Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Finding Freedom

"Real, pure, unadulterated freedom happens when the resources of the gospel smash any sense of need to secure for myself anything beyond what Christ has already secured for me." -- Tullian Tchividjian

Photo by Cynthia Cheney

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Warped Affections

"We exchange the truth about God for a lie. And because we do not believe in God as we should, something else comes to matter more to us than God. Sin is always the result of misplaced affections. Sin makes promises. When we believe those promises, we think sin offers more than God. This lie warps our affections. Our love, our delight, our fear, and our hope become misplaced." -- Tim Chester and Steve Timmis

Monday, December 29, 2014

What Does Jesus Want?

"Profession of Jesus as Lord is not asking for assent to the fact of his deity, but calling people to faithfulness, obedience, and allegiance towards him. Jesus wants followers not fans!" -- Michael Bird

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Greatest of Worldly Goods

"Friendship is the greatest of worldly goods. Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life. If I had to give a piece of advice to a young man about a place to live, I think I should say, sacrifice almost everything to live where you can be near your friends." -- C. S. Lewis

Photo by Kaleb Fulgham

New Graphic - The Gift of God - English & Romanian

Here is the newest graphic I made in English and Romanian. They are 1920 x 1080 (HD sized). You can download them here: 
English Romanian. If you click directly on the photo Blogger will open it and you can right click and download it that way as well but they will be a bit smaller (1600 x 900). Here is a link to all the graphics I have made so far: William's graphics

Photo by Coralie Mercier

Thursday, December 25, 2014

What Advent Points Us Towards

"This is what Advent points us towards. A seasonal reminder of presence. An annual celebration of God’s personal intervention and presence with us. Advent teaches us that God is with us and that God is for us. Advent shows us God-in-action working for his glory and for our good.  Our reflection of this reality cannot leave us to merely feel good about God with us, it must propel us forward to display the God whose image we bear." -- Jeremy Writebo

Related Links

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Why Did Jesus Come?

Have we lost sight of what Christmas is all about? What did Jesus say about why He came? This is the Toastmaster speech I did for Project 9, Persuade with Power, on December 23, 2014.

Related Link

The Central Miracle

"The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this. Just as every natural event is the manifestation at a particular place and moment of Nature’s total character, so every particular Christian miracle manifests at a particular place and moment the character and significance of the Incarnation." -- C. S. Lewis

Related Links

The Word Became Flesh

Here is a poem by Sam Storms about the incarnation that I came across. Take a few minutes to ponder what it says.

     The Word became flesh!
     God became human!
     the invisible became visible!
     the untouchable became touchable!
     eternal life experienced temporal death!
     the transcendent one descended and drew near!
     the unlimited became limited!
     the infinite became finite!
     the immutable became mutable!
     the unbreakable became fragile!
     spirit became matter!
     eternity entered time!
     the independent became dependent!
     the almighty became weak!
     the loved became the hated!
     the exalted was humbled!
     glory was subjected to shame!
     fame turned into obscurity!
     from inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief!
     from a throne to a cross!
     from ruler to being ruled!
     from power to weakness!

There is more in the blog post which this poem came from. Christmas Paradox: The Word Became Flesh

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Every Day Can Have Eternal Significance

"The mundane acts in the life of Christ remind us there is meaning in our daily tasks. The Incarnation shows us that every moment of every day can have eternal significance. When we file paperwork or sweep the floors we have the opportunity to do it as the image of God, portraying him accurately as Christ did." -- Andrew Spencer

Photo by KOREphotos

Related Links

Monday, December 22, 2014

It Was Good News

"It was good news to men that the Second Person of the Trinity added humanity to His deity, because it meant that there really was something compatible between God and man. Man can never become God; but if God can add humanity to His deity, it demonstrates that man really is made in His image. The incarnation shows that God is not necessarily an enemy to humanity. We never read that Jesus took the nature of angels, but He did take the nature of unfallen humanity. " -- David Guzik

Related Links

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Gospel Quote - Baptism is About Identity

"In addition to going, disciples of Jesus are commanded to baptize.  Baptism is primarily about identifying with Jesus and his lordship.  Baptism is an outward sign of an inward reality that we no longer live for ourselves, but for the sake of God and his glory." -- Todd Engstrom

