Saturday, December 25, 2010
Illegitimate. That's what some people called the baby born in Bethlehem that first Christmas - even years later. They didn't understand, or didn't believe, that this was God's Son, miraculously conceived in a virgin's womb.
Actually, there's no such thing as an illegitimate or unplanned child. Every life has been planned by God. "God's workmanship" - That's what the Bible calls you, no matter how you were conceived or how you've been treated (Ephesians 2:10 ).
And you can tell how much God loves you by what He spent on you - to save you from the awful penalty of defying Him and running your own life. In the Bible's words, "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16 ). He sent His Son to die in your place. He wants you in His family, in His heaven. If you've never pinned all your hopes on Jesus, this could be your day to experience His love for yourself. Call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. Nobody loves you like He does.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Two teenage friends suddenly appeared at our door on Christmas Eve, looking for a refuge from the party at home. Well, we were in the middle of acting out the Christmas story - with our two-year-old in a basket as Baby Jesus, and his older brother and sister in bathrobe and shawl as Joseph and Mary - with me, the angel, on the back of the couch and my wife crawling around baa-ing. The girls weren't too sure about us - but, hey, we invited them right into our Christmas.
Which is what God is doing for you this Christmas season - inviting you into the middle of what He was really doing that first Christmas. Anybody's welcome to come on in and join God's family. Look at who got the first invitation to "come on in" - shepherds, society's rejects in that day. God said to them, "A Savior has been born to you" (Luke 2:11 ). Now, maybe you, like the shepherds, have felt your share of closed doors and condemnation. Well, so did Jesus - all the way to the cross where He died for all the sins of your life.
This Christmas, Jesus is throwing open the door to His family, and saying, "I died for you. Come on in." If you'd like to, call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. You need to come on in.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
As I was growing up, our manger was always under our Christmas tree. That's probably the right place for it - since, in a real sense, the shadow of a tree loomed over the manger that first Christmas morning. You can't really understand Christmas without Good Friday - where this sinless Son of God was nailed to a tree He created, by men He created.
The Bible says, "He bore our sins in His body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24 ). Jesus absorbed the death penalty of hell for every wrong thing you've done - to rescue you. That's how much He loves you.
In the words of the carol, "What Child Is This": "Nails, spear shall pierce Him through, the cross be borne for me, for you." You've had your Christmases, celebrating Christ's coming. Have you ever had your Good Friday, where you stand at His cross and put your life and your sin in His hands? If you want to belong to Jesus Christ, call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. No one loved you like He does.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
You can wrap that present like a pro - a kid doesn't care. He'll just rip off the paper with one mighty blow. All he cares about is what's inside.
God's like that. He doesn't much care about what you're like on the outside - the Bible says, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7 ). He sees what no one else sees - the pain, the insecurity, the sin. Jesus came because He wants to heal that pain...to give you one love, one hope you can never lose, and to forgive every wrong thing you've ever done.
It took dying on the cross to pay for the junk inside all of us. He's not impressed with your image, your religion, or whatever's on the outside. He wants to love you and change you from the inside out, if you'll give yourself to this Man who knows all about you and loves you so very much. Call us if you want to begin a relationship with Jesus. At 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. You can celebrate this Christmas with Christ in your heart.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
As our two-year-old grandson was helping set up the family Nativity scene, he noticed they were missing one figure - Baby Jesus. That night, our grandson greeted his father at the door with an impassioned question - "Hey, where's Jesus?"
That's the question God is asking some of us as He looks at our lives - "Where's Jesus?" It's possible that, like our grandson that day, you have everything except Jesus. That's why the Bible says, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith" (2 Corinthians 13:5 ). You may have a Christian vocabulary, Christian beliefs, - but there may have never been that time when you personally told Jesus, "I believe You died for me - I'm Yours."
He's giving you another opportunity, this opportunity, to take the step that will finally bring Jesus into your life. If you want to do that right now, we're waiting to talk with you at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. Judgment Day is the wrong time to have God look in your heart and say, "Where's Jesus?" Be sure He's in your heart.
Monday, December 20, 2010
The little boy was having a hard time getting to sleep - he was scared of the dark, even though his Mommy told him God was there, watching over him. And he responded, "Mommy - I need God with skin on."
