Monthly Archives: March 2013

 

Mar

31

2013

Trevin Wax|3:47 am CT

The Victor Who Stands Mighty to Save

It is not possible, wonderful Lord,
to express in human speech
the depths of our gratitude to God
for the preciousness of the hope
we have in our Lord Jesus,
the Conqueror of death, of the grave, of hell;
the Victor who stands mighty to save.

O Lord,
our lives, our hearts, our souls flow to You.
May God give us strength
and length of days to praise You;
then in the eternity to come,
to share in the angels’ song
and the saints’ paean of love and gratitude,
oh what God has done for us!

- W. A. Criswell

 
 

Mar

29

2013

Trevin Wax|8:59 pm CT

There Are No Words

Full video, including the subsequent debate is here, beginning around minute 38.

 
 

Mar

29

2013

Trevin Wax|3:13 am CT

Good Friday Meditations

Behold!

1. Take Time to Stop

Behold! That’s an old biblical word that says, “Stop and look.” So take time this week to stop and gaze at the crucified One.

2. Behold the Man!

On a Friday morning, two thousand years ago, Jesus stood before the people, and Pilate declared, “Behold the man!” It was the sixth day of the week, the day God created man. And now the second Adam was undoing the first Adam’s sin.

3. Behold Your King!

In this moment, Caesar looks strong and Jesus looks weak. But through this weakness, Jesus will conquer the world.

4. Behold the Son!

This is the One who turns water into wine, who offers water that quenches thirst forever, water that never runs dry. Yet now, He thirsts. His lips are parched. His throat is raw. He is thirsty, so you don’t have to be.

~~~~~

The Beauty of the Cross

1. The Beauty of a Blood-stained Cross

There is one death so beautiful, so glorious, that despite its horror and brutality, we are transfixed by its splendor.

2. God with Us

As we witness the evil and pain in this world, we too cry out Abba! Abba! God does not give us an explanation. He gives us himself. Jesus is God’s answer to our cry.

3. God instead of Us (1)

We will never grasp the heights of God’s forgiveness until we comprehend the depths of our own sinfulness. We not only need someone to suffer with us. We need one who will suffer for us – in our place.

4. God instead of Us (2)

The essence of Adam’s sin was that he put himself in God’s place. The essence of Christ’s righteousness is that he put himself in our place.

5. God for Us

We need more than a shoulder to cry on. We need more than hands and feet that will take the nails that we deserve. We need the strong arms of a Savior who comes back from the dead.

~~~~~

The Resurrection

1. Let My People Go!

As Jesus was dying upon the cross two thousand years ago, the voice of God the Father resounded throughout the universe, sending the clear and unstoppable message to Satan and all the forces of hell – LET MY PEOPLE GO!

2. Easter Means Our Coffins Will Not Stay Closed

What was true of our Messiah in the dim light of Resurrection morning will be true of us in the noonday sunshine of the Last Day.

 
 

Mar

29

2013

Trevin Wax|2:58 am CT

Trevin’s Seven

Links for your weekend reading:

1. Easter’s Big “If”

2. The Creator on His Knees

3. I agree with the Akin brothers. It’s unethical to jump into the SBC to take advantage of its benefits without any plans to give back.

4. Tim Keller on Political and Personal Views of Gay Marriage

5. More People Have Cell Phones than Toilets

6. Songs for the Book of Luke: Music By the Church For the Church

7. Who Knew that Piers Morgan Could Be That Thought-Provoking?

Kindle Deals:

 
 

Mar

28

2013

Trevin Wax|3:44 am CT

Behold the Son!

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,  “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:23-30)

At the foot of the cross where the sins of the world are being condemned and judged and the Savior is down to His last breaths, the soldiers are casting lots for His clothing. They divide and rip up His clothes, but they take care not to sever the tunic. Why tear such a good piece of fabric? Meanwhile, the body of Christ hovers over them, torn and bloodied.

