Tag Archives: gospel

Monday Poem – “Breakthrough”

Breakthrough

Looking in the mirror at a person you don’t know.
Hiding from the cellars of a mental rendezvous.
…but you know you haven’t got too long
before the dust sets in,
building on a lot of hurt
and a concrete wall of sin.

I see that you can so I’m begging you to listen,
for your heart is going callous from that malice that consumes you.
You know your not alone, you’re not the only one whose bitten
but time ticks by at an awful rate and before it gets to late,
you need a breakthrough.

Dancing in the garden with a person you just met,
talking with a selfish charm that a worldly mind has set.
But you know you haven’t got too long,
before a time will come
when you can no longer turn away
from the wicked things you’ve done.

…and I know it isn’t easy,
right decisions never are,
God knows that, and I know that, so help is never far.
I know your gonna need someone to help dispel the doubt,
so Jesus died for you and me,
and helps us sinners out

Standing at the crossroads, now’s the time to take a pick,
you’ve had enough exposure so you’d better choose it quick,
because you know you haven’t got too long
before a time will come
when you can no longer turn away
from the wicked things you’ve done.

Before your heart goes hard you need a breakthrough.

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Birth 1

Birth 1

The angelic race fought a mighty fight
To glimpse the things I see-
A sovereign grace bought for a price
Has set this captive free.
“Captive” means I was a slave to sin,
The most enslaved was me,
But I’m now a slave to Jesus Christ
(Now and for eternity).

The angels must still wonder though
“What is that human really worth?”
For the price God chose to give
Just to let this sinner live
Was the most precious Life on all the earth,
His death became my birth.

Monday Poem – “Alive to dead to having life”

Alive to dead to having life

I shivered
Then quivered
Then ummmed and ahhhed,
I couldn’t find a way to start,
I didn’t have the words to say
But like a child asked something anyway-
“How do I remember this moment?
Lord, how do I own it?
Good sir, I want to know it-
How do I make life a friend, not an opponent?”

He replied
“My little child-
Death to pride,
Death to lies,
And death to self!
This moment’s ripples will be felt
Through all the generations-
Beyond all imagination
But you have to die first (death to self).
This moment’s offspring will be plentiful
But first you have to die.
You see,
A child must die to silly things
And rise to the changes happening,
Then a bachelor dies on his wedding night,
To become a husband to his wife.
Then as a husband put himself away
And serve his queen both night and day.
Each and every sacrifice
Is a rite of passage ordained by Christ.
And that is how to love your life
To give up your ‘needs’, your ‘wants’ and ‘rights’”

I wanted to cry,
My Lord said I had to die?
I wanted to argue, crow and fight
But of course I could see my Lord was right
And besides, He had died the first death for me
When His naked Son lay on that tree.
He has obliterated my debt,
He has died that first death.
He has taken me into Him, now I am blessed!
He has laid my arguments to rest.
And may they rest in pieces on the floor,
May this moment last forever more.
From boy to man to child,
From alive to dead to having life.
From the lowest lows to highest heights.
From dying to self to living for Christ.

What’s so “good” about Good Friday? (a repost)

(NOTE: I wanted to post something for Good Friday, but I have been very busy this week preparing a sermon for Easter Sunday and written nothing new for today. However, I thought I would repost something I wrote a few years ago as it is relevant for today. Have a blessed and safe Easter… nick)

What’s so “good” about Good Friday? (a repost)

Traditionally Good Friday celebrates and publicly remembers something most Christians remind themselves of everyday- the day on which Jesus Christ the Son of God was crucified.

We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 11 to remember and “…proclaim the Lords death until he comes…” not just one day a year. However, Easter is kind of special because it’s a more public acknowledgement of the importance of Christ’s death and a widely accepted celebration of the gospel. Although there’s no Biblical reason to mark a certain day of the year and celebrate it as “Easter”, it’s a good chance to talk about these things with all sorts of people.

God didn’t just create the world, but in love died for sinners. Perhaps the miracle of salvation is more amazing than the miracle of creation. Salvation is the redeeming, recreating and renewing of wicked humans through sovereign grace. God did this through punishing His Son through crucifixion (a horrific punishment), exacting justice through the worlds only perfect man Jesus Christ. The cross is the most important chapter of Gods saving work. It is the event that split history, the centre point of everything for the Christian because it is at the cross that God punished Christ for our sin. It is where Christ saved me.