Because of Christmas, we've got God with skin on. The Bible says that the Son of God "became flesh and made His dwelling among us (John 1:14 ). Jesus isn't just another prophet or religious leader - He's God with skin on. This Jesus, who asks for your heart, has walked your trail. He knows what it is to be lonely...to be abandoned...to be betrayed...to be a victim...to be tortured...to die. That brutal death on a cross was ultimately His choice - He loves you so much that He chose to take the death penalty for your sin so you could be with Him forever.
And now this Jesus wants to walk every mile of the rest of your life with you - if you'll give yourself to Him. If you've never done that, and you want to, we'd love to talk with you at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. You'll never spend another day alone.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Bottom line - Christmas is a birthday. The bombshell birthday. The birth that literally split history in two. B.C., A.D. - before Christ and after Christ.
For millions of people, the coming of Jesus has been the turning point of their life - my life before Jesus was there, and since He came in. The Bible describes the miraculous change this way: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17 ).
All of us who've opened up to Jesus consider all the years "before Christ" pretty much wasted years - away from the God we were made for, carrying the guilt and the death penalty of running our own lives. But we discovered that "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son" to cancel the death penalty for our sins (John 3:16 ).
There really is a definite moment when you move from "B.C." to "A.D." - it's when you tell Jesus, "I'm Yours from this day on." We'd love to help you do that if you'll just call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. And the miracle can begin.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
I've played a shepherd, a wise man, even Joseph in the Christmas Story. I've never played King Herod. I never want to. He was the king the wise men told about the birth of Jesus - the king who was enraged that there could possibly be a king other than him.
So he missed the Son of God who was born just six miles from his palace. But Herod's not the last person to miss Jesus because of wanting to be king. We all want to be king - of our own life. And that self-rule the Bible calls "sin" is what ultimately separates us from the God we can't live without and keeps us out of His heaven.
Jesus asked, "What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" (Matthew 8:36 ). We are in danger of losing our soul- until we come in our heart to the cross where Jesus gave His life to pay our spiritual death penalty. We surrender the throne we never should have occupied to the Savior who belongs there. If you want to experience Jesus' love and forgiveness for yourself, call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Recently, I went to the garage and hauled out Christmas - all the boxes full of decorations. All too soon, I'll be putting our Christmas away again - until we want it again. You can do that with Christmas - you can't do that with Christ.
To be honest, maybe that's what it's been like with you and Jesus. You've kept Him on the edges of your life. You want Him to be around, but you don't want Him to be in charge. It's nice to have Jesus for Christmas, for Sundays, for emergencies. But the truth is, you've never really given your life to the One who gave His life for you. That cross was for you - for every wrong thing you've ever done.
You were made by Him...you were made for Him...He died for you. The Bible asks this sobering question: "How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?" (Hebrews 2:3 ). If you want to be with Jesus forever, you need to give yourself to Him now. And the Christmas season would be a great time to begin your personal relationship with Him. And we'd love to help you do that if you'll just call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. You can finally be spiritually home for Christmas.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
There are two words that I hated to see on any toys we bought for Christmas - "assembly required." Great! I get this box full of pieces, but I have to figure out how they go together.
Kind of like our lives, huh? We've got all these pieces in our life, but how do they go together into something that makes life make sense? In a recent survey asking people what question they would most like to ask God, by far the largest response was, "What's my purpose here?"
Now, Christmas is a great time to finally get the answer to that all-important question. The Bible tells us our Creator's answer. Speaking of Jesus, it says, "All things were created by Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:16 ). You were created by Jesus and for Jesus, and life won't make sense until you belong to Jesus. Because He died to pay for your sins, He can remove the wall between you and God, and you can anchor your life to the relationship you were made for.
Now, if you've never begun your personal relationship with Him, and you want to, call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. He makes all the pieces into something incredible.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Recently I checked into a hotel, got the key to my room and eagerly unlocked that door. Problem. The TV was on, clothes were hanging on the clothes rack! This room was supposed to be reserved for me, but someone else was in my place.
Now, Jesus knows that feeling. Your heart was made for Him. But someone else or something else is there instead. And the one who loves you most is left standing outside. The Bible says you were created by Jesus, and for Jesus. And that means that no one else can ever fill that hole in your heart.
