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.

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:

Sixty-Second Solutions: Authenticity

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/46766307 w=600&h=325]

Nate Larkin, author of Samson and the Pirate Monks, shares his journey from the pulpit, to porn, prostitution, and finally freedom through authenticity and the end of self-reliance.

Parenting by Example

A core concept of our purePARENTING message is that when it comes to sexual purity, parents must lead by example.  You can’t give away what you don’t have; as C.S. Lewis put it: “None can give another what he does not possess himself.  No generation can bequeath to its successor what it has not got.”

The Bible confirms this.  Biblical, God-centered parenting begins with the mandate that the words of Scripture be in our heart AND that we teach them diligently to our children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).  Note the progression: the Word of God alive in us, then communicated to our children–in word and deed.

This is especially true regarding sexual attitudes and behavior.  If we are tolerant of impure thoughts, words, actions, or media in our lives and households, this will over time communicate to our children that sexual integrity and purity is not central, is not important, perhaps that it is not possible, and that it is actually not God’s will for us–even though the Bible makes clear that it is.

This article on leading by example as a parent hits the nail on the head.  “Observational learning” is a huge part of childhood, and because of that, parenting is not first about telling your kids what to do–it is about being the person God would have you be and living a pure and virtuous life that produces the fruit of the Spirit.  Kids are smart, and they are sponges; when we walk uprightly, they see it, and they will learn.  Modeling virtue is never a wasted effort.

“As often as you might say to them, ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’ your continual actions will speak louder than your words.”

Food for thought:

  • Have you made a covenant with your eyes as a parent?
  • What media are you allowing into your house, and what does it communicate?
  • Do you turn the channel when inappropriate images come up?
  • Where are you going online?
  • Are you examining the purity of your language and humor?  Your clothing?
  • Do you honor and show affection to your spouse in the presence of your kids?

Redeeming Adam

The more you observe it, the more difficult it is not to arrive at the conclusion that our culture hates men.  Real men, at least.

The media age delivers an incessant stream of the culture’s image of manhood: mindless, boorish, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually impoverished consumers of all things vile and vulgar.  Rare is the example of a smart, humble, gracious, virtuous, self-sacrificial, and redeemed masculinity.  Mike Olson is one man out to change that.

Mike is the junior high assistant principal and spiritual life coordinator at Bellevue (WA) Christian School; a frequent speaker; a pureHOPE Seattle Advisory Board member; a husband; a father of three; and a man after God’s heart.  He is committed to helping young men and women find transformation through relationship with Christ and to walk in purity and strength as redeemed bearers of God’s image.

In this message he delivered at our 2011 Seattle men’s conference, Mike exposes the shallowness and lies of porn and pop culture and challenges the men and young men in attendance to pursue a pure, holy, self-giving life that testifies to the work of Christ within them.

“The main reason we fail relationally is that we are trying to define our masculinity at the expense of others.  And that’s what our culture really teaches.”  Mike Olson