Christianity 201

June 28, 2015

Maybe They’ve Never Seen The Real Christ

francis chanFrancis Chan in the book, ChurchLeaders.Com Top 100 (2012):

As Christians in America, we often complain about how antagonistic people are toward Christ.  Personally, I’m not sure that Americans are really rejecting Christ.  Maybe they just haven’t seen Him.

Try to be COMPLETELY honest with yourself right now.  Is the following true of you?

    • You passionately love Jesus, but you don’t really want to be like Him.
    • You admire His humility, but you don’t want to be THAT humble.
    • You think it’s beautiful that he washed the feet of the disciples, but that’s not exactly the direction your life is headed.
    • You’re thankful He was spit upon and abused, but you would never let that happen to you.
    • You praise him for loving you enough to suffer during his whole time on Earth, but you’re going to do everything within your power to make sure you enjoy your time down here.

In short:  You think He’s a great Savior, but not a great role model.

The American church has abandoned the most simple and obvious truth of what it means to follow Jesus:  You actually follow His pattern of life.  I pray for those who read this article – that we don’t become cynical or negative toward the church.  Instead, let’s make a personal decision to stop talking so much and begin living like Jesus.  Then we can say as the Apostle Paul,Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”  (1 Corinthians 11:1).  My guess is that you’ve never had someone say that to you, and you’ve never said it to anyone else. Why not?

May we make it our goal to someday have someone say of us:  “The day/hour/15 minutes I spent with _________ was the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to walking with Jesus.”


This morning our pastor mentioned my name in the sermon. That always zaps me back to attention! He was discussing all the various names given to God in scripture, and that there are, by some counts, over 600! Then he said he saw this on my blog.  Actually, Pastor Mike Stone of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Georgia posted these on his blog in 2010, and I thought it would be good to reproduce them here one more time. For those who want to dig a little deeper; the second-last one is also the title of a very hold hymn, which is how I came to learn of these names while still a teenager.

Genesis 22 – Jehovah Jireh – The Lord, my Provider

Exodus 15 – Jehovah Rapha – The Lord who heals

Exodus 17 – Jehovah Nissi – The Lord, my banner

Exodus 31 – Jehovah M’Kaddesh – The Lord who sanctifies

Deuteronomy 33 – Jehovah Chereb – The Lord, my Sword

Deuteronomy 33 – Jehovah Magen – The Lord, my Shield

Judges 6 – Jehovah Shalom – The Lord, my Peace

1 Samuel 1 – Jehovah Sabaoth – Lord of the hosts of heaven

Psalm 3 – Jehovah Kahbodi – The Lord, my Glory

Psalm 10 – Jehovah Malech-Olam – The Lord who is king forever

Psalm 18 – Jehovah Chezeq – The Lord, my strength

Psalm 18 – Jehovah Misqabbi – The Lord, my strong tower

Psalm 18 – Jehovah Naheh – The Lord who smites the enemy

Psalm 18 – Jehovah Seli – The Lord, my Rock

Psalm 20 – Jehovah Hoshea – The Lord, my Savior

Psalm 23 – Jehovah Rohi – The Lord, my Shepherd

Psalm 24 – Jehovah Milchamma – The Lord, mighty in battle

Psalm 27 – Jehovah Ori – The Lord, my Light

Psalm 89 – Jehovah Gannan – The Lord who is my defense

Psalm 91 – Jehovah Machsi – The Lord my Refuge

Psalm 98 – Jehovah Hamelech – The Lord, my King

Isaiah 40 – Jehovah Bara – The Lord, my Creator

Isaiah 49 – Jehovah Goel – The Lord, my Redeemer

Jeremiah 16 – Jehovah Ma’oz – The Lord, my Fortress

Jeremiah 23 – Jehovah Tsidkenu – The Lord, my righteousness

Ezekiel 48 – Jehovah Shammah – The Lord who is present


The book mentioned at the beginning of today’s post is available from CBD

December 6, 2010

Doing the Faith

I suppose in one sense, if you’re going to read a blog called Christianity 201, it’s because you feel you’ve got a bit of a handle on Christianity 101, and are looking for something deeper.

