Who Is This Jesus?

by Rick Schatz

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).

The identity of Jesus is the question of the ages.  Every individual must answer the question about the identity of Christ.

Just consider the message we find in Matthew 16 and the impact that the identity of Jesus had on His disciples.  These men had followed Christ for three years, and Jesus made them squarely face the question of His identity.  Moved by the Holy Spirit, Peter acknowledged that Jesus was the Living God.

As they recognized this truth, the life of every disciple was turned upside down.  Their faith grew until they became fully convinced that Jesus was who He said He was.  Their faith led them to share the good news of the gospel with an unbelieving world.  They spoke with clarity and boldness and were willing to give their lives to share the good news about Jesus as Lord and King.

For every believer and servant of Christ, He is not only Savior but also Lord of everyday living.  We’re called to live righteously, and many of us are blessed with the opportunity to be husbands and fathers.  We’re called to serve our families and to love our wives as Christ loved the Church.  Coming to know Jesus as Christ changes everything.  It brings joy, peace, and hope in this life and salvation for the next.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:15-16

So, who do you say He is?  How have you been changed by Him?

This devotion appears in On The Road: Meditations for Men Who Travel, a collection of inspiring and encouraging writings from dozens of Christian leaders and businessmen.  Click here to order a copy from Beacon Hill Press.

Strategic Thinking With Josh McDowell and Friends

Yes, that is a chilling video.  Yes, sexual brokenness is a pervasive and painful issue. Yes, there is an attack on our youth just 1 click away.

But yes! There are ministries and individuals rising up, saying “Here am I, Lord” (Isaiah 6:8).

Yesterday some of our most respected ministry partners as well as other organizations from across the nation connected at a Strategic Thinking session hosted by Josh McDowell Ministry.  We discussed the greatest barriers to reaching people with gospel truth as it pertains to sexuality, and how to overcome those obstacles.  Among many practical ideas, there was resolute consensus that to be of any help in this arena, we must constantly receive Help from Christ and make accountability a priority – we need Him and each other (John 15:5, James 5:16).

Highlights from the day included a tangible sense of unity in the body of Christ, the sharing of innumerable resources, and a blanket of prayer from over 20 ministries to One Awesome God.  We are excited for the collaborative efforts sure to stem from yesterday’s event.  Know that this will deepen our well, from which we can draw more wisdom and engagement points to offer you.

Notes From the Road (Purity Is a Struggle Everywhere)

We have had a busy and rewarding past week! Our team has traveled from a school in Ohio, to a church in North Carolina, to a church in Texas, to a country club in California.  We’ve interacted with parents, pastors, church leaders, women, men, 20 year olds to 80 year olds, law enforcement, and business professionals.

At Miami Valley Christian Academy, our Vice President, Noel Bouche and Director of Parenting Ministry, Dan Martin talked about s-e-x with parents and school officials.  They shared Biblical foundations and God’s compelling story and design of sex. Partnering with Covenant Eyes, they helped families put systems in place to navigate the ever-changing world of technology and the internet.

In North Carolina, Dave Brown, our Director of Counseling and Support, spoke at the Band of Brothers men’s conference for the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. Purity is not automatic for pastors and church leaders.  These courageous saints have to pursue purity like anyone else, with the hope of Christ and leading of the Spirit.  Dave shared with these men some equipment for the battle.

In Texas, we had the privilege to partner with Traffick Stop an initiative to educate, advocate, and engage people on the issues of human trafficking. Tomi Grover, founder of Traffick Stop, and Noel met with East Texas area men and women, pastors, law enforcement, and advocates to discuss the church’s response to the prevalence of sex trafficking, as well as the correlations to pornography, and the normalization of sexual exploitation and objectification.

Finally, Noel finishes our long week of traveling by touching down in Orange County tonight to bring the Word to the workplace!  The marketplace is arguably one of the most dangerous places for a man or woman of God on a pilgrimage of purity.  Business can take us miles away from home where secrets can creep and thrive, work can make us tired and susceptible to temptation, the office is often a cesspool of the secular and over-sexualized.  Men and women attending the Christian Leadership Business Forum will be strengthened in their resolve to pursue purity even during the nine to five daily grind.

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind, but a valuable thing we are reminded of this week: Folks, purity is a struggle everywhere — whether in Ohio or California, in school or in the office.  Be encouraged, you are not the only one battling.  You are not the only one with questions.  You are not the only one to act out in doubt that God’s design is actually best.  You are not the only one who has been hurt.  Our God sees.  And He is touching hearts and lives, healing wounds, redeeming impurities, setting His people on a trajectory of freedom and justice.  It has been truly humbling to be a part of His reach these past few days.  May His truth ripple out and multiply fruit in many lives– maybe even yours!

Let us know how we can encourage you! And hey, knowing that we’ll go just about anywhere, let us know if your church, or school, or fill-in-the-blank could use some of our resources and teachings at your next event.

Someone May Need to Hear This Today

by Aszia Walker

You can only run so far and even there He can reach you.

You can only fall so hard, and from even that place He can pick you up.

Jesus knew everything and everyone He died for.

The blood He shed was measured out to cover you abundantly, to make you holy and blameless in the Father’s sight so that He could forever call you His!

Its time to sit in His love, to relish in it, to feel it, to taste it.  The unfailing mercy of God came so that you could experience the abounding love of God! And Oh! How He loves you!

Let Him snatch you up in it!  Let your Father, Your Abba hold you until every tear and fear melts away, until the shaking and trembling subsides, until His voice, His light, and His healing reaches the deepest, darkest corners of your heart.

Continue reading

Fighting For Marriage

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/28898383 w=600&h=325]

In this inspiring four-minute video by Elevation Church, pureHOPE Charlotte Advisory Board members Chris and Sandra Pollard share their journey from bondage, betrayal, and distrust to hope, healing, and intimacy.  Their story highlights the abundance of grace and mercy that God readily pours out upon couples who, like the Pollards, choose prayer, repentance, forgiveness, and resolve to fight for their marriage instead of just fighting in their marriage.

“It took getting me into all those closets, and into all those things that I had hidden, and just exposing them to the light of the Lord.”  Chris Pollard

See Also:

Why “THE Sex Talk” is the Wrong Approach

In this 5-minute segment from a recent purePARENTING seminar, pureHOPE’s Dan Martin explains why a one-time sex talk doesn’t work, and why equipping your kids for purity requires diligence, authenticity, and effective use of teachable moments.

“It’s not the one-time talk.  It’s an ongoing, life-long, process of speaking truth in love.”  Dan Martin

[audio https://purehopeblog.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/pureparenting_mov_dan_martin.mp3]

See Also: