“All At Once”


From one of my most favorite musicians of the Christian Faith, Phil Keaggy does his album cover song, All At Once. 

Here are the lyrics with my explanation in italics. May this song cause you to either turn to Christ for salvation, or if you already have, let these words remind you of the great hope that you already have.

when you took away the burden (of sin and its horrible consequences)

to a place that we could never go (the cross)

and when you see the pain and hurting (in the body of Jesus that was absorbed for you)

that we will never have to know (Christ has become my substitute)

how do you look at that (what will you do with the crucified Son of God?)


all at once it breaks the heart (The Spirit opens the eyes of the heart to see your need of the Savior)

puts in back together stronger than it was (raised to walk a new life in Christ)

yea it does what it does (the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes)

all at once (to be made right with God is instant life from the dead)


it interrupts our situation (the gospel is a great truth to be reckoned with)

invades your point of view (the gospel crushes your hope and pride in good works)

what to do with the information (how will you respond to the gospel that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures)

oh what is happening to you (it’s the Spirit of Christ raising you up from being dead in sin)

how do you deal with that (what will you do with the Crucified Son of God?)     



look upon the body broken (look at your Salvation hanging on the cross)

see the healing in yourself (Christ was broken so that your soul could find rest)

when at once the words are spoken (by faith in the finished work of Christ, “you’re forgiven of all your sins”)

you know you’ve been made well (like the leper, the prostitute, and the beggar)

what do you take from that (what will you do with the Crucified Son of God?)       


Jon Bloom helps me to think like a Christian should on Bruce Jenner

How Should We Respond to Caitlyn Jenner?

June 4, 2015

How Should We Respond to Caitlyn Jenner?

Former Olympic champion, and current pop celebrity, Bruce Jenner, revealed in a recent interview his lifelong struggle with gender confusion. This week he announced that he is changing his public identity from male to female, his given name from Bruce to Caitlyn, and celebrating his gender transition by being featured in a photo shoot and cover article for the July edition ofVanity Fair.

Jenner has suddenly become the most well-known transgender person in the world and has brought transgender issues into the headlines and cultural conversation.

So how should we, as Christians, respond to Jenner’s transition?

With Compassion

In 1976, Bruce Jenner won the Olympic gold medal in the decathlon. Instantly, he became a global mega-star. But when making public appearances afterwards, no one knew that sometimes under his suit, this handsome, muscular, charismatic epitome of masculine virility and success was wearing a bra and pantyhose.

Jenner was nine years old when he first secretly tried on his sister’s dress because he felt like he wanted to be a girl. He didn’t understand his strange desires and had never heard of anyone else who felt this way. He had no one to talk to. He was a little boy carrying a secret shame that made him feel isolated from everyone else. He always felt like a fake — like he was constantly pretending to be a boy, even though he was one.

A gifted athlete, Jenner excelled in every sport he played throughout his teens, eventually becoming world-class in track and field in his twenties. But no one knew that part of what fueled his fierce competitive drive was a desperate effort to prove he really was a man. Always present in his consciousness, sometimes screaming at him, sometimes whispering to him from the shadows, was an inner voice telling him that he was female.

Adding to his confusion, his gender and sexual-orientation voices were dissonant: He had a heterosexual attraction to women. The inner conflict of his disordered desires, though not the sole cause, contributed significantly to the break up of three marriages.

None of this means that Jenner’s decision to self-identify as a female is okay. There are important reasons why it’s not okay (see the links below). Compassion does not mean compromisingbiblical truth. But sexual identity must be for us more than an abstract social issue. Real souls have endured real anguish over it. We must seek to understand their painful stories before we speak into their struggles. The more we know, the more compassionate will be our truthful response.

“Sexual identity must be for us more than an abstract social issue. Real souls have endured real anguish over it.”

Christians are equipped to respond with real compassion for such struggles. We all understand from experience the distressing disorder of the inner man that occurs because of indwelling sin and the brokenness of the fall:

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. . . . I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:15, 21–24)

With Prayer

Bruce Jenner, and every person who deals with gender or sexual-orientation disorders, bears the image of God and has a priceless soul. The first compassionate impulse we should have is to pray for them. Jenner professes to be a Christian. Whatever that means, he at least may have potential openness to biblical truth. Let us pray that the truth of the gospel will set him free (John 8:32), knowing how much Jesus loves to redeem and restore sin-broken people.

With Greater Understanding

Growing in our understanding of the nature of transgender and sexual-orientation disorders is necessary so that we don’t hold ignorant assumptions and say erroneous and insensitive things to people. And it would be wise for us to anticipate the possibility of discovering someday that our child, grandchild, cousin, nephew, niece, friend, co-worker, or possibly a parent is enduring such a struggle. If that should happen, we want to be safe people for them to talk to.

