Tailgater or bandwagon fan?

I enjoy sports like many if not most Americans. I am a fan but also admit I am a fickle one.

Win or lose I have neither gained or lost anything. For me it’s simply entertainment. I can take it or leave it. If my team is winning I tend to follow them more, if they lose I watch them less. I am a Detroit Lions fan but become quickly disinterested every year.

I am a fickle fan. A bandwagon fan you might say and not a tailgater.

Can this be the spirit of the age in post modern Christian Americans? Can we be fickle admirers of Jesus but not truly committed disciples?

There is a huge difference between an admirer of Jesus and a disciple of Jesus willing to follow him to the end.

It’s so easy in our common circles of non conflicting views to talk about the evils happening in woke culture in our highest institutions and churches.

But will we speak into hostile circles confronting the present evil of this age? This in my view is the difference between an admirer and a disciple.

The good deeds of Jesus gained him many bandwagon admirers but it was his words that pared down this crowd to the core group of true disciples. Committed tailgaters.

There are admirers of Jesus in many American pulpits and pews but I’m afraid many are not disciples.

Jesus said to his brothers. “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.” John 7:7

As disciples we testify of evil and call people to repentance through the gospel. We are to speak against the evil in the world that much clergy practices and preaches.

Admirers walk away from this but disciples don’t regardless of the consequences. We speak the truth in love regardless of cost.

Jesus said this to his tailgaters.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. John 15:18-19

I’m not interested in bandwagon faith. I admire Jesus but he wants much more than my admiration. He calls for a committed tailgaters faith.

What about you? Are you a admirer or a disciple?

If tomorrow never comes

I am not absolutely sure, but I think the death of a child might be the deepest pain that an individual can experience in life.

I am confident however it has been my deepest hurt in life. There are things I would do differently if I had known Jake would die at 22.

Tuned into XM radio the other day Tim McGraws famous song Live like you were dying began to play.

https://youtu.be/_9TShlMkQnc

As I listened to the words again I thought about our easily forgotten destiny.

We all know that everybody has an expiration date. It’s not a thought we rest on too long. It’s uncomfortable. But if we did it just might change us for the good.

If you knew you or a loved one had a week to live what would you do? What would be on your bucket list?

Not to be too dark but we all are on a death march. We aren’t promised tomorrow and if we knew that tomorrow would never come for us what would that change today?

Two condemned criminals on crosses next to Jesus were in that very spot. Hear the words of a man who began to live like he was dying and the gracious response to him by our Lord.

[41] And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” [42] And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” [43] And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:41-43

Listen to the thief’s confessions about himself and his new faith in Jesus at deaths door. This is truly the beginning of living like he was dying and he received eternal life.

Today is the day of salvation. It’s the only day we presently have.

If we lived today, and every day, as our last day the world would be a much better place. Live like it is because it just might be. We aren’t promised tomorrow.

Insurmountable Evidence

Sitting on a hung jury once I was asked to examine the evidence and come to a verdict. The defendant was acquitted because of reasonable doubt.

For some the jury is still out on Jesus. Some are indifferent. Some are hostile. Some doubt. Some call it a myth. And some have not looked closely at the evidence to make a verdict.

There is no reasonable doubt in the case for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Only unreasonable and willful rejection of insurmountable evidence.

Jesus is not on trial. He is the judge and we are not the jury but the defendant, our enemy is the prosecutor and we stand guilty before the court.

We all are guilty and we all need a pardon to escape the sentence.

On Good Friday Jesus took our death sentence upon himself.

[21] 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

Today we celebrate the the risen King and the gospel truth.

[3] For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, [4] that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, [5] and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. [6] Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:3-6

Prewritten, historical, actual and factual evidence demands a verdict. Jesus isn’t on trial- we are. What is your plea before the judge?

[22] “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—[23] this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. [24] God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Acts 2:22-24

The insurmountable evidence has concluded that Jesus is the risen Son of God. How we respond to the evidence has eternal consequences.

Jesus is Lord! Yes he is Lord over all- even his enemies.

Happy Easter. He is risen indeed!

A teacher called grace

A teacher called Grace

Seven years have come and gone since our Jake passed in March of 2014.

Grief has been a teacher to Stacey and I (others also) through this difficult season of life.

I think the greatest lesson I have learned since that awful day is that the grace of God is without end. It is deeper than I ever imagined.

At my salvation I experienced Gods grace through faith. As I began to walk by faith his grace continued to be revealed to me. This is a wonderful experience.

At Jacobs death and the years that have followed I have learned more of Gods grace in the pain than in the days of pleasure. This is a wonderful experience as well.

Grief is a tool God used to teach of his boundless grace and strength. I didn’t enjoy the class but pain has taught us things about God that aren’t known apart from discomfort.

Seven years ago I was at my lowest and weakest point in life. It seemed unbearable but Jesus carried the burden with us the whole way, till this day.

Jesus taught us things about his grace that we never could have understood apart from losing our son.

There is grace in pain. A depth of grace that is discovered only in our weakest points in life.

God didn’t remove our pain. Jacob is gone and that is a continual ache in our hearts.

I hated the hurt and wanted it gone. But now I wouldn’t trade the pain for what I have gained and learned through it.

The apostle Paul experienced tremendous pain and Jesus refused to remove it. Paul also was instructed by a teacher named Grace.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Wonderful things are learned in Gods classroom of pain. What have I learned most? Gods teacher is named Grace and she is more wonderful than I ever imagined or thought possible.

Grace and peace to you all. Mike

Hope guaranteed. A new body and abundant life

I long to see my son and loved ones face to face in heaven. The great hope of the Christian faith is the resurrection made possible by the life, death resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

He is firstfruits of that harvest. Whom I will give thanks to, in person, in a new body, forever.

I will be buried next to my son someday. I want to be laid there so that when the voice of God calls us out of the ground Jacob will be one of the first faces I see.

This is my guaranteed hope.

“You only live once.”

We all likely have coined that phrase in our lifetime at some point.

We have said it but have we ever thought on it? Is it true? Have we truly lived at all?

The world clings to this life because this is all they get. If that were true I would join in the party. Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

But Jesus is alive and that changes everything for everybody, and I literally mean every body.

A box or an urn is not going to be anybody’s final resting place. We will all meet Jesus face to face. With a real face, with a real body resurrected for a real and eternal existence.

Yes, you will be resurrected. What does that look like?

Listen to the words of Jesus.

28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice
29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. – John 5:28-29

Jesus is Lord. Yes, he is our King even if you haven’t bowed your knee to him in this life.

We all will bow with a real knee and we will all confess with a real tongue whether it is now or later is up to us. I choose now.

He died and was raised so we could live. He is worthy.

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:9-11

You only live once? Maybe you never lived at all.

What form will you take, and where will you and your eternal resurrected body be?

The great hope of the Christian is this, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”- 1 Corinthians 15:52

Serious matters that demand serious consideration. Choose wisely and live my friends.