But just like that first Christmas, when there was no room in the inn for Jesus to be born, Jesus has been crowded out of your life, even though he died for you, for all the sinning you've ever done. But this Christmas, Jesus is again at the door of your heart and you've never needed Him more.
It's time to move out whatever is keeping Jesus out and swing open the door to Him. If you want to do that, there's someone waiting to talk with you at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. Finally, your heart will belong to the one it was made for.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Believe it or not, that glorious moment will come - when you slump in your chair and proclaim exuberantly, "My shopping is done!"
Your Christmas shopping, yes - your spiritual shopping - maybe not. See, most of us spend a lifetime shopping for some lasting meaning, some lasting love, and lasting peace. It may be this Christmas that your soul is tired of shopping in relationships, religion, experiences that never fill the hole in your heart.
Life's endless spiritual shopping trip ends at the feet of Jesus Christ - the One the Bible says you were made by and made for (Colossians 1:16 ). In God's words, "You are complete in Him" (Colossians 2:10 ). "Complete" is what has always been missing. You've been incomplete because God's been missing because you've been running your own life. Jesus died for your sin so He doesn't have to be missing anymore.
If you'd like to begin this personal relationship with Jesus, someone's waiting to talk with you at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. Your shopping for love and peace and meaning can be over today.
Monday, December 13, 2010
It's a Christmas TV classic..."A Charlie Brown Christmas." After Charlie Brown's frustrating search for some real Christmas, Linus walks onto the stage dragging his blanket, the spotlight hits him, and he proceeds to quote from the Bible's account of Christmas 1.
"I bring you good news of great joy. A Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11 ). That really is good news! Why? For the same reason the arrival of a firefighter would be good news if you were in a burning building.
You were about to die...and the rescuer has come. Now, that's what Savior means. Jesus has come to rescue you and me from the death penalty of our sin by His death on that cross. No one has ever loved you like that. But only you can make Him your Savior by putting all your trust in Him as your rescuer.
If you have never done that and you want to, someone is waiting to talk with you at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. This can be your first Christmas with Christ in your heart.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
One of the happy faces around our friends' Christmas tree this year will be their precious China doll - the little girl they went ten thousand miles to bring into their family. Her first year was in a cold Chinese orphanage. But our friends went a very long way at considerable expense to make her their child. And, she's an orphan no more.
And, neither am I. A spiritual orphan, that is. The Bible says that all of us are spiritually fatherless, not by God's choice, but by our own. It says, "We have left God's paths to follow our own" (Isaiah 53:6 ). That's left us separated from God. That's why the hole in our heart. The loneliness that never really goes away.
But that first Christmas, Somebody came a very long way to make us His child. And Jesus paid a very high price to bring us home - His life, the payment for our sin. And Jesus says, "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:18 ). Maybe He's come to you today to give you a chance to give yourself to Him. He is the tug you feel in your heart.
If you're ready to belong to Him, call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. No longer an orphan. God's dearly loved child.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Mean old Ebenezer Scrooge - he's back this Christmas. Ultimately, turning into kind, old Scrooge. Because three spirits come to him in his sleep and show him what his life was and is and will be. It's that Ghost of Christmas Future that really gets old Scrooge's attention. He sees where his life's going to end up - and he changes!
I wonder what we'd do if we had a chance to see where we're going to end up? Change maybe? Actually, the Bible shows us the future: "Man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (Hebrews 9:27 ). And he says some "will live" and some will "be condemned" (John 5:29 ). The deciding factor? "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16 ).
Your future is an appointment with a holy God to face the judgment for the sins of a lifetime. Unless they've been forgiven by the only One who died to pay for them. Jesus took your hell so you could have His heaven. So everything depends on whether or not you've ever given yourself to Him.
Now, if you want to be sure you belong to Him, call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. Because your future is Jesus.
Friday, December 10, 2010
The world was watching as that Chilean rescuer was lowered into the mine where 33 miners were trapped. As that capsule touched down in the mine...as the rescuer stepped out...and when the first miner emerged alive.
You know, in so many ways, it was a Christmas moment. The miners were trapped in a deadly place they could not possibly escape from. Just like us - separated from God because of our sin, facing an awful eternity without Him. The miners' only hope was a rescuer from above. Just like you and me. We can no more get to heaven by being good than those miners could dig their way out. One hope - a rescuer from above.
