Archive for the ‘Easter’ Category

The movie ‘Gladiator’ is the story of a great general who becomes a slave, who challenges an emperor, and dies to restore Rome to its people. It’s fiction.

But there is a great story that is true, of One who was in the form of God, who did not count equality with God as something to be forcibly seized and exploited for personal gain; who instead emptied himself, disrobed his glory while retaining his identity, and took the form of a slave, that is, the likeness and appearance of a human, an incomprehensible self-abasement or lowering, the magnitude of which will require an eternity to grasp, a lowering of stature and of divine power and honor the likes of which will never again be known in the entirety of the cosmos.

And as if that were not enough, he abased himself a second time, to the point of an ignominious and excruciating death on the cross for the sins of the world, an experience so alien and divorced from existence in the Godhead as to render rational explanation meaningless.

This is the mind of Christ – the mind that treats others as more important than one’s self, that considers the interests of others over one’s own. The one who died to enable people to be restored to life (true life, abundant life), to, like Christ, ultimately triumph over death, to be restored to their Creator.

You want a story? That’s a story. A story to be told for all eternity to the praise and glory of God the Father.

— by Robert A.J. Gagnon with editing and addition by Jeff Wilson

Read Full Post »

I read that yesterday marked 33 years to the day that Pete Rose joined Ty Cobb as the only players in MLB history with 4000 hits.  A Facebook friend of mine posted this fact and his opinion that Rose deserved to be in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

Rose, as you may know, was banned from MLB baseball and from its Hall of Fame for life because he gambled on MLB baseball games as a player/manager.  My friend insisted that this was irrelevant to his accomplishments on the field.  He also felt Rose had not gambled on baseball games as a player.

I began to respond to this post with the following, “Whether he was a player or not when he gambled on games (Rose was definitely a manager at the time of his gambling) is irrelevant.  Rose knew what was right/wrong, and he knew the consequences.  He nevertheless chose to do what was wrong — not once, but repeatedly.  He deserves his punishment and should NEVER be allowed in the Hall of Fame.”

I finished typing and my finger hovered over the “submit” button.  But I couldn’t send my scathing message.  Why?  Because I realized I was indicting myself — and in a much more important sphere — the sphere of life and my relationship with God Himself.

How many times have I done what I knew to be wrong?  Knowing the consequences, I did it anyway.  How many times have I lost my temper and lashed out at others — even those I claim to love?  How many times have I taken the selfish action, knowing it would bring pain to others?  How many times have I failed to take action that I knew would bring comfort to, ease loneliness of, soothe suffering to others?

I know there is a God.  Creation itself testifies to this.  I know that in doing wrong, there are present and eternal consequences for knowingly sinning (doing wrong) against others and therefore against Him.  And yet, I did the wrong things anyway.  I certainly don’t deserve His love nor to be in any “Hall of Fame” He may have (heaven and right relationship with Him).

As the United Airlines firestorm continues, Dr. David Dykes (longtime pastor of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas) shared this: Regarding the man pulled from the flight, my first thought was, “When they were dragging this bleeding man off the plane, why didn’t someone stand up and say, ‘Let him go. I’ll take his place. Take me instead’?”

“I suppose all the passengers were shocked and stunned into silence. I’m just glad that 2,000 years ago when I should have been the one rejected and bloodied, Jesus stepped forward and said, ‘Let him go. I’ll take his place. Take me instead!’ “

Today is Good Friday.  On this very day, some 2000 years ago, Jesus took my place.  He took my place at enormous cost and enabled me to receive what I didn’t deserve.  To receive what my actions dictated I should NEVER have:  right relationship with God now and forevermore more, and abundant & eternal life.

“What must I do to be saved?” asked a man in Scripture after Jesus’ death.  The answer?  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

On this Good Friday, I remember what Jesus did for me — and for Pete Rose and for you.  And I believe in the Lord Jesus.  And I am grateful (an inadequate word) that Jesus took my place.  May my life going forward reflect this gratitude by reflecting Him.

Read Full Post »