shown true by how ripped off people feel when things don’t go well for them and how ungrateful people feel when things do go well for them.

If things going poorly lands as injustice to you, and things going well doesn’t land as a gift to you, then you are living with a dangerous sense of self righteous entitlement.

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Freedom To Lose

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I have really been inspired and moved by some recent comments from Tullian Tchividjian in a recent apology he issued on his blog. Here’s a few highlights:

“One of the things that the gospel frees you to do is to never have to bear the burden of defending yourself… When you feel the need to respond to criticism, it reveals how much you’ve built your identity on being right… Because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose…and last week I fought to win. I’m sorry you had to see that. Lord have mercy…” -Tullian Tchividjian

The particular phrase “Because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose.” was particularly impactful to me.

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Faith That Tears Jesus’ Roof Off

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Apparently at some point in Jesus ministry, he had a house. In Mark Chapter 2, Jesus is preaching “at home” and there were so many people there, you couldn’t get in.

The house is packed and you got these four guys carrying a paralytic man on a mat to Jesus, so that he can be healed.

Their faith is bringing them to Jesus.

But when they get there, their faith runs into an obstacle. The obstacle is that Jesus is preaching in a house and there’s no way in.

The house is full.

Now what would you do in this situation? When your faith takes you so far and then runs into an obstacle, what do you do when you hit that obstacle?

These guys tore Jesus’ roof off.

Do you have faith that tears the roof off of Jesus’ house?

That’s what they did.

They didn’t say, “I guess it’s not our time”. They didn’t say, “it must not be God’s will”. They didn’t say, “God must not want to do this”.

They believed so strongly that God wanted to heal this man, that they literally went up on the roof and tore it open. They probably had to dig through it and at some point it started interrupting the meeting. But they didn’t mind interrupting the meeting. They didn’t mind ripping a hole in Jesus’ roof. They believed that God wanted to heal this man and they were willing to do whatever it took to get to Jesus.

And what was Jesus’ reaction?

It says that he saw their faith, forgave the paralytic man’s sins, and healed him. Amazing.

Do you have faith that can be seen?

It doesn’t say that they said that they had faith. They didn’t have to. Their faith was visible. Their faith did something. Their faith was aggressive. Their faith tore the roof off of Jesus’ house. Their faith actually left a hole in Jesus’ roof.

After that meeting, there was a hole in Jesus’ roof because some guys had faith enough to believe that God wanted to heal a paralytic man, and they were willing to do whatever they had to do to activate their faith. Jesus saw their faith and responded with forgiveness of sin and healing.

What do you do when you hit that obstacle of faith?  What is your response? We all hit obstacles in our faith. We all hit doubts. We all do mental gymnastics sometimes, wondering if God really wants to do this.

It’s not just that they believed that God could heal. Or that he did heal. Their actions showed that they believed that God wanted to heal.

And how much of faith is really about that?

How much of our struggle is not so much about our belief in whether or not God has the power to heal but more in God’s desire to heal? How much of our struggle is believing that he loves faith and that faith ravishes his heart? How much of our struggle is believing that faith that tears the roof off of his house is not offensive to him but something that he rewards? (Heb 11:6)

What does your faith look like?

Do you have a faith that tears the roof off of Jesus’ house? 

Next time you pray, next time you’re faced with an obstacle, think of Mark Chapter 2. Think of these five guys and ask the question, “does my faith tear the roof off of Jesus’ house?”

I want my faith to be that which does not stop at the obstacle of a full house but says, “God, I’m going in through the roof if I have to.”

Being Wronged As A Possible Means For God To Bring Me Good

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Recently I’ve been struck with a particular view of God that David pretty consistently spoke of in the bible, regarding God being for him. The fact that David is referred to by God as “a man after His own heart” (Acts 13:22, 1 Sam 13:14) makes me all the more eager to discover what David believed about God, in hopes that I too might be a man after God’s own heart.

I recently wrote about this particular view of God that David possessed in a post titled “David And Two Little Words“. As I’ve been studying David and what he believed about God I was again struck by another scene from his life in 2 Samuel 16:5-14.

