I've always wondered what it would have been like to be present at Jesus' crucifixion. I wondered if I would have joined the disciples and disappeared. Or would I be like the only disciple, John, who stayed to witness Jesus death.
I was fortunate to be granted the opportunity to see Jesus being crucified. However, having been a participant in the Easter Musical, I became, at times, a little complacent about Jesus' crucifixion. It became a matter of rehearsal and the actor playing Jesus was a friend. However, one practice, I was struck with the reality of Jesus' compassion and love, how He died for me.
I walked onto stage and Jesus was on the cross. I looked up and just at that time, Jesus was looking down at me. I forgot that this man was an actor and my friend. I felt transported to the time that Jesus' was actually on the cross. I felt so overwhelmed. Jesus was looking at me and I was the only person there even though the stage and the audience was filled with people.
It was Jesus and me.
Nevertheless, I was overwhelmed by two competing emotions: 1) I felt ashamed at my sin, and 2) I felt pure love. I felt no condemnation. A flood of tears came to my eyes and at that night's performance, I didn't have to pretend to cry. My complacency vanished.
My tears were real.
Jesus was real.
My sin was real.
The love I felt was real.
The forgiveness Jesus offered was real.
Salvation is real.
BE A MAN.
Monday, I posted about how a young man used the retelling of the crucifixion of Jesus so that he could sin and take others with him in his sin.
Today, I want to share something beautiful from my experiences with the Easter Musical. In this church that annually would share the Easter story with its community, there was always a special private showing of the final dress rehearsal.
The final dress rehearsal was an invitation to individuals who were physically as well as mentally challenged. The church would clear out much of the seating so that people using wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and canes could easily navigate into the auditorium. This was a fun tradition in this community because these individuals got to see the musical before anybody else.
In this final dress rehearsal that I am remembering, Jesus was being taken down from the cross. This is a very solemn and quiet scene, taking a good ten minutes or so. Jesus is carefully removed from the cross, given to Mary, Joseph of Arimathea, John and Nicodemus. They lovingly prepare Jesus' body for burial, wrapping him in cloths.
Well, during this scene, one man in the audience who couldn't speak or walk due to his challenges, started weeping uncontrollably. It was quite a poignant scene that was enhanced by this man's sensitivity. I firmly believe that this man was so touched by this reenactment that he said "yes" to God's invitation to accept Jesus as his Savior. Needless to say, this man's behavior affected many others not only in the congregation but many of the actors and orchestra members as well. In my own heart, I felt a revival of my own commitment to serving Jesus. I'm sure that many had a similar experience. An unspoken revival of sorts happened right there because of this man's sensitivity to Jesus' gift of salvation.
I want to tell you that the man that was weeping was so much more of a man than many men I have ever met. Especially, more so than that young man from Monday who wanted to have sexual conquests to prove his manhood. That weeping man allowed God to transform him. Outside he was still the same but I believe that man left the church a new creation.
You may be wondering how the above picture of the mountain climber on the summit fits into this story. Well, I'm thinking that when this guy gets to heaven, he's gonna want to do the things he always wanted to do but couldn't because he was in an earthly body that didn't work as he wanted. I'm gonna find him and we're gonna do some mountain climbing. When we get to the summit, I'm gonna ask him, "remember when you were at that private showing of the Easter Musical? I want to know what you were thinking." I anticipate he will share with me his love for God and how the Holy Spirit worked in his life that night.
Together we will agree with the Roman Centurion, "Surely, this man was the Son of God!" and we will spend a couple hundred years on that summit praising our Savior and recalling all the wonderful things that God did.
Do you want to experience something beautiful?
You can right now as you ask Jesus to lead your life, turn from your sinfulness and allow God to transform you.
We want you to join us on that summit in eternity.
BE A MAN.
20 Christmases ago, when our boys were young, we had a missionary assignment in Quito, Ecuador. One Christmas in Ecuador was especially memorable.
What do you want when you are living in a foreign country away from extended family and the comforts of home? Well, you miss American things.
Around the corner from our home was the Carolina Market. There you could get just about anything that you wanted, especially if you asked ahead. One time, I went in there searching for Dr Pepper and there was one lone can sitting in the corner of a vendor's booth. He wanted over 5,000 Sucres for it! (This was before the American Dollar became the currency of Ecuador) So that was well over $5. Did I miss America and Dr Pepper that much? Was I willing to spend that much money for it? Nope...
There was a short-term volunteer missionary team that was coming to Ecuador from the United States that was going to be in Ecuador for about a week. They had heard about us and contacted us ahead of time, wanting to know if there was anything that they could bring us for Christmas. So, what do you think we asked for? Yep, you guessed it. Dr Pepper.