“Jenner, and every person who deals with gender disorder, bears the image of God and has a priceless soul.”

Beyond that, gender issues are only going to grow in prominence in our society. The nations of the West have fully legitimized many of them and are working them into the legal codes. The past cultural restraints are gone. We will increasingly be called upon to explain and defend the biblical position. We need to know what the Bible actually says about transgender and sexual orientation and why the church throughout history has held its positions. Greater understanding will make us both more compassionate and more articulate. (I’ve prepared a list of places to begin at the end of this article.)

With Truthful Love

If we are compassionate, prayerful people who reasonably understand transgender and sexual-orientation issues and what the Bible says about them, we are in a good position to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Speaking truth is itself a form of love, even if a person doesn’t receive it as such initially. But “in love” also means speaking with great respect, empathy, and appropriate humility. And it means a willingness to love strugglers with deeds (such as hospitality), not just words (1 John 3:18).

Regarding Jenner’s transition, it probably means being slow to speak, especially on social media. And if you do speak something truthful, seek to be an unusually respectful, gracious voice. Jenner is not likely to read your remarks, but maybe someone you know who is guarding a tender, shameful secret will. Speak as you would to a friend.

But pray for Jenner, that God will send to him one or two who will speak the truth of the gospel with Christ-like love and that he will have ears to hear. Jenner’s hope is that “as soon as the Vanity Fair cover comes out, I’m free.” But we know he will not be free. After some period of euphoric relief, he will find that he is still a “wretched man” who needs to be delivered from his body of death (Romans 7:24).

That is precisely why Jesus came: to deliver people like Bruce Jenner and us from our domains of sinful darkness (Colossians 1:13) and our failing, disordered bodies, and give us glorious, powerful, disorder-free resurrection bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42–44). “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” there is a greater hope than gender identity can provide (Romans 7:25).

It is Jesus’s truth that sets all of us free (John 8:32).

Related Resources

Full author jon bloomJon Bloom is president of Desiring God and author of Not by Sight(2013) and Things Not Seen (July 2015). He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.

In honor of my mom: Motherhood is good, but Jesus is better.


Everyone knows that motherhood is both good and yet painful at the same time.

As God created, he said that the woman will become a mother, that she is blessed to become so, and that it was all good. God also said that the woman’s motherhood would come through marriage to a man (2:23-25). But then the woman, along with the man, responded sinfully. God and his gifts were not enough (3:1-7). God then responded to this unbelief and assault upon his character by giving the serpent an unmitigated curse: he would receive a mortal blow upon his head, but the man and the woman, though also receiving a curse, would find redemption through a male child who would redeem them back to God (3:15).

The Story of the Bible is centered on Jesus.

Though the Serpent would bruise his heel on the cross, Jesus would crush his head by resurrection. Jesus Wins! And because Jesus wins, all mothers who turn to Christ for redemption find that motherhood is good, but Jesus is better. That’s because motherhood was never meant to be an ultimate experience, or an ultimate goal in life, or provide ultimate value – as if women who don’t bear children have less value than those who do.

By the grace of God, I’m glad to have a mother who, though brought me into the world through pain and had painful episodes in raising me, and had to accept a painful distance of miles since I left home at 17, nonetheless, did not grasp at her motherhood as her god. Jesus is her God.

When explaining the gospel, Jesus uses motherhood to describe how it is that a sinner can be saved. Jesus told one of the wisest religious leaders in Jerusalem that unless he is born again he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Nicodemus was stumped, saying, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Now if there ever was a Human Anatomy and Biology lesson – this is it. Notice that Nicodemus does not say, “. . . can he be born a second time . . .” He says, “Can he enter a second time . . .” What? Nicodemus acknowledges by implication that it was his father who put him into his mother’s womb the first time. That explains his first birth. How then can this be done again? And that’s the point that Jesus establishes. You Can’t! It was not you who put you into your mother’s womb the first time and it won’t be you who will do it the second time – but the impossible “must” be done. How?

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” – John 3:1-8.

Did you get that? Just as there was a father who put me into my mother’s womb the first time for physical birth, likewise, there must also be a fatherly initiative to birth me into the kingdom. Motherhood is not the gospel – it explains the gospel!

This is Good News – this is the Gospel for all women whether you give birth or not!

This is why I honor my mom on mother’s day. Not only because she gave birth to me, but her motherhood over me did not blind me from seeing Jesus. Too often motherhood becomes more than it was intended. And too often children can become distracted because motherhood is all that some women have. Motherhood is good – but Jesus is better. And when Jesus means more to a mom than her own motherhood, then that’s when we see our own need to be born again.

If you are a mom reading this, whatever you have done, and wherever you are on the spectrum of knowing your need of Jesus, there is always grace to begin explaining the gospel by the way you mother your children. Love Jesus more than them and they will get the picture.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.