The backdrop for this scene is a conspiracy by David’s son Absalom to take the throne. David catches wind of it and flees Jerusalem to the wilderness. While David is on his way, “a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei” came out and cursed David continually, throwing stones at David and his mighty men saying, “Get out, get out, you man of blood, you worthless man! The Lord has avenged on you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned, and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your evil is on you, for you are a man of blood.”

One of David’s mighty men offers to take off Shimei’s head.

David’s response is pretty fascinating:

“If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’ Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Leave him alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.”

What?!?

“It may be that the Lord will look on the wrong done to me, and that the Lord will repay me with good for his cursing today.”

So in other words, David basically is saying, “Could it be that perhaps this cursing is the means by which God will bless me?”

Who thinks like that?!?

David. A man after God’s own heart.

What a liberating way to live.

Do we focus on the pain and weariness that being cursed and wronged is causing or the possible good that God might be bringing?

David believed what Paul would later write: “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)

David had a firm belief in the goodness of God being directed toward him, even in the worst of circumstances, even in the midst of cursing. And he believed it at a time of great loss and personal pain. He believed it when the kingdom he had waited for so long to receive was being taken from him from his very own son. Insult being added to injury didn’t cause him to waiver in believing that God was for him and that surely, goodness and mercy would follow him all the days of his life (Ps 23:6).

“So David and his men went on the road, while Shimei went along on the hillside opposite him and cursed as he went and threw stones at him and flung dust. And the king, and all the people who were with him, arrived weary at the Jordan. And there he refreshed himself.”

I want a heart like David.

(Image adapted from: Patrickcc)

Tim Keller On Millennials Desire For Community [VIDEO]

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Jefferson Bethke recently asked pastor and New York Times bestselling author Tim Keller, “What is the most encouraging and discouraging trait you see in the millennial generation?” Here is his response:

I agree that there is a heightened interest in community, talking about community, or anything labeled community.

I think young people are desirous of community and yea more; they are desirous of what’s been broken and missing in their generation more than any other generation before them. They are desirous for family.

Keller made some striking statements:

“The younger generation doesn’t want to make the sacrifices that enable community to happen, which means you have to limit your options. You can’t just travel everywhere. You can’t just move every two years. You can’t just live any way you want.”

“So many of the commitments and the sacrifices you’ve got to make in order to be part of a community and the curtailments of the freedom that goes with that, young people don’t want. So they want community yet they’re not willing to pay the price. I think that’s both the best and the worst about your generation.”

So what about you?

Are you willing to “limit your options”? Or are you afraid that if you limit your options you’ll be missing out?

The truth is that either way you’ll be missing out.

If you decide not to limit your options, then you’ll have the freedom to do what you want, when you want, how you want, the way you want – but you will not have community that is a family.

If you do decide to limit your options, you’ll get the opportunity to have community that’s a family – but you will not have the freedom to do what you want, when you want, how you want, the way you want.

And by the way, there’s no third option of having community that is family without the cost of limiting the freedom to do what you want, when you want, how you want, the way you want. Keller’s right. True community that functions like family demands commitment that costs.

So ultimately you have to decide what’s more important to you.

Are you more concerned with your interests or the interests of Christ (Phil 2:21)?

David And Two Little Words

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In 1st Samuel 22 there’s an obscure verse that happened to catch my eye while studying the bible with a handful of men.

While David was hiding from Saul in the cave of Adullam, with his motley crew of 400 misfit men, he sought to find a place for his parents with the King of Moab.

“Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do for me.” (1 Sam 22:3)

What stuck out to me about that verse was the last two words: “for me“. A lot of people would have excluded those two words and just said: “Please let my father and my mother stay with you, till I know what God will do.”

But David added those two little words to the end of his sentence.

