Tag: Jesus

The Lord’s Day: The Order of Battle


It is easy for intelligent and engaged citizens to have been caught up in the apparent spirit of the age. I even had an aged, beloved family member who, after a lifetime of dismissing any information coming from a politician, suddenly citing the Republican “Morning” Joe Scarborough (her phrasing, not mine) as a source of truth and wisdom.  While he repeated the most ludicrous talking points.

The only source of information worse than a politician is a retired politician who has sold his reputation for a media gig. In her defense, she was suffering a long illness and television was her only reliable distraction. A retired friend from church was in a similar state, but she recognized she was torturing herself. She watched the media all day, becoming more and more anxious and angry as she did so.

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There is a common thought, which is that Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same God: We may have significant disagreements in some areas, but we all worship the same God.  In fact, our church was visited by an American Christian missionary living in a European nation and ministering the Gospel to Muslim refugees […]

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Definitions of Jesus


I once had a student challenge me about Jesus. She said, “I don’t believe you. I don’t believe what you say about there being so many different views of Jesus.” I had, in my classes, only mentioned three. “Good!” I responded, “I’m glad you don’t believe me!” She smiled. She had heard me say that phrase many times before. “Would you like an extra credit assignment that will replace any test grade you want?” Every student’s attention was piqued now, all wishing they had come up with their classmate’s objection. “Sure!” she was completely pleased with the positive academic turn of events.

“OK,” I began, “Here’s my challenge. Go to downtown Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan. Stand on the street corner with a clipboard and ask passersby one question, ‘Who do you think Jesus is?’ In one hour, I will bet you that you will obtain at least 25 different views of Jesus.” Her eyes brightened. I could see the wheels turning in her mind. Only one hour? Substitute that time for a test grade? Prove the teacher wrong? Win, win, win.

It was a Friday. She went to Ann Arbor on Saturday. She was back in class on Monday. I did not make any comment. But she did. “Could I tell the class about what I discovered?” Students were still envious about the whole grade thing. “Sure! What did you find out?” The young woman brought out a sheet of paper where she had collected responses from U of M students. “To be honest,” she began, “I didn’t spend the whole hour.” There was a quiet murmur in the room, disappointment that perhaps their classmate had not fulfilled her end of the bargain. “I didn’t have to,” she continued, “Because in 45 minutes I had recorded 25 different views of Jesus. I figured that was enough.”

Victory through Sacrifice


Clint Eastwood is an iconic Hollywood actor and director. When I reviewed one of Clint’s most popular films, Gran Torino, I said, “We need to learn that getting justice may only be won by giving ourselves.” In short, true victory is achieved through sacrifice.

Eastwood’s symbolic gesture of a cross-like pose at the end of Gran Torino has been used repeatedly since Jesus sacrificed Himself on the Cross for human sin. The importance of the cross is more than a symbol to be worn around a person’s neck. Jesus’ death was a finished work. We remember Jesus dying on the cross because that is where He defeated both sin and death.

My favorite passage of Scripture about the cross comes from Colossians 2:14-15. It reads, “God cancelled the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them at the cross.

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When I was a boy my sister and I had to find our Easter eggs and Easter baskets. I hated every minute of that tradition. My sister, loved it. To this day, a look of glee comes over her face as she contemplates finding hidden treasure. You, your family, your friends could have an Easter […]

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American Born Chinese is the story of a boy, Gene Luen Yang, trying to make sense of his new American surroundings within the history of his Chinese heritage. Yang uses a bedtime story to overcome his fears about fitting in with another culture. American Born Chinese is a classic tale of adjusting to a new […]

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Come Thou Long Expected Jesus


We do it once a year. Decorations go up. Trees are sold. Families gather. Schools close. Carols are sung. Gifts are given. Christmas is a season that sparks great joy. Each person, each group may celebrate the season for different reasons, but our Hebraic-Christian view of Christmas looks in two directions.

Initially, we look back at all the First Testament prophets who looked ahead. Hundreds of prophecies anticipating a prophet, a priest, a king, a messiah, a savior, were all fulfilled at Jesus’ birth. Additionally, we look ahead with the First and Second Testament prophets and apostles to the promise of a renovated world; a world where suffering and sin will cease, a world where Jesus rules eternally.

Both the history and the hope of Jesus’ first and second arrivals is well summarized by Charles Wesley’s hymn “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.” I believe the hymn expresses our earnest hope based on the facts of history: the surety of Jesus and His soon return.

“…Today You Will Be with Me in Paradise.”