Also, we wanted Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch, the boys favorite cereal. They hadn't had this cereal for well over six months and occasionally would ask about it. We tried to to find it at the Carolina Market to no avail. We also searched other Ecuadorian grocery stores but did not find anything that resembled their favorite cereal.
So, we decided to make the trek to the city that the team was going to. It was a good 5-hour (one-way) bus ride to get there. It was a beautiful ride, thru the Andes mountains. There were chickens and goats on the bus with us as well. Our destination city was also the only city in Ecuador to have a Burger King. So, we were looking forward to having a Whopper as part of our trip. As we got off the bus and made our way to Burger King, we were sorely disappointed. The "whopper machine" was broken. I didn't know there was such a thing as a "whopper machine" So, we ended up not having it our way but rather got chicken sandwiches. They were good but they weren't Whoppers.
The meeting with this team was special. These were people we didn't know. Nor did the know us. Yet, they traveled from afar to bring us gifts. We talked about Ecuador, they told us where they were from and there were some connections made. These gifts that they brought us felt as valuable as gold. We were extremely grateful. They brought other gifts but the DP and the Cap'n Crunch stand out as the most memorable. You just couldn't get those in Ecuador.
You can imagine our excitement! The four of us packed up our gifts and placed them in a suitcase to take back on the bus. We talked about it all the way home (another 5 hours) and were very tempted to open some before we got home. Nevertheless, we were able to wait. Now Christmas was still a couple of weeks away. But wanting to be good parents, we opened one box and one can and had that for our supper when we got home. The rest were packed away for Christmas.
Christmas was special that year. The boys knew that they were going to get Cap'n Crunch and I knew that I was going to get Dr Pepper. We talked about it every day leading up to Christmas with Karyn teasing us that Santa may not make it to Quito. But we knew better.
The excitement mounted so that even though we knew what we were getting for Christmas, it was still a wonderful event: Having hot chocolate, opening presents, eating Cap'n Crunch and drinking Dr Pepper.
It's a Christmas I will never forget.
So, this Christmas, you know what Jesus is going to get. Gold, frankincense and myrrh. Have you waited with excited anticipation as Jesus opened these gifts? Did you see the joy in His eyes as He enjoyed what was given to Him?
Do you approach this Christmas with excited anticipation?
You know what you're going to get.
The greatest gift of all time is given today.
Are you going to open it and enjoy it?
Jesus offers Himself.
He wants to see you enjoy Him. He wants you to enjoy Him as a little baby. He wants you to enjoy Him as a young teen in the Temple. He wants you to enjoy Him at the Wedding in Cana. He wants you to enjoy fishing with Him, learning from Him, becoming more like Him.
He also wants you to follow Him.... All the way to the cross.
If you haven't accepted the Savior of the World into your life, this is a great time to do it.
Make it a Christmas you will never forget.
BE A MAN.
A new report released by a publication that focuses on institutions of higher learning asserts that universities nationwide are waging war on Jesus by leaving him out of their religion courses.College Fix
says that it conducted a survey of 316 religious courses from 12 universities across the country and found that only three courses centered on the life and teachings of Christ.
“Jesus Christ is – without question – the most influential figure to ever walk the Earth, but professors clearly prefer to offer electives on much more obscure matters,” the publication writes.
“[J]ust because a class is on Christianity does not mean it will give much, if any, consideration or weight to the person of Jesus Christ or his teachings,” researchers stated. He might get a lecture or two, … but many course descriptions on Christianity classes don’t even include the word ‘Jesus’ at all…”
Those who conducted the study said that there are also notable differences in how Christianity is analyzed compared to other religions. They explained that words such as “understanding” are using for courses relating to Islam, but the phrase “critical analysis,” for example, is used in class outlines surrounding Christianity.
They explains that, in comparison to the three courses that did center on Jesus, there were also two classes on witchcraft and shamanism, three on sex and religion, five on mysticism and twelve on women and religion. College Fix also outlines that some of the course titles were so obscure that it had no idea what kind of material would be discussed.
“University of Colorado at Denver’s 40-plus religious studies classes include ‘whores and saints,’ ‘theories of the universe,’ ‘Freudian and Jungian perspectives in dream analysis,’ and ‘spirituality and the modern world,’” it writes. “No electives focused exclusively on Jesus, however.”
“Arizona State University’s 50 religious studies classes run the gamut from ‘anthropology of material culture’ and ‘ritual, symbol and myth’ to ‘what is religion’ and ‘gender and peace.’ Again, no Jesus electives,” the publication continues. “In fact, the only religion class at Arizona State focused exclusively on Christianity is called ‘lost scriptures/lost Christianities,’ and zeros in on the ‘wide diversity of early Christianity and its suppressed and lost texts, which have been found in modern times.’ But rest assured, the campus offers four classes on Islam and two on Stalinism.”
