As I prayerfully prepared a sermon a few years ago, a random thought came to my mind about Easter, which was over a month away. That week’s sermon had nothing to do with Easter.
Sacrifices, though bloody, were relatively clean and simple, consisting of plunging a sharp object into the heart or slitting the throat with a sharp instrument…. Death came quickly, lasting only a few seconds, if that long. (If you’ve ever witnessed the slaughter of a goat, chicken, or some other animal, you know that there’s no suffering.)
The ultimate sacrifice, Jesus Christ, however, was different. Very different.
Hours passed from his arrest until he breathed his last breath on a Roman cross.
He was beaten with sticks.
His beard was plucked out.
He endured scourging with innumerable lashes, His skin shredded with each blow.
A crown of long thorns was pressed into his scalp.
He carried a very heavy cross.
He stumbled under its weight.
Nails were driven into His wrists.
A nail was driven into His feet.
His cross was dropped into a hole with a sudden jolt at the bottom; He was already mounted on the cross at the time.
He hung there for hours in the blazing sun. Naked. Humiliated.
A disgustingly nasty sponge with vinegar touched His dry, parched lips.
All the while, bleeding.
Pushing against the nail in His feet, struggling for breath.
All the while, His lungs slowly filled with fluid. He was drowning.
It was an extended death. And it was ugly. Very ugly.
Perhaps the best depiction of the brutality of His torture was in Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ. And perhaps even this portrayal was sanitized for movie audiences.
To ultimately atone for sin required the ultimate sacrifice. Contrasting with a simple slash of a knife in a ceremonial fashion, Jesus’ death was carried out brutally by the forces of hell itself through a perfected brutal torture, designed to inflict the most pain for the longest period of time. Sadism at its worst — glaringly on display. As he hung there, He barely looked like a human being.
I confess that I rarely consider the immensity of that sacrifice. But for that sin, His death also atones.
Thank God for Easter: an annual opportunity to remember!
[Note: This is a revised reposting of a blog entry I wrote in 2010]
Yes, you read that correctly. Today, in the state of my residence, a transgender boy won the girl’s state wrestling championship. What?!
The Transgender debate has been forced into the open for all to see in its glorious absurdity. According to our local newspaper, seventeen-year-old Mack Beggs “was born a girl, yet from as early as 3 years old, his parents remember, he has considered himself a boy. Now more than a year after starting testosterone treatment that is transforming his physical appearance and increasing muscle mass to that of or near a boy of similar age, Beggs is required by the University Interscholastic League to compete as a girl and against girls.”
The UIL “exists to provide educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests” in the Lone Star State. UIL rules require student-athletes to compete according to their birth gender. UIL rules also state that students can be on testosterone if prescribed by a physician. So what we observed today is a girl, who is on testosterone therapy (in order to transition to a boy) snatched the state wrestling title away from girls who are not on testosterone therapy.
Words cannot describe a more unfair athletic competition, all in the name of Transgender Rights!
Today’s events highlight just one issue in an entire Pandora’s Box of claimed “Transgender Rights”. Tucker Carlson rightly identified just a few of the issues that demand a response. He posed the question to Zac Petkanas, a DNC senior advisor, “What constitutes male and female?” In the back-and-forth, Carlson asked his guest to provide the name of one credible scientist who agreed with Petkanas’ assertion that “Gender identity determines gender.” In other words, you alone (independent of biology) decide if you are a man or woman. Of course, Petkanas was unable to do so, although he claimed that this is “settled science”.
If this is the direction our Culture is taking, buckle your seatbelts; we’re in for a very wild ride!
- Biological males can sue for being denied a Small Business Administration loan for women-owned businesses.
- Women-only colleges must admit biological male students.
- Biological males cannot be denied being sent to women’s prisons.
Yes, the debate has been forced into the open for all to see in its glorious absurdity.
“Transgender advocacy is not just opening the door to the women’s locker room for men confused about their identity; it’s opening the Pandora’s box of metaphysical subjectivism and unleashing on the world a horde of unintended consequences that we cannot even imagine.” Please read the source of this quote and to watch the clip from Tucker Carlson
God, please forgive us!
I recently went to a local restaurant. As I perused the menu, I found many options, almost too many to count. Someone said that the grilled salmon was especially good. The baked chicken also sounded delicious. There were several cuts of steak on the menu as well as.salads and baked potatoes to choose from. The Kid’s Menu listed hotdogs and chicken fingers. There were all kinds of sides: Mashed potatoes, green beans, and mac and cheese. The back of the menu revealed slices of cakes and pies of all kinds. The front of the menu revealed cheese sticks, nachos, salsa and chips, soups and stuffed mushrooms to name a few of the appetizers. I opted to resist the appetizers as there was a bucket of peanuts at the end of the table. So many options! What should I choose? I finally opted to go with an 8oz hamburger steak covered with sautéed mushrooms. Good choice!
As I reflect on the restaurant and all the menu choices, I’m sure that the business struggled with the name and category of the restaurant. “Southern Fare” or “Southern Bistro” could be a good name, as would “Healthy Alternatives”. “Too many items to choose from” would probably be best!
