Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holy Wednesday

The reason Jesus spent time challenging the Establishment was this: the Establishment was the tool of the Enemy that multiplied people's blindness to the Truth (Matt. 23).

"Twice the son of hell."  That's a damning statement (pun fully intended).  But the Establishment of the religious leaders gave in to the plague that affects every organization if they don't war against it.  The overriding value becomes preservation of the organization.  When this happens, on the leadership level, organizations switch to institutions.  On the personal level, people get trampled on, chewed up, ground down, put upon, left behind, treated poorly, dehumanized, degraded, defamed (a.k.a. thrown under the bus), and generally destroyed.

That's why Jesus confronted the issues and the people peddling them.  People are way too valuable to God to be subject to the cruelty of the institution.  It's one more way Jesus is our deliverer.

Organizations are good and can provide a life-giving context in which people are transformed.  I work for one and try to lead one.  But God forbid we become an institution.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Love Demonstrated

At the cross, Jesus demonstrates God's Love (Rom. 5.8). 

Never has a question been answered more demonstratively and more convincingly.  The question:  does God really love me?  The answer:  absolutely, forever, and clearly.

There, in the cross, we see God showing us how much He loves us - how much He values us.  That could sound like we belong to some elitist club.  That's not really how it goes.  He makes much of us at the cross because it frees us to ultimately make much of Him forever.  He gives us His love and that love sets us free to love Him as we were created to do.

There's a pretty popular song out there that ends with, "You took the fall and thought of me above all."  It's a nice sentiment, but it's not accurate.  God wasn't thinking of us "above all."  He's no idolater.  He works all things for His glory.  But He did (and does - notice the present tense of Rom. 5.8) make us the object of His affection and gladness so that we can make Him the object of our affection and gladness forever.

That is the love of God for us.  That is the love that sets us free from fear.  That is the love that transforms us.  That is the love that came to us at Easter.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Righteousness Defended

At the cross, Jesus Christ defended God's Righteousness (Rom. 3.25).

There were (and are) those who would say that God can forgive sin without blood, without wrath, without payment.  Brian MacLaren is one contemporary voice in that camp.  My issue with that thought is that it's simply not biblical.  Other than that, I'd love to have a God who wasn't particularly amped up about blood and justice and sacrifice.

But God cannot sweep sin under a cosmic rug.  And He doesn't.  The righteousness of God needed a "defense" (used loosely) against the accusation that the sin forgiven for the OT saints and the sins to be forgiven for all of us were wiped away without payment, without justice, without an exaction.

But here, in what some call the most important paragraph in the Bible, we see God's intent.  He passed over sins formerly committed to display His righteousness at the proper time (at the cross) and thus display Himself as the Righteous One and the Righteous Maker of the ones who have confidence in Jesus.

Jesus took sin upon Himself so we didn't have to bear the wrath of God.  That's something to revel in.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday Sermon

Jesus:  Substitute
Mark 15.1-39

Everyone is Guilty.
  • Original Sin:  we inherit the proclivity to sin from our first parents.
  • Responsibility:  we stand justly condemned before God.

Sin is Ugly.
  • Jesus’ death is so painful because sin is so heinous.
  • It serves as a reminder that we cannot play with sin.

Propitiation is God’s Plan.
  • Jesus serves as our substitute, taking the blow of God’s wrath against sin.
  • In doing so, Jesus defends God’s righteousness as He pays for our sin.

Separation is Shattered.
  • Everyone who puts their confidence in Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf is united with God.
  • Jesus demonstrates God’s love for us at the cross and the length to which He will go to end the separation.  

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why I'm Blogging Now...

For all 4 who read this and want to know why in the world I started a blog, here are some thoughts I've had in the run-up to it...

First, I have to keep up with my wife.  Actually, she's a much better writer than am I and keeps our family blog at  It's way better than this one.  So, I use this as an advertisement for her.

Second, many have commented on the little Facebook blurbs I post every weekday.  Thank you for the feedback and encouragement.  I'll use this to expound a few sentences on those thoughts for those who might want to think a little longer on them.

Third, in my staff evaluation this year, I told the personnel team of the church I pastor that I'd like to write some.  I've submitted a couple of articles to Leadership Journal and have had a book idea or two.  But I'm just not that good of a writer, so I thought I'd give this a go as a way to hone that craft.  Thanks for your patience with me.

Lastly, I really do hope to say something worthwhile on here.  That's the main reason I use Facebook.  It's the main reason I preach.  It's the main reason I do a lot that I do.  So this is one more outlet for that.  But far be it from me to try to say something worthwhile without mentioning Jesus Christ, the One who is True Treasure.  My words are only as worthwhile as they are reflective of Him.

Thanks to everyone who spends the time reading this.