What love! Christ was stripped naked on the cross, so that you and I might be wrapped in His robe of righteousness. Our sin for His righteousness. His death for our life.

~~~~~

In His death Jesus forms a new family. He looks down at His precious mother. The frightened teenager who told the angel, “May it be as you have said” is now the widow watching the life of her beloved Son slowly slip away.

But Jesus does not leave Mary without a family. He says, “Behold your son!”

And for a moment, I suppose Mary must have thought, I am beholding my son. I’m watching You now, my Son, wishing I could hold You in my arms the way I used to, wishing I could sing to you the songs of our people’s hope the way I once did, wishing we could go back to Nazareth and pretend none of this ever happened, wishing the prophecy of old Simeon in the temple that a sword would pierce my heart too was never spoken.

But Jesus wasn’t talking about Himself. He was talking about one of His disciples. “Behold your son.” And then to the disciple He loved, “Behold your mother!” A new family was born.

As Jesus died upon the cross, all those who trust in Him become part of His family. He is our older Brother. We are one with Him, united to Him in His death and resurrection, ushered into the family of God.

Jesus didn’t die merely to save you as an individual, but also to bring you into the fellowship of His family. United to the Son of God, we too can have a relationship with our Father. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We have fathers and mothers in the faith. We are not alone.

~~~~~

Behold the Son of God, thirsty and dying. At the beginning of John’s Gospel, we saw Jesus turn water into wine. The wine was so good everyone commented on it.

“Woman, my time has not yet come,” He told His mother. Now, the time is here, and the wine has gone bad.

Jesus is offered sour wine that fails to soothe the pain or delight the tastebuds. He gave us His best and then took our worst.

~~~~~

Later in John’s Gospel, we see Him meet the woman at the well, a Samaritan who offered Him a drink. Jesus turned the tables and said, “Drink from Me and you’ll never thirst again.” Little did she know that the only way for her to never thirst would be for Him to experience her thirst by dying in her place.

~~~~~

Then in the middle of John’s Gospel, Jesus stands up at a celebratory feast and says: If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink! Streams of living water will flow from the one who drinks from Jesus’ well.

This is the One who turns water into wine, who offers water that quenches thirst forever, water that never runs dry. Yet now, He thirsts. His lips are parched. His throat is raw. He is thirsty, so you don’t have to be.

The blood and water will flow from His side, so that you can eat His body and drink His blood and live forever.

~~~~~

Behold the Son of God who completes the work of new creation. “Finished,” He says. The price of humanity’s sin had been paid.

Piercing through the dark storm clouds and echoing through the valleys surrounding the hill of Golgotha, Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” announcing that His work was complete.

On the sixth day, God had completed his work of creation. Now Jesus finished His work, as the spotless Lamb who died as our sacrifice. “It is finished” – the victory cry from the cross. The sacrifice had been accomplished. And God saw that it was good.

~~~~~

Calvin Miller:

There is no way to God that does not depend upon nails, thorns, ropes, and wood. The blood of Christ is the witness of God to the triumph of love. The blood of Christ is God’s signature on His new agreement with us. The blood means that God means business and the agreement is valid.

 
 

Mar

28

2013

Trevin Wax|2:45 am CT

Worth a Look 3.28.13

Kindle Deal of the Day: Take Words With You: Scripture Promises & Prayers by Tim Kerr. $0.99.

A comprehensive compilation of approximately 1500 promises and Scripture prayers (ESV) to provide tangible traction to our prayers. It is intended to fortify our prayers with God’s Word and to build a strong faith in God in the one praying. It is also intended to better align the believers praying with the will of God, which God has promised to answer.

When Our Principles Don’t Survive Contact with Pain:

There’s an old military adage: “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” Its meaning is plain enough. The best-laid, comprehensively PowerPointed plans can and do fall apart when the enemy appears and chaos ensues. After spending my entire life in America’s Evangelical Protestant churches, I’ve discovered the moral corollary to this military maxim: “No principle survives first contact with pain.”

Why Stanford Football Coaches Look for a Strong Vocabulary:

Then there is something unique Stanford coaches evaluate when meeting with a prospect, something that few would think predicts football success.

“Vocabulary,” Shaw said.

Vocabulary?

7 Summits Worth Climbing in Church History – Balthasar Hubmaier:

While some may still consider Balthasar Hubmaier mere dissonant noise of little value and continue to hear the Anabaptists through the overtures of Münster radicalism, a reexamination of Hubmaier can reveal a theological harmony with contemporary evangelicals—especially those rediscovering the vital doctrine of religious liberty.

