My Gospel

How does the Gospel affect your life? Is it the defining centerpiece of your life? Is it your very life?

Paul writes an interesting phrase in his last letter to Timothy describing the Gospel:

Keep your attention on Jesus Christ as risen from the dead and descended from David. This is according to my gospel.
– 2 Timothy 2:8

Why did Paul refer to the Gospel as “my gospel”? He didn’t write that story. Paul wasn’t the originator of the Gospel. The words seem strange, almost sacrilegious. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not the gospel of Paul.

Note the start of the verse: keep your attention on Jesus Christ. Paul’s aim in training Timothy in the faith wasn’t to exalt himself, it was to lift up Jesus. Paul called the Gospel his because it was personal to him. The Gospel didn’t just detail historical events, it showcased the grace poured out for Paul, and for the world. The Gospel Himself met Paul personally on the road to Damascus and completely transformed his gaze, his purpose and his future. The Gospel, Jesus Christ, was now his life. Jesus changed him. This wasn’t only the disciples’ Gospel, or the early church’s Gospel, this was his Gospel.

Paul was a picture of the Gospel.

We need to hear that, and we need to own that.

If the Gospel is merely words preached on a Sunday morning, we’ve missed it. If the Gospel is a set of morals to live by, we’ve missed it. If the Gospel works for us while we’re at church, but is optional at work, we’ve missed it. If I embrace the Gospel but still maintain my rights or remain in charge of my life, I’ve missed it.

The Gospel becomes mine when Jesus is my life. I cannot live without the reality of my resurrected Lord. His truth and His grace should dictate my comings and goings.

My life must speak aloud, in word and action, of Jesus the One and Only.

And even when I fail and my faith falters, Jesus doesn’t. When God looks at each of us, He sees a person for whom He sent His Son to die. He sees someone He lovingly made to have a personal relationship with Him, a person He longs to accept His salvation. Jesus loves us, and willingly gave up everything to make a way for us all, whether or not we accept His gift of grace.

My life is a picture of the Gospel. So is yours.

Every thing matters

Every single moment of our lives matter. The words we say, the smiles we share, the tears we cry, the gifts we give: Each breath we take matters to God, and He uses it ALL for His glory, even if it seems insignificant to us.

On a rare occasion we are blessed to catch a glimpse of how God weaves every detail of our lives into His master plan.

This weekend, we were excited to have new friends over for dinner. The kids had a great time playing together, even dressing up and putting on a few plays for us! In the midst the hubbub, one of the girls came up to us adults with a picture frame and asked what it was about.

Jackson's baptism "photo"

Jackson’s baptism “photo”

Jackson was excited to share about when he was baptized, and the girl asked right then when she could be baptized. Her mom and I began a conversation about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. Even Jackson was able to talk about accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Everyone had questions, and God was at work, drawing us all to His heart. We decided to continue our conversation the next day at church, and by the end of the morning, we were praising God for two new sisters in Christ!!

I texted my sister-in-law that night to tell her that she was a part of two people beginning a new life with Jesus. Two years ago, she and her husband chose to leave their home very early in the morning to make it down to see their nephew be baptized. They gave him a special frame to put a picture of the day so he could always remember when He obeyed God and showed the world his commitment to Christ. We never did get that photo developed, but Jackson has kept the frame proudly on his dresser. And this weekend, God used that hand-drawn doodle in a frame to prompt questions that led two hearts to Jesus’ side.

Every thought, every word, every action matters.

For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
– Philippians 2:13