Monday, May 30, 2016

On Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day, for those who have laid a costly sacrifice at the altar of freedom.

A Price So Dear
Where are you going, little boy fair?
With dancing eyes and flaxen hair.
You've games to play, and rhymes to say,
With never a worry, or shadow, or care.
The brook and meadow calls to you.
Birds are singing, wild voices ringing,
As pirate ships collide,
Or kings with knights in armor stem the tide.
You've games to play and rhymes to say,
With never a worry or care.
But always at days end, to home,
And empty pockets of treasures borne,
To sleep the rest of youthful bliss.
We mark these days, and passing, mourn.
O' where are you going soldier blue?
The fife and drum are calling you.
You've left your boyhood games behind.
No more playing, no more rhymes.
It's war you'll see, and death, and blood.
A sergeant's call, "to the line!"
No glory there, only carnage and mud.
Now where do they carry my boy so frail?
With hollow face, so still, so pale.
A flag is draped upon his bier.
A bugle calls for all to hear.
A life is taken.
A son is taken.
A price so dear.
A stillness lies,
An empty chair,
Silence now upon the stair.
Silent now, the brook and meadow,
Setting sun, and growing shadow,
A vision clear,
In my minds eye and ear,
His face, his voice, his mirth,
Memories dear.
Where are you going, little boy fair?
With dancing eyes and flaxen hair.
You've games to play, and rhymes to say,
With never a worry, or shadow or care.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Resurrection

Jesus was born of a virgin. He came from heaven. He laid aside his glory and took upon himself the form of flesh.

I know that sounds incredible. It is incredible! But it really happened.

 Being God, he became a man and walked among us. He taught and he healed and he raised the dead.

He did things that no mere man could have done, because He was the Messiah. He is the Messiah. The Chosen One, the Son of God.

 He was rejected by his own people, and was flogged and spit upon, and stretched out on a cross and crucified. For us. For you. For me.

He died for us.

He took our sins and he bore the penalty for then. He paid a ransom for us.

And they laid him in a borrowed tomb. He didn’t need it for very long. Only three days.

He was dead. The Romans knew how to kill people. They were experts at it. They were professionals. The military unit who took him out there to that place and nailed him to that cross had executed many such condemned men. They didn’t make mistakes. He wasn’t mostly dead… He was ALL dead! He was completely dead.

On the third day, on Sunday, the women came to the tomb. It was empty. He wasn’t there.

He rose from the grave. He really did! He is alive! Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, our Lord and Savior. He lives.

He showed himself to his disciples. He showed them his wounds. He counseled and comforted them. He ate with them. Once He appeared to over 500 people at once.

Finally, he took his disciples out to the Mount of Olives and he told them what they needed to do. Make disciples, teach them what I have taught you, to believe, to love, to be His disciples. He promised that he would be with them, and with us always.

And then he ascended back to heaven, where he sits at the right hand of God in heaven, until he returns again one day.

 These events occurred. It really happened. It has been studied and analyzed and attacked and deconstructed and still it stands as the most significant event in history. It cannot be explained away. I invite you to examine the historical evidence.

To deny the Resurrection of Christ is like trying to deny an atomic explosion.

 The impact of the resurrection of Christ is just as evident in history, as are the rippling impact waves, and the fiery cloud that rises from the center of a nuclear explosion.

 There is no other way to explain the sudden, immediate, and continued rising of Christian faith in history, the ripples of transformed lives, the shock waves that emanated outward from Calvary, overthrowing kingdoms and liberating the lost, the least and the last of every race and culture, ever since… not with force, not with the sword, but with love. The love of Christ, what an amazing gift. Jesus who did this amazing thing for us.

There’s no way to explain the explosion of Christianity without the Resurrection.

Consider this. Consider this one fact. All of his disciples, all of the men who became apostles for Christ… they all died proclaiming the gospel facts… that Jesus was the Son of God and that he was crucified, and rose from the grave and ascended into heaven, before their very eyes.

 All of his disciples, except John, were murdered for their belief in Christ.

 James, the son of Zebedee was beheaded in Jerusalem in 44 AD, the first of the disciples to be martyred. Andrew was crucified on an X shaped cross. Phillip was crucified in AD 54. Matthew was killed by an axe in 60 AD. Peter was crucified upside down outside of Rome in 64 AD. Bartholomew was skinned alive and then beheaded near the Caspian Sea. Thomas was killed by spear in Madras, India in 72 AD. James, son of Alphaeus was stoned, and then clubbed to death at age 90. Jude was crucified. Simon the zealot was crucified in AD 74. Matthias, the replacement of Judas Iscariot, was stoned and beheaded.

 Now I want you to think about something.

Men will lie about a lot of things. They will lie for many reasons.

 And men will die for a few things. But men don’t die for lies.

 At the end, they tell the truth. They only die for what they believe to be true.

Every one of the twelve apostles died professing the facts of Jesus… that they had seen, and that they had lived. Their lives were given for this truth. Their lives were spent preaching this truth. Because it is true!

He made us and he bought us. We belong to him, whether we like it or not. We belong to him.

But he has left us the decision, whether to accept His gift of life.

 Whether or not to accept His Lordship.

 The bible says that one day, “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord”, but for some who bow on that day, it will be too late to claim the inheritance.

So we have to decide what we’re going to do about this truth.

We are responsible before God, now that we know these things.

 Believers or those who don’t.

Claimers of our inheritance or those who reject it.
Eternity with our Lord in the New Jerusalem, or eternity without God, completely removed from His presence and His Grace.

We have to choose which side of that fence we are going to stand on.

 That’s why we are here, and that’s what this whole deal is about.