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The Cross

Exactly HOW did God save us?

Well, before I tell you, lemme assure you that I understand that some of you are about to check out on me.  But I’m okay with that.  Cuz that’s the same reaction Paul got when he taught about the cross.  He said,

“[I understand! Maybe] the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, BUT!  To us who are being saved?  [The cross] is the power of God.”[1]

Why is that?  And why are the reviews on the cross so mixed?  Because most unbelievers approach the cross analytically.  They hear that God zipped into a suit of flesh in the person of Jesus and lived a perfect, spotless, and blameless life.  He never did any sin.  But then somebody nailed Him to a tree…and assassinates Him anyway. 

And then, we tell them that Jesus’ death is the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel?  And we say “good,” cuz even though He never did sin, God made Him to be sin so that you and I could get off the cul-de-sac! 

And the unbeliever goes, “I’m sorry!  I just can’t connect those dots!  It doesn’t make sense to me.”  So he rejects the message of the cross as “foolish.”

 

By contrast, the believer approaches the cross experientially.  To Him, the cross is real…cuz He has seen the reality of the cross with His own eyes and has witnessed inside his own skin its transforming power. 

So even though he may not be able to explain the cross in terms that could convince anybody else that it really IS true?  He believes, cuz he has powerfully experienced it.

That’s pretty much my problem today.  How Christ is willing to exchange your hostile mind and your evil deeds and your straying heart for HIS eternal reconciliation…?  Sorry, it just doesn’t add up! 

 

And it doesn’t add up because the cross cannot be explained; it has to be experienced.  You can’t so much describe the cross…as much as the cross just needs demonstrated.  And you can’t really see the power of the cross until you first believe in the person of the cross.

But it’s not just the cross!

I don’t understand electricity, either.  But when I wanna charge my cell phone?  I plug in!  Cuz there will be no power unless I place my plug into those two slots! 

I don’t understand how Google works, either.  But when I need some piece of useless information, I type my question inside that box and hit “return” in complete trust that Google is gonna deliver according to my need!

And I don’t understand how a brown cow can eat green grass and make white milk, either.  But I drink a glass of 2% every night.  And I drink it, can I get a witness?  By faith. 


[1] I Corinthians 1:18

This is an exerpt from "God's Strategic Plans for Aliens". For more, please visit thecrossroadsaz.com

 

Big Little Man

I never knew my biological grandfathers.  My maternal grandfather had many personal and psychological issues and he had divorced my Nanny while my mom was just a child.  My dad's dad was killed in an oil rig accident when my dad was barely a teenager.  I did have Pete, Nanny's second husband, whom I cherished.  But I've always felt like I missed out on something by not having a biological grandpa to hang out with.  

For that, and many other reasons, I have always been passionate about the kind of grandfather I wanted to be.  To me, a grandparent carries an extremely vital and godly role.  Moms and Dads tend to be so caught up in the drudgery of making life work— paying the bills, doing laundry, fixing meals— all those necessary things that tend to exhaust parents. But because parents are so exhausted by the mandatory obligations, they often neglect the weightier responsibilities:

Laughing.

Playing in the dirt. 

Going to McD's for pancakes.  

Buying stuff that makes a lot of really obnoxious noise.  

Sugar-infused goodies just before bedtime.

But most of all, parents are sometimes way too tired to fulfill the most significant task of all: Modeling core life values.  

That's not a shot at parents!  Heck, I've been one!  I've done the job!  And I'm not thinking I ever want to climb that hill again.  What I'm saying is, there is a role for grandparents that is far more significant than spoiling the rug-rats and then sending them home.  

Which brings me to next Tuesday.   Unless he decides otherwise, it appears that Baby Isaiah will make his grand entrance that day.  I'm already packed and ready to grab a flight.  I will be there.  For Andrea, Darin and Liv— but also for Isaiah.  And I plan to not just celebrate his entry, but to share in the awesome responsibility of shaping that little boy into a man.  A good man.  A noble, honorable and godly man.   