Well, Christmas is when the Rescuer from heaven touched down in our dark world. In the mine, at the Cross, the rescuer traded places with those who needed to be saved. For Jesus, that meant dying to pay for our sin. And the rescue happens when we step into that way out - by putting all our trust in Him to be our Rescuer from our sin.
For you, the rescue can be today. Call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. The Rescuer has come for you.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
It freaked me out as a kid. Santa's got this big book where he's either got me down as "naughty" or "nice." I find out which one on Christmas morning!
Unfortunately, a lot of us think God operates sort of Santa-style. He's got this big book in the sky with each of us either on the "nice" list who will go to heaven or the "naughty" list who will go to hell. Most of us think we're on the "nice" list. We'll find out when we die.
But the Bible says "All have sinned and fallen short of God's glory" (Romans 3:23 ). We are all on the list of sinners who are unfit to live with a perfect God in His heaven. Some of the people in the greatest spiritual danger are people who have lots of Christianity, but have somehow missed Christ. Because they've never taken for themselves what Jesus died to give them - sins forgiven, hell canceled, heaven guaranteed.
The question is: Has there ever been a time when you've given yourself to the Savior who gave Himself for you? If you're not sure, please call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. You can't afford to miss Him.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
It wasn't exactly what our family had in mind for Christmas In early December, someone we loved went into the hospital for a routine cardiac procedure - and was rushed to open heart surgery the next morning. The doctor found a heart condition that needed immediate repair. Or, as he said, "I can't be sure she'll have a Christmas." The surgery was life-saving - and life-changing.
Dr. Jesus may be making a similar spiritual diagnosis for someone listening right now. "You need surgery for a deadly heart condition. You won't make it without it." It's a heart condition we all have. The Bible says, "Your sins have separated you from your God" (Isaiah 59:2 ). And "the soul who sins...will die" (Ezekiel 18:4 ) Our running of our own life has left us living life here without meaning and life hereafter without hope.
Enter Christmas. Jesus came to save our life by giving His. On a cross. And we're not going to make it unless He forgives our sin and fixes our heart. He's waiting to do that for you today. We'd love to talk with you about it at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. Because none of us knows how much time we've got left.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
On a Southwest Indian reservation I know well, there are Christmas lights almost nowhere. Just desert darkness.
Except for that one village church. It's covered with lights, with a brightly lit cross on top. One Christmas Eve, Amy walked the village - her pain again drowned with alcohol. Then she saw the light on the cross. That night, her life changed forever as she prayed with the pastor's wife to give her life to Jesus Christ.
We've all got our personal darkness. Around us. Inside us. Sin...guilt...brokenness. But we don't have to live in that darkness anymore. Because Jesus came. The Bible says Jesus is "the rising sun who will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death" (Luke 1:78-79 ). Now, he says that will happen "through the forgiveness of...sins" (Luke 1:77 ). The light that has forever changed the darkness of so many of us still shines from that cross where He died for us.
And He's reaching out to you this Christmas. Isn't it time you reached back? Call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. It's been dark long enough.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Last fall, at a retreat where I was speaking, someone asked all my grandchildren to sing "Jesus Loves Me" up in front. It was adorable. Especially our little two-year-old guy. He was singing his own song. "Jingle Bells." Yeah, months before Christmas.
Now, our grandson's not the only one who's got "Jingle Bells" and Jesus confused. Christmas is so entangled with the Claus guy, and psycho Christmas shopping and a barrage of celebrations, you can miss Jesus in the season that's rooted in His birth. But behind the Christmas season fog is a game-changing message that is summed up in that little song - "Jesus loves me, this I know."
Why else would He have left heaven for a stinking stable - and worshipping angels for humans who had no use for Him? Why else would He have let men He had made nail Him to a tree He had created? Why else would He take our hell so we could go to His heaven? Because "Jesus loves me - this I know." And if you'll give yourself to Him, you can know His love for yourself. Forever.
If that's what you want, call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. Because you really do need Him.
I've got a list for Christmas - with all the people I love on it. Santa's got a couple of lists - "naughty" and "nice." Surely I'm on the "nice" list.