I enjoy posting devotional material here daily. I write some of it, but I also have a wonderful daily journey trying to find new writers and new sources of food for thought. I wish you could see that process in action.

In the last 48 hours or so however, as I’ve been reading various things, I’ve been convinced again that what we know and what we’ve studied is somewhat meaningless if it doesn’t reflect it self in our actions, in what we do. The Christian Bookseller’s Association has a motto that they h0pe motivates their various retail members: “What goes into a mind comes out in a life.” That’s how it should be with faith. A lot of learning, a lot of studying is meaningless if we aren’t involved in the outworking of Biblical truth into daily living.

So today, I’m going to simply repeat something I blogged at Thinking Out Loud under the title Be That Person. If this applies to anyone, it especially applies to the readers here at Christianity 201.

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I was in my early 20’s and really struggling with college and relationships and everything in between. Then a couple from my church asked me over for lunch one day. They were older than I was, with kids in junior high. They could see that I was hurting and offered friendship and listened to my story, and then offered some good advice that only a fresh perspective could bring. They also introduced me to one of the seniors in the church who was this incredible storehouse of the kind of wisdom I really needed. I am so thankful that both the couple and the older person reached outside their social circle to help me at a point in life where I was feeling very lost.

So many times you hear stories of people coming along side and helping out someone they hardly know or don’t know. That’s the appeal of books like So You Don’t Want To Go Church Anymore or The Noticer. Here’s the deal: Each and every person reading this has the potential to be a mentor to someone else. Not just “an encourager,” but someone who truly invests in someone else’s life. I can guarantee that there’s somebody out there who you’re older than, who you’ve had more life experiences than. Your story can intersect with their story.

Everyone reading this has the potential to be a life-changer to someone else, to be the person in the story who makes a difference in someone else’s life.

Someone — three people, actually — in the above story stepped up to meet the need. Be that person! Find someone about whom God strongly indicates that because of the nature of your personal story, you have something constructive to speak into that person’s life.

The next time you hear a story about someone who reached into someone else’s life to make a lasting contribution, be the person in the story.

October 3, 2010

Leading Others to Growth

When I first read this post on Kevin Rogers blog, The Orphan Age, my first reaction was that it would fit well on any number of general leadership blogs.   But the more I thought about how it applies to the discipleship process and mentoring (or what we sometimes call Paul-Timothy relationships), or church life in general, I realized there’s something here that everyone — not just people in leadership — needs to see.

By Kevin Rogers

Some lead according to their stature and height.  They build a ceiling on vision just above their own head.  As long as other leaders and followers are shorter in stature, they can live comfortably in the containment of the leader’s vision.

The Pharisees led people with a clearly defined ceiling on God’s House.  If they stretched up on tippy-toe, they could touch the ceiling.  They felt taller than others and thought they were authorized to define maximum growth potential.

In a small aquarium fish will only grow to a size suitable to their environment.  The same fish in the wild can grow several times larger.

Indoor plants will only grow to the maximum potential of the soil pot they are planted in.  They can grow several times larger when they have more resources.

On the birch tree in my front yard, there were two posts in the ground alongside the slender trunk of the young tree.  The tree had the advantage of stabilizers while it grew to maturity.

Your role in leading leaders is to come alongside and join to them to provide stability so they can grow straight and tall.

It’s not your job to put a ceiling on how big they can grow, unless you want to keep them small like goldfish in a bowl.

Advice from Ross Perot about how to treat your people: “Never ask anyone to do what you haven’t done before and wouldn’t do again. That’s a pretty fundamental rule in leadership…treat them like you treat yourself. Things you don’t like, they don’t like. You don’t like to be jerked around, they don’t either. You don’t like to be talked down to, and they don’t either. You would rather work with somebody than for somebody. So would they. You hate people who pound on your head after you gave everything you had and failed…It’s that simple.”

~ Bits & Pieces, August, 20, 1992, p. 3.