Every human alive today has sinned. Most people are aware of it, though not everyone acknowledges it. To sin is to do something with our minds, hearts, mouths or actions that go against God’s moral law and holy character. We are all guilty before God because of our sin and deserve to be judged and punished for it. Because of His goodness God will not allow evil things to go unpunished. Eternal punishment is the only just punishment for breaking an eternal law and sinning against an eternal God. You and I deserve to be punished forever. We deserve the wrath of God. That is why we need to be saved and what we need to be saved from.

As the only entity who is one hundred percent man and one hundred percent God, Jesus Christ is uniquely positioned as the only way that you and I can be saved from the Gods wrath. Buddha can’t do it, happy thoughts can’t do it, ignoring it can’t do it and neither can trying really hard to do nice things to make up for the bad things. Our sin is against an eternal God and our punishment is eternal. We have two options- as unholy people we can pay for our sins eternally or as an eternal, holy person Christ can pay for our sin once. The cross is salvation because God chose to save people by setting His wrath against Jesus Christ.

This is why today Easter Friday is referred to as “Good” Friday.

What was done to Jesus by humans was evil not good. What he suffered was horrific. The fact that somebody who was perfectly innocent needed to be punished is sad. But the impacts and implications of Christ’s death are very good- because of Jesus dying on the cross anyone who puts their faith in Him and follows Him by turning away from sin can appropriate the gift of His forgiveness. If today is to be set aside to publicly celebrate the cross then it is indeed Good Friday. “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit…” (1 Peter 3:18).

Monday Poem: “Over and Over Again”

Over and Over Again

As black as two in the morning spawning hate,
Your heart is dry; your love is late-
A well untapped of better things. You wait
With eyes-wide-closed you stare and paint.
Purple.
Red.
Blue.
One glance from you leaves others bruised.

I saw the cloud hanging over you
Like a falling kite,
Like a shadow cast from hidden light,
Like a deranged and mangy angel of the rotten kind
Sent to trample on your wandering mind
(King-hit-you from behind),
In times like these you better hide
Over and over and
Over and over again.

I saw a hoax laid like Kauffman’s grave,
Your name was changed and made profane:
a shame to friends and family,
a simple parody of what you used to be.
You’re not a man to me
But a stationery
Adolescent filled with hate and greed.

As pale as a shade of grey,
You’re old but in another way
So young and dumb
You have succumbed
To the darts of the enemy,
To the things you used to do
And to the things they put you through.

But then you put away those childish things,
I saw it all change in you
then change back.

I saw the cloud lift from over you,
Just like Lazarus turned backwards
and away from what is hazardous,
When you met your Maker (who never forsakes you)
Then it changed your nature.
There’s only one requisite to be alive
And that one thing is: you have to die
Over and over and
Over and over again.

Monday Poem: Old Friend 18 (Where dreams come from)

Old Friend 18 (Where dreams come from)

He has locked himself away
And let another out to play,
He hides behind religious truth
But doesn’t put his mind to use.
His heart has longings, hopes and dreams
But he is not allowed to cause a scene,
For fear of what the others think
Has caused his burning love to sink
And without an ember in the fire
He puts away his real desires
To not upset the apple cart
He resigns to life without a heart.

“Life’s cruel pull is with the crowd,
Its populace is really loud,
But
the Spirit whispers another way
So listen to what He has to say
For
He is calling out to you.”

If I could put my friend into a dream
And design it just for him,
I’d include a dainty princess
And a moat he’d have to swim.
He would have to fight with dragons
(Never easy fights to win),
To kill the dragons he’d need to give his life
And to put away his sin.

If I could place this man into a dream
I’d still leave a bit of fear,
For its fears that make adventures grand
When a hero volunteers,
And when he has risked himself to protect her
Fear shows the princess how sincere
Is the love that this man has given her
And that she is precious, prized and dear.

Yes this person needs a dream like that-
A dream worth fighting for…
But the dream needs more than a mission
To be a cause he can’t ignore
And the man needs more than a vision
Or a dream he can explore,
He needs a life that is worth giving up
For a Prize he can adore!