The restaurant owners chose “Steak House”. Steak House? Why, steak was only a small portion of the menu; it occupied only one half of one page of a eight-page menu (only 6.25%)! But everybody knew this is a steak house. From the name on the sign out front, to the raw meat in a refrigerated display case in the lobby, to the category on Urban Spoon, everybody knows that this is a steak house. And people rightly call it what it is. Most people know that there are many other menu choices, but when they want a good steak, they go to a steak house.
What would you call a healthcare provider that offered services like cancer screenings, more than 4.2 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted infections, including more than 650,000 HIV tests, birth control and abortion, educational programs and outreach to 1.5 million young people and adults in a single year for nearly five million women, men, and adolescents worldwide each year?
This healthcare provider’s website says that it is “one of the nation’s leading providers of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, and the nation’s largest provider of sex education. [It] also works with partner organizations worldwide to improve the sexual health and well-being of individuals and families everywhere.” They claim, that “2.5 million women and men in the United States annually visit [its] affiliate health centers for trusted health care services and information. Eighty-four percent of [its] health care patients in the U.S. are age 20 and older. An estimated one in five women in the U.S. has visited [one of its] health center at least once in her life.” Eighty percent of its clinics are in minority neighborhoods.
You couldn’t call it a “women’s health clinic” because it served so many men and adolescents (what teenaged boy would willingly go to a “women’s” clinic?!). You wouldn’t call it a “cancer center” because no cancer treatments are provided there.What would be an adequate name for a healthcare provider that provides such necessary services?
This organization garners the support of millions of citizens and government officials. It calls itself a “family planning organization” and it receives perhaps more of our tax money than any other healthcare provider. The organization is Planned Parenthood.
With all the services Planned Parenthood provides, why is it known by so many people as an “abortion provider” despite their claim that only 3% of their services is abortion?
Simply put, abortion is a procedure that terminates a pregnancy. A pregnancy occurs when a man’s sperm fertilizes a woman’s egg, resulting in a human embryo with its own genetic code that develops into a fetus, which if not terminated or miscarried, results in the live birth of a baby. From the point that the woman’s egg is fertilized, nothing changes, except growth. Everything necessary for the embryo to develop into a baby is included in the genetic code (DNA) as the cells draw nourishment from the mother. Abortion causes the development to stop. Miscarriage can also be called a “spontaneous abortion” because it stops the development of the embryo into a baby. Simply put, stopping the development of an embryo into a live baby terminates a life; the baby dies.
Planned Parenthood is called an “abortion clinic” for the same reason people that the restaurant is called a “steak house”. Planned Parenthood’s “3%” claim is not just a little misleading (please click this link for more information).
When considered as half of one page of an eight-page menu, steak only occupies 6.25% of the steak house’s menu! But everybody knows it’s a steak house. And everybody knows that Planned Parenthood — despite all the other services provided – is known as an abortion provider.
Why not call it what it is? It’s the same reason why KFC and Church’s Chicken changed their names: to change the public’s opinion. Science has shown a link between eating fried foods and obesity; fried foods are seen as “unhealthy”. And what restaurant chain wants to be known for serving unhealthy food?
Why not call it what it is? Because abortion terminates life. And no one considers the terminating of an innocent life as being “moral”.
The restaurant is a steak house. And Planned Parenthood is an abortion clinic. And abortion ends innocent life.
As I type this, we have less than 364 days left in 2017. How many New Year’s Resolutions have you broken already?
Yesterday morning, I challenged our church to read through the New Testament in 2017. Together. We’re going to use The Navigators’ Discipleship Journal 5x5x5 plan. You can use this link for the YouVersion Bible App to track your progress.
I also challenged the church to memorize twelve passages from the Bible in 2017. Together.
We’ll start with Joshua 1:8:
Joshua 1:8 (ESV)
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
In a mixed blessing, I received a text tonight from one of our members who suggested that my book had a typo. OUCH! And I thought my first book was inerrant. Not quite! As I said, this was a mixed blessing; at least I know that one person is reading my book! And it’s a good reminder that there’s only ONE Book that’s inerrant!
If you’re interested in having a copy, please use my contact page (donations will be appreciated). I hope to have an eBook version available in a couple of days. Go ahead and start reading the New Testament and memorizing Joshua 1:8, the book will just add a little fuel to the fire to encourage you in your pursuit of God this year.
I’ll update you here, Facebook, Twitter, and the church website when the eBook (and Sunday’s Sermon) is available.
Sunday’s sermon is now online at the church website, as well as iTUNES! You can subscribe to my podcast here!
Will you join us in reading through the New Testament together and committing a few Bible verses to memory together in 2017? God has some pretty powerful promises of success and prosperity for those who do! Join us!
While singing Christmas carols at a rehab facility last week, I actually paid attention to the words I was singing. “Away in a Manger” is wrong!
“…but little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes… “
In the words of my good friend, David Terry, “We have so deified Jesus, we have dehumanized Him.” Yes, little Lord Jesus did cry. He may have even been colicky. Not only that, little Lord Jesus had stinky diapers!
The Incarnation Message of Christmas is not only that God became man, but God became a helpless little baby.
In the next few days, try to put away the Christmas Card Theology that you’ve been fed (even/especially in church!). Read the Christmas story in Luke 2 through fresh eyes.
You might just learn something new.