The Gospel in the OT

The first four books of the New Testament are often referred to as the gospels because they contain the life of Jesus (the earthly one anyways). But a close read of the Old Testament will reveal the same gospel message. That’s because God has been writing it since the beginning, because humanity has needed it since the beginning. Just check out this text from Psalm 73:

“I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭73:22-25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There it is. The depravity of humanity, his/her separation from God, God’s faithful pursuit of humanity, and the resulting heart change of someone who has found salvation in the Lord!

God is so good!


Oh to hear those trumpets sound!

“Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first of the month you shall have a rest, a reminder by blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall not do any laborious work, but you shall present an offering by fire to the LORD.'””

‭‭Leviticus‬ ‭23:23-25‬ ‭NASB‬‬

At sunset on Sunday, October 2nd, millions around the world joined in a biblical holy day known as Rosh Hashanah, aka the Feast of Trumpets. I would venture to say that most of those observing this day are our Jewish brothers and sisters, but many are followers of Jesus Christ (Yeshua).

Four years ago my wife and I embarked on a journey of discovery that has been, well, quite amazing. Feeling a mix of conviction and curiosity, we decided to dive into a study of the Holy Feasts that God had commanded His followers to honor. There are 7 specifically outlined in Leviticus 23. Three take place in the spring, one in the early summer, and three more in the fall months. Taken as a whole, they are a beautiful picture of God’s redemptive plan for His creation.

We have learned a lot of incredible things by studying these feasts. Among them is that every single feast is a record of something Jesus has either already done for us or is going to do for us in the future. That’s why a lot of Christians have gotten on board with learning about these feasts and observing them to the extent of honoring Christ. Every sacrifice made during these feasts were related to some aspect of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for us. Now that doesn’t mean that Christians are supposed to make the animal sacrifices that are outlined in these feasts. That would be meaningless and empty in light of Christ’s once and for all sacrifice. But the call to sacrifice has not changed. Romans 12:1 says to be a daily living sacrifice. But, Every Old Testament event that these feasts were tied to were but a foreshadowing of Jesus (Yeshua).

I’ve already talked more about the feasts than I planned to because I really just wanted to focus on the ones happening this fall. Come springtime I’ll be highlighting the sweet truths contained in those feasts.

Rosh Hashanah carries with it a meaning of newness. Trumpets (shofars) are sounded which marks the beginning of both a serious series of days and a rejoicing moment looking ahead because of what it points to. This feast ultimately signifies the moment when Christ will take His bride. It’s the moment that all Christians look forward to the most. We will get to be with our Savior forever! For that reason, Rosh Hashanah is our new beginning in the most real sense.

For others, meaning those not devoted to Christ, this marks the beginning of the days of Awe leading up to judgment day, which happens to be ending today on the feast calendar (October 12). This day is known as Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. In the bible, it discusses this feast as the great day in the year when the high priest would offer a sin sacrifice for the nation. The High Priest (Jesus) has made that once and for all sacrifice. Prior to that, the Yom Kippur sacrifice would earn people’s entrance into the Book of Life for the following year. Are you seeing the foreshadowing here? The ultimate sacrifice of Christ bought His followers entrance into THE Book of Life for all eternity. So for Christians, the ten days of awe are glorious reflection on His amazing goodness, culminating in The Day of Atonement when we honor Christ for inscribing our names in the Lambs Book of Lamb. How awesome is that!?

Coming up this Sunday, October 16, we have the final of the seven Holy Feasts of the Lord, Sukkot or Tabernacles. More to come on that…but it is amazing!

God bless my brothers and sisters. Be encouraged that God is and has been in control since the beginning of time.

It’s not God, it’s us

Upon hearing some really hard news recently I started pondering the idea of God’s sovereignty and evil things happening in the world. It’s hard…really hard to reconcile those two things. The number one argument of people who don’t believe in God is that He can’t be both all-powerful and loving at the same time. I think even believers battle with that when tragedy strikes close to home or when we hear news of horrible things happening. But, God is loving and God is all-powerful. So then why do bad things still happen? Because of us.

I’m not saying us in the sense of you and me, even though I’m sure we’ve all contributed to hurt in this world. I’m saying us in terms of all people. God isn’t the reason for pain and suffering, our own brokenness is. After all, He created things perfect and then humanity broke it. We sin, not God. We hurt people, not God. We are the selfish, self-seeking ones, not God. We wonder why we get sick and why illness plagues even the unborn. We are the ones destroying the environment by pouring chemicals into the air and water and producing toxic foods that poison our bodies.

Sure, God allows hurt to happen but it’s always a result from humanity’s sin. The hardest thing is when someone who is innocent is affected by someone else’s sin. Yet that has been the story of human history. Whether it’s Adam and Eve’s selfish choice, Cain killing Abel, to the day to day pain we see inflicted in our world today, sin has been the cause for pain, not God.

This world is fallen and broken, and yet, God stepped down into it by becoming flesh to walk among us. His desire to reach a world so lost and people so wicked (that’s everyone by the way) is the proof of Him being a loving God. Need more proof? He also allowed those wicked people to whip him and nail him to a cross and crucify Him. And all that so He could take the punishment that we all deserve. Where is God when bad things happen? He was hanging on a cross in the most excruciating pain so that we could be healed despite all the suffering this world offers.

So if He’s loving He must not be all powerful. Well God didn’t stay dead! He was popping out of a grave three days later. God creates life. God makes things out of nothing. Everything that is alive owes every breath to Him. There is no greater power than that.

Let me propose then, that we stop asking the wrong question of “how can a sovereign God let bad things happen” and instead ask “how can we be more selfless and be a part of the solution to the pain in the world”?

God made us with the ability to choose. To choose right or wrong, good or evil, light or dark, others or self, Him or the world. That is a loving God. He is a God who goes to the greatest lengths to reach people who far to often choose poorly. Usually the those complaining about God’s lack of intervention are the same one’s screaming for Him to be banished from our schools and removed from our society. Interesting…

So let’s stop blaming God for not intervening and start pointing the finger where it really belongs. Let’s stop shaking our hands at heaven and instead, put them to work helping others. Let’s stop wondering why God doesn’t strike every evil doer down with lightning and remember that He has not dealt us our due punishment for our guilt.

Hello world!

Our modern media world offers so many opportunities to be interconnected with people way beyond our common circle as well as those closest to us. ForCommonGround is a place to launch challenging and thought provoking discussion of world issues and close to home life issues. Maybe, just maybe, in the process we can reach a place of common ground. I am looking forward to sharing in this new adventure with everyone who’d like to come along for the ride.