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Whatever Happened To This Message of The Cross


In honor of Good Friday, we are re-posting the very first article published at Not For Itching Ears…

The sign said, “Now serving Starbucks coffee!”

It was the late 90’s and the premium coffee craze was taking the country by storm. Everyone who liked coffee LOVED Starbucks or soon would. So it wasn’t surprising that some business would be utilizing the brand name to promote what they were doing. It made pretty good sense. It would not have fazed me a single bit if any other company was doing it. However, this massive sign was hung in front of a local evangelical Christian church. The message was crystal clear: “Come to our service on Sunday, we have free Starbucks coffee!”

With the arrival of the church growth movement and the seeker-sensitive ministry focus it birthed.. Read the rest of this entry

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Whatever Happened to the Message of Christianity?


The sign said, “Now serving Starbucks coffee!”

It was the late 90’s and the premium coffee craze was taking the country by storm. Everyone who liked coffee LOVED Starbucks or soon would. So it wasn’t surprising that some business would be utilizing the brand name to promote what they were doing. It made pretty good sense. It would not have fazed me a single bit if any other company was doing it. However, this massive sign was hung in front of a local evangelical Christian church. The message was crystal clear: “Come to our service on Sunday, we have free Starbucks coffee!”

With the arrival of the church growth movement and the seeker-sensitive ministry focus it birthed.. Read the rest of this entry

The Great Exchange: My Sin For His Righteousness


The message of the Cross is the heart of Christianity.  In fact, it is THE message and the cornerstone of the Christian faith.  We should never grow tired of learning about what happened there and all of its implications.  It never gets old and we must never move on from it!  For the past few years, I have made it a goal to read at least one book each year that discusses this topic.  I have just started reading a new one that I would like to share with  those who read this blog.  It is called “The Great Exchange:  My Sin for His Righteousness” by Jerry bridges and Bob Bevington.   I will be sharing quotes from it when I am done, but today I wanted to share this extended quoted about how the Old Testament sacrificial system served as a pre-cursor for Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

 “Atonement by animal sacrifice was the method by which sinning Jewish believers, estranged from God and excluded from covenant standing, were forgiven and restored to relationship with the inflexibly holy and yet merciful God.  The penalty for sin was separation and death; if a sin occurred, so must a separation and a death.  No amount of remorse, regret, or improved behavior could remove the guilt.  The offender was required to die without the possibility of restored fellowship to God – unless the God-ordained animal substitute was offered (separated) and killed (sacrificed) in the place of the dinner.  The act of substitutionary death was the main point of the old covenant atonement for sin.  In viewing the sacrificial process, defiled Israelites were reminded of what they would have endured if the sacrifice had not intervened.
 
It is important for us to note that this God-given system of animal sacrifices united three essential concepts… Read the rest of this entry

Will The Non-Conformists Please Rise Up?


In his book The Mindchangers,   Em Griffin describes an experiment  with groups of 12 people. They were brought into a room where four lines of unequal length were displayed. They had to decide which two were the same length and publicly vote for their choice. Person after person after person (11 in all) voted for the wrong line–because they had all been told to ahead of time. The one individual who was in the dark couldn’t imagine how in the world all these seemingly normal people could all choose the wrong line. When it was his turn to vote, he had to decide, “Do I go with what I know my senses are telling me, or do I go with the crowd?”  One third of those tested caved in to group pressure and changed their vote to agree with their peers. 

If you have ever been in a similar situation, you know how powerful peer pressure can be.  The pressure to conform to the world around us is a constant challenge.    That is one of the reasons the Apostle Paul wrote Romans 12:2, which says: Read the rest of this entry