Josh Christophersen

Reign In Life

25 Reasons The Gospel Is Good News

good_news

The bad news of who and where we were without Christ, magnifies the goodness of the good news of life in Christ.  Here’s a reminder to those who’ve put their faith in Jesus of why the gospel is good news.

  1. You were alienated, hostile, and enemies in your minds.
    He reconciled you.  (Rom 5:10-11, 2 Cor 5:18-21, Col 1:20-23)
  2. You were held hostage.
    He paid your ransom.  (1 Tim 2:5-6, 1 Pet 1:18-19)
  3. You were cursed.
    He redeemed you.  (Rom 3:24, Gal 3:13, Eph 1:7, Col 1:14, Tit 2:14, Heb 9:11-12)
  4. You were a sinner.
    He forgave you.  (Eph 1:7, Col 1:14, 2:13, 1 John 1:9, 2:12)
  5. You were in darkness.
    He brought you into light.  (John 12:46, 8:12, 2 Cor 4:6, Eph 5:8, Col 1:13, 1 Pet 2:9)
  6. You were an orphan and a slave.
    He adopted you as his child.  (John 14:18, Rom 8:14-17,23, Gal 4:4-7, Eph 1:5)
  7. You were wicked.
    He justified you.  (Rom 3:24,26, 4:5, 5:1,9,16,18, 8:30, 10:10 1 Cor 6:11, Tit 3:7)
  8. You were unrighteous.
    He made you righteous. (Rom 5:17-19, Gal 5:5, Phil 3:8-9)
  9. You were enslaved to sin.
    He set you free. (Rom 6:17-18,22, 8:2, Rev 1:5)
  10. You were guilty.
    He made you innocent.  (Rom 4:8, 1 Cor 1:8, 2 Cor 5:19)
  11. You were full of shame.
    He took your shame.  (Rom 9:33, 10:11, 1 Pet 2:6, Heb 12:2)
  12. You were empty.
    He filled you up.  (Col 2:10)
  13. You were dead.
    He made you alive.  (Rom 8:10-11, Eph 2:4, Col 2:13)
  14. You were in debt.
    He cancelled your debt.  (Col 2:14)
  15. You were far off.
    He brought you near. (Eph 2:12-13, 1 Pet 3:18)
  16. You were rejected.
    He accepted you.  (Rom 15:7)
  17. You were lost.
    He found you.  (Phil 3:8-9)
  18. You were born into sin.
    He rebirthed you and made you new.  (1 Pet 1:3-5,23-25, 1 John 3:9, 2 Cor 5:17)
  19. You were blind.
    He gave you sight. (2 Cor 3:14-16)
  20. You were poor.
    He made you rich.  (Rom 8:32,10:12, 2 Cor 8:9, Eph 1:17-18)
  21. You were condemned.
    He removed your condemnation.  (Rom 8:1)
  22. You were under wrath.
    He saved you from his wrath.  (John 3:36, Rom 3:24-25, 5:9, 1 Thess 1:10, 5:9, 1 John 2:2, 4:10)
  23. You were weary and heavy laden.
    He gave you a light and easy yoke. (Matt 11:28-30)
  24. You were flawed.
    He made you perfect.  (Heb 10:14, 12:23)
  25. You were dirty.
    He washed you clean.  (1 Cor 6:11, Tit 3:5, 1 John 1:7-9, 2 Pet 1:9)

God Is Not Santa

Santa Claus

Tis the season to give and receive gifts.

For many, gift giving is acquainted with the jolly old fat guy in the red and white suit: Santa.

But is it really fair to call what Santa gives, gifts?

As the old song goes:  “He sees you when your sleeping.  He knows when you’re awake.  He knows when you’ve been bad or good.  So be good for goodness sake!”  “He’s making a list.  He’s checking it twice.  He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.”  If you’re nice, you get presents.  If you’re naughty, well, not so much.

This is how millions of kids grow up, equating a “gift” as a reward for good behavior.

But that’s not a gift.  A true gift has nothing to do with whether you’re naughty or nice, bad or good.  A true gift is not earned and has nothing to do with the gift recipient, but rather everything to do with the gift giver.

