Jesus is Our Redeemer

22 04 2012

This morning at CBC we looked at Jesus as “Our Redeemer”.

Today is Earth Day and a good day to talk about damaged good. I believe that God created the earth and called it good. I also believe that good stewardship is a God idea. So today is a good day to think about redeeming what we’ve damaged.

Last Friday Baltimore hosted a Fail B’more conference where people were discussing making good on failure. Jason Hardebeck (pictured) sold his co. WhoGlue to FB He said, “Innovation is about trying stuff that doesn’t work until you find something that does. Failure is a bad thing only if it takes too long or costs too much, or you don’t learn from it.”

Our English word “redeem” is from the Latin “to buy back – the liberation of any possession, object, or person, usually by payment of a ransom.” Redeem: preserve, purchase, ransom, rescue, save…restoration, healing, new life.

Bought back: We’re in a transition in our economy where some people are buying back things that they sold. I thought this story was fun.

When he sold his beloved Austin 10 in 1967, Pete Thomson (pictured) assumed that would be the last he ever saw of it.

However he has amazingly been reunited with his car after the 44-year gap – and was astounded to find it had only done ten miles since he sold it.

Pete, from Whitby in North Yorkshire, first bought the classic 1934 Austin in 1959 when he was serving in the Royal Engineers. He paid £45 for the car, keeping it for eight years before he sold it on for around £400.

Pete, 73, said: ‘A car like that being sold today would probably cost in the region of £6,500  to buy but I got mine for a lot less.

“There has been a lot of money spent by the various owners doing it up but it has only been roadworthy for about the last 12 months.’

God has always been about the process of redemption.

The first time that God came to earth and spoke His own name so that it could be heard he called himself, “Yahweh”, which means: Creator – Redeemer.

God alone has the ability to save His people from slavery and captivity.

Here’s a few examples of God revealing Himself as a Redeemer:

Exodus 6:6 God promises to redeem them from Egyptian captivity

Psalm 34:22 “the Lord will redeem those who serve Him. No one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned.

Isaiah 63:7-9 “In His love and mercy He redeemed them.”

Proverbs 23:10-11 “don’t take the land of the defenseless orphans. For their Redeemer is strong;”

Psalm 19:14 “may the words…be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”

In the story of Ruth, we see a human example of this called a “kinsman-redeemer”. This is the relative who restores or preserves the full community rights of disadvantaged family members.

As we look to Jesus “Our Redeemer” try reading: Hebrews 9:11-12, 14-15, 26-28 “Christ, secured our redemption forever,”

Early Christians were know to repeat this saying: “Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” 1 Timothy 1:15

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

In West Africa, in 1927, a blood specimen was take from a native named Asibi (pictured), who was sick with yellow fever. A rhesus monkey which had just been received from India, was inoculated with the specimen. Asibi recovered, but the monkey died of the disease. All the vaccine manufactured since 1927, by the Rockefeller Foundation, the government and other agencies as well, derives from the original strain of virus obtained from this humble native. Carried down to the present day from one laboratory to another, through repeated cultures, and by enormous multiplication, it has offered immunity to yellow fever to millions of people in many countries. Through the creative imagination of science, the blood of one man in West Africa has been made to serve the whole human race. – James Hastings

We’re starting to see a picture of Jesus, as our Redeemer.

In redemption we see a picture of buying freedom for a slave, to release or set free, liberate, deliver.

“Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin,” 1 Corinthians 1:30

“Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God and righteousness and sanctification and redemption” 1 Corinthians 1:30

“Everything that we have – right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start – comes from God by way of Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:30 Message

The same word “redemption” is seen as “by His death we are set free” and “we are set free from our bad desires in Ephesians 1:7.

Now to help us understand this more, please read Ephesians 1:4-8.

“He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7 NLT

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace,” Ephesians 1:7 NKJV

“Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people – free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds.” Ephesians 1:7 Message

What are we talking about? Made us free from what? He set us free from slavery to sin that leads to death. Before you experience the grace in forgiveness by Christ it is a compulsion for you to make mistakes.

We are bought back from spiritual slavery, death, and hell. We are released to spiritual freedom, life, and heaven!

