Keeping Christ in Christmas?



This Sunday’s sermon Mark 2:1-12 Title: Jesus is The Source of Forgiveness and Healing.

Text:And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”” (Mark 2:1–12, ESV)

Title: Jesus is The Source of Forgiveness and Healing.

  • The Source… Jesus is authority (He has called and they came in his own authority, He casts out demons in His own authority, He heals and forgives in His own authority.)
  • Forgiveness…  Only God can forgive sins. Jesus acts with the will and authority of God to forgive through Grace.
  • Healing… Image restoration.

Note on the relationship between sin and disease: Humans are in the image of God but we are all broken by the fall. As a result there is dis-ease (sins moral and natural blight on humanity) in every aspect of our very being…
Our Physical nature has been broken by dis-ease.
Our Spiritual nature has been broken by dis-ease.
Our Emotional nature has been broken by dis-ease.
Our Mental nature has been broken by dis-ease.
Our Volitional (our free will, desires, dreams, ability to choose) nature has been broken by dis-ease.
NOTE:Some say this brokenness is complete (people are 100 % percent broken) While others say this brokenness is total (every aspect of our being mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and  volitional, has been cracked by the fall) I personally hold  to a total brokenness (or depravity) position.

We need to understand from this text that
1. Jesus announces that He is The Source of forgiveness and love. ILLUSTRATION: Priest from the middle ages in France would say to the sick who came to them… “You have sinned and God is afflicting you. Thank Him, you will suffer so much less torment in the life to come”

2. Coming to Jesus as the source of forgiveness and love does not result in being turned away in this life or the next.

3. Healing is not only Physical!

4. Christ is God (Exodus 15:26 “I am the Lord who heals you”)

5. Our forgiving and healing relationship with God should carry over into our sphere of influence.

Congregational questions for discussion…
1. Do the Sick like you and I have full access to our Jesus and His church or are we fencing the well somewhere?
2. Do we see Christ as God or Gods separate helper? (example: is the Father angry at you and the Son is kind?)
3. Are we disgusted/angry about sins effect on us or are we angry about the effect of sinners on us? Which attitude is healthy and which one is not? Why?

Gospeling with your children…

Check this out if you are looking for ways of sharing the Gospel with your children. I was thinking it would be cool to have them draw a picture next to each stanza in order to get them to interact with the story. What do you think?

Ben Irwin


Next month, our daughter turns two. Ever since she was born, we’ve wondered: how do we introduce her to Christ? We had her baptized a year ago — now what? How do we help her to embrace faith in God for herself? Somehow, coaxing her into praying the sinner’s prayer as soon as she can mouth the words and leaving it at that doesn’t feel like the best way.

That’s what led me to Scot McKnight’s book The King Jesus Gospel several months back. (You can read my review here, if you want.) Scot argues that what we call the gospel isn’t really the gospel — or at least it’s an incomplete gospel. The true gospel is not four spiritual laws or some other formula. It is a story — specifically, Jesus’ story, which in turn was the fulfillment of Israel’s story. That is the gospel the ancient…

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Hmmm… Do ““Our children need to understand – and adults need to understand – that they’re not broken.”?

Very sad story.

View Video Here

I don’t agree with the fathers statement….
“Sin needs to be taken out of homosexuality,” said Joe Clementi. “Our children need to understand – and adults need to understand – that they’re not broken.”

We are all broken. We are all in need of oneness through the power of God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. We don’t have the power or the right in and of ourselves to remove our own sin or make ourselves whole.


10 ways we keep pushing for the development of Christ in your Children!

Galatians 4:19 (NLT)

19Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.

I will never forget the experience of being there during the delivery of my children. The words that ring in my head even today are the ones our doctor would say to my wife…. “push,push,push”.  It was with this quiet, deliberate, crescendo of intensity  that all three of our children came into the world. I have to admit I thought there would be more  uncontrolled screaming. There was some of that. But what I remember most (perhaps not my wife)  is this confident  rhythm that the Doctor would set with his calm but intense words push,push, push.

Well that’s over now our kids out, alive and healthy. But my wife and I try very hard to bring about spiritual birth in our children before we push, push, push them out the door into the real world. We are not trying to get decisions we are working toward formation. The formation of Christ in our home as a whole and in their individual lives.  I wanted to share with you how we are doing this on a weekly basis. If you have any things that you would like to share I would love to hear them.

  1. The Lords Prayer… It is like the theological hub of our family wheel. We have memorized it. We say it together every night. When problems or issues arise there is nothing that it does not address to help us out as a family.

  2. Singing before dinner… We sing The Doxology before every meal. It is very helpful because when we are having a hard day we still have to sing and it usually brings a smile to our faces.

  3. Dinner together… My wife has made our dinner time together a delight. We usually solve a riddle, ask each other how are days have been and work through situational school house ethics.

  4. Music… This is a big one for our family. At least four times a week we sing together before bed. The guitar, a hymnbook and some dancing usually brings about good discussion about God at least once a week.

  5. Responsibilities… our kids have daily responsibilities and one of them is alone time with God. We don’t micro manage. We just ask them to go of and spend time with God in their own way.

  6. Everyday before school… We sing a short song together or pray together before they get out of the car to run to class.

  7. Movie night… Every week we watch movies, and bring it’s main idea or theme back to the person and work of Jesus. The kids are pretty good at this and they surprise me sometimes.

  8. Catechism… These are  summaries of principles  in the form of questions and answers, used for instruction. Our Evangelical heritage has produced some pretty beautiful ones. We talk about whatever topic is being addressed in the lesson in a kind of free form way. I don’t always agree with whats being said. We do not like or promote the use of Catechisms in an indoctrinating way but in an engaging and critical way. Our kids are constantly reminded that believing whatever we think is wrong. And thinking about what we believe is right.

  9. The Ruler… We work hard to remind our kids that we are to love the Ruler first not His rules. We bring our children first to the forgiving and loving heart of God (the catalyst of our life) as revealed to us in Jesus Christ then show them what pleases Him. This is important to us because as a Christian family our kids could grow up thinking that because they “know the rules” that they are somehow better than others who do not. So in any way we can we bring up the fact that good works flow out of a gospel of grace based relationship with God. I love what G.C. Berkouwer said… “Grace is the essence of theology; gratitude is the essence of ethics.”

  10. Church… The place where we love, and learn about God together with our Christian family. Here we are able to minister to our Church family with our gifts and be ministered to by all the gifted ones in our body.

    So there you go these are some of the things we do. Now what about you? How do you work toward the spiritual formation of Christ in your children? We started out with very little and simple steps and it has grown and will continue to grow into the fabric of who we are.

Evangelical church culture in a bubble…

“What did the death of Jesus on the cross accomplish for the non-elect? Anything? It’s amazing how frequently that question is coming up recently. Somebody asked me after church last week, “Did Christ purchase common grace?” And we were talking about it at Table Talk with the students just a few weeks ago.”
John Piper (from one of his recent articles in the Christian Post)

Q: How many people are asking this in my congregation?

Q: How many people are asking this question in any congregation?

Q: How many people are asking this question outside of church?