What is your Gospel? You may be confused with that question, but it really is a simple question. The word Gospel means “Good news.” The reason that the Gospel is good news is because of what Jesus did on the cross. He died for our sins so that we could have an eternity in Heaven with him instead of an eternity in Hell without him. This is good news.
This is AMAZING NEWS!
In the Book of Galatians, Paul is dealing with this. The people that he is writing to are being swayed by false preachers and are accepting false gospels. The false gospel being presented to them was Jesus plus something else. Or your works can somehow get you into heaven. Because of these false gospels there were many people who were turning away from their faith in Jesus Christ.
Think about this…What is the one thing that comes to your mind that would make you happier than anything else. This is your ultimate good news. If that thing makes you happier than your relationship with Jesus, then you are living your life for a false Gospel.
It’s not wrong to be happy about good news. It’s not wrong to have desires other than your desire for Jesus. We all have desires. This is normal. It becomes a problem when your desires become your source of salvation. Jesus plus something else is nothing it all. It’s all or nothing with Jesus. Jesus will not play second fiddle for anyone or anything.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is supposed to be good news. But why is it that we sometimes treat it like anything but? Why is it that we get more excited over a football game? Why is it that we get more excited about the stuff that we accumulate that will only fade over time? We show more excitement over things that ultimately don’t matter and will fade away over the one that will never fade. The one who is eternal and that’s Jesus.
The gospel is HIGH STAKES. My fear is that there are many people who are living their lives for a false gospel. A gospel that promises happiness but only leads to eternal ruin. Your gospel will either carry you to Heaven or drag you to Hell.
Ultimately there is only one true Gospel. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Do you truly know this Gospel? Is it enough for you? If it’s not then it may be time for a heart check.
The date was February 12, 2021. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was a day that changed my life forever. It started out with a phone call from my Dad. He told me that my Mom had passed out, that she was in a coma, and was being rushed to the hospital. The news stunned me. My heart sank and immediately I wept. I had a bad feeling that the end was near for my Mom in this world. She did not pass away on that day. On that day we saw many miracles happen. The doctors said that she would not make it through the day. She did. God kept my mom alive for almost another month. She passed away on March 5 of 2021. It was the weeks leading up to her death that I will remember forever. The weeks between when she first went into her coma and her death were chaos. It was that chaos that led me to brokenness. It was that brokenness that led me before a sovereign God, weeping, crying out to the Father, pleading that he would heal my mother and let her live. During that time I had never felt more helpless in my life. But it was also during that time that I had never felt closer to God. Up until that point I was just living my life. I was seeing God move in my ministry. I had several speaking opportunities that I was excited about. I was very focused on me. I was focused on building my ministry kingdom. How do I make much of me? When my Mom went into her coma all of that changed. I wasn’t focused on any of that. My focus, my heart shifted from myself to God. It was the chaos of what happened to my Mom and the brokenness that came from that, that led me to refocus my vision and my heart from myself to God. It was the chaos in my life that broke me. And it was that brokenness that led me to put my focus on God.
Chaos leads to brokenness. That has been my thought as I study through Nehemiah again. Last week in my blog post I talked about how Nehemiah was off living his life, doing his own thing until a wake up call in the form of Hanani came and he told Nehemiah about the chaos that was going on in Jerusalem. We will see in verse 4 of chapter 1 of Nehemiah that it was the chaos of Jerusalem that led Nehemiah to being broken before God. Let’s check the verse out.
“As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 1:4
I can relate to those words all too well. On February 12 of 2021, as soon as I heard my Dad’s words, I wept. I mourned. I prayed. I think that you can relate to those words as well. There is something about chaos and brokenness that will either bring people together or it will divide them. Brokenness will lead you to do one of two things. It will lead you to grow bitter. How many times has that happened in a believer’s life? Chaos happens. Someone in their family dies. Or someone hurts them so bad that they can’t get over it. Whatever it is, that chaos leads them to being broken. But instead of that brokenness leading them to God. It leads them to bitterness. Bitterness is one of the worst things that could ever infect a human being. Bitterness has been around since Cain and Abel. It has destroyed many. Hebrews 12:5 says this about bitterness. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” Bitterness destroys. Don’t let your brokenness lead to bitterness. And if your heart grows bitter, go to God with worship. The second thing that brokenness will lead you to do is worship. This is a sign of a mature Christian. Whenever chaos ensues. When the rain is pouring. When life delivers an unfair blow. The mature Christian doesn’t grow in bitterness, they turn to God and worship. They know that the chaos that they find themselves in hurts. It has broken them. But they refuse to let that brokenness destroy their faith. They use that brokenness as a chance to worship God.
This is exactly what Nehemiah did. As soon as he heard about the chaos of Jerusalem, it led him to being broken and that brokenness led to worship. Nehemiah didn’t deny the fact that the chaos in Jerusalem didn’t hurt him. It did. It hurt him so much that it says that as soon as he heard these words he sat down and wept. Hanani’s words hit him like a brick wall. But what I love about Nehemiah is that he did not grow bitter. He worshipped. In fact in verse 5 he tells God how great and awesome God is. In some translations it says “awe inspiring.’’ When is the last time that you can say that your brokenness led you to being in awe of God?