Redemption is not:                                                    

Pretending the problem doesn’t exist

Abandoning you

Forgiveness that forgets

Leaving you outside the home

Making you look like me

Redemption is:

Understanding where you’ve been

Forgiving you and Healing you

Walking with you through the change

Bringing you back home

Giving you full rights

For what purpose are we made free?

Read Ephesians 1:9-14 “God’s purpose…so we would praise Him.” Speak of His goodness. Sing song of redeemed.

Also, we see in verses 17-18 that you would “grow in your knowledge of God, and confident hope.”

Read Ephesians 2:8-10 “so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Freedom to “be” and to “do”. We now have a freedom to be who God designed us to be, and a freedom to do what God designed us to do.

Psalm 107:1-2 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!”





Baltimore Ravens are headed for a tough season:

21 04 2012

Ravens fans were thrilled to see their team sweep their division last year! A record setting performance that blew up when Lee Evans dropped a pass in the endzone.

At that moment, I thought it would be a HUGE victory for them to return to the AFC Championship Game the next season.

Looking at their schedule they will face a difficult set of opponents that includes matchups against all AFC No. 1 seeds, their strong division rivals and the NFC East.

This is 95% due to the way that the NFL schedule works and in part because they won the AFC North. It’s not some NFL conspiracy!

Here’s how the NFL scheduling works:

Each NFL season has 16 games for each of its 32 teams that are divided into the AFC and NFC each with 4 divisions: North, South, East, West.

Every year you play each team in your division twice (both home and away), that’s 6 games. For the Ravens that’s the Steelers, Bengals, and Browns.

Every year you play each team from another division within your conference once, that’s 4 games. For the  Ravens that’s the AFC. It rotates through each division so you’ll play them every 4 years. If you played them at home this year you will then play them at their place in 4 years.

Every year you play each team from another division in the other conference once, that’s 4 games. For the Ravens that’s the NFC. It rotates through each division so you’ll play them every 4 years. If you played them at home this year you will then play them at their place in 4 years.

It’s a simple rotation.

That’s how 14 of your 16 games are decided each year. So for those 14 games each year, you can predict who they will play and where they will play the next year and the next year etc.

With your remaining 2 games, you will play two teams from within your conference (that are in divisions you are not already playing this year) and you will play the teams that finished with the same rank (within their own division) that you finished with (within your own division) last year.

The Ravens won their division, the AFC North, last  year and that’s why they will play the Patriots and the Texans in their two “extra” games this year. Those are the two teams who won their divisions last year (that are not in divisions they are already playing this year).

The only items that the NFL really keep as discretionary are the Bye week (your week off), what week of the schedule you play each opponent (Week 1 or Week 2 etc), and who gets the Prime Time games such as Monday Night Football. 

All of this means that this coming season the Ravens will be playing AFC West, the NFC East, and their own division the AFC North (in addition to the Patriots & Texans). So that means the Ravens play NY Giants, Patriots, P.Manning’s Broncos, Eagles, RG3 Redskins, Cowboys, Steelers 2 times, HOU, SD, & OAK.

Interesting side note: this year the NFL made a change regarding Thursday games. This year all 32 teams will get a Thursday night game. Honestly, I wish they would get rid of Thursday night games. Also, they decided that if you play away on Thursday night you must have a home game the weekend before. Additionally, they decided that there would be no more cross country trips for teams playing away on a Thursday night.

The other change that they made was giving up on preventing division opponents from having to play each other any closer than two weeks apart. It was the only way that they could keep the current system and the changes they were making.

As a result, the NFL’s most explosive rivalry between the Ravens and the Steelers will happen on November 18th and then again on December 2nd. http://bit.ly/HRoXa4

Before you start thinking that the result is that the Ravens schedule isn’t really that tough. Consider this list based on each NFL team’s scheduled opponents Win Loss record.

Top 5 teams with the toughest schedule: – Nik Bonaddio and Keith Goldner

1. Denver Broncos

2. Baltimore Ravens

3. NY Giants

4. Houston Texans

5. Dallas Cowboys

Well, the city of Baltimore is no stranger to work. It’s time for the Ravens to get to work!

Oh, and you can count on me being ready with my jersey.





