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'As We Are One' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Tiegreen   
Friday, 25 September 2009 00:00

Jesus declared in John 10:30 that He and the Father were "one." What does that mean? One in essence? in purpose? in character? From His other statements throughout the gospels, it's clear that He meant all of these. As Hebrews and Colossians tell us later, He is the exact image of His Father -- the high-resolution photograph of God. The "oneness" between Father and Son is as tight and intimate and united as a relationship can get.

So it's astounding later in the gospel of John when Jesus prays to His Father about His followers: "that they may be one as we are one" (17:22). In other words, Jesus asks that we would have the same kind of closeness with Him as He has with the Father. Wow.

Most Christians read this verse as a call to Christian unity. While I think that's implied and certainly a good message, I don't think it's primarily what Jesus had in mind. The focus isn't being "one" with each other; it's being "one" with Him. How? In the same way He is one with the Father -- in essence, in purpose, in character, in actions and attitudes and thoughts and feelings and everything else. (Some people may have a problem with the "one in essence" part of that last sentence, but if we're born of His Spirit, we are of the same essence just as we are of the same essence as our natural parents by being born to them physically.) This is a call to be as bonded with the Father and Son and Spirit as they are with each other.

Try to let that sink in. It has amazing implications for your life. Don't let it simply be a theory or a Christian ideal that's too high to attain. It's not meant to be a theological belief, it's meant to be an experience. Jesus wouldn't have prayed it if it wasn't possible for us. Ask for that, believe it, and experience it.


Battle Cry PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Tiegreen   
Thursday, 17 September 2009 00:00

One of my favorite Winston Churchill quotes is simple but powerful: "Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never -- in nothing, great or small, large or petty -- never give in." It was good advice in the context World War II. It's even better advice for whatever spiritual battle you're facing today. Just a reminder that regardless of what life throws at you, enduring is a victory in itself.

Hope Colored Lenses PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Tiegreen   
Thursday, 10 September 2009 00:00

Have you noticed that you tend to look at life through whatever lenses you're wearing when you wake up in the morning? If you wake up discouraged, for the next few hours everything looks discouraging. If you wake up aggravated, everything gets on your nerves. If you wake up encouraged, life looks great.

I think this is why a lot of Psalms speak of what we do "in the morning." For example, "I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble" (Psalm 59:16). It's a choice to reset your mind on truth. When you do, the rest of the day takes on a different flavor.

I'm not naturally a morning person, and I've always been annoyed at those who insist that meaningful time with God has to happen before breakfast. Those conversations can happen any time of the day. But I do believe in the value of getting our minds out of "default" mode as early as possible in the day. We need to put on the right perspective—lenses of faith, hope, and love—in the morning. All of life looks different when we do.

Pay Attention PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Tiegreen   
Friday, 04 September 2009 00:00

Earlier this week, one of my big projects was turning a pastor's spoken sermon into a written article. One of the major themes of the sermon was God's trustworthiness in keeping His promises. The next morning, a friend emailed me an article abut the importance of contending for God's promises. Ten minutes after that email, a fellow editor handed me a newly printed issue of her September magazine. The title on the cover? "Promises." And the trend continued for the next couple of days in my daily devotional readings and "verse of the day" entries on iGoogle. God was hitting on something: Trust His Promises.

What do you do when a certain theme converges in your life like that? Some people chalk it up to "coincidence." Makes me wonder what God has to do to actually get through to them. It's true that some people go overboard and see every hint of a whisper as a bright neon message from God, but I find that more Christians are much too reluctant to recognize repeated themes in their life as God-messages. I believe God is almost always speaking—Jesus is "the Word," after all—and I suspect that many of His messages fall on deaf ears. For both the Messenger and the receiver, that's sad.

Notice the converging themes in your life, whether during long seasons or even for just a day. Don't let God's messages fall to the ground. If you suspect He's sending you a message, it's okay to ask Him to confirm it. He loves to speak, and He loves for us to listen.

The Blog Is Back PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Tiegreen   
Friday, 28 August 2009 00:00

Maybe you've noticed that this blog has been stagnant for a while. Or maybe you quit noticing because . . . well, because it has been stagnant for a while. Though a combination of other projects and staff limitations temporarily forced the blog to the back-burner, it's time to bring it back. So check this space for at-least-weekly-if-not-more-frequent posts. I'll try to do a better job of keeping it current this time.

One of the topics I want to cover with some frequency is the issue of trust. I've noticed in myself and quite a few other people that God really seems to be dealing with our trust issues right now, almost as though it's a theme He's especially emphasizing in these times. Deep down inside, most human beings have a sneaking suspicion that God is holding out on them — that though we know He is good, we don't trust that His good gifts will actually be the ones we want or the ones that meet our deepest needs. Have you noticed this tendency in your own heart? Keep an eye out for it — it's the same subtle deception that a serpent first uttered in a garden long ago. Know that no matter how things look, God is on your side. Always. Ask Him to show you that He is and see what He does. There is no problem, no situation, that you can't trust Him with completely.

The Wild Ways of God PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Tiegreen   
Wednesday, 18 March 2009 00:00
I have a new book out, and I'm not sure how it's going to go over with some people. It's a little more "out there" than some of my others. But I think it has an important message, and it has already gotten some good reviews on Amazon, so maybe it isn't as hard to swallow as I think. It's called Fixing Abraham: How Taming Our Bible Heroes Blinds Us to the Wild Ways of God. Check it out at Amazon or at the store on the Walk Thru the Bibleweb site.
The Power of Testimony PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Tiegreen   
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 00:00
I learned about a great web site yesterday that shows a wide range of people—actors, athletes, musicians, business people, and some names I've never heard of—telling how they came to Christ and how He overcame all kinds of obstacles to change them. If your faith is boosted by the power of a testimony, these will definitely move you. They are very well done. Check them out at www.iamsecond.com.
Stay Encouraged PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Tiegreen   
Thursday, 15 January 2009 00:00
I've been reading about Elijah lately — how God provided for him during a three-year drought through very unusual provision. (You can read about it in 1 Kings 17:1-16). It made me think about how many times God's people needed Him to come through during desperate times. Whether it was manna in the wilderness or a land flowing with milk and honey, God always had a promise to offer and a way to provide. Remember that if you're one of the many people going through a lean time right now. And stay encouraged!
Merry Christmas! PDF Print E-mail
Written by pphillips   
Wednesday, 24 December 2008 00:00
It's Christmas Eve, and I'm having to ask myself if I'm doing a good job of remembering the reason for the season. Some days, the answer is yes. Other days . . . well, let's just say it's easy to get caught up in the bustle. (Like when people honk at you to get out of their way -- all in the spirit of Christmas, of course.) Anyway, I hope you are able to keep your focus most days too. Have a great celebration of Jesus!

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