I wonder if God is tired of the form of Christianity and Christians that is rampant today. He sent his son Jesus to die for humanity that mankind might live in power and hope. He challenged his followers to go out and change the world. Yet, 2000 years later many who profess Christianity are more concerned with paying off their house, building up their retirement plan, and living in Christian ease. They are not motivated to make a difference in others, just themselves. They are too afraid to hold others accountable for their decisions and instead enable those who are bent on self-destruction. They make it easy for “fellow Christians” to continue in sin and hard for “the unsaved” to be forgiven of sin. Where is the power that we will all sing about on Easter Sunday? God sacrificed it all for us? Why is it so hard to sacrifice for him or others?
I want to be uncomfortable in my life. I want to hold nothing back in my relationship with God. I am tired of being around fake Christians who do not want to count the cost, or who have counted it and decided no thanks. I want to live my life so that I need that Easter Power, that Easter Victory, that Easter Hope. I fear that for too many Christians tomorrow all across this nation tomorrow will be just another Sunday.
I long for real authentic followers of Jesus Christ who are do not measure themselves by the status of what others think but who are ready to live dangerously reckless for The Kingdom!
As I think about this evening, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I cannot help but wonder how Peter felt. He was the one disciple of Jesus who deserted, denied and ultimately betrayed Him as well. He said he would follow him no matter what happened. But in the heat of the moment, he denied him and therefore, betrayed him. We often think of Judas as the betrayer, but Peter was one as well.
What was he thinking that Saturday night? It must have been so lonely. The tape of the past two days played over in his head over and over and over. Regret, disappointment, anger, sadness – all emotions he no-doubt felt. The emptiness of that night must have felt like an eternity. Perhaps he finally got it… He was a loser and was just fooling himself all this time. He could never be someone great for Jesus. These, and many other lies, flooded through his mind as the enemy had full control of his thoughts and fears.
Each of us have had Saturday nights like that. We have betrayed or been betrayed. The denial of a friend, parent, child, or whomever has left us all empty. Why go on? Why even try? What good could ever come of this situation?
For Peter, there were no easy answers that Saturday night just over 2000 years ago. Perhaps you feel the same way. This night brings with it such a feeling of despair and emptiness that causes the darkness to engulf you.
For Peter and for you – hang in there. Sunday is coming. The dawn of that Sunday morning witnessed the most powerful, glorious, freeing, hope-filled event of all eternity so far. Jesus Christ rose again and conquered all those feeling that Peter was having – that you are having.
The only thing left for Peter was to fall into that grace, that amazing love, that victory that Jesus offered him – and he did!
The only thing for you and I is to fall into that same grace, that amazing love, that victory that Jesus offers to each of us! Will you?
Today was the 12th anniversary of the shooting at the Columbine High School. Much has been written on the incident. Psychologist have studied teenage behavior, schools have been taught to see warning signs and innocence has once again left our lives a little more. Today I heard a radio announcer ask, “What have we learned 12 years later?”. That is a great question.
This question haunts us all even while it flirts with us as if to assume the answer will give validity and purpose to the evil. We have prepared students, teachers, parents and communities. We run drills, practice preparedness techniques and give speeches on warning signs of at-risk kids.
Two and a half years after Columbine we had another killing of a greater measure. We had 9/11. That day is etched in our minds forever. In fact, all we have to do is refer to the date and everyone knows what you mean. When you hear the date 9/11 you immediately are taken back to the events of that tragic day. Since that day, almost 10 and a half years later, what have we learned?
What have we learned? Each one of us have come away with valuable life lessons. One thing that sticks out in my mind is this: we are all on a journey. Each one of us has pain on our pilgrimage that often descends on us like a shadow of desolation and emptiness. We often are tempted to retreat into ourselves and our pain. In a warped way, the pain can become a companion that we just learn to live with. The end result is that we live life as nothing more than a robotic ritual of trying to eek out some form of existence that, in the end, will overshadow the pain. Sounds kind of depressing doesn’t it?
The great and eternal God that transcends each of us offers a better way of life. God offers to each one of us a life that is filled with an unquenchable joy. It is not a joy that is a fake smile and a precursory “I’m fine”. It is a Joy that is bigger than our pain, stronger than our sorrow and greater than our circumstances.
As this day’s journey comes to an end, I am taught once again that in the midst of pain, God is there. His joy radiates and permeates through the thick dark cloud of pain and tragedy. As the old hymn your parents and grandparents knew “Because He lives I can face tomorrow”