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Showing posts from April, 2014

GRADUAL ACCEPTANCE

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The first step in accepting is to eliminate the options. Jesus is evaluating in prayer if there is another way for God’s will to be done. If there is, he asks that it be considered. The key words are ‘if it is possible’.




Matthew 26:39 “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Before full acceptance can be reached, there is a submission to the Father’s will. Surrender of this sort requires a trust that God knows what is necessary and why it must be done.
What is the Father’s will or desire? Did the Father want to hurt and punish the Son for something He did not do? If that’s all we think this is, we are presented with a lousy picture of love.
The Father is faced with an unthinkable choice, but it will lead to something better. The crushed grape produces wine. The crushed olive produces oil. The crushed Son of God produces the salvation of humanity and the Cosmos. If we do not consider this, we are left with an angry Father God who l…

WHAT IS WORSE THAN TORTURE?

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With the help of Hollywood and good preaching at Easter, we are made aware of the horrible ways Jesus suffered in his crucifixion. You cannot watch Mel Gibson’s‘Passion Of The Christ’[i] without wincing. 


Whips, spears and nails mix with false accusation and mockery to stir our sympathy for Jesus and anger at the injustice.
It is important that we understand the physicality of what went down. But, was Christ’s physical pain any worse than the many who were also crucified under Roman rule? Was Christ’s pain more intense than the torturous death of his followers who were boiled in oil, fed to lions or sawn in half? Did Jesus experience pain that somehow exceeds the torture and slow death that still goes on in oppressive regimes?
I think an honest comparison would say ‘No’. Jesus suffered horrible physical pain at the same level as the worst of human tortures. So what if anything distinguishes Christ’s suffering?
We find the answer in Christ’s first prayer at Gethsemane. “Matthew 26:39 Going…

BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS

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The epitome of acceptance is demonstrated in Jesus. The Bible teaches us about the God who so completely accepts the reality of fallen Creation that He engages personally in the solution. 

From Jesus we learn that the greatest challenges are invitations to come before God. The monumental moments are not approached with the fatalism of a gambler throwing his last dice, but met face down before the Almighty.
Let us follow Jesus into his most private struggle recorded in the Scripture. This is what happened in the Garden of Gethsemane. Matthew 26:36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is p…

LEARNING TO ACCEPT

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As a pastor, I often will sit with people as they describe the difficulty they find themselves in. So much anxiety comes with experiencing great loss, unexpected change and regret from past mistakes.
My role is to listen, reflect and look for God in the difficulty. Sometimes, I ask questions that help them uncover the change they desire to have. From experience I have learned to tell people less of what they should do and more of asking what part God is playing in this challenge.
One of the most daunting hills to climb is the mountain named ‘acceptance’. Often people are not ready to accept that change has come and adjust to those things beyond their control.
Real faith does not deny the reality of its challenges; faith accepts the need for God who may or may not change the outcome of the present problem. Faith requires a measure of acceptance.
We see this kind of faith when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are sentenced to death by burning. They tell King Nebuchadnezzar that they will no…