Sunday, April 20, 2014

He is Risen!

He is Risen Indeed! Praise God for accepting the sacrifice of His Son on our behalf!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Why Did Jesus Have to Suffer? - James MacDonald

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:9-10, ESV).

No one disputes that Jesus Christ suffered. But the idea that His suffering was necessary—that He had to suffer—has often been the subject of scorn from those who have criticized and ridiculed Christianity through the centuries. It is also what sets Christianity apart.

Muslims, for example, show respect for the person of Christ, but see the cross as a stumbling block. They regard His atonement through suffering as foolishness. Friedrich Nietzsche dismissed the very concept of Jesus’ suffering by saying, “God on a cross—preposterous!”

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we resolutely stand against this ridicule and embrace His cross. It is a vivid illustration of 1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

If you had 24 hours to live, what would you do?

It was essential for Jesus to suffer:

To pay for the sins of mankind. First John 4:10 says, “[God] loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sin.” The key word is propitiation, meaning payment. It wasn’t enough for Him to die. Jesus had to pay a debt—our debt, for our sin. The payment was necessary.

To satisfy the demands of God’s wrath. As much as God loves you, He hates your sin with a holy, burning hatred beyond comprehension. The only way He could embrace you in spite of your sin was for someone else—someone perfect and holy—to pay for it. (Romans 5:1.)

To purchase the opportunity for our sins to be forgiven. No longer do you have to carry your sin. You can be forgiven. God laid all your sinfulness upon Jesus as He willingly suffered and died upon the cross. The debt was paid, opening the door to your forgiveness.

To provide the way to eternal life. To have a gift, you must choose to receive it (Romans 6:23). Do you know Jesus Himself is the gift of eternal life? His suffering is the reason that gift is possible.

The glory of the gospel is, while we are the ones who need to be saved from God’s wrath, He is the one who saves us—through His Son, Jesus Christ. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

You can be forgiven and washed clean. Jesus is the propitiation. He willingly laid down His life to restore your relationship with God. As the Father laid all the sinfulness of the world upon His Son, Jesus suffered and died, offering forgiveness and eternal life to all who believe (John 3:16).

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Last weekend of ministry before Resurrection Sunday!

I was privileged to have been asked to speak the annual CEF Spring banquet in Wellsboro on Saturday night. There were about 230 people present and my Biblical challenge was well received. Today I complete the 381st MAD Live Event in scenic Greene, NY. 37 people attended and we were blessed to see the Lord save 3 adults at the Live Event. All glory and honor and praise to our God!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

This weekend of ministry

I'll be speaking tomorrow night in our old stomping grounds...Wellsboro, PA. I miss the mountains and the home we had there. Anyway, I have been asked to speak at the annual CEF Banquet and look forward to it. Sunday I will be at the Greene Alliance Church in Greene, NY doing a MAD Live Event. Prayers for both events are appreciated and coveted.

Monday, April 7, 2014

"You Stink!" Is Unavoidable

by James MacDonald

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things (2 Corinthians 2:15–16, ESV)?

According to the apostle Paul, you stink. In describing the gospel and how our lives attest to its reality, Paul painted a pungent picture of the effect we have on others. In a sense, people have an awareness of God in us that could be likened to an odor or smell. Paul warns us to expect two extreme reactions to this. For some, our scent is fragrant and pleasant—the aroma of life. For others our lives smell offensive—the stench of death.

Paul’s point is that we can't have it both ways. If we are going to be used by God as witnesses to the gospel, then to some people we are going to stink—just like our Master. Jesus Christ is the aroma of death to those who are perishing.

Derided by the media, denied by the moral left, appropriated by the right to support their pet causes, Jesus is reviled by the world. Why the widespread hatred? You will never attend a movie and hear “Buddha” or “Muhammad” used as a curse word. Artists won’t depict Gandhi or Krishna in some of the crude and offensive ways our Lord has been portrayed. This hatred for Jesus Christ has become predictable and is disturbingly irrational.

More importantly, it is unavoidable. Christ is a stench to those who are perishing, and His followers are that stench too. Why do we try so hard to avoid this reality? Because we dislike rejection. While unbelievers are actually rejecting Jesus, their rejection feels personal to us. Some of our programmed evangelistic strategies are even designed to help us avoid rejection. Rather than talking about Jesus, we invite unbelievers to a church bake sale, a barbeque, or a baseball league, hoping to build a long, safe bridge to the Savior. We must remind ourselves rejection is unavoidable.

Let’s set aside the canned methods that make evangelism feel safer. The apostles didn’t handle their fear of rejection with sterile approaches that covered their stench and made the lost feel comfortable. They displaced their fear of rejection with authentic passion for Jesus and prayers for boldness, knowing they would be rejected.

Should we expect better results than faithful saints of God through the ages? Should we expect to be embraced when our Master was rejected? Jesus warned, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

Unless we are willing to be the aroma of death to those who are perishing, we will never be the aroma of life to those who are being saved.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Divine appointment with the plumber

We had a plumber come in today to do some work for us. His name is Brian. I had a nice conversation with him for the 3 hours he was here. We talked about hunting and the Lord. Although he was raised in a Christian home and attended church when he was young, he led a rather rebellious life. Since getting married and having 3 sons, he got straightened out and got involved in hunting. That is his passion. He says he meets with God as the sun rises while he's in his tree stand. I explained that while that is a magical moment for sure. that would not get him into Heaven. He agreed. I shared Mark Cahill's "One Second After You....Die" with him. He said he would read it and call me if he had questions. We'll see what the Lord does. He's a nice guy and I'd love to see him in Heaven some day.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

MAD Live Event in TN today

I completed a MAD Live Event today at the Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church in Knoxville. There was a small crowd out, but it was well received. Lord willing I'll be able to come back sometime and do one for a larger group.