Tag Archives: who is jesus

This March Madness, Join God’s Squad

By: Major K. Kendall Mathews, Columbia Salvation Army

K. Kendall Mathews played high school basketball in Detroit. This worn picture is of Mathews when he was a member of the varsity for the Detroit Mumford Mustangs in 1978.

March madness is upon us and many NCAA basketball teams are looking to extend their season to include the NCAA tournament. I know many players have worked hard in an attempt to be the superlative team in college basketball. For them winning is everything, as each team plays like it’s the last game.

God wants us to be focused on more than winning the basketball playoffs. He wants us to be a conqueror in our battle against sin and humiliation and to live each day as if it were our last. To prevail, we can’t be on God’s All-Glory team one moment, and be a bench warmer the next moment, just because life is not going our way. We must be on His team and playing by His rules that are found in the Holy Bible. “For all have sinned and fallen short of his glory of God.” – Romans 3:23

The question is, “Whose team are you on?” I hope you are playing on God’s squad. There is no losing while you’re practicing Christian standards or living out your salvation on God’s side. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that Satan will leave you alone. He will not, so be prepared to work through the tough times of life. We are Christian winners because of the salvation offered to us by Jesus Christ. He promises to be a very present help in the time of dilemma. Because Jesus whitewashed sin by dying on the cross, rising from the dead and promising to return, we have a greater hope for eternal life.

God is our spiritual coach and we should surrender to his ways because He knows what’s best for us when life seems to overtake us. God compensates those who are submissive to his teachings. Playing on his team is saying, “Yes, Lord,” to his ways in all practical life situations. Our calling is to trust and obey Him, even when we don’t want to, because He is an everlasting-life coach. Jesus surrendered his life graciously when He relinquished it on that old rugged cross. You see, humility and “teachability” on God’s squad is responding to his voice without resistance, and being open to learning from his Son, Jesus Christ, as our supernatural team captain.

Playing on his team is our willingness to be taught by God, to put aside what we think and erasing from our heart any preconceived notions when we consider the possibilities that God might be taking us in new directions on his winning team. Winning isn’t everything, but being on God’s team surely has greater value and an everlasting benefit that will stand the test of time. With God as our coach, Jesus as our captain, and the Holy Spirit as our guide, we can not lose in this game of life. I don’t know about you, but I want to be undefeated on God’s squad. It may be March Madness, but for me it’s Mission Madness – my relationship and teamwork with God is first and foremost.

I recall a high school basketball game in Detroit, where there were three seconds left in the game. The coach called timeout and worked out a play where I was to take the last shot. I thought to myself, “I can win the game and be the hero.” Well, the ball came to me and I took the last second shot, only to miss it. We lost the game. I felt so bad, thinking that it was all my fault. In the locker room all my teammates reassured me that we lose as a team and win as a team.

Unlike that high school game, for those of us who are on God’s squad, we win every time; losing is not a part of this game of life. Although the Christian life is not a cakewalk, we will have our temptations and trials just like Christ. So, rejoice that our Christly captain took that last second shot for the world when he said to God our spiritual coach; I’ll surrender my life, I’ll give my all, so the unsaved may obtain salvation from sin. This fearless victory over death secures a win for those who receive it. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

Healthy competition is a good thing when it is kept in the right perspective and proper intention. From a Christian point of view, however, it’s a competitive fight between good and evil, God and Satan. We have to play both offense and defense. We know that Jesus overcame Satan when He defeated death on the cross, but too many times we have to be reminded of that fact. In the game of life, our souls are being influenced by what’s around us and whether or not God is our spiritual coach. Our eternal future is on the line making it essential to come to blows with Satan and stay on God’s squad, truly connected to him. We read in Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.'” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Let’s team up with our Lord and captain Jesus Christ where losing is out of the question, but winning over sin becomes our eternal goal of Christian life.

Jesus did not tell us that all our drives to the basket will be easy, but He did tell us that He will show us the way. We know that sometimes we will need to use a full-court press, but we can’t lose if our daily practice includes keeping the faith and keeping our eyes on our captain. As March Madness begins, think of whose team you will play on from a Christian perspective. Will it be on God’s squad or Satan’s losing lineup? It’s your call, but I would strongly encourage you to pick Christ to be your captain and allow God to be your coach and a victorious life is but one shot away. Have you heard the song, Victory in Jesus by Eugene M. Bartlett (1885-1941): “I heard an old, old story, how the Saviour came from glory, How He gave life on Calvary to save a wretch life me; I heard about His groaning, of His precious blood’s atoning, Then I repented of my sins and won the victory. O victory in Jesus, my Saviour, forever. He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood; He loved me ere I knew Him, and all my love is due Him – He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.”

So, when the final buzzer sounds, whose team will you be on, God’s squad or Satan’s losing lineup?

 

Who is Jesus? What has He done?

This is the second blog in our series answering the question “Who is Jesus?”. This is presented by Major Dan Jennings, Senior Kroc Officer at our Quincy, Illinois Kroc Corps Community Center.

This is a question that has echoed through the canyons of time. The historic Jesus has proven to be a bit illusive for researchers. As an example no image of Jesus has survived form the first century of Jesus. There is simply no representational art depicting Jesus. It is not until the third century that we are given an impressionistic image of Jesus.

Who is Jesus? In the biblical narrative of Matthew, King Harod convenes a committee to determine what the significance of Jesus’ birth was. Even Jesus’ own disciples, after surviving a sudden storm on the Sea of Galilee ask, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41) Even the Psalmist, in anticipation of Jesus, asks “Who is this King of Glory?” In an attempt to answer this question, it is important to understand that this question has been inaccurately answered many times. That is to say that when we attempt to convey who Jesus is, that we very often fall short of conveying the entirety of his being and nature.