Photo by David Meyer

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gospel Quote - Free to Lose

"The gospel frees us from the urge to self-gain, to push ourselves forward for our own purposes and agenda and self-esteem. When you understand that your significance, security, and identity are all anchored in Christ, you don’t have to win—you’re free to lose. And nothing in this broken world can beat a person who isn’t afraid to lose! You’ll be free to say crazy, risky, counterintuitive stuff like, 'To live is Christ and to die is gain'!" -- Tullian Tchividjian

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gospel Quote - Not a Recipe

"Jesus does not give recipes that show the way to God as other teachers of religion do. He is Himself the way." -- Karl Barth

Photo by jypsygen

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Gospel Quote - The Secret to Change

"When we go to the cross, we see our God dying for us. If you let any other god down, it will beat you up. If you live for people’s approval or your career or possessions or control or anything else and you don’t make it or you mess up, then you’ll be left feeling afraid, downcast, or bitter. But when you let Christ down, he still loves you. He doesn’t beat you up; he died for you. Let his love win your love, and let that love replace all other affections. The secret of change is to renew your love for Christ as you see him crucified in your place." -- Tim Chester

Photo by Racineur

Friday, December 12, 2014

Gospel Quote - Something Much Better

"Anytime the Lord calls you to “deny self”, it is not so He can deprive you, but so He can give you something so much better. Holiness is not about what you give up, it’s about what you gain: intimacy with Christ." -- Benjamin Morrison

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gospel Quote - Kingdom Focus

"Jesus didn’t die so we could create our own little social/political kingdoms in this age, but so that we would rejoice in the coming kingdom of the next." -- Caleb Flores

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Gospel Quote - Strength to Admit Weakness

"The gospel frees us from what one writer calls 'the law of capability'—the law, he says, “that judges us wanting if we are not capable, if we cannot handle it all, if we are not competent to balance our diverse commitments without a slip.” The gospel grants us the strength to admit we’re weak and needy and restless—knowing that Christ’s finished work has proven to be all the strength and fulfillment and peace we could ever want, and more. Since Jesus is our strength, our weaknesses don’t threaten our sense of worth and value. Now we’re free to admit our wrongs and weaknesses without feeling as if our flesh is being ripped off our bones." -- Tullian Tchividjian

Photo by George Duncan

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Gospel Quote - Fathering Like God

"The more a man settles into the perfect love of God, the more his fathering becomes an approximation of the perfect Father. The more rooted you are in God’s approval, the more inclined you are to give it to your kids. The more you are aware of the holiness of God, the more you will call your children into his holiness—cultivating their soul. The more you are aware of God’s unfathomable grace, the more quick you will be to extend it to your children." -- Jonathan Dodson

Photo by Kate Dreyer

Monday, December 08, 2014

Gospel Quote - What Evangelism is Not

"Evangelism is not about asking people to try Jesus the way they might try a new decaf moccacino latte from Starbucks. It is more like declaring the victory of the Lord Jesus over sin and death, warning of the judgment to be made by the Lord Jesus over all rebellion, and inviting people to find joy and satisfaction in the life and love that come from the Lord Jesus Christ." -- Michael Bird

Photo by Susanne Nilsson

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Gospel Quote - Behind Every Sin

"Sinful acts always have their origin in some form of unbelief. Behind every sin is a lie. The root of all our behaviour and emotions is the heart: what it trusts and what it treasures. People are given over to sinful desires because ‘they exchanged the truth of God for a lie’." -- Tim Chester

Photo by Texas.713

Friday, December 05, 2014

Gospel Quote - Grace Transforms

"Grace is not permission to sin, it is the power to overcome sin. By grace God forgives sin and transforms sinners into saints. Holiness is not a prerequisite for grace; it is a product of grace." -- Jeremy Treat

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Gospel Quote - No Spectators

"God has saved you, Christian, to send you out . . . into your city, and into the nations to tell the good news that Jesus has lived the life we could not live, died the death we deserve to die, and conquered the enemy that we cannot conquer. Christ has risen from the grave, and everyone who turns from their sin and trusts in Him will be reconciled to God forever. Every single Christian is on the earth to proclaim Christ. Every single one—no spectators." -- David Platt

Photo by Andrew Hart

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Gospel Quote - Can Stop Pretending