This is why this is important to talk about.  We have to have a right understanding of the word “gift”.  Why?  Because God uses the word gift numerous times in the scriptures.  God is a gift giver.  But he’s no Santa.  His gifts are not earned.

The Gift Of God’s Son

The greatest gift of all is the gift we celebrate every Christmas: the gift of God’s son.  But what does the gift of God’s son teach us?  It reiterates the true meaning of a gift.  Those who receive the gift of God’s son Jesus, have no good thing in them meriting the gift. (Rom 3:11-12)  There is nothing in them that draws him to them.  They don’t work for this gift. (Rom 4:4)  God justifies the ungodly, not the godly. (Rom 4:5)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)  Grace by it’s very definition is undeserved forgiving love.  Paul says it plainly that “if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (Rom 11:6)  You can’t earn a gift and call it grace.  At any given point that a gift is earned, it ceases to be a gift.

God is not Santa

Like Santa, God sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake. (Ps 139:1-2)  But unlike Santa, he gives gifts to naughty, arrogant, wicked people like you and me.  This is the good news of the gospel!  God didn’t die for good people.  He died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:6-7)  “God show’s his love for us in that while we were sill sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)

Like Santa, God had a “naughty list”, but unlike Santa, God nailed it to a cross, cancelling the record of debt that stood against us. (Col 2:14)

Like Santa, God has a chair that he sits on where we can meet with him, but unlike Santa, his chair is called “grace” and we can approach it, even though we’ve been bad, without him asking us if we’ve been good.  We can come like a child, and sit on his lap with confidence “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. (Heb 4:16)

This Christmas

This Christmas, consider whether you truly view the salvation that Jesus paid for as a gift, or whether you are somehow cheapening his gift and your response by futile attempts at self righteousness, earned acceptance, and counterfeit religious security, in a self-made Santa-Jesus.


SEE ALSO:
God Is Not Santa Sermon Audio

14 Reasons Gender Roles Are Important

man & woman

The bible teaches that men and women have equal value but different roles. Here’s why it’s important for you to know your specific role as a man or a woman:

1) Relevance

Everyone is male or female.

2) Satan Took Over Through Role Distortion

Sin entered the world through Adam’s abdication of his role to lead and fight for his wife. (Rom 5:12)  In the leadership vacuum created by Adam, Eve, deceived by Satan (1 Tim 2:14), stepped outside of her God given role into Adam’s, leading Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. (Gen 3:6)

See Also: “What Was The First Sin? Hint: It Wasn’t Eating Fruit

3) God Creates Distinction For A Purpose

God doesn’t create things haphazardly. His creation of two distinctly different genders implies the existence of two distinctly different purposes for each gender.  Knowing correct masculine and feminine gender roles creates the possibility of fulfilling God’s specific purpose in creating the distinctive differences.

4) The Image Of God

Gen 1:27 speaks specifically of our gender imaging God: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Masculinity and femininity distinctly image God in different ways.  It is therefore essential that we correctly walk out our specific gender roles, in order to present an accurate image of God.

5) God’s Will And Ways

The bible tells of God having a will (what he wants), and ways (the way he wants his will done). He was angry with the Israelites for not knowing his ways (Heb 3:10). It’s important not only to do what God wants, but to do what he wants, in the way he wants it.

6) Christ And The Church

Marriage is supposed to show everyone how Christ loves his church. (Eph 5:22-33)  An accurate display of this beautiful picture is dependent on husbands and wives fulfilling their distinct roles in the relationship.  The message of Christ’s love for his church is lost when husbands and wives abdicate or distort their distinctive roles in marriage.

7) Family And Children

Fathers and mothers have different roles in marriage and in raising their kids.  How they walk out their roles has significant impact on their children and how they turn out.

8) Authority And Responsibility

Authority comes from taking responsibility. If you don’t know your responsibility as a man or a woman, then you can’t walk in your God given authority.

9) Confusion And Confidence

Confusion over gender roles causes a lack of confidence in our manhood or womanhood.  Not knowing what I’m supposed to do as a man or woman, prevents me from knowing whether or not I’m actually doing what I’m supposed to do.  And if I don’t know whether I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, I can’t walk in confidence.

