Archive for February, 2018

Startled by Christ

My pastor is taking four weeks to savor Isaiah 52-53. I’m so glad.

It seems that each year, Easter sneaks up on me. Not Christmas. I’m fully aware of that celebration from about October 1st thanks to retailers.

No, Easter is muted by the Easter Bunny, and sweets and hunts, and eggs.

The real meaning is profound.

Take Isaiah 52:13-15 written 700+ years before Christ:

“Behold my servant shall act wisely, he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you–his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind–so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.”

I would like you to take a closer look at the word sprinkle. In the Old Testament, blood was sprinkled on the altar to make atonement. In fact, Moses even sprinkled blood on the people and they were glad. (Exodus 24) They knew they needed a covering for their sin.

But that word has a double meaning. It also means startled.

Christ startled many with His teachings. Remember when He visited the temple at the ripe old age of twelve? The teachers were astounded by Him. And all through His life, people were amazed at His wisdom, not to mention the miracles He performed to authenticate His deity.

This last Sunday, our pastor asked if we as a congregation were startled by Christ. Astounded. Awestruck. Amazed.

I knelt at the front of our little church because that is my desire, to dive into the gospel of Jesus Christ–His life, death, resurrection, and kingship.

How about you? Care to join me?

It begins with desire. Ask Him. Wait on Him. Read His loving Words to You. Talk with Him.

And be startled.

Here is a link to the website. Invest time in the message to renew your love for Christ.

Why Blood

Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to die? Me, too.

Here is my contribution to today:


The Good News Applied

“The gospel is not the diving board into the pool of Christianity. The pool is the gospel.” The radio pastor went on to say, “When you want the best water, you don’t make the well wider, you go deeper.”

I’ve thought about those words for several days. For a long time, I dug outside and around that Christian well. Debating this doctrine and that. Concentrating on parts of my Christian life like they were fragmented.

Lately, the gospel is where my focus has been and where it will stay. The Good News of Jesus Christ. I love I Corinthians 15:1-4,

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

Simple, right? You probably learned it in Sunday School. Colored pictures about it.

But it is profound. Deep, like that well—like that all-encompassing pool.

For instance, when I see a client at work who has been in some trouble, and lost their job, and rub me the wrong way, I can’t think I am better, or smarter. My thoughts line up with the good news. Jesus died for me. I didn’t deserve it, didn’t earn it, didn’t even want it. But Jesus had mercy on me and opened my heart to hear His Spirit. And He saved me.

And when someone doesn’t treat me right, or I am misunderstood, or even mistreated, I think about Jesus, the perfect Son of God Who was mocked, beaten, and crucified. Not only did He never do anything wrong, He never even thought a bad thought, and yet many shouted, “Crucify Him!”

My slights seem insignificant.

And when I face uncertainty, or death of a loved one, or illness, I cannot despair. Because not only did Christ die for my sins, He rose from the grave—paying the penalty for my wrong thoughts and actions and motives—not only providing the payment for my sins, but also eternity with Him.

That is deep, like the cold, clear, water in that well.

It surrounds me, like the refreshing water of that pool.

I don’t ever think I can reach the bottom or explore the depths.

But I’m gonna try. And then I will have eternity to enjoy it.