And no, I'm not just basking in the first-time out glow of new grandparenthood.  I already have three grandchildren— and my commitment to them is the same.  I want to be used by God to help shape all the kids God gives into amazing, impacting people.  

And my willingness to embrace this role has helped make today a bit brighter than yesterday.  See, I know that I still have a purpose…a purpose that is unpacked on several levels.  But in my family, these kids are my most noble purpose.  I agree with Job, when he said:  "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." 

And that's the way life works.  People we love leave and others arrive.  We may not like every part of that process, but I'm learning to find purpose in His choosing.  

And on Tuesday, a Big Little Man named Isaiah will be added to my list of why I breathe.  

May the name of the Lord be praised.

 

He Wept, too.

It's been a long, hard day.  The first second after way too many firsts.  

Today was our anniversary.  

I've been spending a lot of time alone with Jesus today.  And I found myself coming back, dozens of times, to his dear friend Lazarus.  Both of the dead man's sisters in the moment they see Jesus complain to Him that He should have done more— but didn't they realize that Jesus was grieving, too?  

Jesus, without a hint of defensiveness, said, "Take me to his tomb."

Why?  Why did Jesus want to go there?  To raise Lazarus from the dead, right?  You've read the story.  You know how this thing is going to end. 

My point is…so did Jesus.  You don't really believe that Jesus hadn't yet decided to raise him, do you?  Of course He had decided.  In fact, He had told His disciples that "this sickness will not end in death." {John 11:4}

But our ever tender Savior, hearing the wailing and sensing the deep, aching loss of the sisters— plus enduring His own grief— cried.  Jesus wept.  

He knows what He's about to do, yet far from some stoic, detached robot— Jesus feels the gravity of this horrific loss.  So He walks in that loss with His friends.  

He doesn't quote Scripture or pass along some cliche.  He doesn't urge the girls to buck it up and move on.  He openly and fully grieves.

That's how I'm responding tonight.  I'm healing.  I know the end of the story, but my heart is still heavy.  I don't know how to explain it— not sure I should even try— but I couldn't make sense of all that I'm feeling until I put some words on the page.  

Not sure this post is for anyone but me.  Then again, that's okay.  Because even Jesus wept, too.

 

The Towel

When Cindy and I got married, I had re-learned a very nasty habit that I had first learned as a kid. 

See, I grew up as the only boy in my family.  So my mom did some very bad things for me.  Among them is that she would pick up after me.  Especially my towel…after I had showered. 

As a kid, I’d get out of the shower and wherever I was when my body got sufficiently dry— is where I’d drop my towel.  Cuz subconsciously I knew that Mom would hang it back up for me. 

Well I had re-learned that stupid habit.  And I can still remember the first and only time I dried off and tossed my towel in the corner. 

Cindy, a few minutes later said, “Hey Steve!” 

So I’d come in, and she said, “What’s this?”

And I said, “It’s a towel.”

So she said, “Okay, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna hang the towel on this bar-thingie.  It’s called a towel rack.”

I’m thinking, “Well, if you knew it was a towel all along, why’d you ask me what it is?”  But I didn’t say that.  Instead, I tried really hard to just look confused. 

But from that day on, I never did get out of the shower without hanging up my towel.  Even on days when I was mad at her, I didn’t go, “You know what?  You’re kinda getting’ on my nerves.  So…thrump.” 

That never did happen.  In fact, I’ve had the bathroom all to myself for over a year now.  But you know what?  It has never once crossed my mind that I can now regress back to my ugly old habits.  In fact, not a day has passed…that I haven’t hung my towel on our towel rack. 

I don’t do it for me.  If it was only about me, I’d wait for washer load of ‘em to pile up!  Cuz then I only have to handle ‘em one time! 

Good time management.

No, I do it out of love for Cindy. 

 

In that same way, I don’t do what I do so that I will please God or come to know God better.  I know God— His character and His person– and because I wanna live a life that’s worthy, I know Him so that I can be more like Him. 

And that’s another slice out of the book of Colossians. 
This is an exerpt from "Pre-Qualifed and Approved". For more, log on to thecrossroadsaz.com

 


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