Ayn Rand Really, Really Hated C. S. Lewis:

Ayn Rand was no fan of C.S. Lewis. She called the famous apologist an “abysmal bastard,” a “monstrosity,” a “cheap, awful, miserable, touchy, social-meta­physical mediocrity,” a “pickpocket of concepts,” and a “God-damn, beaten mystic.” (I suspect Lewis would have particularly relished the last of these.)

 
 

Mar

27

2013

Trevin Wax|3:35 am CT

Behold Your King!

“Don’t you know I have the power?” Pilate asks Jesus. How silly to see the bluster of a dithering man who stands before the true King of the world!

Pilate thought he could set Jesus free, but Jesus was the One with the power to set Pilate free – from sin and death and hell. But in that moment, who would have expected the reversal?

From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down onthe judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it wasthe day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilatealso wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written. (John 19:12-22)

The history of the world is told in the tales of kings and kingdoms, people grappling for or holding onto power. The authority God invested in Adam is twisted into abuse and domination, with everyone doing what is right in their own eyes. Even the best of Israel’s kings were a far cry from the perfect ruler we long for.

We need a king. Someone to put things right. Someone to lead us.

“Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!” cried the crowd. What they failed to realize was that everyone has a king. We all live according to the dictates of someone or some thing. It may be money. It may be pleasure. It may be reputation. It may be power. It may be yourself.

But make no mistake. We have a king. The only question is – who is the rightful king? Who should be king?

~~~~~

The Jews didn’t see in Jesus the kind of king they wanted. So they decided He should be put aside.

If they couldn’t get Pilate to crucify Jesus by claiming He made Himself God, perhaps they will convince Pilate by claiming Jesus made Himself a King. A king who is rival to Caesar.

But Jesus did not make Himself a king. He was a king before He came, He was a king as He stood before Pilate, and He is the King of Kings today. That’s why it’s no surprise that Pilate again says more than he realizes: “Behold your king!”

Usually, a king in a palace would say “Away with them!” when he wanted the hall cleared of his subjects. But this time, it’s the king whom the people want to put away.

Crucify Him! Enthrone Him on the cross! Show the world we have no king but Caesar, and this is what happens to all who challlenge His throne.

So Jesus the King is judged, condemned by His people. He is enthroned on the cross, with revolutionaries on His right and on His left.

A sign is placed over him that says “King of the Jews” in three languages – Aramaic, Greek, Latin. Greek was the language of the world. Latin was the language of the empire. Aramaic was the language of God’s people. The statement hanging over Jesus’ head is true. He is the King of the Jews, and He is being presented for the whole world to see.

~~~~~

John wants us to remember that this was the Day of the Passover. This was the time of day when the lambs were being slaughtered.

In the book of Revelation, we are introduced the striking image of a lamb on a throne. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is the King who deserves to sit on the throne as judge of all people.

He is the Lion and the Lamb. That image of a lion’s authority and a lamb’s meekness, the weakness of a bleeding lamb upon the strength of a powerful throne – that image is what we see at the cross. This is where Jesus redefines power and authority.

~~~~~

The night before He died, Jesus called His disciples “His friends.” Now, the Jewish leaders tell Pilate to condemn Jesus in order to be Caesar’s friend.

Who appears to be the stronger friend? Jesus or Caesar? Who would you follow? Who would you bet on?

In this moment, Caesar looks strong and Jesus looks weak. But through this weakness, Jesus will conquer the world.

No one is worshiping Caesar today. But billions bow the knee to Jesus.

~~~~~

What does this tell us about power and weakness? Do you remember when Governor Jesse Ventura said, “Organized religion is a sham and crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers”? And then Ted Turner piped in, saying “Christianity is a religion for losers.”

That kind of vitriolic speech rubs you the wrong way, doesn’t it? Makes you want to stand up for Jesus, to proclaim the truth, to shame the mockers! But perhaps in our rush to defend ourselves, we are missing the larger truth that Turner and Ventura have unconsciously stumbled upon. Like Pilate, maybe they are saying more than they know.

It is true. Jesus is for the weak. Jesus is for the poor. Jesus is for “losers.” Jesus is for those who come to the end of themselves and look to God for deliverance.

