Death? No such thing.

On that hour the sun darkened, the clouds loomed, the rocks split, and the whole of creation groaned.  

WHY?  

Becuase the Creator died.  

On that day, men knew regret, mothers knew grief, children saw cruelty, and no one saw hope.  

WHY?  

Because Jesus was being murdered.  

In that moment, true loneliness took on form, unrivalled pain was known, and eternal fellowship was broken.  

WHY?  

Because the sinless became sin, and the Holy One could not bear to look on Him.  

On that day all hope seemed lost, all joy placed beyond reach, all courage drained out of the hearts of men.  

WHY?  

Because, it seemed it had all been a lie.  

On that day, in that hour, it could not possibly have gotten worse. It was the darkest day in history. The cruelest hour of humanity. The most hopeless moment of all time.

Friday.  

Sin, when it has born its fruit brings forth death.

DEATH.  

But on Sunday . . .  

On Sunday Jesus, maker of all things, defated death.  

On Sunday, death died.

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Filed under Doxology, Easter, General Thoughts, SIN, The Gospel

Why I hate easter, and why I love it too.

I both hate and love easter.  

Let me explain why I hate it first. I hate easter because it is still a promise unfulfilled. Easter is the assurance that death has been defeated, but as I see more and more friends and loved ones pass into eternity I am reminded that death still has a sting — for now.  

I hate easter because it is trivialized by thoughtless and shallow “Christians”. Christians who ardently defend the resurrection and then spend all of Sunday afternoon searching for easter eggs. Yeah, that is not confusing to your kids or the rest of the world at all.  

I hate easter because I sometimes doubt it is true. Yep, you read that right. I somtimes doubt that it is true that Jesus rose from the grave. And I hate my unbelief. And that doubt has to be stared in the face more than ever and beaten down by the power of God and His grace.  

Now let me tell you why I LOVE EASTER!

I love easter because it is true. Jesus was beaten, tortured, whipped, pierced, spit on, had His beard ripped out, and was hung naked on a cross, for me.  

I love easter because Jesus drank the cup of God’s divine wrath and emptied it.  

I love easter because one day this long distance relationship I have with my heavenly father will be over. I will see His glory. I will worship Him fully, and I will worship Him only.  

I love easter because I am no longer afraid of death. Easter is the promise that even though my body may fail, I will never die.  

I love easter because it is the proof that my faith is not misplaced. The empty tomb proves that  Jesus is God and that He can and does keep His promises.  

I love easter because Jesus is alive.

I love easter because it is the hope of things to come.

I love easter because it is the promise of God to me that the grave is not my final abode.

I love easter because the only tears it brings are tears of joy, hope and expectation.

I love easter because it gives me hope that all this world will one day be made whole.  

And I love easter because it reminds me that better men than me have doubted and God never turned them away. God loves to turn doubters into believers. God loves to forgive our doubts and calm our fears. But most of all God loves sinners like me and with the death and resurrection of Jesus He made a way for us to be forgiven.  

I love easter because in the end death loses and Jesus wins.

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Just the way you are

I have always liked shape shifters. You know, the villains and superheroes that can change shapes to look like objects or other people. What surprised me is that some people think that is what our new bodies will be like.

I hate to dissapoint you but if you don’t look like Brad Pitt or Demi Moore now you aint going to in heaven either.  

Why not?  

Well, do you remember the mount of transfiguration? You know, where Jesus shows a little of His splendor and Moses and Elijah show up. In that case the disciples knew who these guys were. They were recognizable.  

Or how about this one, the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16. Once they were both dead the dead rich guy, Lazarus and Abraham all recognized each other.  

I admit there is some conjecture here but my point is this. Your knew body will be perfect, but it will still be you. God made you the way you are. He knows what color your hair really is and that there are freckles under that makeup and wether or not there was a bald spot under those hair plugs . . .  

God is infinite in His creativity and in His wisdom. He made you the way you are supposed to be. Will your new body be missing those freckles? Doubt it. But just maybe you will be able to now see what God saw and He thinks you are just right.   Stop dreaming of being a shape shifter and enjoy the way God made you.

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Corruption

Corruption. It  is not a word that just applies to politicians and bad cops. The old King James Bible uses the word to talk about our mortal bodies ( 1 Corinthians 15:35-58). I love that it uses that word because it describes our current condition perfectly.

God created us to be perfect. No flaws no sin. But sin we did. We became corrupted. We were drawn in by the darkside, sucked in by pride, overcome by evil. This problem is so pervasive that only One has escaped its curse. The problem cannot be solved by modification. It cannot be solved by regulation. Only the power of almighty God can overcome our corrupt nature. By grace we have the means of resisting temptation and overcoming the corruption in our bodies.
But God has a far more extensive solution planned. God’s plan is to give us new bodies altogether. Not just modified bodies, new ones! Bodies devoid of pain? Yes! Bodies devoid of sin? Halelujah, yes! But more than that. God has planned for us bodies that are not simply missing corruption, but incorruptible.

Did you catch the difference?

