The Contrast of Christ


A good friend of mine shared this with me yesterday...I couldn't think of better words to follow last week's blog...

The Contrast of Christ

He was the meekest and lowliest of all the sons of men. Yet he spoke of coming on the clouds of heaven with the glory of God. He was so austere that evil spirits and demons cried out in terror at his coming, yet he was so genial and winsome and approachable, that the children loved to play with him and the little ones nestled in his arms.

His presence at the innocent gaiety of a village wedding, was like the presence of sunshine. No one was half so kind or compassionate to sinners, yet no one ever spoke such red-hot scorching words about sin. A bruised reed he would not break. His whole life was love. Yet on one occasion he demanded of the Pharisees, how they were expected to escape the damnation of hell.

He was a dreamer of dreams and a seer of visions, yet for sheer stark realism, he has all of us self-styled realists soundly beaten. He was the servant of all, washing the disciples’ feet, yet masterfully he strode into the temple, and the hucksters and moneychangers fell over one another to get away in their mad rush from the fire they saw blazing in his eyes. He saved others, yet at the last, he himself did not save.
There is nothing in history like the union of contrasts which confronts us in the gospels; the mystery of Jesus is the mystery of divine personality.

Reading that reminds me of the video below (you may have seen it on our website)...Reverend S.M. Lockridge's famous sermon...we serve a mighty God and gracious savior!!!!


Some Fathers Day Thoughts...


Paul makes an amazing statement in 1 Corinthians 11:1. He says, Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

I love that verse. It has become my lofty goal of fatherhood to try and live in such a way that I can say those words to my kids and that they will mean something. Lord forgive me for how often I fall short! But the thought of living my life in such a way that my example would be something to follow; a legacy......something about that stirs my heart. I want be able to say "Follow my example." How can I earn that right? By following the example of Christ.

For most of my years I've heard pastors, parents and Sunday school teachers telling me that I should follow the example Christ. Be Christlike. What would Jesus do? Be an imitator of Christ. And truthfully that didn't make a lot sense to me. I mean Jesus was God right? Of course He got an A, He wrote the questions to the test! Isn't that kind of cheating?

But I had my theology wrong. The Bible teaches that Jesus was fully God and He was fully man. But here is the part I missed. In His humility, he took on humanity as a man and actually set the God part aside. Doesn't that change the perspective?

Everything Jesus did was to demonstrate for us what it looks like to have a true faith, a real relationship with the Father. He was walking with God as a man. Really!

Do you know what that means? Isn't that great news! Jesus didn't cheat on the test, he was showing us the kind of life that is available if we really believe. We really can follow the example of Christ!

Jesus was approachable. He was kind, generous, flexible, selfless, self controlled. He was fierce, and fiercly devoted to his cause. He knew who he was. He was caring, He was the epitomy of love. He was holy, he was rightous. He was a man's man. He got angry, he was strong, he drove demons out of people and sent them packing in fear. He was tender. He had a sense of humor. He could relate with anyone. He lived with integrity. He was totally free from any kind of bondgage or addiction. Nothing had a hold on him. He was free. He didn't seek praise or glory or get a big head when people were literally ripping the roofs off of houses to get near him. He was genuine. He was the truest person you will ever meet. He did not boast, he did not shrink back. He was himself. And he gave everything he had.

Don't you want to be like Him? I do. We really can live the life of Christ. It really is available. It doesn't roll in on a platter for $29.95 like prime rib though. It is a process. It starts with discovering God as Father, then trusting in him. There is a dismantling process, then restoration and then a thousand small choices everyday. Maybe I should say a thousand small battles every day.

But each day we commit to giving our lives over to Christ to live his life, each day we make a concious decision to not give our hearts over to anything but God, each day we live a whole and holy life....well that is a day to be celebrated because we have just cleared a little more of the trail that will help our kids find their way through this rugged wilderness. And then we can echo Paul in saying, "Follow me as I follow the example of Christ."

Happy Fathers Day!



There is proof


Have you ever questioned the legitimacy of Christianity? Sometimes I fear maybe this is all just a game...our friends and our families all play too...harness the young and give some comfort to the old. We've all had doubts...for you music buffs, those are lyrics from a Caedmon's Call song (click play below)...but do we not all question our faith somewhere in our journey? Sometimes I feel a sort of inferiority about my beliefs, as if there's no backbone to what I hold true, no proof...nothing significant to share that will wow unbelievers or doubters. It stems from two things...lack of preparation and the constant assault from a very evil force in this life. Let us prepare. :)

There is far more evidence than I can share in a week's blog, but here are a few facts that baffle me when I reflect upon them. The Bible is by far the most heavily analyzed work in history, not to mention the top selling book every year, and yet NOT ONE THING HAS EVER BEEN PROVEN FALSE in its pages. Of over 1000 prophecies in scripture, over 600 have been proven true, with not one ever proven false, and the remaining have to do with the end times and events that are yet to come. The bible contains 66 books written over 1500 years by more than 40 authors from different backgrounds, regions, situations and careers, yet their inspirational words tie together PERFECTLY in theme, message and many detailed cross-references. Scripture referenced the stars uncountable, the earth as spherical, and the reality of gravitational pull long before any were ever known to man…even the order of creation as given in Genesis has been proven true in recent years after years of speculation...and numerous cities, cultures and eras have been confirmed using data from its pages. How accurately has it been passed on? The Dead Sea Scrolls, found in the mid 1900’s, contain nearly every book of the Old Testament and match word for word with the Bible we have today. THE BIBLE IS REAL, IT'S TRUE…and while the facts are still adding up, don't forget that its council is sound, its teachings are wise and its message of salvation meets every need from here to eternity!!!

