Take up the True Cross

Jesus and the cross

The good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one. Spock

Christians are called to sacrifice. Without the Sacrifice of Jesus there is no Christianity. Without sacrifice there is no Christianity.

Jesus sacrificed all for others. Would you do that? Would you die for someone you hated? For a Muslim terrorist? According to most theologies, that is exactly what Jesus did. Well of course Jesus didn’t hate them but he did die for them and he calls you to do the same. 1) To love them and 2) to be willing to die for them.

Jesus calls us to Love our enemies. Democrats, Muslims, homosexuals, the liberal media environmentalists, believers in evolution, or anyone else you disagree with.

Jesus calls us to give out of our abundance. Mark 12:44 but all that is talked in church is make sure you follow the tithing rules. No Jesus wants more.

Jesus tells us to go beyond reasonable. Jesus says when you are made to go one mile, go two. When you are asked to give you robe, give two. When you are asked to bake a cake make two, when you are asked to serve someone you don’t like serve them twice as well. Matthew 5:41

Jesus says that we are to forgive. That means you have to sacrifice your pride and learn that you are no better than anyone else.

Jesus says do not be selfish. Yet most of us have the latest Cell phones several TV’s, the latest fashions, computers, toys etc.. etc… while people are starving, going without medicine and dying when we could be helping them instead of passing them by. In fact we often throw stones at them saying they are lazy, or need to get a job or that they are just faking it or using the system. Excuses we give to say we don’t have to help. Shame on us!!

Jesus says that he came for the sinners, not for the righteous and yet on average 97% of a churches income is spent on the people in the church. We are not here for the people in the church we are here for those outside the church. How did we get this messed up? We are not to be taking care of our buildings for the sake of drawing people in. We are supposed to be out in the world for the sake of drawing them. No cool music program is going to turn people to God but our sacrifice for them will.

Jesus said “Do not judge” and yet we continue to do that. Paul says “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 and yet we do. We constantly belittle others to make us better. Look at their sins I don’t do that. That’s kind of what Paul was saying in Romans 1-3 First he lists the sins the church people were complaining about in others, then (chap 2) he lists the sins committed by the church people then in chapter 3 he says “for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” In other words, you are no different than someone else just because your sin is different than that of people you don’t like. So shut up because “all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24

When Jesus says “Take up your cross and follow me” he means your life is over. And it has just begun, because when you truly take up the cross and sacrifice for your fellow man you have truly found Jesus.

In the view of Jesus, The good of the many is better than the good of you.

Church, let’s start on this Easter to be real followers of Christ.

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So you think you know the Bible. A Last week of Jesus quiz

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Many questions will have more than one answer so be careful what you think might be right. Do you know your Bible or traditions better? Oh and yes, I threw in some funny answers to make it more enjoyable.

 

1)      What color was the robe that was put on Jesus?

  1. White
  2. Scarlet
  3. Purple
  4. Gold
  5. Rainbow

2)      On what animal did Jesus ride into Jerusalem on?

  1. Horse
  2. Donkey
  3. Colt
  4. A Harley

3)      What day was Jesus Crucified?

  1. The Sabbath
  2. The Day of Preparation
  3. Passover
  4. Fourth of July

4)      Who carried the cross for Jesus?

  1. Mel Gibson
  2. Simon of Cyrene
  3. Jesus didn’t have help
  4. Rufus

5)      How many trials did Jesus have?

  1. One
  2. Two
  3. Three
  4. 40

6)      In what language was the superscription written that was placed above Jesus?

  1. Aramaic
  2. Greek
  3. Latin
  4. English

7)      What Priest was judge at Jesus’ trial?

  1. Judas
  2. Caiaphas
  3. Aaron
  4. Annas

8)      At what hour was Jesus crucified?

  1. 1st hour
  2. 6th hour
  3. 3rd hour
  4. Depends on if it was daylight savings time or not.

9)      How many of the thieves or robbers crucified with Jesus mocked him?

  1. None
  2. One
  3. Two
  4. Three

10)   How many angels/men met the women at the tomb?

  1. One Angel
  2. Two Angels
  3. Three Angels
  4. Two Men
  5. Two Men
  6. Two Men and a Baby
  7. An angel in the Outfield

 

 

1)      Matthew 27:28 uses kokkinos: Means Scarlet, Mark 15: 17 and John 19:2 use porphura which means purple

2) Mark 11:7 and Luke 19:35 say colt, Matthew 21: 5-7 says a donkey and a colt, John 12:14 say a donkey. Some versions use ass.