“Weak” is a four-letter-word for self-sufficient, boastful entrepreneurs. But we see that the world’s understanding of strength is backwards – that true strength is made most visible in intentional weakness.

~~~~~

“Behold your King!” Pilate says. Look at King Jesus long enough and you’ll come to terms with a radically different conception of power.

Caesar ruled by conquering lands and subjugating people. Jesus ruled by conquering sin, death, and the grave and freeing people.

This King bore the full weight of God’s anger and judgment towards the evil of the world. Then He rose again to new life.

Behold your King! The Lamb slain for your redemption.

 
 

Mar

27

2013

Trevin Wax|2:27 am CT

Worth a Look 3.27.13

Kindle Deal of the Day: The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected by Nik Ripken. $2.99.

The Insanity of God tells a story—a remarkable and unique story to be sure, yet at heart a very human story—of the Ripkens’ own spiritual and emotional odyssey. The gripping, narrative account of a personal pilgrimage into some of the toughest places on earth, combined with sobering and insightful stories of the remarkable people of faith Nik and Ruth encountered on their journeys, will serve as a powerful course of revelation, growth, and challenge for anyone who wants to know whether God truly is enough.

3 Reasons Your Small Group Can Edify and Evangelize at the Same Time:

When you raise the magnifying glass to the edifying/evangelizing distinction, you realize it has too high of a view of people who have followed Jesus for a long time, and too low of a view of people who might be on the cusp of becoming a new creation in Christ.

Therefore, I’m arguing that you adopt a balance in your a small group to benefit mature Christians, new Christians, and hopefully-new-to-be Christians simultaneously.

Why Christians Should Read Fiction:

I’ve found that most people who tell me that fiction is a waste of time are folks who seem to hold to a kind of sola cerebra vision of the Christian life that just doesn’t square with the Bible. The Bible doesn’t simply address man as a cognitive process but as a complex image-bearer who recognizes truth not only through categorizing syllogisms but through imagination, beauty, wonder, awe. Fiction helps to shape and hone what Russell Kirk called the moral imagination.

Mike Cosper – Habit-Forming Worship:

For better or worse, our worship, regardless of our tradition or musical style or culture, is shaping the hearts and minds of our congregations. We are always teaching, shaping, and painting a picture of what the Christian life looks like. It’s in this light that we should evaluate our gatherings. What are we saying about “normal” Christianity?

8 Tips for Short-Term Mission Trips:

Here is my list of eight important things that I have learned from doing mission work and I hope that it helps all of us going on trips this summer to have a greater impact, realistic mindset, and do the least damage to others and ourselves.

 
 

Mar

26

2013

Trevin Wax|3:25 am CT

Behold the Man!

“Behold the man!” That’s what Pilate says in John 19. And strangely enough, we ought to obey Pilate this week. We ought to stop and stare at the Man he is pointing to.

It’s funny to think that Pilate has no authority over you or me today. Truth be told, he didn’t have ultimate authority over Jesus either. But he somehow thought he did.

The only reason we would obey the words of Pilate this week is because John took these words and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit placed them in His Gospel. Why? So that we would not only hear Pilate’s words in their original context, but also look through these words to their meaning for all people at all times.

Behold the Man!

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, forI find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (John 19:1-11)

Put yourself in the sandals of a first-century Jew. There you are in the throng of people outside the palace. It’s Passover. You’re celebrating the deliverance of your forefathers from Egyptian oppression. You’ve been hearing about this Jesus, the One everyone says is the Messiah.

But it appears to you that He’s just a man. You’re disappointed. He’s a man of skin and blood. (And you see a lot more blood than you do skin now that He’s been flogged!)

The soldiers have whipped Him and lacerated His skin. They’ve mocked Him by placing on his head a crown of thorns. They’ve put him in a purple robe. And now He stands before you, before Pilate, before the crowd, and Pilate says those three words: “Behold the man!” Look at Him. Here’s the guy!

~~~~~

Hold that picture in your mind for a moment, and then go back to the beginning of the Bible. It’s where John wanted us to start.

After all, John began his Gospel with the opening words of the Old Testament. “In the beginning.” Only this time, the story that John is telling us is the story of new creation. It begins with “The Word” who was with God and was God. The light and life of men. We know from the beginning of John’s Gospel that he wants us to go all the way back to the beginning, right? So that’s where we head.

