What Calvary Is

Christ was all anguish
that I might be all joy,

cast off
that I might be brought in,

trodden down as an enemy
that I might be welcomed as a friend,

surrendered to hell’s worst
that I might attain heaven’s best,

stripped
that I might be clothed,

wounded
that I might be healed,

athirst
that I might drink,

tormented
that I might be comforted,

made a shame
that I might inherit glory,

entered darkness
that I might have eternal light.

My Saviour wept
that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,

groaned
that I might have endless song,

endured all pain
that I might have unfading health,

bore a thorny crown
that I might have a glory-diadem,

bowed his head
that I might uplift mine,

experienced reproach
that I might receive welcome,

closed his eyes in death
that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,

expired
that I might for ever live.

O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life.
O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise, my every step buoyant with delight.

From The Valley of Vision

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NYC Church Tweeting the Passion of Christ

Experience the Passion of Christ — in 140-character bursts. In a marriage of Christian tradition and digital technology, Wall Street’s Trinity Church is using the micro-blogging service Twitter to perform the story of Jesus Christ.

The main characters will tweet the Passion play for three hours beginning at noon on Good Friday. The feed also can be delivered to mobile devices or e-mail addresses.

The lower Manhattan Episcopal parish also is offering a Web version of the Stations of the Cross. The church was founded by a small group of Anglicans in 1697.

It’s Not Easter for Me Anymore

Why do most Christians refer to the day of Christ’s resurrection, when His victory over death, hell and the grave was won and his atoning sacrifice was shown to be sufficient to remove God’s wrath and the penalty of sin, with a name that comes from pagan goddess worship?

“The true meaning and definition of the word Easter points to a pagan godess and a pagan celebration. The apostles would have never associated the name Easter with their risen savior, so why should I; why should you?”

Some may think it’s being picky about semantics, but for me this is a much better way to go.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Today is the anniversary of Dietrich Bonhoeffer being martyred in 1945 by Nazi Germany, just one month before they surrendered to the Allies. Bonhoeffer is best know for writing “The Cost of Discipleship”. Read more about him here.

An Amazing Thought for Holy Week

“We are adopted into God’s family through the resurrection of Christ from the dead in which he paid all our obligations to sin, the law, and the devil, in whose family we once lived. Our old status lies in his tomb. A new status is ours through his resurrection.”

Sinclair Ferguson, Children of the Living God (Carlisle, PA: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1989), 4.

Have You Heard of Kiva Yet?

kiva1Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

The people you see on Kiva’s site are real individuals in need of funding – not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs’ profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. You can loan as little as $25, and throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.

My first loan with Kiva was in May of 2008, to a family in Samoa trying to open a bakery, and it has been 75% repaid.  When it is fully repaid, I will lend it out again to someone else.  I highly recommend Kiva, and urge you to check them out.

God Is Good (All the time?)

One time a few years ago at church, a woman stood to give a testimony about how she had suffered from a physical ailment for a long time.  She was giving glory to God because she had not been having the problem for a while, and it seemed that she may have been healed from the ailment.  The preacher responded by saying, “Amen!  God is on His throne!”  I’m really not being critical of him; it was a fitting expression of praise.  But I did wonder if his response would have been the same, or at least as strong, had she testified that the ailment was growing worse, or if she’d been diagnosed with a terminal illness.

If we really do believe that God is in control, and that everything He does is good, just, and right on time, it will change how we evaluate and react to all of life’s situations.  Even those of us who affirm the sovereignty of God can have trouble remembering this when it moves from proposition to real life.  I am all too aware of how fickle my own heart is when things don’t happen like I expect or desire.  It is so easy for me to be thankful and offer abundant, wholehearted praise when things work out pleasantly, and especially when I do get my way.

But God IS good, all the time; it’s not just a cliche, it’s the truth.  He is always on his throne, and he does what he pleases (Psalm 115:3; 136:6).  And whether I really believe that doesn’t affect the reality of it one bit.  This cuts across the grain of much of modern “enlightened” thought, and even much of what you’ll hear in some churches.  Nevertheless, Romans 8:28 really is true:  all things really do work together for our good.  It’s not about understanding or being able to explain things; there are some things that we will never know the reasons for in this lifetime.  But it is about having the proper perspective, and allowing that to control how we react to all of life’s events.

May we be quick to give thanks in all things (Eph. 5:20; 1 Thess. 5:18), to fully trust God’s omnipotence and righteousness, and to let the unbelieving world see us living it out with peace that passes understanding (Philip. 4:4-7).