10) Erosion Of Scripture’s Authority

The means of scripture interpretation used to arrive at the conclusion that there are no unique leadership roles for men in marriage and the church, is a dangerous path towards theological liberalism and the erosion of the authority of scripture.

11) To Prevent The Word Of God From Being Reviled

Titus 2:5 lists specific roles for a woman so “that the word of God may not be reviled”.

12) For The Angels

The bible says that one of the reasons for the outward distinction between men and women is for the angels (1 Cor 11:10).  There’s a cosmic purpose in gender distinction.

13) Abuse And Overreaction

One of the reasons the topic of gender roles can be so sensitive to some is because of all the abuse and overreaction that’s taken place. Cowardly, chauvinistic men have been abusing women for centuries, causing the inevitable overreaction to feminism. Knowing correct masculine and feminine gender roles keeps people from accepting abuse and overreaction.

14) The Created Order

The majority of scriptures that inform the roles of men and women are either found in Genesis chapters 1-3 or point back to those chapters.  This is important, because having these roles rooted in the created order means that biblical gender roles are not cultural, but rather part of God’s original intent for creation as revealed from the very beginning, in a setting untarnished by sin.

What Was The First Sin? Hint: It Wasn’t Eating Fruit

snake
Image courtesy of “The U.S. National Archives” | Flickr.com

At first glance, when looking at Genesis 3, it appears that Eve committed the first sin by eating the forbidden fruit.  She ate it first, and then gave some to her husband.

But if we fast forward to the New Testament, we see a different story.  Romans 5:12 says that sin came into the world through one man.

Not woman, man.

Let’s go back to Genesis and look at it again.

If sin entered the world through one man, then what was his sin?

After they had eaten the fruit, God found Adam and Even and told Adam that the ground was now cursed because he ate the forbidden fruit.  But Eve ate the fruit as well.  And she ate it first.  What else did Adam do wrong? “He listened to the voice of his wife”. (Gen 3:17)

Eating the fruit was the second sin.  The first sin was Adam abdicating his role as a man to lead his wife.

Where was Adam when the serpent was tempting Eve?

He was with her when Eve was tempted (Gen 3:6).  He was with her and yet he did nothing.

He didn’t fight.  He didn’t lead.

He followed.  He listened to the voice of his wife.

A dragon came (Rev 12:9), put his wife in a castle of lies, and he just stood there.

He went passive.

Sin entered the world because the first man didn’t play the man.

Satan took over the world because he was able to get Adam and Eve to function outside of their God given gender roles.

That worked pretty well for him.

Do you think he’s since stopped using that tactic?

How Do You Beat Boredom? [VIDEO]

When I was a kid, my family and I would have movie nights together.  One of the movies I remember watching was Never Cry Wolf.  Recently I watched it with my kids and my Dad (my kids didn’t care for it as much as I remember my brother and I did when we saw it twenty some years ago).  My dad remembered one part in particular that I, seeing it as a kid, had no recollection of.  Seeing it again as an adult, I understood why my dad liked the scene so much.  Check it out.

“Boredom, Tyler.  Boredom, that’s what’s wrong.

How do you beat boredom, Tyler?

Adventure.

Adventure, Tyler.”

So how do you live an adventurous life?

Get A Bigger Vision

Are you living for something bigger than yourself?  There’s nothing more unexciting and boring than living for yourself.  Whether your an unapologetic pagan who’s life revolves around yourself, or a professing Christian, sanctimoniously hiding your selfishness behind faithful church attendance, living for yourself is a lame existence.  There’s no adventure in living for something so small and impish.  Why not turn from yourself and your sin and radically reorient your life around Jesus and his mission.

Live For The Impossible

Think about what you’re living for.  Is it possible?  Possible is boring.  You think the creator became the created, allowed his creation to murder him, and conquered death by rising from the dead so that you could do what’s possible? You’re not called to do what’s possible.  God has called you to do what you could never do on your own.  The impossible is the natural habitat for the follower of Jesus.  Waking every morning with a sense of wonder is essential for an adventurous life.  There’s something exciting about standing face to face with an insurmountable obstacle wondering what incredible thing Jesus is going to do to enable you to overcome it.  Never settle for the possible.

