5 Aug 2013

Christ, the one and only!

Submitted by theshovel
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Back in the summer of 2004, at the approach of hurricane Frances, we boxed up all the stuff I had sitting on and around my desk. Since then, I have been rediscovering some of those things — among them, the beginnings of a new Shovelation. That’s right, I had written out most of the first chapter of Colossians on a napkin while I was breakfasting at a local diner. Anyhow, I have not only uploaded that chapter, but I have also updated and added to it a few times. You can find that writing here: The Shovelation: Colossians. I’m also including the introduction to the letter here. I hope it will intrigue you to read the first chapter!

Colossians is an amazing letter in which Paul established Jesus Christ as the one and only one by whom salvation has been made. On the one hand, many believers will rejoice in the wonderful testimonies regarding the miraculous reality of grace in Christ, especially in how it relates to his unique qualifications that allowed him to harmonize everything in himself to the glory of his father. On the other hand, because religious Christian teaching has either ignored or perhaps misunderstood the dynamic contrasts Paul made between the truth of the gospel as clearly laid out by himself and the substitute message of those who were desperately trying to lead the believers astray, many verses in this letter have been used to bring his amazing salvation into question. It is the tension between these two “gospels” that must be recognized in order to clearly see how everything Paul wrote in Colossians was put there to highlight the absolute certainty of the salvation that has been brought about in Jesus Christ.

The challenge for me in presenting a contextually honest rendering of Paul’s letter to the Colossians revolves heavily around the passage in Colossians 1:23-2:8. For many, Colossians 1:23 is one of the most frightful verses that seem to indicate that our salvation hangs upon our ability to continue in the faith. However, the IF refers not to something in us but rather in the message that Paul had preached to them. The Colossians were caught between two messages: that of Paul and that of the deceivers who had infiltrated. We don’t tie it together because we’ve been taught to ignore what Paul said about those men later in the letter. But the Colossians would have known exactly what Paul was suggesting. And while this one verse has caused so much doubt among so many Christians regarding salvation, it actually indicates the deceptive mentality of the religious mind that keeps us from recognizing that it is merely the beginning of Paul’s whole point to the Colossian believers. It is this same fleshly minded reasoning that makes many people think Paul was an egotistic bully who set himself up as the one and only source of truth for the Christian religion. I’m telling you, the religious mind just doesn’t get it. Everything Paul wrote was done in such a way as to showcase one, and only one man, the Lord Jesus Christ, our true and undisputed deliverer.

The Shovel-Audio Program

Between the drastic changes in my work schedule, a death in the family, and a vacation, it has been a long while since Adam and I have been able to reconnect on Skype for another Shovel Audio. But we’re back again with another fantastic audio program. This time, we’re discussing the hot-bed topic of how choice relates to the Christian life. Knowingly or unknowingly, you’ve been fundamentally affected by not only what you’ve been taught from your church or Bible study, but also from the world in general. If you think for one moment that the fallacies regarding choice come only from the religious Christian church, you are being blind-sided, because the same basic premise taught by a good number of Christian leaders is the very same thing hitting you from everywhere.

I have also created a new Facebook page for the Shovelaudio, which can be accessed at www.facebook.com/shovelaudio. I’m not sure how beneficial this page will be, but I think it might make it easier to promote the Shovel Audio recordings since they won’t become side-lined by anything else that gets posted. What will really help is for as many people to like, share, and promote the new page. Please visit the new Facebook page, Shovelaudio, and “like” it. Sharing it would do wonders. :) Thanks! Jim

Upcoming trip to Uganda

As the upcoming trip is now within 90 days, I am now at the point where I can input my vacation requests for work. As it stands now, it looks like I will be flying to Africa somewhere around the 2nd or 3rd of November, which means I’ll be arriving there on the first Sunday or Monday in that month. My contact Mark and I have been keeping in touch, and he will be picking me up from the airport, setting up the meetings there, as well as helping me get set up with accommodations.

Because of the generosity of so many of you, I have received approximately $1700 to cover the costs of that flight. My thanks go out to all of you who have contributed, and while I won’t be naming names (unless of course any of you want me to), I will make sure the precious saints in Uganda know of the love that has been expressed toward them. I am still accepting donations for the trip, as the flight itself is more than 2K. I also have to renew my passport.

Donations accepted here

Let me also take the time to remind all of you that donations will do nothing to make you more acceptable to God … or to me. While appreciative as I might be toward those who give, I have been shown grace by so many of you in so many ways that I can only thank God for it.

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Random Shovelquote: Asking God to remove your sin (view all shovelquotes)

Now, if any of you are hearing this with the spirit of condemnation hanging over your head, it’s only because you’re trying to hold on to two radically different propositions at the same time. It’s like trying to travel east and west simultaneously. But trying to do the one while believing we are still doing the other is the very thing that leaves us confused and paralyzed. You see, asking God to help you to remove your sin is built upon the assumption that Jesus Christ hasn’t already done it. source