Tuesday, April 1, 2014

World History's Two Greatest Events

The Gutenberg Printing Press was invented around 1440 having a huge impact on learning, communications and much more worldwide.  The United States Constitution was adopted September 17, 1787, establishing a new form of government the world had never witnessed before.  These are two significant events in world history, but are they the greatest?  Here are my top two:  1) The incarnation of Jesus of Nazareth.  2) The resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.  Let me explain.

The incarnation of Jesus occurred about 5 B.C.  The world still celebrates this annually through the Christmas holiday.  We remember how Jesus left heaven and came to earth in the form of a baby.  We remember the day when God clothed Himself in human flesh becoming like one of us.  It is the recognition of Jesus as fully God and fully man and the declaration of Jesus’ Deity.

The resurrection of Jesus occurred about A.D. 33.  The world still celebrates this annually through the Easter holiday.  We remember when Jesus suffered, died by crucifixion, was buried and after three days rose again and is still alive 2,000 years later.  Most importantly, it is the confirmation of Jesus’ Deity. 

Why are these two historic events the greatest?  Because they declared to the world in Jesus’ own words, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), which has become a beacon of hope for mankind across all culture and time.

Jesus’ Deity and proof of it declared He is the way.  All mankind is searching to worship something in an attempt to navigate through this world.  Jesus proved He is worthy of our worship.   

Jesus’ Deity and proof of it declared He is the truth.  All of us long for the truth, to know what is right and wrong and how to live a life free from guilt and shame.  Jesus proved He is the standard for truth balancing the scales of justice and raising the flag of morality in an evil world. 

Jesus’ Deity and proof of it declared He is the life.  All of us want the intangible things that money, power, success and possessions can never buy – life, real life.  Jesus proved He is the source and giver of real and lasting life. 
Experience history’s two greatest events.  Make them yours by trusting in Jesus to change you into a new person by simply calling upon Him in faith.  May Christ be your hope for today.  


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Remembering St. Patrick

If you are like me St. Patrick’s Day might be about watching a parade, wearing green or for some, having a few drinks at the pub.

It is part of human nature to forget all-together or do a little historic revisionism as time passes for significant events. You know, every year the fish story becomes more amazing. This is the case with St. Patrick’s Day. It was meant to honor Patrick and the incredible legacy he left, not just to celebrate Irish heritage.

Patrick was born British and lived 385-461. His parents were very religious, but he wanted nothing to do with their faith. As a teenager his life dramatically changed when an Irish mob abducted and sold him into slave labor in Ireland. For six years he served as a shepherd watching over his master’s sheep. During those years of quiet suffering he came to know the God of His parents. Eventually, he was led by God to escape slavery in miraculous fashion. He made his way back home to Britain. There Patrick prepared for a career in ministry. In time, he was convicted by God that he must return to the land of his slavery and spread the good news of Christ. He boarded a boat that took him to the shores of Ireland for a second time, this time of his own choosing. The day he stepped onto Irish shores began 29 years of a legendary mission.

Ireland in Patrick’s day was an evil and dangerous place. Knowing this in advance, Patrick recounted in his writings, The Confession saying, "I am ready to be murdered, betrayed, enslaved -- whatever may come my way." It was an epic battle of light versus darkness which made for mythical type stories that followed Patrick’s work. Upon his death in 461 light had won the battle setting a new course for the Irish. God used Patrick to see over 120,000 people baptized and 300 churches planted.

St. Patrick’s Day is about remembering two things. 1 – Remember what God can do through someone who is wholly surrendered to Him. 2 – Remember how God loved Patrick enough to rescue him from slavery and how He loved the Irish enough to send Patrick with His good news.

Remember the real Patrick and the good news which changed a nation. "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation" (Mark 16:15). Like Patrick, may Jesus be your hope for today.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Path to Eternal Citizenship

My last name has German roots and I have been told in Germany "Decker" is common as Miller or Smith in the United States. And my mother’s maiden name is Broman, which has roots in Finland and Switzerland. I believe my family immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island sometime in the early 1900’s. Immigration statistics began in 1820, in that year 8,385 people started a new life in America. Then in 2012, 192 years later, 1,031,631 people were granted permanent residence in the U.S.

Millions upon millions have crossed our nation’s boarders and gone through a process to be declared a United States citizen with all its rights and privileges. Then immigrants have the door of opportunity thrown wide open to pursue their turn at the American Dream.   

When my family came to America nearly two centuries ago they received America’s extended hand of compassion welcoming them. At the same time, those who came outside the designated path of citizenship received its justice. According to the Department of Homeland Security, in 1892, when they started tracking deportations, 2,801 people were sent back to their home country and in 2012 the number was 409,489.

God through Jesus Christ extends His compassion inviting us to receive His gift of eternal life and come to His home in heaven. Just as immigrants to America are not born U.S. citizens, so none of us are born heaven’s citizens. Rather, we all must walk through God’s path to eternal citizenship.

Some may try to come to outside of God’s plan. They may think by giving of their time and money to those in need or by church attendance and service they can assure themselves a spot in God’s glorious kingdom. Yet, Jesus says there is only one-way into His kingdom declaring, "I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6). Not following God’s path assures us we will meet His hand of His justice being denied entry to His heaven and separated from Him forever in hell – the eternal dwelling for the lawless.

God has laid out a plan for citizenship in His celestial kingdom. Out of His compassion, He extends an invitation, inviting you to turn from your sinful deeds and to Christ. By faith receive His hope for you today


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A New Start

As a sunrise means the start of a new day, so January means the start of a new year.  Our world is filled with examples of new starts.  The toss of a coin on a football field is the start of a new game, the exchange of vows in a wedding ceremony is the start of a new life-long relationship and the first day on a job is the start of new opportunities.  Examples of new starts are all around us.  They can teach us a few things.

First, they teach us about perseverance. Life can make us weary. It can make us feel like giving up and saying to ourselves, "I can’t do this anymore." However, January can be a new start. Will you give up or accept that last year is gone and renew your commitment to give your best and keep pressing onward?

Second, a new start teaches us about opportunity. January shouts saying, "Hey, it is a new year what are you going to do with it?" We may have opportunities to begin a new career, help someone who is in need, or fulfill a lifelong dream. Will we allow them to come and go or will we rise up, seize these opportunities and do our best with the chances we have been given?

Third, a new start teaches us about the grace of God. As New Year’s Day symbolizes the occasion to commence a better year, so the grace of God is the chance to inaugurate the start of a new and redeemed life.

As we have done nothing to cause the rising of the morning sun, so we have done nothing to earn this grace of God and the redemption it provides. What is this amazing grace? It is an expression of God’s love shown through the death and resurrection of His Son whom provided the forgiveness of sins our hearts desperately need.

The Scriptures say, "Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).Today, draw near to God and seek His grace that His love may wash you clean and place within you a new heart and mind. Indeed, may His love be your hope for today and this new year.