"Because of the gospel, we have nothing to prove or protect. We can stop pretending. We can take off our masks and be real. The gospel frees us from trying to impress people, appease people, measure up for people, or prove ourselves to people. The gospel frees us from the burden of trying to control what other people think about us. It frees us from the miserable, unquenchable pursuit to make something of ourselves by using others." -- Tullian Tchividjian

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Gospel Quote - One Supreme Message

"Christians have one supreme message: the gospel of Jesus Christ’s atoning death, glorious resurrection, and coming kingdom. Be defined by that message. Preach that and let everything else come second." -- Caleb Flores

Photo by Dale Carlson

Monday, December 01, 2014

Gospel Quote - Cross the Street

"While some people are called of God to move overseas to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, every believer in Christ is called to participate in making disciples of the nations. For some of us, engaging in discipling the nations means intentionally crossing the street to have a conversation.  It means doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality, and showing others how all of life is submitted to the reign and rule of Christ—even buying groceries, coaching soccer or enjoying hard work to the glory of God." -- Todd Engstrom

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt

Sunday, November 30, 2014

New Graphic - Proof that God Loves Sinners

Here is the latest graphic I made in English and Romanian. You can download them here: English Romanian or click on the image and download it directly. Here is a link to all the graphics I have made so far: William's graphics.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Gospel Quote - Lordship Living

"As Abraham Kuyper famously declared that “there is not a square inch in the whole domain of human existence which Christ who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’” If that is the case, then true discipleship is about dutifully and faithfully living out the lordship of Jesus Christ. Discipleship means ordering our lives according to his story, symbols, teaching, and authority." -- Michael Bird

Friday, November 28, 2014

Gospel Quote - Stop Running and Come Home

(Continued from yesterday) "God gave us the car-keys to planet earth and said, “Go have fun!” True, we responded by crashing the car. But don’t miss the bigger point, which is this: Knowing what we would do, and knowing how much it would cost him to repair the damage, God went ahead and did it anyway. Why? Because he loves us and believes in us and hopes that one day we will stop running and come home." -- Paul Ellis

Photo by Ryan McAbee

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gospel Quote - A Reckless Gamble

(Continued from yesterday) "Think about it. In the beginning God makes a planet – perfect in every way – and then he gives his beautiful, shiny planet to us to look after: ‛The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to man.’ (Psalms 115:16) You might say it was a reckless gamble, but I say it was an audacious act of love and trust, like when a father hands his daughter the keys to his Shelby Mustang and says, ‛Go have some fun!’”  -- Paul Ellis (Continued tomorrow)

Also Posted Today
Thanksgiving Graphic

Thanksgiving Graphic

Here is a Thanksgiving graphic I made in English and Romanian. They are 1200 x 830. You can download them here: English Romanian. Here is a link to all the graphics I have made so far: William's graphics. Photo by Teo

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Gospel Quote - Didn't Wash His Hands of Us

Photo by Lucille Pine

(Continued from yesterday) "But God, good Father that he is, didn’t wash his hands of us. He didn’t say, “What a bunch of screw-ups. They’re no kids of mine.” Instead, he made things right, indeed, even better than before, because he still believes in us, he still thinks the best of us, and he longs for us to trust him back. Is this not the greatest untold story of human history?" -- Paul Ellis (Continued tomorrow)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Gospel Quote - Test vs. Trust

(Continued from yesterday) "This explains the tree. The forbidden tree was not an obedience test, as in, fail the test and God will punish you. The forbidden tree was an opportunity to trust God. Tragically, we didn’t and we paid a price." -- Paul Ellis (Continued tomorrow)

Monday, November 24, 2014

What the Church Can Learn from Country Music

Photo by Bob Jagendorf

I recently read a thought provoking blog post titled Why Country Music is So Popular (and What the Church Can Learn From it) which I really enjoyed. Here is a part of it:
People listen to music for a variety of reasons. My mood and temperament may be the catalyst that helps me decide between listening to U2 or Eric Church.  But when it comes down to it, I am really comforted by the stories, especially the ones that have a God/sin contradiction. It is as if I finally have found a place where people are like me. Now, I don’t have problems with bars, alcohol, or being in love with someone other than my wife, but I do have problems that are just as serious to me. I live the same contradiction that country musicians are not afraid to write about.
Why do I struggle? Why do you struggle? Why do we, who have put our trust in Jesus for our sins, struggle to talk about the contradiction that we live? It is because of our own expectations or the expectations of others? Or is it because of the voices that we listen to. Do we really understand the gospel and the grace of God that is ours in Jesus? Do we really know deep in our hearts who we are now because of Jesus? Do we listen to His voice?

