First, a mid-year status update: While we remain behind our 2018 growth budget, gifts have increased and our ability to give more Bibles is improving. Our special request on Facebook for additional funding to support giving 220 Haitian Creole Bibles to children in Haiti was answered and this over-and-above need was fully met.
We are now asking on Facebook for special gifts totaling $7200 to enable IBG to send 300 Urdu Bibles and 300 Urdu Bible/Jesus video Chipsets to Pakistan. A special thanks to North Isanti Baptist Church VBS and the matched funds provided- two thousand of the $7,200 needed is already in house. It is a big request, but we are putting the need out there and trusting God to provide. If you are a Facebook user, like the request and share it with your friends. It’s a new way to participate with IBG.
Back to Good News – Our Identity, and a reminder attribution that I am using the Alliance publication “Who we are in Christ” available at JohnStumbo.com as a blog outline.
People have a deep need for belonging, for having identity, and for being part of something greater than themselves. Throughout the Bible, God provides that Identity. We are:
- Adopted into Gods family – Eph 1:5 – In addition to our earthly family, we become part of God’s eternal family – an eternal community!
- Justified freely by his Grace – Roman’s 3:23 & 24 - So many get caught in the trap of trying to be good enough, or trying to get good enough before engaging God. The reality is we can’t – none of us is perfect or will be perfect enough no matter how hard we try. But the good news is that Christ pre-paid the atonement for our sins and we are justified. What does justified mean? It goes back to Grace versus Justice. When someone cuts us off on the road, we want justice. When we get pulled over for speeding, though, we want GRACE (unmerited favor). The term justified is rooted in justice. Our sin makes us unworthy of God’s presence. Justice argues we cannot commune with God as a consequence. Jesus paying the price for our sinful nature makes us right again with God. We are justified.
- Cleansed or purified by Christ’s sacrifice – See 1 John 1:7 or 1 Ptr 1:18-19. Being justified does not simply mean Jesus “paid the fine for our speeding ticket”. It means we are made new as if the transgression, the blemish, is washed away.
- Rescued from the kingdom of darkness – Col 1:13 – I once hiked an ancient lava tube in Hawaii, and it got very dark very quickly. Striking a match provides an amazing amount of light in a dark cave. Light pierces darkness, but darkness cannot pierce light. In this metaphor for our lives, we go from being captive in an unfathomable, disorienting darkness to perceiving clearly who we are and are not. Break free of the lies of Satan and see clearly the highly valued person you are.
- Made alive in Christ – Eph 2:4-5 God’s richness in mercy is shown in that he acted BEFORE we were worthy of rescue.
- Forgiven of ALL our sin – Col 2:13 – How many labor under the burden of guilt for a really bad past deed? Whole lives derailed by a past poor decision. I once talked with someone who killed their wife in an alcoholic rage decades ago. As much as he wanted to go back and change a whole bunch of decisions, he could not. He did, however, move forward in the forgiveness of Christ and live again. No sin is too great for God!
Do you know someone in an identity crisis? The above is just part of the free gift of Christ we proclaim in every gift of scripture we give away. There is a tremendous HOPE within each one of you that the world desperately needs to hear. Thanks for being a part of this Great Commission activity!
Give Hope. Give Life. Give Bibles!