What we all desire: A Father’s Love

I think everyone who has ever been born has a dad. I think everyone who came into this world has a built-in desire to be loved by a dad. I think when you were a child, you wanted your father to show you compassion. I think you wanted your father to know and understand and enjoy you. I think that you came into this world as frail and vulnerable as dust – and you would give anything to have a father who knew that and treated you accordingly. I think whether you’re willing to admit it or not, you want to be able to say to your father, “You have always loved me.”

           Psalm 103:13-14 says, “As a father shows compassion to this children,                                 so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.                           For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”

Truth is, earthly fathers, including myself, have never perfectly loved their children, knowing how frail and dust-like they are. By God’s grace, we as dads have the incredible privilege of imaging to our children the Father’s love, albeit, less than admirable at times. But there is a Father-Son relationship that offers a Father’s perfect love to anyone who will fear, trust, admire, and delight herself in this Father:

“I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:23-26).

Let me ask you a question: do you know yourself as vulnerable and frail as dust or do you know yourself as a tough, self-made, invincible, “I can make it on my own” kind of person? Do you know yourself as David does – one who needs a Father in heaven to treat you, not according to your sins, but with mercy and steadfast love? (Psalm 103:10-12).

Or have you forgotten how dust-like you are?

Though Jesus was fully God he was also fully Man and therefore knew himself as completely helpless without his Father. But Jesus also knew that he was loved by his Father – even at the most excruciating time in his life. According to Jesus’ prayer to his Father just before he was crucified, we learn these four things:

1. Jesus wants sinners to know how much his Father loves him

2. Jesus wants you to know the same love that his Father has for him

3. Jesus knows that he has always been loved by his Father

4. Jesus prays that you will know his Father’s love

How can Jesus feel so loved by his Father on the night of his crucifixion? Because he knows that his Father aims to exalt him above all other names and reputations. Jesus knows that the cross is the means by which sinners will come to know his Father. And to know God the Father who created all things is worth it. Why?

What if you could still feel loved by your Father when people call you names – like they said to Jesus?

What if you could still feel confident and filled with hope when people reject you – like they rejected Jesus?

What if you could still feel cherished when you’re suffering and all alone – like Jesus felt?

And what if you could still know yourself as forgiven and loved even though you are dust, even though your earthly father did not love you as he ought, and even though you deserve the full justice for your sins?

This is why Jesus died – and it was worth it! To give to undeserving sinners the same love that Jesus has always known from his own Father is his pursuit.

Repent of your sins and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ was left alone on the cross to suffer for your transgressions. Believe that he was buried and rose again on the third day – believe that you can know what Jesus prayed for on that wretched night – as a father has compassion on his children, the Lord has compassion on those who know they need it.

Jesus wants to introduce you to his Father in heaven – so that you too can say, “I love you dad” – and then hear a voice from heaven to you, through the power of the Holy Spirit and through the work of Jesus Christ, “And I love you.”


Our Father who is in heaven

Cause your name to be revered and cherished,

Cause your rule and reign to come to my life

Here on earth as it is done in heaven.

Because we are dust, Give us this day our daily needs.

And because we want to be forgiven through repentance, we forgive those who also repent.

And lead us not into trials and testings, but if you do, keep us from the evil one who wants to destroy our love