Not just without corruption, but unable to be corrupted. Only Jesus, in the power of the Spirit of God, was able to live in these mortal bodies without succumbing to their innate corruption. But there is coming a day when those who believe in Jesus will be like Him because we shall see Him as He is. We will no longer struggle to believe fully enough so that we don’t sin, but instead our faith will be made sight and this old body will cease to be. Instead we will have bodies that will allow us to behold His glory as He truly is.  I cannot wait for THAT body.  How about you?

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For what it’s worth . . .

I know that all too often I can come across as a know it all.  Some can get very upset at me for it.  Most of those times, though it is not my ego.  It is about pushing too far on a specific point.  Some people are gifted with the ability to say the right thing at the right time in the right way.  I am not one of those.  I may say the right thing, but do so at the wrong time.  Or I may open my big mouth at the right time and have the right attitude but say the wrong thing.

This is where the work of the Holy Spirit comes in.  Just at the point when I am about to royally screw up He does His thing.  He puts the right words in my mouth the right attitude in my heart and prompts me at the right time.

A few weeks ago I had this happen to me.  I was blessed by my wife with the gift of a registration to a conference called T4G (Together for the Gospel).  It was a marvelous blessing to my soul.  God’s word simply, but powerfully, preached reproved my doubts, rebuked my laziness, corrected my wrong views, and taught me to find a greater joy.

But as amazing as this was the most awesome part of this week was getting to spend three days with a great friend.  This young man is soon to graduate from college and enter vocational ministry.  I met Herbie in 2007 when I became the youth pastor at his home church.  His love for Jesus and his joy in that love from day one were a constant encouragement to me.  At T4G we had some great conversations.  During the course of one of those I found myself speaking into this man’s life in a way that I never have before.  I remember thinking to myself, “where is that coming from?”  The only answer I can come up with is that the Holy Spirit did His thing and stopped me from doing mine.

Did I give my friend life altering advice?  I don’t think so.  Was it appropriate for the need of the moment? I believe so.  Was it given with the right attitude? Yes.  Was it the right thing to say? To be honest, I am not sure.  But what I do know is that it was not me.  I was not being a know it all, I was allowing the ONE who does know it all to use me.  I am not sure if I will ever get past the know it all stage this side of heaven, but for what it’s worth I am glad to know there is a real “know it all” who finds it in His goodness to share what He knows through us at times.

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A new journey!

I know I tend to be very sporadic in my writing.  I also think that this is a good thing.  I write when I have something on my mind that I think is worth sharing.  I also write when I am working something out in my own mind.  I also know that I have a calling and that my calling is to teach and preach God’s Word.  So my goal is to work through certain topics from a Biblical perspective.

The topics will be things that I am passionate about and that have crucial significance to the continued unfolding of the Kingdom of God.  The topics are:

  1. The church (practice, purpose, function, membership, discipline, etc.)
  2. Hermeneutics (dispensational vs. covenant approach)
  3. The gospel (what is it and what is it not)
  4. Reformed theology (is it good, bad, indifferent, what are the alternatives, etc.)

This is going to be a process.  I hope you enjoy the ride.  I know it will be scenic but hopefully it will also be enlightening.

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Rejoice! A King is Born!

God throughout history has issued many commands.  He has demanded obedience, worship, faith, and fear.  But on this night He commands men to rejoice!  He tells us to give Him glory.  In the silence of a field populated by sheep and shepherds God sends His angels to proclaim the greatest announcement — EVER!

God became a man!  The eternal became time-bound, the perfect became like us.  Not like the rich and powerful, but like the poor and the lonely.  He was born in a barn.  Not a clean, neat, picturesque Norman Rockwell-like barn, but a filthy, smelly, manure filled place where animals live.

And He was BORN.  The sovereign King of all the universe had His umbilical chord cut and His diapers changed.  He learned to walk and talk.  He fell and scraped His knees.  He who had never felt pain or discomfort came to know and take on all of ours.  And when He was born he was put in an animal’s feeding trough.

He was frail, and weak.  He was a baby.  He who had spoken galaxies into existence now had to cry to be fed.  The one who designed the seasons now suffered from the heat and the cold.

The one who had eternally existed in the glory of the throne room now shared space with sheep and oxen.

There had never been a stranger event in all of History.  God had become a man.  So when the angels said rejoice they were not talking about a simple minute of awe and wonder.  The angels were talking about a new and incredible event that would forever cause men everywhere to sing!  The angels announced the birth of the Son of God.  And His birth is what we still celebrate.

God became flesh.  God came to be with us so that we might one day be able to be with Him.

Word of God become flesh.  God with us, Emmanuel!

He also became sin for us that we might become His righteousness.  It was not just the birth of God incarnate the angels announced.  It was the birth of a Savior!

So as you worship the Christ today remember He is not a babe in a manger.  He is the King of Glory come to redeem us from sin.  He is God in the flesh.  He is the Messiah.  He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World.  He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  He is the Wonderful Counselor, and the Prince of Peace.  He is our propitiation, and our atoning sacrifice.  He is Jesus!

Glory to God in the Highest!

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Filed under Christmas, Doxology, General Thoughts, The Gospel