God's got two lists this Christmas. They're like the lists posted in the White Star Line offices after the sinking of the Titanic - one said "known to be saved;" the other, "known to be lost." Well, listen to what the Bible says: "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that has the Son has life. He that does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11-12 ).
Those who've trusted in Jesus and His death for their sins have their sins forgiven. They're going to heaven. Those who don't have a relationship with Him still face the awful death penalty for their sins. But, thank God, we can change from the "lost" list to the "saved" list! I did. The moment I reached out to Jesus to make Him my Savior from my sins.
This Christmas, Jesus stands ready to change your eternal address. If you want to belong to Him, call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. Let this be your Jesus-day.
No sooner did our three-year-old granddaughter arrive for Christmas, and she was roaming through the house with an empty wrapping paper tube in her hand. She told me, "I'm a shepherd. I'm looking for my lost sheep." I thought, "She's on the same mission that brought the Son of God to earth that first Christmas." Looking for His lost sheep.
Jesus said He came "to seek and save what was lost" (Luke 19:10 ) and that He will "go to look for the one that has wandered off" (Matthew 18:12 ). And this Christmas, it could be that He's come looking for you. Because He knows you're lost. Maybe you know you're lost.
The Bible says we've all wandered away from God like sheep (Isaiah 53:6 ), and our only hope is if God comes looking for us. Well, that's Jesus. His search brought Him all the way to an awful cross. And now right to where you are - to give you this opportunity to grab Him as your Rescuer from your sin.
Now, if you're tired of "lost," we'd love to help you get started with Jesus. Call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. He'll bring you "home" for Christmas.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Words that go with Christmas - present...cookies...tree. Bomb? Well, you may remember that last Christmas Day a terrorist tried to blow up an airplane in Detroit. That's nice.
Sadly, it's a reminder that even in this season of "peace on earth," we live in a dangerous and unpredictable world. It's been a year of dizzying change. We're all trying to figure out the new normal. We're more confused about what's really secure - and more desperate than ever to find some solid rock to stand on.
Well, since that first Christmas, millions have found that rock in this Bible promise: "Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:39 ). Man, that's "unloseable" love. Recession-proof, terror-proof, divorce-proof, death-proof. Not in Christianity the religion. But in Christ - the relationship!
The Bible says He loves us so much that He gave His life to pay for our sins. Which makes possible a love relationship with God that nothing can take away. And you might be ready for that kind of unloseable love. Well, call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. It's a crazy world. But there's a powerful Savior!
Retro toys for Christmas - our crazy sons try to outdo each other by finding the ultimate toy to give from each other's childhood. The "A-Team"...Star Wars...superhero action figures. Echoes from the past.
Now of course, not all retro stuff is happy stuff. Christmas has a way of reigniting some painful memories from our past. The sins done against us. The sins we've done. The broken things. But Christmas brings hope for the pain and regrets of our past!
God says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. I am doing a new thing!" (Isaiah 43:18 ). And, that "new thing" began at a stable in Bethlehem...it was made possible by Jesus' payment for our sin on the Cross...and it becomes yours the day you pin all your hopes on Him to be your Savior. He erases every sin of your life from God's book. He moves into your heart, He replaces despair with hope and brokenness with healing. It's the gift He's waiting to give you this Christmas.
We'd love to help you experience Him. Call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org. Make today Day One of the new you.
Hey, it's a great day when our missionary kids get home for Christmas. It's a hard day when they leave. Christmas goodbyes are tough. Now, a few weeks ago we buried my cousin, and this will be his family's first Christmas without him. But they know that Christmas means the end of goodbyes is just around the bend.
The Bible says "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ" (Romans 6:23 ). Jesus came on Christmas to make life "eternal." If the death-wages of our sin can somehow be paid. And that's why Jesus died on that cross. Because only He could die for our sin.
My cousin put all his trust in Jesus to forgive his sin. So has his family. So that graveside was so much more than a steel box, a hole in the ground. We were sending our loved one ahead to a heaven Jesus guaranteed. Because of Jesus, the reunion's comin'!
Now, if you're not sure you're going to heaven when you die, you can get that settled with Jesus this very day. Call us at 888-Need-Him or chat with us live at needhim.org.