Every person asks themselves the "questions of life"...where did I come from, why am I here and where do I go when I die? Denial, procrastination and ignorance toward the most important question we'll ever ask, or share with our children, is a very sad reality if indeed Christianity IS the way, truth and the life it claims to be. Satan's ploy is to keep us from seeking, because if we truly sought the answers that quench our soul, we will find, hope and love for eternity. There IS proof that Christianity is everything it claims to be...and I want that to spur doubters or non-Christians into SEEKING the answers...and to give Christians the BACKBONE to stand up for what you believe, to KNOW why you believe it, and to RISE UP and fight for the truth! It will NEVER fail...what faithful relief.

So according to a very factual book, full of proof and not a shred of disproof, there is a very real Heaven and a very real Hell...and it tells us that accepting Christ’s work on that cross is the only way to eternal life in Heaven…no other means. With so much of the Bible proven true, none ever proven false, I'm not gonna pick and choose what I want to believe...I'm gonna believe it's the inerrant, infallible Word of God like it's proven to be thus far.

Lord I pray...cast all my doubts, please prove them wrong, these demons can be so headstrong...make the walls fall and build me up with your fire so strong! (click play below on the playlist to listen to the Caedmon's Call song "prove me wrong")

For those of you intrigued by the evidence for Christianity, I encourage you all to buy, read and pass on this VERY short (and cheap) book! Especially for your children!

Also, a site I've found very helpful in answering most any question is ...their statement of faith in scripturally sound and the it's a very detailed and easy to use site.




There are some amazing stories in Scripture isn't there? We talk about having "faith in the field" and moving forward with God into the areas He is calling us. To stand up with confidence and to be the man He created us to be is the goal, yet so often confidence is replaced by doubt. And standing up and being God's man, moving into situations He is calling us to gets replaced by a kind of paralysis or passivity.

I've been reading 1st Samuel lately and I was struck again by the story of David and Goliath. I know it is a really popular story and we've all heard it since we were little in Sunday school. And for me at least, I've grown numb to the power of that story. But think of it, a huge man, a warrior....over nine feet tall and probably built like an NFL left tackle. The entire army of Israel was afraid of him. The Bible says they were dismayed and terrified. For forty days morning and night Goliath stepped out and shouted a challenge to the army of Israel to send a man out to fight him. And the Bible says that the Israelites, warriors themselves, ran from Goliath in great fear.

Can you imagine? But then David comes along. He is visiting the army because his three brothers are in the ranks and his father sent him out to bring some roasted grain, some bread and some cheese to his brothers and their buddies. Isn't that nice? What a sweet young lad. A teenager who probably was just sprouting his first tender whiskers. He hears Goliath's challenge, and he says, "Who does this uncircumcised shmuck think he is challenging the armies of the living God?" What a fresh perspective after 40 days of fear. David asks a few more questions and upsets his brothers a little. They call him a few hurtful names like "conceited" and tell him he has a "wicked heart",then they tell him to buzz off and get back to tending his sheep. But word gets back to Saul and he calls for David. I assume they chat for a bit and then David makes a bold statement. He tells Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; I will go and fight him."

Time out. Where did this courage come from? Is David just a wild teenager with no fear of death? Is he stupid? Does he have a death wish? Maybe he is suicidal. Perhaps he ate some of the grain along the journey and it was fermented pretty badly. Was he puffing on a crack pipe?

Or did he know and trust God's heart. We know David was a shepherd boy. An outdoorsman who spent nights in the wild. We know he talked with God and had a deep relationship with Him. Remember all of the Psalms he wrote? He loved God. He walked with God. He was poetic in his love for God. He played the harp for goodness sake! How did David get to this point in his relationship with God?

I think he gained that type of relationship with God by being in the wild... alone. He talked with God. God answered him. He was tested in the wild and God came through for him. Remember the bear and lion that he killed protecting his fathers sheep? When he was thirsty he had to find water, when he was hungry he had to find food and God came through for him. He trusted in God because he had to. And he praised God for everything he got. And God blessed him.

And so I got to thinking about my time outdoors. So often I'm so busy pursuing fish or pursuing game that I forget why I really enjoy my time in the wild. It is the pursuit of God that I am really longing for. And I'm sorry, but I don't get that at home on the couch. Or even in the back yard. God created a perfect classroom in which to teach a man and that classroom is in the wild. And when I think of all the times that God has come for my heart in the outdoors I realize why I truly prize my time there.

He has spoken words to me out there that I've really needed to hear. I've felt his love for me out there like I've never felt before. I've seen his hand of protection over and over. I've been lost, I've sunk a drift boat and I've been out on some pretty rough seas. I learned to trust him out there. I've learned that I have what it takes to pack out an elk in the dark when my body was past exhaustion. I've felt the joy of leading others, guiding them into their first fish or their first deer. It was thrilling and then God said, "I have more for you. How much more of a thrill to help lead and guide someone to me."

Right now God is calling me to help get a program started in our area to mentor fatherless boys in the outdoors and also to introduce them to God as the perfect Father who will never abandon them. It feels like the deck is stacked against it. I feel some fear that I don't have what it takes to get it done. This will end up being like the other things I've felt God probing me to do that never seem to fully work out. I feel like I am pretty alone in my passion for this. It has been difficult so far.

But I read a story like David and Goliath and I reflect on what I've shared above and it feels silly really. I mean my life is not in danger here. But I'm struck by just how small my faith in God can feel at times.

So hear is the deal. I'm going to pick out a few smooth stones and I'm going to head out where God is leading. And as always, we could use your prayers going forward.

Thank you.