And if you look, you’ll find that David often talked this way. In fact when writing a psalm when he was in the cave, he used similar language. He closed the psalm with these words:

“for you will deal bountifully with me.” (Ps 142:7)

David was waiting in that cave with confidence that God would “deal bountifully” with him. David believed what Paul would later write in Romans: that God is for us, and “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) Even though he was sure that his enemies were pursuing him, he was more sure that goodness and mercy would pursue him all the days of his life (Ps 23:6).

What about you?

When faced with difficult trials in your life, what do you say?

“We’ll see what God will do” or “We’ll see what God will do for me“?

The question is really more about what you believe about God.

Do you believe he’s distant and aloof, indifferent to you and your situation?

Or…

… do you believe that he’s for you, that he’ll deal bountifully with you, and that it’s a sure thing that goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life?

Two little words make quite a difference.

5 Dangers Of An Emphasis On Revivalism

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“We believe the church must move away from an emphasis on revivalism. Under revivalism, the key to spirituality is revival—an event where the Spirit of God catches the church up in a spiritual experience of rejuvenation and catharsis that converts the lost, heals the sick and delivers sinners. We believe revivals happen (and we have enjoyed them in our church), even though this is not a New Testament emphasis. New Testament Christians are never instructed how to bring about a revival. Further, the ideology that places revival as the key to success in the church can be destructive to the notion of a church planting movement. People may look to such supernatural events for a shortcut. This expectation drains energy from regular daily evangelism, living for God, and disciple making, which seem mundane and unremarkable by comparison. Church multiplication takes daily effort, often exerted in very non-showy, quiet ways, such as building up fellow believers and engaging in friendship evangelism as a way of life. Consistency is essential. If a spiritual revival comes, we should accept it with joy. But waiting for the Spirit to “fall” often runs counter to the lifestyle needed for successful church planting.”

– Dennis McCallum (taken from “Urban Home Church Planting at Xenos“)

I agree with Dennis. If a revival happens – awesome. Who doesn’t want to see the lost converted, the sick healed, and the demonized delivered? But I believe there are some dangers in an emphasis on revivalism.

1) Exalting the fantastic over the mundane

Sometimes where there’s an emphasis on revivalism, certain things get valued over others that shouldn’t. The seemingly mundane and unremarkable tasks of changing diapers, working a job with integrity and Christ-like character, being a good husband or wife, cleaning toilets, disciple making, etc. can be devalued compared to platform ministry, healing, prophecy, etc. Noah & Jeremiah’s preaching were no less spiritual than Paul’s, regardless of the results, and Jesus working as a carpenter was no less spiritual than Jesus healing the sick.

2) Borrowing from the future to pay for today

Revivalism puts a lot of hope and emphasis on a future move of God. If this is not coupled with a present “in the now” satisfaction in God, completely independent of the possibility of any spectacular future move of God, an unhealthy dependence on borrowing from the future can occur in an attempt to pay for today’s deficit. The danger with this is that God does not guarantee revival in your sphere, in your lifetime. So if that’s what you are banking on for today’s satisfaction, you could find yourself ten years into it, spiritually bankrupt and disillusioned, with not a whole lot to show for years of commitment to something that hasn’t happened and may never happen.

3) Replacing gospel motivation

Because of a contemporary dirth in the centrality of the gospel in some circles, a vacuum of motivation has been created. The gospel then becomes in danger of being replaced with the dangling of euphoric revival carrots. As great as revival is, has been, or ever will be, it cannot trump the centrality of the gospel’s power to motivate followers of Christ to obedience and sacrificial service.

4) Indefinite requirements

How radical, hot, devoted, or sacrificial does one need to be, in order to see revival? How much prayer is necessary? How much fasting? This lack of specificity, especially over prolonged periods of time without revival, can lead to unhealthy personal and/or corporate striving for greater sacrifice in order to achieve revival.

5) Elitism

Whenever the key to spirituality or what individuals or groups of people identify primarily with becomes anything other than the person and work of Jesus, the danger of elitism is lurking right around the corner.  And this danger becomes all the more prevalent amongst a generation starving for purpose and meaning, who are engaging in radical sacrifice for the purpose of revival.