Grandpa Leif told me a story today:

17 04 2012

Today I was talking with my Grandfather Leif and he was telling stories about his father Lewis, who immigrated to the US from Norway. It seems that he had moved here, in hopes of attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Unfortunately, his English wasn’t good enough for the school and he settled in Iowa.

Lewis had found salvation in Jesus through the Lutheran Revival in Norway. As he learned English, in the US, his passion for God grew.

In his thirties he had developed diabetes. He began to pray relentlessly these two requests: that God would call one of his two sons into pastoral ministry, and that God would heal him from diabetes and allow him to live a long life of serving through pastoral ministry.

There was a medical miracle and Lewis was healed of diabetes. He no longer needed medical care. He started his Christian work, travelling to tell people about Jesus. After a few years, he began to serve as a pastor and lived until the age of 87.

I remember being a 12 year old boy at Lewis’ funeral. Several people spoke kind words. We heard one person in particular describing the virtue of Lewis’ pastoral ministry. That moment was when I felt drawn to this life. That weekend I knew what I was born to do with my life. This is the reason that I’m in Baltimore today.

Lewis’ son Selmer served in the US Army for 25 years, retiring after WW2. Lewis’ son Leif (my grandfather) served as a pastor. He served people and lead churches across California, Washington, and Oregon.

It wasn’t until years after my Grandpa Leif had started his work in the pastoral ministry, that his father Lewis told him about that prayer. Leif didn’t know that Lewis had hoped “one of his sons” would serve in the pastoral ministry. Lewis didn’t hang that idea over his boys. It wasn’t the Malmin way. He prayed and waited to see what God would do. He continued to be a great father and follower of Jesus. Such is the way that my father Ken, lead me.

Lewis was proud to see his son, Leif, serve as a pastor. It was an answer to prayer. Leif still serves as a pastor today. Next month my Grandpa Leif turns 83.





Jesus is our way to forgiveness:

17 04 2012


“I don’t fit anywhere. I’m a misfit of a person.” (Lecrae from video posted below)

Have you ever felt that way? Ever felt like no one else knows the way that you feel? Have you felt like you can’t get past the mistakes you’ve made? Ever felt like you just can’t win?

Do you have trouble sleeping…just thinking about something that you’ve done, something that you’ve said?

We’re like the girl driving her dad’s car in reverse around the block in the middle of the night. When the policeman pulled her over she said, “I put too many miles on it, so I was trying to unwind some of it.”

We’ve all made mistakes! That’s why at CBC we like to say that in our church there’s “No Perfect People Allowed”.

Before people used the word “Christian” to make fun of Jesus followers…one of the ways they referred to believers was, “people of The Way”. They were trying to find a word to describe people that were completely different.

When we receive God’s forgiveness we are forever changed! No more looking back over your shoulder! You’re clean!

You can laugh again. You are changed. You can now live a whole new “way”! You find a new “way” of living.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.” John 14:6

Jesus is our way to forgiveness!

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below – indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 5:35,38-39

God is merciful! “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.” Lam 3:22

“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, & abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.” Ps 86:5

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9





We believe that God is real. He is alive. He is willing & able to heal you.

13 04 2012

Every day God chooses to heal people regardless of their level of faith in Him or their lifestyle. You don’t have to have it all together to receive His healing. Rebecca and I have prayed for people and seen documented medical miracles. This week there are people being healed of HIV and also AIDS. We know of churches that have seen this! Documented medical miracles! This does not negate the value of doctors. It does not negate your need of Jesus and good family. We will be in prayer!

Faith does help!

  • Hearing the Word initiates faith.
  • Speaking the Word activates faith.
  • Doing the Word demonstrates faith.

“O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you restored my health.” Psalm 30:2 NLT

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.” Romans 8:11 NLT

“Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.” Psalm 103:2-3

Praying the Bible brings healing.

“My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body.” Proverbs 4:20-22

“The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing.” 1 Corinthians 12:9 NLT

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” Proverbs 17:22 NLT

“Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” Acts 4:30 NLT

“I am the Lord who heals you.” Exodus 15:26 NLT

He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:3-5 NKJV

Matthew 8, Mark 5, & Luke 13 have great stories of Jesus healing.