The chaos of Jerusalem woke Nehemiah up. The chaos of Jerusalem broke Nehemiah. The chaos of Jerusalem led Nehemiah to worship. The chaos of Jerusalem led Nehemiah to get to work. The coma and the death of my mom led me to brokenness. But from that brokenness it led me to a heart fully focused on God. What is the chaos in your life leading you to? Is it leading you to worship or bitterness? Is it leading you to get to work for God’s glory or is it leading you to pout and to go into hiding? In the words of a former Pastor of mine, “As always its your choice. choose wisely.”
It is time for us to start praying “himpossible prayers.” You may be asking what in the world is a “himpossible” prayer? A himpossible prayer is a prayer that is only possible if God intervenes. I think that sometimes we play it safe in our prayer lives. We pray prayers that we can answer ourselves. What would it look like if You started praying a prayer that was so impossible that the only way it would be possible if God showed up? Prayer brings us closer to God. I have seen personally how my faith has grown when I am praying prayers that are so big that only God can answer. It’s not about getting things from God. It’s about recognizing that you are not the center of the universe. That you have limitations and can only do so much, but there is a God who has no limitations and can do more in one moment than we can in a lifetime of trying. When we realize this, it brings God glory. There is something humbling about prayer for the impossible. On having to depend on God. We have become far to safe and comfortable in the Church. It’s time to be done with “bedtime prayers” Where we just go down a list and pray with no passion. It’s time to have passion. It’s time to come to God like he is our last hope, because he is. Our world needs a few “himpossible” prayers. What if our biggest resolution for this new year was to fall on our faces before God and pray some “himpossible” prayers.
I remember whenever I was 16 years old and God called me to ministry. At first I was hesitant. Up to that point I had wanted to be a football coach. I loved everything about football and I wanted my life to be associated with the game of football in some way or another. I remember in my sophomore year of High School, God began to give me different desires. My desire to do ministry grew over my desire to do football related things. Before I knew it I was reading books about Church history, theology, anything that had to do with Jesus and the Church I was reading it. After months of struggling as to whether or not God was calling me into the ministry, I finally just let go of what I thought my future would look like and I handed it over to God. At least I thought I did…
Shortly after accepting God’s call to go into ministry I started mapping out my plans for ministry. I had BIG dreams. I was reading every book I could find on the Church. My pastor subscribed to this magazine called ‘’Outreach magazine”. Whenever I interned at my Home Church I would take the magazines that he had read, home with me so that I would be up to date on all the Church trends. My passion for ministry was red hot. My plan was to go to Ouachita Baptist University, meet the girl of my dreams, graduate, get married, plant a church, and be the pastor of a megachurch by the time I was 25. I had BIG dreams.
I did go to OBU for one semester and then I went home. Shortly after that it seemed like all of my ministry dreams was going down the drain. I remember being 26 years old STILL trying to finish my degree, looking at all the dreams I had thinking that God had abandoned me.
Here’s the thing…God never abandoned me. The problem with my dreams was 1. My character was not where it needed to be to carry the load of those dreams. My character had to catch up to my calling. 2. The dreams were in no way about God. They were about me and my success. I was more focused on building my kingdom and climbing the ministry ladder of success. I lost sight on the calling that God had on my life. Preach the gospel. Not seek worldly success. In a way I was kind of like Joseph. If you remember, Joseph was given a dream from God on what his life would look like. The problem was that early on, Joseph made the dream that God gave him all about himself. He bragged about that dream to his brothers and they did not take to kindly to it. Joseph had a calling, but his character had to catch up to it. Eventually everything God called Joseph to, happened. It just didn’t happened in the way that he expected. The same thing happened with me. Eventually God led me to ministry. I just had to take a long detour to get there. Are there things that I still hope God does in my life? Absolutely! The difference is that now I am trying my best to make sure I am making it all about Him and not about myself. I am placing my dreams, my hopes, my desires in His hands, and I’m trusting that whatever He sees fit for my life will be exactly what I need.
Maybe today you feel a lot like this. You have had plans but they keep failing. Maybe your life doesn’t look like you thought it would like. Maybe there has been hurt in your life. The loss of a loved one. Your health has abandoned you. Someone close to you has betrayed you. Dreams that you once had now look like a distant memory. Whatever it is I want you to take heart. God never does anything by accident. Sometimes that can be a bitter pill to swallow. But you can either trust in His sovereignty and worship Him or you can grow bitter.
Before you give up and throw your hands in the air, ask yourself these 3 questions.
Are my dreams about me or about bringing glory to God?
What is God trying to teach me while I wait?
How can I use this hurt to bring glory to God?
If you start asking yourself these questions you will start to see a shift in your attitude. You will go from ‘’Woe is me,’’ to ‘’None of this makes sense, but God is good, he has a plan for my life, and he can absolutely be trusted.’’