Christianity Is Not an Ethnicity: What Jesus Really Meant When He Said "Born Again"

The most famous passage in all of Scripture is John 3 in which a Pharisee called Nicodemus visits Jesus at night.

During the encounter Jesus uttered the renowned verse sixteen stating, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This is the foundation for Christianity. It is the gospel encapsulated in one sentence.


Photo by Janko Ferlič

But the impressive nature of the chapter is the deep subtext which eludes the average reader, but enriches the reading for those in the know. This is the amazing thing about scripture. It is multi-layered, complex, and beautiful, but not so technical that the common man cannot understand it.

How to Work for God without Losing Your Religion

I'm over at Beliefs of the Heart today where I wrote a piece called How to Work for God without Losing Your Religion.

Photo by Samuel Zeller


Kingdom work is critical. Jesus said the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. And yet serving the Lord in any capacity without the proper motivations bastardizes the Gospel, transforming it into a sort of karmic Christianity. Or worse!

Here's how the post begins. I hope you'll take the time to click over to Sam Williamson's site to read the rest:

A young man named Jacob was a fixture of service at my church. I was impressed at his level of ministry dedication. Whenever an event or project arose in the church, more often than not, Jacob was there, lending a hand. 
As time went on and I got to know Jacob better, I discovered something was awry; it just felt wrong. Come to find out, his primary motivation for serving was guilt. His dad, who was an associate pastor, pressured Jacob into serving every week and at every event. 
But guilt isn’t the only negative driver for Christians. For some, their motive is the hope of earning salvation. This motivation is subconscious; people in this camp agree we are saved by grace through faith alone, and yet their behavior tells a different story. 
Others serve to feel good about themselves. In doing so, we seek a different kind of salvation-by-works: salvation from low self-esteem. Enjoying serving the Lord is not wrong, but it is wrong to rely on our accomplishments to derive our worth. God values us not for what we have done, but for who we are. 
I’ve been in these latter camps, and I’ve dipped into Jacob’s camp too. But let me tell you: all three are folly. Working for God without proper motivation is, at best, meaningless. 
Why focus so much on motivations for serving? you might be asking. Who cares about motives if the work is getting done, right?

Want to read the rest? Here's that link one more time: How to Work for God without Losing Your Religion.