Psalm 91 – the whole chapter is well worth reading.

 





Jesus is the Resurrected Lord

8 04 2012

This is a perfect day to remember that Jesus Christ did not stay in His tomb.

Jesus is the Resurrected Lord!

God is talking to us…through what we thought was irreversible.

Charlotte’s loss of Bubble (the fish) reminded of the loss of death and the thought of what resurrection would be like.

Rollo May, the famous therapist asked “What would it mean for our world if He had truly risen?” in My Quest for Beauty.

Paul wrote, “the last enemy to be destroyed is death.” 1 Cor 15:26

Read Mark 16. The Resurrection, Jesus appears to His friends & followers, and directs them to live on mission.

God allows death for now, but He does not let death win.

After the resurrection they continued to see miracles.

“Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” 1 Cor 15:3-7

English journalist Frank Morison set out to discount the resurrection as a myth, but the evidence convinced him otherwise. You can read his work Who Moved the Stone?

“No one fact in the history of mankind…is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort,” than the fact that “Christ died and rose from the dead.” Thomas Arnold (professor of modern history at Oxford)

No credible historical evidence from that period exists to validate any alternative explanation for Jesus’ resurrection other than his literal bodily resurrection.

“According to all four Gospels, women were the first witnesses of the resurrection, a fact that no conspirator in the first century would have invented. Jewish courts did not even accept the testimony of female witnesses.”

“The style fit God’s pattern and character. God has always chosen the slow and difficult way, respecting human freedom regardless of cost. ‘God did not abolish the fact of evil: He transformed it,’ wrote Dorothy Sayers. ‘He did not stop the crucifixion: He rose from the dead.’ The hero bore all consequences, yet somehow triumphed.” Phillip Yancey

Jesus appears about a dozen times (that we know of) over a six week period before His ascension. They were not the kind of appearances that would dramatically improve Christianity…at least not the way that we would. He didn’t appear again to Caiaphas, Pilate, or in big public places. Except for the final appearance to the 500, His appearances were to a few at a time in remote areas or indoors.

Consider the very personal way that Jesus revealed Himself after His resurrection. It wasn’t a show!

“If I take Easter as the starting point, the one incontrovertible fact about how God treats those whom He loves, then human history becomes the contradiction and Easter a preview of ultimate reality. Hope then flows like a lava beneath the crust of daily life.”

“This, perhaps, describes the change in the disciples’ perspective as they sat in locked rooms discussing the incomprehensible events of Easter Sunday. In one sense nothing had changed: Rome still occupied Palestine, religious authorities still had a bounty on their heads, death and evil still reigned outside. Gradually, however, the shock of recognition gave way to a long slow undertow of joy. If God could do that…”

“Because of Easter, I can hope that the tears we shed, the blows we receive, the emotional pain, the heartache over lost friends and loved ones, all these will become memories, like Jesus’ scars. Scars never completely go away, but neither do they hurt any longer. We will have re-created bodies, a re-created heaven and earth. We will have a new start, an Easter start.” – Phillip Yancey

Mark 16:15-18 Jesus is asking for a response, sending them to tell others and do miracles.

He appeared to His followers to prove who He is, remind them of what He taught, give purpose to their daily lives & relationships, send them on mission, and to set up a perpetual motion of His truth being communicated via relationships for thousands of years.

What we read in “Acts” is the direct result of what the people, who witnessed His resurrection, did in response.

Saved, baptized in water and the Holy Spirit, bringing healing to others, drawing them to relationship with Jesus. The church is the result of that mission. It is the vehicle for that mission to continue.

Paul wrote, “And if there is no resurrection, ‘let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!’ Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for ‘bad company corrupts good character.’ Think carefully about what is right, and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t know God at all.” 1 Corinthians 15:32-34…and more in 1 Corinthians 15:54-58

“Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:

‘Death is swallowed up in victory.

O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?’

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

Jesus is the Resurrected Lord. Death could not hold Him.

Who He is, how He lived, how He chose to die, and the fact that He did not stay in the tomb should affect our Monday. We should choose to live the way that the friends of Jesus, who witnessed his death/burial/resurrection, chose to live. Their response to His request (at the end of Mark 16) has resulted in millions of believers sharing their faith through intentional relationships and ultimately the church. Let’s do this!

