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Showing posts from March, 2017

At The Cross: The Torn Flesh Hebrews 10:19-20, Matthew 27:50-51 (Wednesday Lenten Reflection)

Have you ever been in one of those places that had floor to ceiling glass windows that were so clean that you couldn’t tell that they were there.  I mean, they are not even noticeable…you’re walking along, carrying on with your business, thinking you are leaving the building, then boom…you’ve face-planted into the window.  It is like there is an invisible barrier blocking your way.  Those invisible barriers are everywhere. We encounter them everywhere…and I am not talking about glass walls. We encounter those walls with regard to age.  When we are young, we are faced with the walls of sixteen, eighteen, and twenty one—each of those milestones marked by new opportunity that before, we could not experience.  When we grow older, those walls tend to come up in a different way.  There are walls in the workplace—being passed over for a job or a promotion because those hiring see us as too old…or our bodies won’t do all the things that our mind wants them to do because they are just getting wo…

At The Cross: The Tunic John 19:23-24

How many of you have made plans to go to an event or activity, possibly one that you have never been to before, and you call around to friends or family that are going to be there and ask, “What are you wearing” or “What should I wear”?  Why do we do this?  It is because we don’t want to show up at whatever the event is dressed inappropriately.  We don’t want to show up in a t-shirt and shorts when everyone else is going to be wearing formal wear, and y’all know me, I don’t want to show up in a suit and tie, if everyone else is going to be wearing casual shirts and jeans. Jesus tells a story about being dressed appropriately: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is read…

At The Cross: Simon’s Shoulder Mark 15:21 (Wednesday Lenten Reflection)

This week, thinking of this passage, two songs have been stuck in my head.  I debated which one I was going to pick to share with y’all…and I couldn’t decide, so you get stuck with both of them.  No, I’m not going to punish you by singing them to you…that would not be compassionate and merciful.  I’m just going to read the chorus to you.
The first is more like to be familiar to you as it has been around since 1972.  It is Bill Withers, “Lean on Me.”  The chorus goes: You just call on me brother, when you need a hand We all need somebody to lean on I just might have a problem that you’ll understand We all need somebody to lean on Lean on me, when you’re not strong And I’ll be your friend I’ll help you carry on For it won’t be long ‘Til I’m gonna need Somebody to lean on
The second is a little more recent, and so many may not be familiar.  It was released by one of my favorite bands, Needtobreathe.  It is called Brother.  The chorus offers us these words: Brother let me be your shelter Never leave yo…

At The Cross: The Other Crosses Luke 23:39-43

I’d like to share with you two news stories that were among those that caught my eye this past week when scrolling through the headlines. The first story comes out of Clayton County Georgia.  Earlier this week a Zaxby’s restaurant was damaged.  It was not the result of a fire or of a storm, but the result of a customer.  A woman who had ordered through the drive-thru came inside complaining about her order.  When she couldn’t get her order refunded, she began cussing, throwing her fries and punched the register hard enough to destroy it.  The root of the complaint, according to the police responding, is that her fries weren’t seasoned enough.[i] The second comes out of Chicago.  A young five year old was planning her sixth birthday party.  She told her parents that she didn’t want to celebrate her birthday with her friends…that she wanted to feed the homeless.  Her mom told her that they could pass out sandwiches, but the little girl insisted that they feed the hungry with the food she …

At The Cross: The Path Luke 23:27-33 (Wednesday Lenten Reflection)

When I was a kid, well actually it was this way in high school as well, living in the small town of Butner, if you wanted to do any kind of activities like play putt-putt or go to a movie, we would have to go to either Henderson or Durham. We usually went to Durham because there was more to do and it was actually closer.  I don’t remember a lot about the times before I started driving, but one thing I do remember is going with my friend Travis to see Godzilla when I was about Joshua’s age.  Our families didn’t travel the interstate much at that point, and many times used the back roads including what we usually refer to as Old Oxford Highway.  The thing about those back-country roads is that when it was dark, it was dark…and if you were the only vehicle on the road it felt extremely isolated and remote.  That elementary school age is also the age where, at least back in my day, kids would try to scare other kids with tells of terror.  That was the age when I first heard the “Legend of…

At The Cross: The Sign John 19:16b-22

Who can read this?
À la Croix Dieu dit je t’aime. (French)
Am Kreuz Gott sagt ich liebe dich. (German)
En la Cruz Dios dice te amo. (Spanish)
فيالصليباللهيقولأناأحبك (Arabic)
Msalabani Mungu anasema nakupenda. (Swahili)
At The Cross God Says “I Love You.”  (English)
Aren’t we glad that when God came to us He didn’t say if you want to become my followers, you have to learn to speak Hebrew…learn to speak Greek…learn to speak Aramaic.  How many of us would jump on board if that was a prerequisite to being a follower of Jesus? Jesus likely spoke all three, or at least was bi-lingual in Aramaic and Hebrew.  One thing we can know for certain is that Jesus didn’t speak English…King James or New Revised Standard or any other version of English that we commonly read.  And yet at the cross, as we come to appreciate the gift of “The Sign” we appreciate the fact that Jesus came to speak our language.
The sign…it was placed there by Pilate.  It was placed as a warning.  It was the sentence under which Jes…

At The Cross: The Crown of Thorns John 19:1-5 (Wednesday Lenten Reflection Week 1)

What would you give up to let someone know just how much you love and care about them?  We might give up watching a ball game to take our spouse out to dinner.  We might give up an extra hour at work, and it’s sales commission, to go to our child’s school program.  We might give up sleeping in so we can make the trip to visit a family member we haven’t seen in a while.  However, would we give up the comfort of our recliners to sit in a small chair and read with kids at school?  Would we give up the comfort of our beds to sleep under the bridge with the homeless?  Would we give up the security of our homes to live among the poor in a foreign land? He was royalty…a Prince unlike any prince we have ever encountered.  In fact he was so close to His Father, that they truly ruled as One, making Him more of a King than a prince.  As He sat on the throne, all around would bow and sing His praises. No one would contest His power or complain about His rule. Listen to a description of His throne r…