It states that although three of the classes centered on Jesus, other historical — or even non-existent — figures headlined course electives as well, such as Mohammed, Martin Buber and “The Brothers Karamozov.”
Additionally, College Fix
said that the three classes that were focused on the life of Christ apparently all dealt with what others have to say about Him, not who Jesus said He was or what He taught.
“Take Georgia State University at Atlanta’s ‘Jesus Inside and Outside the Gospels’ course,’” the publication said. “It’s a ‘comparative study of portrayals of Jesus as they have evolved over the past two millennia … and visual depictions of Jesus in modern media such as film, television and the internet.’”
“The University of Hawaii’s ‘Life and Teachings of Jesus’ class is a ‘critical study’ of Gospels and of extra-Biblical sources,” it continued. “And the survey’s third and final elective solely devoted to Jesus comes from Butler University in Indiana. Called ‘Historical Jesus,’ it offers a ;close look at Jesus of Nazareth, focused on sources and methods of knowledge about Jesus as a historical figure. Attention will also be paid to historical and cultural context, and to beliefs about and depictions of Jesus in early Christian literature.’”
At the end of the study, researchers concluded that there is an outright hatred for Christ on the vast majority of college and university campuses nationwide.
“[I]f this survey highlights anything, it’s that [students are] not even given the option [to study the words of Christ],” they stated. “Meanwhile the classes that do focus on Jesus or Christianity sidestep his message and teachings in favor of historical context and critical analysis.”
“Bottom line,” they declared, “universities across America show an outright disregard and disdain for Jesus Christ.”
For the original post, click here.BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Many look at this passage as one that is meant for little children to memorize. We have seen it on T-shirts, in books, and even signs held up in professional wrestling matches. The fact is this ”memory verse” is not one that is only meant for children. This verse is the crux at which the Bible turns from “law dependence” to “grace reliance”. John 3:16 is vital in the understanding of both the New and Old Testament, because it is the portion that ties them together and gives them meaning. The Old Testament sets up this event, and the New Testament reflects on it.
Imagine the situation that God was putting himself in. He was giving his one and only son
to a world that will eventually humiliate and kill him. This wasn’t just sending your son to his first day of kindergarten…Jesus was going to die. God, however, loved the people that inhabited Earth so much that he was willing to give his own life to prove it. God had designed the universe in a way that made atonement for sin an inevitable necessity. The consistent character of God made it so that he could not reverse that predetermined decision. Blood had to be paid for sin. Since there was no perfect man, God came down in the incarnate Christ and took care of our most unpayable debt. A debt that we didn’t even have the right to attempt to pay back.
My thoughts move to Abraham in the Old Testament. He was willing to sacrifice his one and only son, because God asked him to. God, however, provided a ram because Abraham was faithful. In the same way, God provided Jesus Christ because the debt was too great.
It might be cliche’ to say that God is love, but often this phrase is used without knowing the true meaning. Jesus is the picture of this love. Let’s reflect on what this truly means today. If we take it seriously, it will change the way we live our lives.
This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. You can find the original post here: http://otherwordsdotnet.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/terminal-love/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. A large mob, with swords and clubs, was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: “The One I kiss, He’s the One; arrest Him!” So he went right up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. “Friend,” Jesus asked him, “why have you come?” Then they came up, took hold of Jesus, and arrested Him. At that moment one of those with Jesus reached out his hand and drew his sword. He struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his ear. Then Jesus told him, “Put your sword back in its place because all who take up a sword will perish by a sword. Or do you think that I cannot call on My Father, and He will provide Me at once with more than 12 legions of angels? How, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”
Watch TV and you’ll hear the Name of God the Father and God the Son mocked, used in vain, used to curse, and many other ways that deny the holiness, beauty, majesty, power, glory, and wonder of who He is. Watch movies and listen to music and you’ll find the same things. In fact, go out into the marketplace and you’ll hear these same abuses of the beautiful Name of our Savior. And yet, short of boycotting some products or writing letters/emails or phoning TV stations or sending petitions, you’ll not really see any other visible demonstration of outrage from Christians.
And yet, throughout the world we see angry people causing all manner of evil due to the denigration of the name of their prophet. What’s the difference? Why don’t Christians burn down things when Jesus is mocked? Just a few thoughts…
1. There is coming a day when Jesus will make all things right and all who were mockers of His Name will bow at His Name and confess He is Lord.
There is a sense in which I don’t have to defend the honor of Jesus’ Name…He’s quite capable of defending Himself, thank you. And on that day when every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father, the mockers will be put to shame for eternity
. I might be angry for a day. The wrath of God will be poured out for eternity.
