Thursday, April 9, 2015

On this date: Robert E. Lee and Dietrich Bonhoeffer Connection

Today marks to historic events in the lives of important Christian leaders.

On this day one hundred fifty years ago General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses Grant at Appomattox.  I find Lee to be a very intriguing figure

"We failed (to win the Civil War), but in the good providence of God apparent failure often proves a far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this, as regards Virginia especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and have suffered all I have suffered, to have this object attained."

On this day seventy years ago German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis. His most popular work is "The Cost of Discipleship", but his best work (in my opinion) is "Life Together". In that book he gave pastors very important advice that I have tried to heed:

“A pastor should never complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men.”

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Resurrection of Christ meets us at the Crossroad

I remember a philosophical crossroad in my teens when it was clear that either Jesus was who he claimed or life was basically a strange absurdity. 

Of course, it wasn’t enough for Jesus to claim an ability to make me right with God through faith in him, there had to be a validation by God Himself about Christ. The Resurrection is that validation. Without his resurrection, Jesus is no real help to anyone and not really substantially different from all the various religious prophets and gurus whose corpses still lay in the ground. Would you trust a builder who couldn’t build his own house? Would you trust a mechanic who can’t fix his own car? Then why would you trust a “prophet” who claims to know the way to eternal life but couldn’t defeat death himself? 

The crossroad is real, I hope everyone sees it- either the resurrection of Jesus Christ is true, or Albert Camus was right about life as an absurdity. All religions do NOT lead to the same place. Only one “religion” is lead by a living Savior. If he’s not alive, how could there be real answers with other dead promise makers? If Jesus didn’t rise we should all just fake as much meaning about this absurd life as we can, to pass our days, and hope it ends upon physical death. If Jesus did rise, we should all do our best to tell every person we know- so they can be saved from what awaits those who are not “in Christ”. 

I am convinced by the eyewitnesses recorded in history and what the bible describes as assurance from God’s Spirit that Jesus did rise- so this is why I put forth this post to all those I know and love. He is risen.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Please God, rescue our persecuted brothers and sisters!

As we move toward a weekend that commemorates the most important events in the history of earth (the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ), we must not ignore living in an unprecedented epoch of persecution against Christianity.

Today's murderous attack on Kenyan Christian students is another reminder of how bad things are for so many who identify themselves with Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We ought not be naive to think such days won't come upon Christians in this country. Open Doors is a Christian persecution watch group who issues a poignant reminder for all believers:

"1 Corinthians 12:26 tells us that we are one body—when one member suffers, we all suffer. When one member is lifted up, we all rejoice. Persecuted Christians and Christians in the free world are not two separate entities, but rather are one body. The persecuted church needs the free church to support them and most importantly to lift them up in prayer. The church in the free world learns lessons from the persecuted who have stood strong in the face of persecution. Christ is the head of the body and uses the church (both free and persecuted) in unique and powerful ways."