What this world needs most are men with passion,
I wish I could give them some of mine
But dreams like this are only possible
With a touch of the Divine.

A rare thing: On our depravity, our need for a reboot and the only way

Tonight I saw a rare thing; or rather I heard a rare thing.

We were looking up at the stars in the wee hours of the morning, contemplating the universe, current affairs and the state of mankind. These are all common themes in the wee hours of the morning. Amongst my friends (and I think people in general) there is a general recognition that the universe is grand and big, and that current global events are fairly fickle. These are all “safe” topics, even when you disagree slightly. Our conversation along these lines was not unusual, but it was a rare recognition about the state of mankind that surprised me tonight.

You see the notion of the extreme extent of the sinfulness of each human is something that is oft understated in western culture… especially amongst people as proud as some of my peers. In the past years my understanding of my own depraved heart has given me a type of awe or reverence for sin. Not in an all-consuming way but in a thoughtful sense of urgency I guess. When left alone with my thoughts I appreciate the situation of sin I suppose. When I’m alone I can easily see and confess my condition, my need.

When I’m alone.

But that’s when I’m alone.

As we discussed the world news tonight under the stars we joked about a need for a reboot. A wiping out of all of mankind in some sort of robot-apocalypse, mass-suicide or even a flood. My friend passionately believes the opposite to what I believe regarding the possibility of world-wide floods, Bibles and God. They are a self-described antitheist. When they grimly joked about solutions to the state of the world they were only joking, but then they got serious. They talked about how reboot was the only answer but quickly added how it could never work.

“The problem is mankind,” they said, and they were dead right. “No matter how many times we rebooted we would always fail and stuff things up. The evil is within us, it’s what we do.” My friend used the word ‘we’, an important and rare recognition. The willingness to accept personal responsibility for evil is something I have not come across in many people. The hopelessness of sin and total corruption of the human heart is extreme. How rare it is for this condition to be acknowledged openly? It is all too often downplayed, ignored or excused. Tonight I was invited to discuss and give proper respect to it under those stars.

Even in the Church, where the sinfulness of humans is supposed to be a core doctrine we rarely see confession on the level of total, open acknowledgement. It’s seen as taboo, offensive or old-school to preach or talk about it. There is a lot of talk of relevance, love, friendship, justice and a nebulous version of salvation, but sin is not often mentioned to the extent it was tonight. This is a big problem in itself because without acknowledgement of sin, there is very little power or purpose in Christianity, even in the cross. Sin is the problem in the world and the depravity of mankind is epic and huge. The wrath of God is against us forever because of it, because of our wicked sinful condition. Christ has come to provide amends, to take the punishment of the wrath and offer a better way. Without acknowledging the wrath is there and fair, how do we escape it? It is impossible.

It can be an offensive place to go, to enter into this dialogue about sin. Oh, we say we are an open-minded culture but try bringing that one up. In Australia you can go where you never once would and talk openly about religion, politics and sex. You can say what you like about anyone and anything. You can do anything, and be anyone. But woe to the one to suggest that there is something totally wrong with the world and that it comes from within. We are dismissed as narrow-minded. It is not politically correct, even if it is correct, and is usually seen as residue from a more primitive time when religion ruled the land.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13,14)
If the Church (by Church I mean Christian people not an organisation) declines to offer to the world the concept of sin and total depravity, the importance of Christs sacrifice will be lost on them. People will refuse Christ, not knowing his relevance to them. They cannot call His death and resurrection good news without first knowing the bad news.

Sin is reality and we underestimate its power, here & now and in eternity.

My friend was correct about the need for a reboot, and they were correct about the problem being the hearts of man. It is impossible to reboot things with sin so prevalent. To reboot the world we need Christ, Gods answer to our sin. Though my friend see’s the problem clearly, and in a rare moment at two in the morning is prepared to recognise its fullness, they unfortunately stop there. The rare confession and acknowledgement of sin is merely the beginning though, and although in acknowledging total-depravity my friend is probably closer to life and God than a lot of religious people, they were not ready to reboot. They are off to a good start though, for it is only when we admit our need can we begin the reboot.

God.
Depravity abounds… in this world around me and within me.
Forgive me.
Give me faith to believe and to cling to Christ.
That is what is needed.
He is the only way.