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Archive for the ‘JESUS’ Category

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Among my favorite songs that capture the essence of the Christmas experience is “Mary, Did You Know?” words written by Mark Lowry and music composed by Buddy Greene:

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
would save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy
has come to make you new?
And the child that you delivered
will soon deliver you?

Oh, Mary, did you know that your baby boy
would give sight to the blind man?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
would calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy
has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby,
you’ve kissed the face of God?

Oh, Mary, did you know—
The blind will see,
the deaf will hear,
the dead will live again!
The lame will leap,
the dumb will speak
the praises of the Lamb!

Oh Mary, did you know that your baby boy
is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy
will one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your baby boy
was heaven’s perfect Lamb?
And the sleeping child you’re holding
is the Great I Am!

But, no, Mary did not know–not at first, anyway, and not fully.

She knew that her baby was special and that he would become the Messiah who would save his people, but she would not comprehend the full meaning of his messiahship until she began her daily walk with him during their life together and until she experienced his death and resurrection thirty-three years later.

She had to see his birth from the perspective of his sacrificial death and resurrection before she could fully know and understand.

And so do we.

Until we accept his grace and forgiveness through his death and resurrection, and begin our daily walk with him, we will never be able to fully understand or celebrate his birth and the true meaning of Christmas.

Only then does the real Christmas come alive for us. Only then are we able to really celebrate his birth.

And as we do, we will discover a magnificence, a glory, and a mysterious divine presence that will touch us in the deepest recesses of our beings–bringing comfort, strength, healing, and peace, no matter how trying and difficult life might become.

Oh, may you know and celebrate–really celebrate–Christmas this year.

********

(To view Mark Lowry’s concert version of this song, please view my December 20, 2010 post of “Mary did you know?”)

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I know the power of a movie showing God’s love to the world.

As an angry, volatile teenage delinquent in 1961, I was brought to my knees in tearful surrender to Jesus Christ as I responded to his love that I saw portrayed in the film, Angel in Ebony, about Samuel Kaboo Morris.

As I describe in my memoir, I sobbed uncontrollably for over an hour after the film, for I felt the heavy weight of my sins pressing down on my being, sensed Christ encouraging me to surrender my sins and guilt to him, and felt his presence and his love enveloping and warming me.

I saw the anger and hatred I felt towards my parents, my willingness to commit murder in my thoughts, the pleasure I got from bullying and intimidating others, my obsession with pornography, and my vow to lose my virginity that year. All these confronted me, and I acknowledged them to Christ and begged his forgiveness.

Slowly the burden lifted, the sobbing subsided, and a sense of peace filled my being, and a great inner lightness and joy lifted me. There was a strange mixture of feeling totally spent and exhausted from my weeping, yet there was a lightness and new vigor that began to surge through my body, and by the time I rose from off my knees, I was a new person in Christ, a forgiven child of God.

There is another film that is having an even greater impact on individuals around the world—JESUS, a two-hour classic movie about the life and ministry of Jesus based on the Gospel of Luke.

Produced by Campus Crusade for Christ as The JESUS Film Project, the 1979 film, JESUS, has been translated into 1,145 languages, shown in over 200 countries in the peoples’ own languages, with the result that more than 200 million men, women, and children have made decisions to follow Jesus Christ.

According to the folks at The JESUS Film Project, every eight seconds another person somewhere in the world makes a decision to follow Christ after watching JESUS. That’s 10,800 people per day!

How is this possible?

Thousands of churches, mission groups, and denominational agencies around the world are using DVDs and video tools to show the movie in churches, homes, towns, villages, tiny communities, or just anywhere Christian workers can find an audience of one or more individuals not yet reached for Christ.

Many requests to show the movie are coming from local Christian leaders in some of the most restricted and hostile nations towards Christianity, many in the 10/40 window—the area located between 10 and 40 degrees north of the equator populated by predominantly Muslims, Hindus, Budddhists, Animists, Jews, or Atheists.

There are many stories on record at The JESUS Film Project of God changing lives through the movie JESUS, including the following story:

About 250 people had gathered in the small community hall of a mountain village in one of the most dangerous regions in the world for Christians. A Christian team had brought a DVD of JESUS, to show to the villagers.

After the movie was shown, the team was about to invite the crowd to accept Jesus Christ as their savior, when a man sitting on the floor stood up, opened his shirt, and revealed a suicide vest of explosives strapped to his chest.

Panic erupted in the room.

“Wait! Wait! Don’t leave!” the man shouted. “I’m not going to blow myself up! I need to tell you what just happened.”

It took several minutes for the panic to subside, and the man went on to relate how he had heard that Christians were going to show a blasphemous film, so he got approval from his religious leader to attend the showing and detonate the bomb in the audience.

“When the film started,” he continued, “I reached for the detonator and tried to push the button, but as I watched the film, Jesus turned and pointed right at me. He called my name and said loudly, ‘Don’t do that . . . follow me.’

“Over and over I tried. Every time I reached for the button he pointed to me and said, ‘Don’t do that . . . follow me.’ My hand froze every time. I couldn’t move my thumb. I gave up and just stayed to watch.

“Now I believe. I want Jesus to be my Savior. Can you help me know more about him?”

The team leader agreed, and after the man took off his vest and disarmed the explosives, the team not only led the man in accepting Christ as his savior, but they also led the 250 members of the audience in commitment to Christ.

That’s the power of a God-inspired movie—people surrendering to Christ after seeing and hearing the Gospel of Christ in their own languages.

That’s why I’d like to encourage you to help The JESUS Film Project produce more of these DVDS and video tools so that Christian workers around the world can continue to show this movie to millions more people.

Please go to http://jesusfilm.org and explore their website, read more of the amazing stories of how God is transforming lives through the film, and learn about the ministry’s needs and how you can help.

Your help could impact countless numbers of people for eternity.

Grace and peace.

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