Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’


One of the great blessings of living where I live is that we are located about an hour from Sight and Sound Theater, in Lancaster, PA. What an amazing place! Yesterday a group from my church went to see their production called Jesus, and it was incredible. This was a top of the line production with elaborate sets and visuals that could rival even the very best Broadway stages, but with a fantastic Gospel message. The actor playing Jesus did a wonderful job, his portrayal of our Lord at Gethsemane was particularly riveting. He showed us a Jesus with a full range of human emotions and while no one compares to the real Jesus, I felt as if I was transported back to watch the events as they happened. The theater uses video and special effects to such an extent that the stage takes on whole new dimensions and one could literally feel like they were watching from the streets of Jerusalem, and the shores of Galilee. The scene where Jesus walks on the water is so realistic that you expect the waves to wash over you at any moment.

Of course it is hard to weave together all the elements of Jesus’ life into a single two hour show, and they took some liberties with the time line to get it all in, but other than this every scene was very accurate biblically. The use of live animals really added to the realism. It was quite impressive to be seated near the aisle as roman soldiers on stallions went riding up and seeing “Jesus” ride past you on a donkey on the triumphal entry was otherworldly. They also very effectively used “scenes within scenes” (for lack of a better word) to illustrate points. Jesus sitting on a hill teaching as the parables are acted out in front of us. Mary Magdalene singing about Jesus freeing her as the scene is acted out is another example, but none compares to Mary mother of Jesus, singing her heart out at the tomb juxtaposed against the nativity, as both “Mary’s” young and old, sing the story from their perspective. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was fighting back tears quite a few times, both tears of sadness and at times tears of joy as I witnessed “Jesus” doing the things I have read about so many times. I’ve often had mixed feelings of portrayals I have seen of Jesus in films and theater. This was far and away the best portrayal I have seen and I have seen many.

I loved this production, not just for it’s amazing quality, but for it’s clear presentation of the Gospel. It’s going to run a few more months before closing and if there’s any way you can get here to see it, you really should.


This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

In this vein of gifts and talents consider

Matthew 25:14-30

It’s called the parable of the bags of gold, but I like the old name better, the parable of the talents. It’s an illustration Jesus gave to help believers to understand faithful service to God using our gifts (among other things). The master, representing God, invests some of his wealth (talents) in His servants… US! The reaction of the servants to this gift is telling for us all. How would you interpret it to the people around you? How are you investing what God has invested in you?


This year, I am going to post creative challenges from God’s Word, the idea is simple, read the passage and create something based on it.

Let’s start right in the beginning, literally.

John 1:1-14

The first thing John tells us about Jesus in his Gospel is that He is God. The second thing John tells us is that He created. In the passage, John speaking to an audience of people heavily influenced by Greek thought, describes Jesus as”The Word.” The reason for this is simple. The polytheistic Greeks believed there was an overarching wisdom that rules the universe. They called this wisdom “logos.” Logos is a Greek word that means “The Word” hence, John is telling them Jesus is the Wisdom that rules the universe. This passage has so much to say about our Lord. Read the passage and create something that will remind you of it.


About a week ago, I woke up with an idea for a new video clip. It uses a fish to talk about making the right choice. Hope it blesses you. Feel free to share it and spread it around.


While I’m on this subject of rest, (I have about an hour before heading out) there is something to be considered. When one day you walk through the gate of Heaven, remember this. You won’t have entered on your own merit. You won’t be going in because you were in any way deserving. You won’t be there because you earned it. The only way into our forever reward is grace. You get Heaven because you received it as a gift from the one who knows you best and loves you most. Heaven is a gift, not a payment for services rendered.

Why do I share this? I share it because there is a great temptation to try to earn what has been freely given and this can really skew our view of the work we do, not to mention our view of our heavenly Father. Your works aren’t going to be what gets you through the gate, so watch your motivation. When we start to feel deserving, we get into trouble.

Does that mean our works are unimportant? No, not in the least. Our works are acts of gratitude for unmerited favor. They are a way of showing how grateful we are for what God has done for us. They are acts of love and obedience to a God who loves beyond measure.

The only way to heaven in Jesus, period. So do what you do with a grateful heart, to the best of your God-glorifying ability, realizing there is eternal life in paradise for all who believe and when we get there it won’t be because we deserve it.

Heaven is a gift. It is utterly and completely

Unearned.


I just finished writing the sermon for a funeral service, I’m doing tomorrow. I didn’t know the man, though we did meet once. That’s always a challenge, but it is an honor to have the opportunity to bring a message of hope to hurting people. The idea that came to me is not all that original but it hit me in a way I hadn’t thought of before. It’s the idea of the “dash”—how our whole lives are summed up with a single hyphen, that little line between the dates of our birth and our death. So much summed up in so little, but then I had a thought. This is what I want on my tombstone. (I gave myself the benefit of the doubt and give myself a hundred years. That number is, of course, up to God.)

What really hit me in this Easter season is, because of what Jesus did for us, believers get a second dash… a really long one. Ain’t God good?!?


I was driving down the road this afternoon, making my way back to my office when I saw it. A big old bumper sticker, almost stereotypically on a Prius, that said “Jesus is a Liberal.” I almost lost it. He most definitely is not.

To my liberal friends, don’t worry, He’s not a conservative either, and this is not a political post.

Please understand, attaching Jesus to a political ideology is akin to creating Him in our image, which is, to my mind, the most dangerous form of idolatry. Further, it’s about the same as all the people who wanted to crucify Him because He didn’t come to overthrow the Romans. As soon as He didn’t do what they wanted, in their minds it proved He wasn’t the Messiah and so He had to go.

Jesus is not created in our image, we are created in His. Liberal and Conservative (and every political stripe in between) are human constructs that we try to use as litmus tests to see which of our neighbors we have to love and who is on our team. Jesus us above all of that. The standard for our lives is not Liberal or Conservative. The standard for our lives is Jesus. Measuring ourselves by anything less gives us a false sense of security and attaching our faith to our politics will do nothing but alienate the very people Jesus came and died to save. We see this nearly every day on the news. We support people who do reprehensible things because we say they fit our ideology, or we condemn people for past sins even though they’ve repented and fought their way back because they are from the other side of the political aisle. We can and must do better.

To be clear, there were two political parties who tied their faith to their politics in Jesus day, too. The were the Sadducees and the Pharisees. They were political opponents who badgered each other constantly and fought each other bitterly. What finally brought them together was their hatred of Jesus. We can and we must do better than that too.

Jesus is above your politics. If He’s not, you have an idolatry problem. If we would submit to Him, and fall under the authority of His Word, a lot of this political turmoil would go away. Human leaders are all flawed, and so are the rest of us. The only One who will never lead us astray is the risen Lord. He’s not liberal or conservative, He is the ideal man, the perfect leader, and the only One completely worthy of our allegiance.