We should learn from country music how to be real and confess our struggles. We are messy and hypocrites, there is no use denying it. But thankfully that is not the end of the song. Because of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives we have hope. We have hope of becoming more like Jesus with each passing day and we have the hope that when we see Him face-to-face we will be just like Him. Not because of wishful thinking but because the Bible tells us so. See 2 Corinthians 3:18 and 1 John 3:2-3.

So let's be real and confess our sins to one another but let's also be hopeful and offer words of hope and encouragement to one another as we learn to open up and admit our weaknesses and struggles. Let's write our own country music songs but let's end them by always pointing to Jesus and the hope we have in Him.

Gospel Quote - The Single Most Astonishing Discovery

"The single most astonishing discovery in the gospel is that Almighty God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, has faith in us. He trusts us. He gives us the freedom to choose, encourages us to “Choose life,” and then lets us decide." -- Paul Ellis (Continued tomorrow)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Behind Every Sin - New Graphic

Here is the newest graphic I made in English and Romanian. They are 1920 x 1080 (HD sized). You can download them here: English Romanian. If you click directly on the photo Blogger will open it and you can right click and download it that way as well but they will be a bit smaller (1600 x 900). Here is a link to all the graphics I have made so far: William's graphics

Photo by Texas.713

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gospel Quotes - Making Disciples

"Scripture gives us a number of ways to know who is truly a follower of Christ. For example, those who repent of their sin, trust in Christ, and surrender to his lordship have the marks of a true disciple. Those are foundational responses to the gospel. But did you know that being a disciple also means that you ought to be making disciples? If you’re a follower of Christ, you weren’t made to be a spectator; you were made to be a disciple-maker." -- David Platt

The Story of the Messiah (5:47)

The story of the Messiah as told in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. What does Messiah mean? Check the link to find out.

Other Videos in the Bible Project Series
The Story of Heaven and Earth (6:42)
Genesis Chapters 1-11

Genesis Chapters 12-50 (5:06)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gospel Quotes - Okay with Not Being Okay

"The gospel liberates us to be okay with not being okay. We know we’re not okay—though we try very hard to convince ourselves and other people that we’re basically fine. But the gospel tells us, 'Relax, it is finished. The pressure’s off.'" -- Tullian Tchividjian

 Photo by Coba

Pastoring & Leadership Related Links

Here are the best pastoring and leadership related blog posts I came across lately. If you are serving others or discipling someone you may find some good "food for thought".
  1. The Recipe for a Successful Pastor
  2. Questions are the Answer
  3. 10 Wise Leadership Lessons I’ll Never Forget
  4. What Happens When We Go to Scripture Looking for an Outline, Not for Life
  5. Why Trust Matters More Than You Realize (And 3 Ways To Create It)
  6. Twenty-One Words That Describe Christian Leadership
  7. You Need Others’ Voices

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gospel Quotes - The Only Riches You Are Promised

"Jesus’ death means he has taken on your sin, in exchange for his righteousness. God has shown us “the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). These are the only riches you are promised in this life—the joy and peace that comes with knowing that you have a good and loving God who has saved you at the infinite cost of his only Son." -- Caleb Flores

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Being Fully Present - A Christian Perspective

It is obvious that our technology today is having a negative impact on our ability to really connect with each other. Over a year ago I gave a speech at our Toastmaster's Club here in Brașov about this very subject titled Be Fully Present.

How should Christians view and deal with this problem? I came across an excellent blog post today that talked about this issue titled The Presence of Mind to Be Present by Jeremy Writebol. Here is what he had to say:
One practical way that love expresses itself is by our presence with others when we are actually with them. It seems to be the case more and more that whenever my wife and I go out on a date, we notice other couples in the room sitting at the same table staring intently into the World Wide Web on their cell phone. The glow of the smart-device covers their face and the concentration and devotion they exhibit towards whatever they are looking at is obvious. However, it looks rather odd to see two people at the same table staring into two devices and spending a significant amount of time not talking to one another. I often wonder if they are unable to talk and send one another text messages to communicate. It seems that this sort of ailment is occurring more and more these days. And  myself am not innocent.
You can read the rest here.