You know how sometimes Scripture just seems to jump out at you, or you notice something you hadn’t before? Well, I had one of those moments Friday. My pastor has a daily devotional podcast, and for the Good Friday episode this year, he opted to simply read the story of Jesus’ sacrifice for us from the Bible. When he was reading from Matthew, one verse in particular struck me (I’ve also included the preceding verses for context):

Then two criminals were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him and said, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! He is the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God rescue him now — if he takes pleasure in him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with him taunted him.

For a Flickering Moment


Jesus riding a donkey in Jerusalem

It was Sunday and He rode an unbroken colt in procession through the gates of Jerusalem, heir to the Davidic line and the doer of signs and wonders prophesied to mark the Anointed One, the Messiah, of the Lord who would free the children of Israel. Sweet hosannas were sung by the crowds and palm branches were gathered and waved in celebration as Jesus passed. In this brief moment, it appeared that Heaven and Earth were reconciled and the enemies of Israel would be routed, heralding a golden age like none before it. David had also ridden a donkey, signifying to his people that he came to work, not on a horse that would signify a conqueror.

Of course, the optics were deceptive. I won’t share any spoilers, but that mundane golden age thing did not shape up to the expectations of Judah. For today, Jesus is the triumphant Messiah come to free His people and they celebrate. For a flickering moment.

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The old man leaned on his staff and placed his other hand on the walls of the building lining the the street. He walked alone, slowly and with purpose. His hip may be wasting away, but at least he could still see well enough in the dark to navigate this unfamiliar place. He could still […]

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I’m ashamed to admit that two nights ago I watched George Seaton’s A Miracle on 34th Street for the first time. I didn’t know what I had been missing out on all these years. If you haven’t seen it, go to your local video store or streaming service as soon as you can. The movie was about […]

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Quote of the Day: Jesus and the Adulteress


It is an essential story of Jesus’ ministry. From John 8:

“3Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst,
4they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.
5“Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned.d But what do You say?”
6This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
7So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”
8And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
9Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
11She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
12Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Allie Beth Stuckey stops in to talk about her book, You’re Not Enough (& That’s Okay) – Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love. She and Bridget have a frank conversation about God, Christianity, and why she believes that the idea you have to love yourself in order to love other people is a fallacy infecting people’s minds. They discuss the tough road through college, the partying, the unhealthy lifestyle, and the struggle with an eating disorder that forced her to the realization that she would die if she didn’t change things. She and Bridget discuss their personal faith and beliefs, where they are similar, and where they differ. It’s an incredibly warm and open conversation between two women who don’t necessarily agree on everything, but respect each other’s beliefs and opinions, and are willing to share and learn from each other.

There Will Be No Beauty Left


No churches with their glowing stained glass windows, no murals, no paintings of Christ with the children, no depictions of Mary being touched by God—all these will disappear if Shaun King has his way. He told his 1.1 million followers that all images of a white Jesus and his ‘European’ mother should be destroyed. White Jesus is a symbol of ‘white supremacy,’ and has been used over the centuries to oppress anyone not white.

How many of his followers will take his pronouncement and follow through with destroying churches, statues of Jesus and Mary, paintings, etc.? Should armed guards be stationed 24/7 to protect “The Last Supper?” What about the statue of Mary and Jesus, “The Pieta?” Wasn’t there an attempt years ago to damage that? How many paintings and murals with a white Jesus also show people of other races? In many of those, Jesus is seated among the people. Would an oppressor feel comfortable enough to sit with those he is supposedly oppressing?

Rob Long is in for Jim Geraghty again.  He and Greg rip into far left activist Shaun King for wanting all “European” depictions of Jesus torn down and discuss that the real target of many on the far left is not just religious artwork but the church itself.  They also weigh in on why many police are doing nothing to stop the vandalism and destruction of statues and monuments and they address the political debate arising on the right about whether the police ought to clamp down and protect these properties or whether images of endless rioting are going to lead to more votes for Republicans in November.  And they have fun with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who did nothing about rioting but is now on the warpath against illegal fireworks dealers.

The Atheist and the Acorn


This starts with a joke. Not a particularly good one, but perhaps the novelty will save the humor. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard it told.

An atheist is arguing with a priest as they walk through a grove of trees. “How can you believe in a God who created such a disordered universe? Look at these mighty oak trees. See the tiny acorns they produce. And yet the massive pumpkin grows on a feeble vine. If I had designed the world that situation would be corrected, let me tell you.”

Jesus Preaches on Isaiah


In Luke chapter 4, Jesus/Yeshua reads from Isaiah 61 and makes a shocking claim about it:

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

The Best Advice from the Best Advisor


Our group-writing topic for this month is advice, and I thought it only right to begin with the very most important advice that I or anyone else could give. It was, of course, given by Jesus:

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”