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!




The Simple Gospel – The Gift of Seeing your Sin

The whole atmosphere of the room changed as men became transparent and honest sharing their battle with different sins. It was a holy moment, one that would lead us all to our knees.

As I was processing this sacred time, which happened at the Formed Men’s Retreat last month, the word that kept repeating in my thoughts was, “gift!” The Father loves us so much that He exposes our sins through the Holy Spirit.

Later I wrote these words in my journal:

Until you experience the gift of seeing your sins you will not understand the glory of the Gospel.

 The Simple Gospel starts with a revelation of the depths of your fallen nature controlled by sin. When I was a young boy, the church that we attended read the 10 commandments or some form of the Law every Sunday. To be honest I didn’t think much of it- other than just a bunch of rules to follow and it seemed stuffy.

However, one Sunday night when I heard a simple Gospel message the Holy Spirit opened up my heart and the first time I felt the weight of my sins. I felt exposed, a law- breaker who violated every one of the 10 commandments, plus a whole lot more. Encountering my sin pushed me into the arms of my forever Savior Jesus.

The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans, one of the purest presentations of the Gospel:

“God kindness leads you toward repentance…” 2:4

 These words from Paul are immediately after twenty-two Greek nouns and adjectives describe sin and evil in the world (1:29-32). And just before he exposes those with a religious judgmental spirit who think they are saved by their own right living (2:5-3:1-31).

Without the gift of God’s kindness both those living like the world and those trusting in their own good works are doomed to live forever separated from the love of God.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (3:23, 6:23).

 O the “Kindness” of God “the Gift of God,” is the Holy Spirit who shines the searchlight of Heaven to reveal the darkness of my own deceived heart. Without this “Kindness,” the chains of my sin forever imprison me. No matter how hard I try, no matter how religious I become, I will never break the chains.

The Simple Gospel, which starts with the revelation of our sin and the need for a supernatural Savior is our greatest need. True “repentance” recognizes sin; turns to receive the gift of love from the Father-Jesus His only Son- is where freedom begins.

Next week the emphasis will be on the gift of receiving grace that can never be taken away from us. But I don’t want to look over the fact that we will battle sin until we see Jesus in eternity. Yet, the Father has given us the “gift” of the Holy Spirit to live in our souls to continue to expose our sin so that we can turn from it in order to experience walking in freedom.

That night a group of men, on their knees, encountered the gift of seeing their sin, confessing it. Yet, we are not left in our sin as the Father has given us victorious freedom through Jesus Christ who has completely forgiven all our sins and tightly wraps His loving arms around His beloved children. There is nothing greater!

Maybe as you read this Holy Spirit is speaking to you about your sin. I encourage you to listen, confess, and run back to the arms your Abba Father in Christ, receive the gift!

“If we boast that we have no sin, we’re only fooling ourselves and are strangers to the truth. But if we freely admit our sins when His light uncovers them, He will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and He will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9).








“The Simple Gospel”

“I will rejoice in the simple gospel, I will rejoice in YOU LORD…” When Patty and I were back in Colorado we took a drive to our favorite lake in the mountains. As we traversed through the majestic Rockies Patty put in an old CD-yes that gives our age away 🙂

We listened several times to “The Simple Gospel” by United Pursuit. And those words, “I will rejoice in the simple gospel” hit a cord in my spirit. I had just returned from a men’s retreat where the power of the Gospel to expose and heal hearts manifested itself.

Surrounded by God’s creative beauty I said to Patty, “that’s it-we need to get back to the simple Gospel. What Africa needs, the US needs, our world needs, and what I need is the life changing power of the Gospel.”

As we sang along I thought about the theme verses for the book of Romans, where Paul boldly states:

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” (1:16-17).

 From these verses Paul lays out the gift of the powerful Gospel and how it is received and how those who are transformed by it bring Christ’s saving message to the world. Here is the heart of the Gospel:

Sin – The gift of coming to see your sin and the death it brings (Rom. 3:23, 6:23)

Salvation – The gift of saving faith that sees Jesus taking all our sins and punishment we deserve with Him on the cross, and receiving His perfection as our own making us a child of God (Rom. 3:21 – 5:1-21).

Sanctified Son’s & Daughters of the King – The gift of the Holy Spirit living in us helping us to battle our flesh and live in the Spirit as children who know their “Abba Father!” (Rom. 6-8).

Sacrificial Living – Giving the gift of His transforming love away to those around us (Rom. 12-16).

It is this the power of this Simple Gospel that the Father has graciously given to heal the darkest dirtiest soul and transform them into His radiant sons and daughters. For the next few blogs I want to dwell in the POWER of this Simple Gospel. Daily our enemy is seeking to flood the world with bad news in order to drown our souls with despair. We overcome his lies and find hope and victory in living in the Good News of the Gospel!

 The chorus of the song “Simple Gospel” states:

“So I’m laying down all my religion – I’m laying down – I want to know You Lord…”

 This was the secret to the Apostle Paul’s life. He was rescued from a religious spirit that blinded him and he made it his life goal to KNOW and LIVE the Simple Gospel:

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord for whose sake I have lost all things…I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in death, and so somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Phil. 3:8-11).

May you find hope and rejoice in the “Simple Gospel!”