To you belong all the glory,







My Experience with a Scam Artist via Craigslist

For the first time, and with the help of my daughter, I posted an item on Craigslist for $425. Here is my experience and what I hope will be a helpful caution for you, and in addition, a reflection for all those who might need a merciful but stern warning for engaging in deception and theft.
                                                                                                                                                  I began to receive some emails from “Susan” who wanted to buy my canoe “asap.” She was too happy to be the buyer. Then she said that a cashier’s check from her bank, Citibank, would be sent to me – she just needed my name and address. She also said that it would provide enough for the “movers” of which I am to send the excess of the check. Ok – that’s when the red flag went up. I thought, “why don’t you send your own money to the movers – why put that on me – that is just plain dumb to trust me, someone you have never seen, to send money to your movers.” My hunch of being taken was right. In a few days, I received this check to my amazement for $1,450.
That’s $1,025 more than the sale of the canoe. Now, by her instructions, I am to deposit the check and then wire this amount to the address below:
                                                                                                                                        “Money Should Be Sent Through Western Union Money Transfer In Minutes To The Info Below:
Receiver’s Name: Doc Smith
Address: 2901 S 1ST ST
State: Texas
Zip Code: 79605-1813″
                                                                                                                                                  I went to Citibank website and they literally spelled out this kind of scam letter for letter. I then took the check to my bank, Chase, and asked them that if I deposited the check would they credit my account – would they process the check? “Yes – this bad check is so good that we would run it through and you would receive your money. But in three weeks when Citibank sends the check back to us as a bad check, we would then come after you and debit your checking account for the full amount. The thief would have $1,025 of real money from you and you would be out. Also, you would be put into a category for risk as a client of our bank and other banks would be notified – this would follow you because you attempted to deceive us.” My banker is a friend of mine and he was simply telling me the cold facts of what would happen. He was very happy that this shake-down failed. But he said that it is happening every week to his clients.
                                                                                                                                                  I then took the bad check to Citibank – they ran the numbers and identity of “Susan Kramer” – the account does not exist: “It’s a fake check anyway – that’s not how Citibank prints their cashier’s checks.”
                                                                                                                                                  I then handed over all information to Citibank and the local police and wrote the letter below to Susan. My hope in sharing this story is that you would know how to protect yourself from this kind of thievery. My other hope is that if you are a thief reading this story, that you would think deeply about the matter of which I address below.
                                                                                                                                              Dear Susan.
I have some questions:
Are you not tired of this?
Are you not exhausted?
Are you not tired of living in fear that maybe this is the week that the FBI and the authorities find you out and send you to prison?
                                                                                                                                            Why would you attempt to lie and deceive me, and steal my money when that is not the way you want to be treated? Do you not realize that you are self-condemned since you would not want to be treated the way you have been treating me? Do you not feel guilty at all for harming the financial well-being of others – especially the elderly, the widows, the single moms who unknowingly fall prey to your schemes? 
                                                                                                                                                 If you do not get caught in this life there is a Judge who will meet you at your death – his name is Jesus and he is Lord of the little lords who set up shop to print fraudulent checks to steal money. And he is King of little kings who sit at computers telling one lie after another. The fury that will be unleashed upon you for taking advantage of the widow, the orphan, and the poor will be with full force upon your head. Repent of your wickedness and turn to Christ for the forgiveness of your sins so that you will be healed of this terrible disease that is destroying your life. If you would like to talk more about what I have said I would be thrilled to speak to you about the condition of your soul and what it means to deal with Christ. But know this: he lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried, and on the third day rose from the dead to make an atonement for sins. He ascended to Heaven and will return. There is a day that has been appointed for you to answer for your sins. Either Jesus Christ will be your righteousness by faith or you will stand alone and give an account for lying to me and countless others. I earnestly plead with you to stop your sinning, if at least so that you do not become incarcerated and place another tax burden on the very people that you stole from. 
                                                                                                                                                  In the meantime, I do hope you get caught so that the economical society that I live in will suffer less harm. I have turned over to the authorities our conversations, your fraudulent check, and the info that you gave me to wire my money to Western Union. 
                                                                                                                                                  I wish you well only insofar that you turn to Christ – otherwise, may your worst days be ahead of you. 


The Gospel is for Weenies like Me

Do you ever find yourself feeling deflated like a flat tire? You’ve got no emotional air for breathing, in-out-in-out. Do you ever feel that your weakness, for whatever reason, is just too taxing on God’s day-timer? Do you at times lack confidence to approach the Almighty because your heart is condemning you? So much so that you can’t muster the mental energy to rout the lies that say, “You can’t be a true Christian – look at you, you’re a mess, you sinned – again. Are you sure you’re saved?” What if your heart is so burdened down with the weight of your own sins that you’re convinced that God will not tolerate you any longer? I mean, you wouldn’t put up with you – why would God?

Check this out:

“By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” 1 John 3:19-23.

Did you hear that? God is greater than your weenie heart that doesn’t have the strength to lift the emotional and spiritual impact of your sins. Whatever condemns you into hiding from God, God already knows all there is to know about what is condemning you. You are still accepted in his presence. Why? Because you know in your heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God that took your condemnation, making atonement for your sins – the very ones that are presently beating you down. God sees your deflated heart. He knows that you are cast down and can’t get up. So hear this, all you weenies out there: “whenever your heart condemns you, God is greater than your heart, and he knows everything.”

Do you see the wonder of it? Knowing that God knows everything that is wiping you out, and knowing that God is bigger than your puny, guilt-ridden heart – THIS is your Strength for Confidence. You don’t have to be tough and confident before God invites you. He loves you while you’re a yellow, chicken-liver mouse. God wants you to be “reassured” that you are the real deal. He does this by asking you, “Do you believe in the name of my Son Jesus Christ and do you love those who say the same? Do you rest in what my Son has done for you and do you love the church?” Jesus died for the church, he loves his church, and he gives to his church the confidence of presence and status that we so often lose because of our sins. He forgives and embraces.

What our hearts need to hear when we are weak and heavy-laden is the gospel. The gospel is not just for the lost but for weenie-like Christians who have lost their confidence because of sins. God does not call us to work harder but to believe. There is no message like this in the world. Look to the Cross upon which Jesus died  – this is our assurance.