3) John 19:14 Jesus was crucified on the Day of preparation, therefore no last supper in the book of John. All other Gospels Jesus is killed on Passover, but before the Sabbath.

4) John 19:16 says Jesus carried his cross “into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 19.18 Where they crucified him,” Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21, and Luke 23:26 all say Simon the Cyrenian carried it for Jesus.

5) All gospels have Jesus tried before the Sanhedrin and Pilate, but only Luke adds a trial before Herod. Luke 23:7

6) Mark and Matthew did not specify, but Luke and John say Hebrew/Aramaic, Latin and Greek

7) John 18:24 Annas first and then Caiaphas Matthew 26:57-67 Only Caiphas

8) In the Gospel of Mark, it says Jesus was crucified on the “third hour” (Mark 15:25), and the Gospel of John says the crucifixion sentence was on “about the sixth hour” (John 19:14).

9) In Mark, the thieves say nothing, in Matthew both mock Jesus 27:44, in Luke one mocks Jesus and one defends him 23:32-43, in John again there is silence.

10) An angel of the Lord on the stone (Matthew 28:1-2) – “Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.”
A young man (Mark 16:5) – “And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed.”
Two men (Luke 24:4) – “And it happened that while they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling apparel.”
Two angels (John 20:1-2, 12) – “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. 2And so she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him. 12 and she beheld two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had been lying.”

 

I do not write this quiz to mock Christianity in any way. I am a Christian, but many of us have tried to cram the 4 stories into one and with the differences that is very hard. Each author was trying to make points to their audiences and that is what we should be looking for. We have four stories written by four different people in different times to different audiences. Let’s not cram them together as one, but learn from their differences.

So next time you read a story, ask why this story is different and don’t try to make them the same story. Maybe you’ll learn something new.

Making Lent Real

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“Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice and is never the result of selfishness.”  Napoleon Hill

Lent is about sacrifice.  It has been practiced for at least 1800 years as Christians prepared for the celebration of Easter.  I find it ironic that some churches don’t understand what sacrifice means.

Let me back track for a bit.  About 7 years ago I was with a church that was meeting to define its purpose.  Just what did it want be hold as it’s main standards of living?  What did that church want the community to know about them?  Those who were there split up into groups of fours and fives and talked and discussed what each person wanted.  I’d bet there were close to ten groups that night.  Terms were tossed around like caring, friendly, good kids program, Bible based preaching, good music program and on and on.  But I did not hear sacrifice.  I told my small group that without sacrifice there is no Christianity.  Sacrifice must be the center of everything that we do.  The others in my group eventually decided that sacrifice should be added to our core.  My wife had a similar experience in her group.

All the groups were brought together and each listed it’s ideas of the core values of the church.  My group and my wifes were the only ones that listed sacrifice.  We again had to fight for the idea that sacrifice should be part of the church.  That blew me away.  Then the leader of the meetings said that in the ten years he’d been doing these seminars no church had listed sacrifice as a core value.  I was astonished.

Eventually I got my way and sacrifice was listed as a core value.  However it was only listed as a surface value.  It had no depth.  When you have to fight to put sacrifice or anything into a groups core, the group really doesn’t hold to that deeply and they just let it slip under the rug.

What is Easter if it is no about sacrifice?  Jesus went to the cross to sacrifice himself for the greater good of humanity.  Without his sacrifice there would be no Christianity, and yet sacrifice is now too hard for the church.  To hard for the church to do for the God they so eagerly say they want to serve.

No man can serve two masters, they cannot love God and safety, they can not love God and their comfortable life.  We can not love the poor without sacrificing our pride.  No one can love the sick and dying without sacrificing their comfort.  Jesus loved the lepers, the poor, the prostitutes, the destitute and more.  How much are you willing to sacrifice to be like him?

From Tertullian we got the phrase “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”  What is a martyr but someone who sacrificed everything for God?  You may not give up your life in the name of God, but would you be willing to?  That is a hard question, not easily answered.  No one knows for sure until it’s too late.

Lent as well as life is about becoming more like God.  Giving up our lives to follow the path that God has laid in front of us.  I have found that the more I follow the true path the harder it becomes.  It is not about a life of ease, the nice house, family or job.  It’s about stripping away the things that hold us all back from truly loving those people that we just can’t stand.  Stripping away wants and desires until all that is left is God and nothing else.

Who’s willing to be spiritually naked before the world and let them see your true self.  Not the self that is hidden behind fear, religion, rules, or what society tells us is right.  But the self that God wants the world to see.  The self that God created in the first place.