There are some who suggest that our attempts to answer the question of who Jesus is actually misrepresent him. Anton Wessel has said that “…we cannot help asking whether we are dealing with so many legitimate representations of Jesus Christ and facets of his work and significance, or whether at times or even more frequently he is misrepresented, caricatured, or even betrayed.” Some qualify their answer to say that this is who Jesus is to me. The danger here is that we begin to create of own personal notions of who Jesus is.

The orthodox view the Church has held of Jesus actually focus more on what Jesus has done rather than who he is. Consider the Apostle’s Creed which confesses that Jesus “…was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty…”

Perhaps the better question is what has Jesus done. It may be that we have to confess our inability to convey all that Jesus is, however we are able to convey with much clarity what Jesus has done. As an example, Jesus Christ has died for my sins so that I might be forgiven. I do not have to understand the full scope of the nature of Jesus, to understand what he has done for me and what he is able to do for you.

Who is Jesus?

This blog by Major Wood is the first in a series of blogs that tackles the question “Who is Jesus?” Read, enjoy and share – and give us your feedback and thoughts as you consider his interpretation of this question.

“Every Time My Heart Beats”

By: Major Kris Wood, Officer Maplewood

I was driving in my minivan the other day, the radio was off, the only sound I needed was the sound of my 4 year old daughter humming to herself.  She was creating a tune that was not quite musically accurate but there had never been a more beautiful sound to reach my ears.  The sound of children singing makes the hardest hearts quake.  It was a beautiful day. The trees were in the process of turning from the green of summer to the colors of fall.  The sky was as clear and cloudless; the blue reflected off of my daughter’s eyes as she gazed with amazement at the glory passing her side window. 

“Daddy, Jesus is talking to me,” she said.  She said it as if it was a common occurrence, not something supernatural or incredible.  I got the feeling that she was used to Jesus talking to her.  “What’s he saying?” I asked.  I wanted to encourage her so that I could understand where her mind had wandered as we drove in the minivan and she hummed her tune.  “He told me not to drink alcohol,” she said.  I was surprised.  I expected her to repeat what she had heard in church; “Jesus loves me.” 

“That’s a good thing to remember,” I said.  I have to admit to being at a loss for words.

She hummed her tune for a moment, contemplating something profound.  I watched her through the rear view mirror.  Her right hand was twirling her light brown hair in circles.

“Jesus talks to me every time my heart beats,” she said.  Again, there was a frankness to her statement that made me feel like she was in constant conversation with Jesus.

I had to ponder what she was saying and still focus on safe driving.  Her last statement hit me as something more profound than a four year old should utter. 

“Does he talk to you all the time?” I asked.  I saw her shake her head in response; as if I were a total idiot.

“No, Daddy.  I said; ‘Jesus talks to me every time my heart beats.’  My heart goes, ping, ping, ping; and Jesus talks to me.”  I had been scolded by my daughter; put into my place.  How could I be so slow as to not understand that obvious truth? 

I turned the corner and drove a block farther down the street where my office is located.  There was nothing that I could think to say or ask, so we rode the remaining distance in silence.  Then, she spoke once again; “Daddy, do you talk to Jesus?”

“Yes.  I talk to him all the time,” I said.  She thought for a moment.

“Does he talk to you through your heart beat?” she asked.  Great question indeed. 

It is obvious to me that my daughter talks to Jesus.  She knows that he is real.  Somehow she has made the connection with him, yet so many ask the question, “Who is Jesus?”  They do not seem to know what my daughter understands; Jesus is real.  I recently asked people on Facebook to answer the question:  “Who Is Jesus?”  I have received responses from all over theUnited Statesfrom people I know well and people I do not know at all.  I have heard over and over the standard answers that Christians around the world give for that question:  “The Son of God, My Lord and Savior, Lamb of God, Emmanuel, God With Us, The Human Manifestation of The Creator God, God’s Gift To The World.”  All those are true Biblical statements about who Jesus is, but they do not reach the place where a personal connection is made, like when my daughter said, “Jesus talks to me every time my heart beats.”  She seems to have tapped into the mystery that goes beyond definition.  In some miraculous way, Jesus is real to my daughter.  She does not know or understand any of those descriptions that people have given of who Jesus is; but she knows Jesus. 

Who do you say Jesus is?  Is it a standard answer that comes to mind or is it the unspeakably personal feeling of being connected, in touch, with the eternal?  Jesus asked his followers who they said he was.  Simon Peter answered by saying, “The Christ, the Son of God.”  (The Messiah).  Yet, later when Jesus spoke to Peter he asked Peter personal questions that probed to the heart of the man.  “Do you really love me?” he asked Peter.  Peter replied, “You know I love you.”  It was a personal, even painful interaction for Peter since only a short time before he had publically denied knowing Jesus or being one of his followers.  To Peter, Jesus was more than just the Messiah, he was his friend.  Is Jesus your friend?  Many people know about Jesus.  Many others have heard about Jesus, but Jesus desired to have a personal relationship with each of us that goes beyond labels and titles.  Jesus longs to speak to you through the beating of your heart.  Every beat, every breath, every thought, every movement; they are all a gift from God.  They tell us that we are still alive; they allow us to live.  At the very center of living we find a person, not distant and unknown but close and caring.  We find someone who loves us in ways that cannot be put clearly into words.  We find acceptance, caring, love, peace and hope.  Most of all, we find a forgiving and welcoming friend.  It is time to move past the religion of Jesus, the things done in his name, the impact his life had on the world and all that those things imply, and find a personal friend.

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