2. When the Name of Jesus is mocked, every Christian should remember that s/he once mocked Jesus, too.
We were all by nature children of wrath fully deserving the full wrath of God. And yet our God showed us mercy and grace through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. While fully responsible for actions, we were acting in ignorance according to our natures. But when God said, “Let there be light” in our hearts, we saw for the first time the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. We then saw our sin for what it was and the beauty of Christ for who He is and we repented and trusted in the finished work of Jesus to save us. So, instead of burning things up when others mock Jesus, we show patience knowing the Savior was patient with us.
3. Which leads us to the work we should do now.
Instead of burning things up, we warn and plead with those who mock the Savior to repent of their sin and turn to Christ. If we truly love Christ, we will love making much of Him to sinners knowing He came to save sinners. Because we have been forgiven much, we will want others to know of the beauty of His grace poured out on sinners. We will warn these mockers of the fire of hell which will never die out. The work we do isn’t to defend the honor of His Name but to herald His Name as we seek reconciliation between God and man through the preaching of the gospel.
4. All of this reminds us that Jesus is the living, resurrected Lord. Jesus continues to be at work even today, right now.
The Holy Spirit works through us as we make much of Jesus who is risen from the dead. We have a story to tell. Jesus is coming again and will make all things right. We don’t have to defend the honor of a dead man…He’s alive!
I pray that those who feel the need to defend the name and honor of a dead man will see the glory of the true and living Lord who has made a way of escape from the wrath of God through His death and resurrection. Let us pray that their blinded eyes will be opened to the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life
who is the only way to the true Father of all.
This post is from Mike Lee. The original post can be found here: http://mikelee1963.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/why-we-dont-burn-down-things-when-jesus-is-mocked/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Each Christian must be prepared for conflict. Paul calls this wrestling with wicked spirits
(Eph 6:10-20). No Christian can hope to enter the warfare of the ages without first learning to sit with Christ
and rest in what He has done, and then, thru the power of the Holy Spirit within, to follow Him in a practical , holy life here on earth.
If the Christian is deficient in either of these, he will find that all the talk about spiritual warfare remains only talk; he will never know its reality. We sat and rested with Christ
and are learning how to walk with Him before the world
but how are we to conduct ourselves in the presence of God's adversary (and ours)?
God's word is STAND. Put on the whole armor of God that may be able to STAND against the schemes of the devil.
The Greek verb STAND with its following preposition AGAINST really means HOLD YOUR GROUND.
This is a truth found in God's Word. It is not a command to invade a foreign territory. Warfare would imply a command to march. Armies march into other countries to occupy and to subdue. However, God has not told us to do this.
We are not to march but STAND.
The word STAND implies that the ground disputed by the enemy is really God's and therefore ours. We need not struggle to gain a foothold of it. Jesus' victory on the cross was offensive. He won us back from satan. That mean's our warfare is, in essence, defensive. We war against satan only to maintain and consolidate the victory which Jesus has already gained. In Christ, we are more than conquerors.
In Jesus, we STAND. Thus, we do not fight for
victory; we fight from
We must not ask the LORD to enable us
to overcome the enemy, nor even look to Him
to overcome, but praise Him because He has already done so. He is Victor.
It is all a matter of faith in Him. If we believe the LORD, we shall not pray so much but rather we shall praise Him more. The simpler and clearer our faith in Him, the less we shall pray in such situations and the more we shall praise. In Christ, we are already
Do you see what it means to STAND? We do not try to gain ground; we merely stand on the ground which the Lord Jesus has gained for us, and resolutely refuse to be moved from it.
The Christian life then, consists of sitting with Christ, walking by Him
and standing in Him. We begin our spiritual life by resting in the finished work of the Lord Jesus. That rest is the source of our strength for a consistent and unfaltering walk in this world. And at the end of a grueling warfare with the hosts of darkness we are found standing with Him at last in triumphant possession of the field.
This post is adapted from the book, SIT, WALK, STAND
by Watchman Nee.BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
For three years, the disciples watched Jesus live His life, and never once did He crack or bend. He would break the rules of the religion when love or compassion demanded it. He frustrated His critics when He encountered misplaced spirituality. He was not intimidated by authority figures. He was not swayed by public opinion or pressure from authorities. He would not cave.
On the night before He died, Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him when He was deeply distressed. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow and troubled,"
He told His friends.
Jesus knew what was coming. But instead of longing for a way out, He committed His heart to God's purposes. Just seconds before His arrest, Jesus exclaimed to His friends, "Get up! Let's go!"
He accepted and moved forward to embrace God's purposes.
On that dark evening, the most important thing Jesus might have shown us was how to completely let go of our our hearts to God. But He also stiffened His spine. Spine comes from undivided trust in the One who gives us the undivided heart. There is no sadder or more pathetic man than the one with heart but no spine. Be courageous.
This posts is taken from Every Man, God's ManBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Do you really believe that Jesus meant what He said? He died yesterday. Will He live again, tomorrow, just as He promised? Why did he die?
Let these kids tell you what Jesus meant: