What’s So Good about Good Friday

What’s so good about “Good Friday?” after all it’s the depiction   of the worst death a man can endure.  For the Roman soldiers were experts in humiliating and torturing their victims and this particular Friday the condemned had already suffered numerous beatings.   So what’s so good about seeing a bloodied, tortured, mutilated, and naked body hanging on a cross on Friday morning?  Furthermore, why would the victim who seemed to have all the power at His disposal months prior is allowing Himself to be treated this way?

In order for us to understand this scenario we need to go to the beginning of time and comprehend what let Him to this point in time. 

God creates man and woman and they were perfect.  Their relationship with each other and God was amazing.  Notice how the Bible describes them:  “The man and his wife were both naked, but they were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:25)  Naked, with no sin, no shame, no problems!  But unfortunately disobedience births sin which results in brokenness between all the parties involved; Man, Woman, and God are now alienated.  Genesis 3:9-11 describes this terrible situation in this manner:  9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 The man replied, “I heard you moving about in the orchard, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.” 11 And the Lord God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  For the first time in the creation story we see man ashamed of being naked.  Interesting to note that God makes mention to the nakedness that man and woman feel.   Disobedience has now caused two things to occur which God never intended for man to feel, ashamed and fearful.

So how does God bring a solution to this epic problem that man has put himself in?  God created us to be in communion with Him, in other words, He created us for Himself and now we are separated due to sin.  Our first father Adam failed miserably and because of his failure we are all destined to die.  What would be the plan?  2 Cor. 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  The plan was a simple but yet complex.  The first Adam failed so there was a need to send a second Adam that will deliver the world from their sins and reconcile them back to God.  The complexity of it all is that it would have to be the Son of God since only The Creator can save the created.  1 Cor. 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

The apostle Paul sums it up well when he writes:

6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 (For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God’s wrath. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life? 11 Not only this, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.  (Romans 5:6-11)

So what’s so good about “Good Friday?”  In one word, RECONCILIATION!   Jesus while hanging on the cross was reconciling the world to himself.   While the first Adam hid naked and ashamed from his sin Jesus, the second Adam, showed the world that he is not afraid to hang naked and be ashamed for our sins.  He loves us so much that “He would rather go to hell for you than go to heaven without you.” – Max Lucado.  It’s all about relationship.  God desires to finish what he started in creation and through Jesus we are now reconciled and made anew in Him.  So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.  1 Cor. 15:45

THANK YOU JESUS FOR OVERCOMING FEAR, SHAME, AND GIVING US A NEW LIFE IN YOU. 

THANK YOU FOR MAKING AND ORDINARY FRIDAY INTO A  GOOD FRIDAY!

MEN OF VALOR: ONE NATION, UNDER GOD

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.   Galatians 5:13

One Nation, Under God

Independence Day celebrates July 4, 1776, when brave patriots signed the Declaration of Independence. They founded “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

With the hand of God as their guide, our founding fathers set forth unprecedented freedoms for Americans, including speech and religion. The divine inspiration has given us historic opportunities like no nation on earth.

What does it mean to be an American?

Many majestic images come to mind as symbols of our precious freedom: the American flag, the Statue of Liberty, the bald eagle.

Many spectacular places serve as reminders of our country’s natural beauty: the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park and the Smoky Mountains.

But being an American is more than an image or symbol. It’s something real. It’s the blessed opportunity to pass along the teachings of a precious Savior, who counts on us to love one another and serve one another.

We really are like no other nation on earth.

 

Today’s One Thing

Celebrate Independence Day with your family. Thank God for your freedoms and for the blessings.

Copyright © 2013 Family Life Communications Incorporated

MEN OF VALOR: YOU ARE CHOSEN

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9, 10, NIV.

“To deny that corporate divine chosenness is to deny the very biblical undergirding that stretches from Genesis through Revelation. Yes, “it is a fearful thing to be chosen.” For it is a high calling no movement on earth has ever been up to or worthy of. Nevertheless it is a divine calling. And whom God calls, surely He enables.

So rather than apologizing for the divine calling, the appropriate response may be to humbly bow before the One who chose us before we were born and follow wherever He leads.”

Excerpt From: Dwight K. Nelson. “The Chosen.” Review and Herald® Publishing Association, 2011. iBooks.  This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-chosen/id524964845?mt=11

 

MEN of VALOR: Don’t Quit

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

Joshua 1:9 NIV

DON’T QUIT

Do you feel like you’re in a battle today?  Things seem to be going wrong at every turn?  Whether it’s the job, a relationship, the kids, finances or just plain life, it often feels like an up-hill climb.  Frankly, God never said life was meant to be easy.

But aren’t you glad you’re not in this alone?  The very God of the universe is right there with you and He encourages you not to give up.  He understands what you’re going through.  In fact, He gets it way more than you do.  He knows exactly what you need and promises to never leave your side.  Plus, He has the answers to everything that is troubling you.

Do you believe Him?

TODAY’S ONE THING — GIVE TO GOD WHAT IS CONCERNING YOU AND CHOSE TO TRUST HIM WITH IT.