Suggested reading & sources:

 

This year, we’re fortunate to be able to point people to a great visualization of the Easter story. On Sunday, The Bible series will air the final episode featuring the crucifixion and the resurrection. And if you haven’t had a chance to catch it yet, the History Channel will be re-playing the full series from the beginning earlier in the day.

 

…a little more…

Biblical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection (Pastor Driscoll):

  1. Jesus’ resurrection was prophesied in advance.
  2. Jesus predicted His resurrection.
  3. Jesus died on the cross.
  4. Jesus was buried in a tomb that was easy to find.
  5. Jesus appeared physically alive three days after His death.
  6. Jesus’ resurrection was recorded as Scripture shortly after it occurred.
  7. Jesus’ resurrection was celebrated in the earliest church creeds.
  8. Jesus’ resurrection convinced His family to worship Him as God.
  9. Jesus’ resurrection was confirmed by His most bitter enemies, such as Paul.




Jesus is the Passover Lamb

1 04 2012

Jesus is Passover Lamb

Jesus is the Passover Lamb – Mark 15 

You cannot reflect on the Resurrection at Easter, properly, without first reflecting on the cross of Christ and Jesus as your Passover Lamb.

Context of Creation: from the beginning (read Genesis 2:17-3:1-21) in paradise to the end (Revelation 21:8), God was showing us that the penalty for sin is death. Adam & Eve chose their wishes over the ability to walk & talk with the Creator.

Context of Passover: along the way (read Exodus 12) God provided deliverance from and atonement for their sin with  a Passover Lamb.

Symbol of the cross. We’re about to read the story behind one of the most recognizable symbols in history.

Read Mark 15.

Jesus held at the house of Caiaphas. In the basement rests a Bible open to Psalm 88.

Jesus was falsely accused at trial before Pilate.

Soldiers mocked Jesus, bullying him and making fun of him.

Jesus is executed by crucifixion, a symbol of the cursed and the worst possible death.

Crucifixion was invented by the Persians, perfected by the Romans, and practiced by the Nazis at Dachau and Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and now in Sudan.

“Excruciating” means “from the cross”.

It was ultimately an agonizing death by asphyxiation.

It was the means by which God has chosen to forgive our sins.

Jesus knew what it was to be forsaken. “Why have you abandoned me?”

Jesus died of a broken heart, when blood & water flowed.

Roman soldier said, “truly the Son of God.”

He died at noon and complete darkness fell. The curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was ripped.

Jesus’ burial in a wealthy man’s tomb provided a cave with a stone rolled in front of the exit.

Jesus is the Passover Lamb.

“It is at the cross of Jesus that the love of God for us is most clearly seen.” MD

God chose a humble birth and a humble death for Jesus.

Why? Jesus died “for” our sins. He died “because of” our sins. So it was our sins, but His death.

“He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with He stripes we are healed.” Is 53:5

“He was delivered up for our trespasses.” Rom 4:25

“while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom 5:8

“Christ died for our sins” 1 Cor 15:3

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” Gal 3:13

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God.” 1 Pet 3:18

“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 Jn 2:2

“Jesus’ death was substitutionary, or vicarious, and in our place solely for our benefit and without benefit for himself. God’s wrath is taken from us, because of Jesus so that we are no longer under God’s wrath.” Mark Driscoll

“The human problem is sin, the divine motivation is holy love, and the death & resurrection of the God-man Jesus is the solution.” Mark Driscoll

“The Passover memorialized the night in Egypt when in faith God’s people covered the doorposts of their home with blood so that death would not come the firstborn son in their home but would rather pass over them (Ex6-12). Jesus, the firstborn Son of God, likewise had come to die and cover us with his blood so that God’s just wrath would literally pass over us sinners as the essence of the new covenant (Lk 22:19-21).

Jesus chose to lay down His life.

“…keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” Heb 12:2-3

Restored to relationship – walking with God.

Make time to reflect.

You cannot reflect on the Resurrection at Easter, properly, without first reflecting on the cross of Christ and Jesus as your Passover Lamb.