God is the Creator who makes the sun, moon and stars, the birds and fish, the plants and land animals. On the sixth day of creation, God made man in His image. He created Adam, named him, and commanded him to rule wisely over the rest of creation. He breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, and Adam became a living being. Here he was! The glorious fulfillment of all God’s creative plans and activities. A real, live human being!

You can imagine God stepping back on that Friday, admiring His handiwork. This was the first day He saw that it was not just good, but very good. Something about the creation of humanity changes the description from a good world to a great world. “Behold the man!” The masterpiece of God’s creative work.

~~~~~

Not long after, God speaks again. “Adam, where are you?”

God’s question in the Garden of Eden resounds throughout the pages of Scripture.

The Father looking for His most precious creation.

The God of the universe seeking to be present with His people again.

The God who pursues men and women while we were still sinners.

God found Adam, and Adam found God – as Judge. He was hiding because he was naked. “Who told you you were naked?” God asks. “What have you done?”

Adam was ashamed of himself. And the result of his sin and guilt and shame would be the thorn-infested ground that would make his work toilsome. He was created the crown of all life – the pinnacle of God’s creation, the only creature to bear God’s image. But as a result of sin, he would be cursed to till the ground and endure the weather and fight the thorns.

The good news is the story of God’s redemption doesn’t end there! It is only beginning. Because even there in the Garden, God promised to Eve a son – a man, a true human being, who would come to crush the head of that crafty serpent. A second Adam would come to put right what went wrong.

The Word would take on human flesh and dwell among us. Live like us. Live with us. All His life would be preparation for His death. He entered this world with the express purpose of one day leaving it, so that in leaving this world, we could enter His.

~~~~~

On a Friday morning, two thousand years ago, Jesus stood before the people, and Pilate declared, “Behold the man!” It was the sixth day of the week, the day God created man. And now the second Adam was undoing the first Adam’s sin.

Adam was always meant to wear a crown. Now Jesus would wear one.

Adam had been sentenced to toil among the thorns. Now Jesus would have those thorns twisted into His brow.

Adam was ashamed of his failure and sought to hide behind fig leaves. Now Jesus would wear the purple robe and hear the taunts of the mockers.

The hands of humanity that reached out for the forbidden fruit were the fists that beat the face of the precious Savior.

“Behold the man!” Pilate didn’t know what he was saying, but John the apostle did. Jesus is the perfect man. The image of the invisible God, the beginning and the end, the One in whom all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell. The one who shows us what God always intended humanity to be like. He is the One who takes the shame of our sin and bears the mockery of evil.

~~~~~

As the second Adam, Jesus fulfills our purpose. Just look at how the Jewish leaders seek to crucify Him according to their law. God sentenced to death the sons of Adam for believing the lie of the serpent. But here the sons of Adam sentence to death the Son of God who tells the truth. They had it backwards. This is not just a man who has made Himself to be the Son of God. This is the Son of God who has made Himself man.

Behold the Man!

 
 

Mar

26

2013

Trevin Wax|2:57 am CT

Worth a Look 3.26.13

Kindle Deal of the Day: The Life and Diary of David Brainerd. $3.96.

David Brainerd, an early missionary to the American Indians in New York, New Jersey, and eastern Pennsylvania, died in 1747 at the age of twenty-nine at the home of his long-time friend and supporter, the eminent Puritan theologian and preacher Jonathan Edwards. It is thanks to Edwards’ careful preservation and thoughtful editing of his friend’s Diary and Journal that Brainerd has influenced Christians all over the world for over 250 years.

A stunning walk-through Holy Week experience put together by Harvest Bible Chapel. Don’t miss “The Cross Builder” video.

A Christian Man’s Travel Plan:

These are a few basic things that I try to make sure I do each time I travel. Please let me know of other ideas you have about traveling as a Christian man. May God be honored in our lives, wherever we may go.

Was Lincoln a Tyrant?

Contrary to his critics, and despite greatly expanding executive powers, the president was pragmatic and respectful of individual liberties.

Ron Edmondson – 10 Traits to Identify Potential New Leaders:

Where do you find these people who can be future leaders? I find it helps to look for certain qualities, which all good leaders need or qualities that, consistently over time, seem to make good leaders.

Save the Whoms!

It has been a gradual but inevitable process, somewhat like the heat death of the universe. Whom is creeping slowly out of our vocabulary, trying to avoid notice, like someone crawling up the middle aisle during a movie.