Family Radio — Intentional Living

MEN OF VALOR: STRONG ENOUGH

       

Last night I was able to attend one of the most memorable concerts ever, “Winter Jam.”  One reason being that it would be the first time I would get to enjoy a Christian Jam Fest with my older kids.  Secondly, I would get the opportunity to meet with some of my favorite Christian artist.  In order to make this happen we would actually have to “tailgate” since the tickets were only sold at the door. We were there at 1400 and the doors didn’t open until 1800.   The wait was well worth it since we were able to get great seating inside.

Upon finding the best seats and some intro songs being played the announcement was made.  If you are a pastor or youth pastor we would like to meet with you backstage.  It was  on!  I hurried and shuffled through the large crowds that were still coming in and made my way to the backstage.  The leadership casts their vision of Winter Jam and introduced us to some of the artists that would be performing that evening, Matthew West and Toby Mac were among them.

Matthew gave a brief testimony and the current journey God has him on.  But one thing stuck with me in regards to youth ministry.  He said, “You can’t cry with your youth until you have laughed with your youth.”  If your not willing to have fun, jump around, enjoy their youth with them then it will be difficult for them in their deepest time want to come to you.  Build trust through laughter so you can be of influence in times of sorrow.

We prayed together and headed back to the awesome concert.  That phrase stuck in my head and I determined to have a blast with my kids.  Needless to say I had been up since 0345 and had done some serious PT that morning but that wouldn’t deter me from having fun with them.  We spent the next five hours of the concert mostly on my feet, jumping up and down, waving my hands, looking at the beautiful smiles of my kids as they worshiped with all their might, soul, and heart.

Matthew West came up second to last and made us laugh, worship, and even cried.  His last song was the one that did it for me.  STRONG ENOUGH.  I was introduce to this song by a great friend of mine, Jonnie Rodriguez, former Marine.  In sharing his testimony with Infantry Soldiers at Sand Hill he played what he called, “his life song.”  Hearing it song by Matthew West live I began to allow those words to sink in and I realized that in my journey of life this has also become my “life song.”  It was one of the greatest feelings in the world to know that God is touching your heart among 15000 hearers and letting you know He loves you personally. It was the greatest moment of the night for me.

1% left on my phone when I headed out the stadium looking for Matthew West booth.  I wanted to take a photo with him so I could send it to Jonnie.  We waited for about 20 minutes.  I handed the phone to a staff member when he is about to take the picture he hands it back to me and says, “sorry Sir there is something wrong here.”  My phone had died!  NO!  Matthew West looks at me as I begin to let him know how much his ministry has impacted my life and that of Jonnie.  He does the coolest thing ever.   Takes off his STRONG ENOUGH bracelet and autographs it and says, “Please give this to your friend when you see him.”  He then embraces me and says, “thanks for what you do for our Soldiers.”   I left encouraged knowing that even though I am not strong enough to be everything that I am suppose to be, God is strong when I am weak, and I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength and I don’t have to be STRONG ENOUGH!

Reflection:  What it in your life do you need to let go and realize that your not STRONG ENOUGH?  Do you feel that you need to prove yourself to someone or even God?  I encourage you with these words:   YOU CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES YOU STRENGTH.  All that God’s desire from you is a  relationship with Him who has loved you eternally.

MEN OF VALOR: ETHICS

 

Noah did everything just as God commanded him. (Genesis 6:22 NIV)

Ethics may be an elective in seminary, but it is a required course in the real world of leading. Once you give up your ethics, life isn’t a piece of cake. It’s a disaster … Whenever a door slams shut, a leader breathes the fresh air of an opening window—and embarks on another cathedral-like display of ambition and hope. Before reaching that final anchorage in the sky, leaders build “acts of optimism”: acts of imagination envisioning new realities that prove seaworthy for whatever waters in which they find themselves. A leader is someone willing to build an ark in the dark. Noah listened to a call that others heard as foolishness. Too much of how we lead in the church is based on trying to please everyone but the One who matters. Every ethical shortcut we take, no matter how small, dampens the music of our leadership.

Leonard I. Sweet

Men of Valor — Husband’s Love

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  Ephesians 5:25

Hopefully we, as husbands and Men of Valor, don’t do this only on special occasions like yesterday but everyday.  Our wives are God’s greatest gift to us.  Learn to cherish them, love them, and empower them through the Word.

MEN OF VALOR: SPIRITUAL MATURITY

 

Spiritual maturity is indispensable to good leadership. A novice or new convert should not be pushed into leadership. A plant needs time to take root and come to maturity, and the process cannot be hurried. The seedling must take root downward before it can bear fruit upward. J. A. Bengle says that novices usually have “an abundance of verdure (vegetation)” and are “not yet pruned by the cross.” In 1 Timothy 3:10, referring to qualifications for deacons, Paul urges, “They must first be tested.” … Maturity is shown in a magnanimous spirit and broad vision. Paul’s encounter with Christ transformed him from a narrow-minded bigot into a full-hearted leader. The indwelling Christ enlarged his passion for others, broadened his view of the world, and deepened his convictions. But even in Paul’s case, these changes took time.

 

J. Oswald Sanders