Why we make so much of Jesus

Jesus Christ was the First. The Most. The Best. The Last. The Everything.

Scripture ransacks the human language looking for superlatives enough to give mankind some kind of idea who this Person was who was born of a virgin, lived without sin, taught us of Heaven, and died in our place.  His resurrection and ascension forever secured His place in the history and thought and conversation of this small planet.

Earth has never seen another like Him.  He is unique.

Christianity and the Christian life are all about Jesus.

Regardless of what they tell you, the Christian faith is not about love.

It’s not about morals and doing good.

The Christian faith is not about helping one another and be ye kind and see you in church.

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The cross was no after-thought from God

“No one is taking my life from me; I lay it down of my own accord.”  (John 10:18)

“Now is the judgement of this world; now is the ruler of this world cast out.”  (John 12:31)

It was the moment Jesus had come for.

He was headed to the cross.

For Jesus, going to the cross was not Plan B.

God did not shake His head in disgust at mankind’s messing up His pretty plans and decide He would have to take drastic action.  “This is not how I had planned it, but those pesky humans leave me no other choice!”

Didn’t happen.

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Scraps and observations from my clutter

The wonderful Ruth Bell Graham compiled an entire book from the notes and scraps she accumulated from her desks, table tops, old files, etc.  “Legacy of a Pack Rat” is well worth the few bucks you will pay to purchase the book used. I recommend it highly.

Now, to my clutter.

Before tossing it in the trash–the clutter on this table demands I either file it, begin strip-mining operations on it, or discard it, and the latter wins the vote–I thought someone might appreciate these.  Use if you are able.

HENRY KISSINGER once said of U. S. diplomat Richard Holbrook, “If Richard calls you and asks you for something, just say yes. If you say no, you’ll eventually get to yes, but the journey will be very painful.”

That reminds us of the foolishness of resisting the Holy Spirit. “It is hard to kick against the goads,” as the Lord told Saul of Tarsus.

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The nominating speech: When someone puts you up for elected office

“A certain slave girl possessed with a spirit….followed Paul and cried out, saying, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.’ And this she did for many days.” (Acts 16:16-18)

When you decide to let your name be put up for an elected office–keep in mind, I write for pastors primarily–choose carefully your recommender.

The person giving the nominating speech can make you or break you.

It wasn’t so much that what the demon-possessed girl of Philippi said about Paul and Silas was wrong.  It’s only that she was crazy, pardon the expression.

She was not qualified to be recommending anyone.

Her recommendation was the worst thing imaginable.  People who knew her scoffed at the recommendation she gave these preachers.  I can hear them laughing. “If she thinks they are hot stuff, we’d better be careful. They’re probably as looney tunes as she is.”

Some recommendations are to be eschewed.  (After 14 years of blogging, this is the first occasion I’ve used “eschewed.”  It’s about time!)

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Riding in cars with preachers

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy” (Proverbs 27:6).

Preachers log a lot of miles on their cars.

Most preachers tend to drive aggressively.

I’m a preacher. My little Camry, one year old this month, shows over 37,000 miles.

I work hard at driving well, but sometimes I wish someone riding with me would point out something I’m doing wrong or a bad habit I’ve fallen into, if they spot such.

Recently, on three occasions recently I found myself riding with pastors as we drove to their churches.

In each case, I did unto them as I want someone to do unto me. That is, I helped the pastor with his driving.  (smiley-face goes here)

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The Ultimate Game-Changer: Why the resurrection of Jesus scares some people

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (I Thessalonians 4:14).

If Jesus really did rise from the dead as Scripture claims and Christians hold, then nothing is the same and everything has changed forever.

The reason Christians are positively giddy about the Easter Event–the resurrection of Jesus–is that in walking out of that tomb and leaving it forever empty,  He broke the stranglehold in which death had held humanity.

We are free.  We are free forever. We are free to live forever.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

Everything stands or falls on whether Jesus rose from the dead that first Easter Sunday morning.

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Would someone please rock that boat?!

The deacon made no attempt to hide his disgust with his preacher.  As far as he was concerned, preachers were the hired servants of the church. And, as a head deacon, that put him in charge.

“Preacher, I have some new rules for you.”

“You have rules for me?”

“From now on,” said the old man, “you will keep a written account of every copy you make on the copier.  And you will keep a notation on every phone call you make.”

And that was not all.

“Furthermore, you are not to make any personal calls from the church office.  If you have a personal call to make, you will go to your house and make it.”

Pastor: “What if I need to call my wife when she is at home?”

“Then, you will get in your car and go there and talk to her. But you will not call her from the church phone.”

This conversation actually happened, just this way.

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The narrowness of the Christian life is no joke

Someone told a friend of mine, “You Baptists are so narrow. You think only Baptists are going to heaven.”  He replied, “I’m narrower than that. I don’t even think some of them are going!”

In truth, I know of no one who believes only their denomination is going to heaven. (We may be narrow, but we’re not ridiculous.)

How narrow are we?  Narrow enough to quote the following Scriptures and then to announce that we believe them and are ordering our lives by them….

“Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).  There is only one name of salvation. Only one: Jesus.

“I am the door.  If anyone enters by me, he will be saved:  (John 10:9).  There is only one door to salvation.  Only one: Jesus.

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The most unusual way I pray for some of my grandchildren

“Faithful is He who called you, and He will bring it to pass” (I Thessalonians 5:24)

If God starts something, He will see it through to the end.

And that’s how I pray the way I do:

“Lord, these are your children.  They would not exist without Your love.  Had you not laid it on my wife’s heart to adopt a foreign child, and later pulled me to the same decision, their mama would still be in Korea and these three granddaughters would never have been born.”

“Therefore, Lord, I feel a special confidence in interceding on their behalf.  They are your responsibility.  They were your doing.  They are yours.”

“So, I ask you to watch over them.”

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What to say/not to say when someone dies

Nathan’s father passed away a couple of months ago, after battling an awful disease for three or four years.  They had the blessing of knowing in advance what was coming; they had the awful burden of knowing in advance what was coming.  Recently, he and I were talking about what people say when your loved one dies. I asked for his experience on the subject. This is what he wrote….

Someone just this morning expressed her sympathy for the loss of my dad. It reminded me that I still had this partial thought process typed out.  If it turns out that any of this is useful fodder for one of your articles that would be great to read.  I always appreciate your point of view. (and I even agree with it occasionally) Actually I mostly agree.  (Joe: Buttering up the web-host is always a good idea, Nathan.)

My first thoughts on this topic were based on the biblical accuracy of things that are said after someone dies.  Do people really believe what they say?  If they do, where did they get those philosophies?  I’m not suggesting there is a list of approved biblical phrases to use in this situation, only asking that we consider why folks craft and continue to
perpetuate these flawed notions.  I believe there is a danger turning faith into fairy tale for our own comfort.  At the same time it may help us to approach someone with biblical truths after we understand their line of thinking.

I added some of my thoughts along with the things people say.

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