The Simple Gospel – In His Step

When I reflect back on our wedding ceremony I get a little pit in my stomach about the text we gave the pastor to speak on. Having done many weddings over the years I don’t think I have ever had as difficult of one as we gave him.

Patty and I both attended a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp in high school and the theme was 1 Peter 2:21:

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.”

We both loved the “In His Steps” part but the whole context of the passage is about suffering, not the nicest theme for a marriage. Maybe we should have picked the “love chapter,” 1 Cor. 13.

But our journey of the Simple Gospel will indeed lead us to following in the suffering footprints of Jesus, to “be conformed into His likeness” (Rom. 8:29). I don’t know about you but I can identify with Paul when he says, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out,” (Rom. 7:18).

Once again, we have the Good News of the Simple Gospel. The same Spirit who showed us our sin, opened our eyes to the gift of grace given to us in Christ’s death and resurrection, has given us faith to receive it. The same Spirit enables us to no longer be orphans, but rather sons and daughter of the King! And because of this adoption we can cry out “Abba Father” or my “Beloved Father.” This is the same Spirit who helps us to follow in the steps of Jesus.

This same Spirit is evident at the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. As Jesus came up out of the water the Holy Spirit filled Him up and the Father’s love was revealed by a shout from heaven. And after that fresh filling of love, Jesus was led into the wilderness for 40 days to fight temptation and to come out victorious to begin His ministry.

Before Jesus ascended into heaven He told His disciples that the only way to follow in His Steps was to wait for the gift of the Father. Don’t do anything until the Spirit comes upon you and fills you with courage through the Father’s love (Acts 1:8). Undoubtedly the book of Acts is a testimony to the Spirit filling weak followers with the power of Christ in them.

Warning: The Simple Gospel leads to a path of suffering. Our battle with sin, Satan, and the world will get intense. But we are offered the gift of the Holy Spirit-who testifies with our spirit-that Christ and the Father make their home in us and therefore “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us,” (Rom. 8:37).

 How do we live in the power of the Holy Spirit?

The answer: Die to self! Paul teaches that because of the gift of the Simple Gospel daily we can climb up on the altar and “present ourselves as living sacrifices…which is our spiritual act of worship,” (Rom. 12:1-2).

Dying to self is when we truly know our sinful hearts, know our weakness and inadequacies and cry out in prayer to the Father, “I can’t do this, I’m empty I need a fresh filling of your Holy Spirit.”

The Spirit is waiting for your cry!

The Spirit is attracted to and loves to fill the weakest of vessels who cry out to the Father for help.

And since the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us, He will fill you so that even in your weakness you are able to follow in His Steps! His glory and honor will enable you to encounter “joy unspeakable and be full of glory!”









The Simple Gospel – Sons and daughters of the …..

Every spiritual awakening, revival, or reformation in church history has always had the following foundational elements of the Simple Gospel:

 A deep awareness of sin, a glorious rediscovery of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone, and a fresh awakening of knowing we are sons and daughters of a loving Father God. Reread those three elements once again and ponder the presence and evidence in your own life.

I want to be so bold to say that this is the goal of the Simple Gospel –that we find our true identity in knowing we are absolutely loved and adored by a Father in whose secure arms we can rest. When we recognize and receive this love we obtain a peace that passes all understanding.

I also want to be so bold to say this is the greatest need in our world today. I was recently listening to a counselor who exclaimed, “at the root of every addiction is rejection. And most often behind every rejection you will find a father wound!”

Go to any prison around the world and you will find this true of 90% of all prisoners. Observing the countless social issues impacting South Africa, where we live, linked to the poverty and racial divide is fatherlessness.

Look at the West, despite the wealth and privilege there is still an epidemic of addictions and teen suicide? If you dig deep enough you will find a breakdown in the home, unforgiveness, and father wounds.

Our enemy is strategic and his tactics have not changed throughout history. Break down the family-especially the love and acceptance of the father and you will open doors for bitter roots of rejection to take over. In that place of hurt the enemy will build a stronghold to manipulate and control our thoughts and actions. Even though secular experts may disagree, I strongly believe fathers were created to represent the Heavenly Father.

Recently Patty and I were watching an online church service across the ocean. Our daughter Anna was recently hired to work in children’s ministry and was being introduced to the congregation. After answering a few questions she concluded by sharing the story of how I would ask her every morning before she left for school, “Anna, who are you?” Her reply was, “A daughter of the King!” Anna continued that her hope was for each child to know and take to heart this life changing truth.

The reason I asked that question every morning to each of our kids was because as their earthly dad I knew I could never be enough. I was weak. I battled sin. I would not always be there for them. I would fail. However, their Heavenly Father is enough, perfect, and always present. And because of Jesus and the Holy Spirit living in them each one of them, are precious in His sight, making them royalty, and they can bask in the Father’s indescribable love that lasts today and for all eternity.

The apostle Paul describes in Romans 8 where the Simple Gospel leads us:

“The mature children of God are those who are moved by the impulses of the Holy Spirit. And you did not receive the ‘spirit of religious duty,’ leading you back into the fear of never being good enough. But you have received the ‘Spirit of full acceptance, enfolding you into the family of God. And you will never feel orphaned, for as He rises up within us, our spirits join Him in saying the word of tender affection ‘Beloved Father!’ For the Holy Spirit makes God’s Fatherhood real to us as He whispers into our innermost being, ‘You are God’s beloved child!’” (14-16).

The Holy Spirit implants this truth that we are a beloved son or daughter of the Father; we are loved beyond measure. Everything flows out of this knowledge of the Father’s love. This love is how Jesus endured the cross and knowing this love is how we are able to follow in His steps.

May the Simple Gospel lead you to encounter this adoration from the Father! May you receive the healing that comes from the love of a Perfect Father! And as you do so others will notice something and desire that same love!










The Simple Gospel – Safe at Home


I was in prison, got acquitted in court, and now I’m safely home!! For me this statement reflects the greatest teaching of the Bible, justification by faith!

At the heart of the Simple Gospel is the glorious work of salvation through faith in the completed work of Christ that leaves one “justified” or made right before a Holy Father God.

Listen to Paul’s heart warming words as states this in Romans 5:1-2:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.”

 To understand these victorious truths of being “justified” go back to the opening statement of this blog.

I was in prison – Last week I shared about the gift of the Holy Spirit that reveals “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,” Rom. 3:23. The religious and the rebellious are all guilty and imprisoned by their sin nature. Nothing we can do can earn our salvation.

But while we were in imprisoned by our sin and under God’s righteous judgment Jesus walks into our prison cell and takes our place. All my past, present, and future sin placed on Christ. He received my waiting execution and God’s wrath as He hung and died on the cursed cross.

Got acquitted in Court – I’m led from my prison cell into the Heavenly Court of God. Satan is yelling out damning accusations. BUT the resurrected Christ runs into the court and shows the Father His wounds to defend His chosen sons and daughters. And the Father proclaims “Free, yes they are free indeed by the finished work of My Son. His perfect life, death, resurrection, reign belong completely to them by grace. Therefore there is no condemnation they are free to walk out of the court room of judgment, never to return!” (Roman 8:1).

I’m safely Home – The goal of the Gospel is to bring us back home, to dwell both now and forever in the presence of our Father. Our hearts true home is fellowship in the shalom of the Father’s forever love for us (see Jn. 17:3). Those who know these truths of Justification by faith find themselves overflowing with joy. They know it is ALL a gift of God. Even their faith in Christ and His completed work is a gift given by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:8-9).

Yes, the struggle is real as history records again and again we walk away from this message only to find ourselves back in prison, back in the court of condemnation, back trying to earn our salvation.

Yet through the power of the Holy Spirit we are brought back to this Simple Gospel message and given boldness to live it each and everyday. In world full of bad news we have the greatest news ever, the Simple Gospel.

Our families, our communities, our country and our world need to see followers of Christ who live in the home of the Father’s love. To see followers who are overcome by the joy of their salvation that was given to them freely through faith in Christ, the gift of the Father. May you claim your rightful home in the Father’s loving arms!