Why God Stepped Down

A simple overview of the Eternal Spirit's objectives in taking on mortal flesh

The Scriptures say in Matthew 2:23 -- That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophetsHere is my second draft summary of some of God’s purposes in the Incarnation:

  1. Live a sinless life.
  2. Learn obedience through suffering.
  3. Be touched with the feelings of our infirmities.
  4. Give us an example.
  5. Defeat the devil.
  6. Vanquish death.
  7. Bear our sins and make atonement for them.
  8. Become our faithful High Priest.
  9. Rise again for our justification.
  10. Redeem us to God.
  11. Gain our victory over the flesh and sin.
  12. Make effective blood shed in the Old Testament systems of sacrifices.

Please help me refine the list with your comments below. Read it all

An Essential Part of the Holy Spirit’s Work

He moves His people only to glorify Jesus.

bread photo: live by every word that comes out of God's mouth

God’s Spirit never guides in opposition to God’s Word.

Neither does He overlook the person and glory of Jesus.

As we approach the end, deception will continue to increase. Do not be confused or enticed by any message or revelation, said to come from the Holy Spirit, that has little to declare about Jesus and His glory.

Even in our day, over 2000 years after Pentecost, an essential part of the Holy Spirit’s work is to glorify Christ. Read it all

When a Pastor Gives Up…

who will weep, who will shoulder the blame?

This evening I feel twinges of nostalgia and sadness. And perhaps a twitch of a whiff of bitterness? No, I overcame that a long time ago.

Twenty-five years ago this evening, at the Mennonite church in Santa María (Sonora, Mexico), the first national minister of that congregation was ordained.

photo of Emanuel church in Santa Maria

As I recall, my Dad (James Roth) gave the charge. And as I recall, the church’s “founding father” (Joe Mast) as well as two members of BMF Missions (Merle Kropf and Wilton Smucker) were there from Oregon as well. I was the congregation’s pastor.

I continued in that role til I resigned in March or April (as I fuzzily recall) so Manuel Torres could take over. My family and I had to leave the field (in May, I think). Read it all

A Rebel Heart for God

Only if it's broken, repentant, and surrendered

I thought of this again several times this month already:

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”

That piece of 1 Samuel 15:23 just ain’t complicated at all: God won’t fit in a rebel heart.

Doing church things, saying church words, dressing church clothes, thinking church thoughts — none of them make room for God in a rebel heart.

But broken repentance does. Read it all

I Must Decrease

Jesus, Others, You -- a wonderful way to spell JOY

“I’ve been there and done that,” I think to myself. “I’ve done what he’s doing and been what he is.”

“I’ve been there and done that,” I think to myself.

But times change and needs change. As does standing. As do positions, assignments, and responsibilities. And when the time comes for me to give up long-held things like that, I want to remember again what John the Baptist said: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

I remembered it when I resigned as principal of “my” school.

I remembered it when I encouraged another friend to assume a calling that would diminish “my” role.

I hope I remember it when I’m replaced as chairman of the board I’ve “headed” for over 19 years. Read it all

Can’t We All Just Pull Together?

Well, sure. We could. But...

I shuffled along through the dirt, water can subtly shifting my weight, water shower generously dampifying the vegetable plants. (Were they corn, beans, beets, or squash? I don’t remember and you don’t care.)

“Which is more important?” The weight of the question shifted my mind this way and that. “Pulling together. Standing for truth. Pulling together. Standing for tru…”

I concluded that if I must choose one over the other, I will choose truth.

Actually, though, I vote for standing together on truth so we can truly pull together. If we don’t stand on truth, we will slip and slide while trying to pull together. You just can’t pull well when you aren’t on solid footing. I would even argue that you can’t pull safely in such a circumstance. Read it all

Above all, love God!