Embrace Danger And Risk

At what level are you embracing danger and risk in your life?  The deception is that by avoiding danger and risk, you’re keeping yourself safe, when in fact you could be opening yourself up to the greatest danger of all: never living.  “To live without risk is to risk not living” (Brennan Manning)

Tackle Fear Head On

What’s more fun than overcoming fear by doing what you’re afraid of?  Doing what you’re afraid of, on purpose, is one of the best ways to live an adventurous life.

Accept Mystery And The Unknown

Some of the best movies are the ones where you never know what’s going to happen next.  Living with a sense of mystery, makes for an exciting adventure.  Not knowing how things will turn out or what things will look like adds to the suspense.  A predictable life is a boring life.

Live Empowered

There’s no adventure in a powerless life.  A powerless life is a hopeless life. The possibility of supernatural power is the possibility of adventure.  Believing that the God who raised the dead, healed the sick, forgave sins, parted the sea, fed the multitudes, stopped the sun, prophesied the future, walked on water, made animals talk, and sandals never wear out, believing that this God still does miracles today impregnates your life with the possibility of adventure.

Live Costly

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:21)  To live without cost is to live without heart.  To live without heart is to not live at all.  A cross-less “Christianity” is a sham and a bore. Stop hedging your bets. Go all in.

adventure_Tyler

… adventure Tyler… adventure.

Why I’m Blogging

megaphone

So I started a blog.  Here’s why:

  1. Platform For My Voice
    I believe God has called me to be a voice. A blog gives me a public platform to use written word, audio, and video to be that voice.
  2. Book Writing
    One of my life goals is to write books. This blog is my practice field and the place where content gets tested and tried.
  3. Thought Clarity
    I preach often and writing helps bring greater clarity to my thoughts.  A blog disciplines me to write often.
  4. Dialogue and Feedback
    Ideas grow and get refined when they are tested with other people.  A blog is a place to start conversations.
  5. Meet and Connect
    I love meeting and connecting with new people.  A blog brings people together around shared interests.
  6. Help People
    I’ve been challenged and transformed by great content all throughout my life.  I like to help people in the same way, by providing challenging content that transforms lives.  A blog provides a means to do that.
  7. It Makes Me Come Alive
    Providing challenging, transformational content makes me come alive. If it makes me come alive, it will give God the most glory and do people the most good.

(Image Credit: “stockimages” | FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I’m Starting A Blog

I’m finally doing it.  I’m starting a blog.  I’ve been wanting to do this for a while.

Back in 1998, in the old days of the internets, I used to send emails that I called “snipitats”.  Snipitats were random reflections on quotes, lyrics, or scriptures.  It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed the clarity of thought that writing them produced and the feedback I got from those who read them.

A lot has changed in the last 14 years since then and I have a lot I’d like to write and speak about.  I plan on using three different mediums to do it:  written word, video, and audio.

I will be blogging on topics like gender roles, the church, the gospel, the kingdom of God, marriage, family, parenting, dating, money, business, divine order, music, current events, the internet, and more.  The goal of this blog is to help people to “reign in life“.

I plan on posting regularly, with a minimum of two posts per week.  And my goal is to have some posts that happen on a weekly basis.  For example, every Friday, I’ll be posting the links I found interesting during that particular week.  Among those links I’ll feature some more prominently, like a song or video of the week.  I’m also hoping to do weekly posts on manhood.

I will link to audio messages where appropriate.  Any audio messages I preach at Bellicose Church or anywhere else will be added to my sermon audio podcast.  I won’t blog every message I preach, but each message will be added to the podcast.

I hate wasting my time with mediocre content as much as you do, so I will do my best to post content that’s worth your time.

If you want to get free email updates every time I post something new, enter your email address below. I promise I won’t share your email with anyone else.

I’d love to get your feedback on the things I post, so post your comments.

-Josh