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I’ll Take This One

Posted by Pastor J.D. on January 12, 2017
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If you ever want to see the whole gospel displayed in one story in the Old Testament, look no further than the story of Ruth. After following her mother-in-law to an unfamiliar land and making it her own, Ruth meets Boaz, who becomes her kinsman redeemer, restoring her family’s inheritance and turning Naomi’s bitterness into sweetness.

Through Boaz and Ruth’s union, the line of David would be established, from which was born Jesus, who took on the curse of death itself to buy us back and become our Kinsman Redeemer.

The story of Ruth is a beautiful picture of Christ, and it gives us two important gospel truths that are key to understanding this concept of redemption.

First, God uses the least likely as his instruments of redemption.

At the same time that Samson, an Israelite hero strong enough to knock down the walls of a huge temple, is off messing around with Delilah and swapping his country’s safety for some cheap thrills, a Moabite girl is forsaking everything to follow God. Ruth had everything stacked against her. She was a poor, childless widow from a hated race.

Yet Ruth, not Samson, brought Jesus into the world.

You see, God works through availability, not ability. He doesn’t need your ability, your money, or your talents. He calls only for your complete and total obedience. Continue Reading…

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Every Book of the Bible Is About Jesus

Posted by Pastor J.D. on January 10, 2017
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Just after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to a couple of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, and began to explain to them—from Moses and all the prophets, how every story in the Old Testament had been about him. He was trying to give them confidence that he really was who he had told them he was.

You might think that the resurrection itself was enough proof. But evidently Jesus believed it would be even more convincing to show them that every single page of a book written by more than 30 different authors over the space of 1,500 years had consistently told one story, and it was all about him.

We don’t know exactly what he said that day, but I imagine it would have sounded something like this:

In Genesis, I was the Word of God, creating the heavens and the earth.
In Exodus, I was the Passover Lamb, whose blood was sprinkled on the doorposts of your heart so that you could escape the bonds of slavery.
In Leviticus, I was the temple, the holy place where you met with God.
In Numbers, I was your ever-present guide, your pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night.
In Deuteronomy, I was the prophet coming who is greater than Moses.

Continue Reading…

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In Long Beach, California, you can visit the Queen Mary, a ship that’s been turned into a museum. It was originally launched as the ultimate luxury cruise liner of its time. But during World War II, it was commandeered to carry troops back and forth in battle. You can go onto the ship now and see examples of both setups: When it was a luxury liner, it accommodated 3,000 people with every possible convenience; in wartime, however, it was refitted to house 15,000 people. Rooms that once slept one couple could now hold eight soldiers.

Wartime and peacetime demand different things. The same is true for us.

In his farewell message to the church leaders in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul shares with them the values he’s lived by, values that give us crucial insight into how the Holy Spirit wants all believers to think about their lives.

Paul starts by saying that in his life, he made sure his generation knew the truth: “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable …. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:20a, 26-27 ESV).

Paul saw himself primarily as the bearer of a message. As a messenger, he was not responsible for whether people liked the message—only that they heard it. For Paul, this was very serious business: “I am innocent of the blood of all.”

That seems like an odd statement. But Paul uses strong language because he sees the gospel as the life or death message that it is. Continue Reading…