Thoughts on Good Friday

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming.  

We have all heard that phrase many times. In fact, it’s one of my favorites.  However, let’s not proceed too quickly through Good Friday, but let’s slow down, pause, and consider the cross.  My oldest son, Brennan, turns 30 today. It’s remarkable how one person can love another person how I love my son and my other two children.  It isn’t easy to describe the love of a parent to a child.  Thirty years later, I can still remember the day Brennan was born and the immense feelings of responsibility and deep love. It’s hard to describe how much I love him and do everything I could to be there for him. 

In light of a parent’s love, take a moment to look squarely into the cross.  See our Savior bleeding and dying.  The Prophet Isaiah describes the servant’s horrendous suffering. . “Just as there were many who were appalled at him – his appearance was so disfigured, and his form marred beyond human likeness” (52:14).  We can’t meditate upon the cross without examining and seeing Jesus.  But on my son’s birthday, I have thought much of what the Father must have been feeling.

In the Garden, His Son cried out to His Abba, asking to have the cup of wrath removed from Him.  Jesus knew His Father had the power to do that, and He also knew His Father heard His cries.  However, like you and me, He also heard the Father say, “No.” Think for a moment what it must have been like to hear your Son cry out and realizing he was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Mark 14:34). Imagine hearing your child and having the power to save your child but choosing not to save them.  Instead of stepping in and saving His Son, the Father “made him who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

God the Father, said “No” to His Son so that He could say “yes” to us. What else does this mean for you and me?  Jesus, just like you and me, understands how it feels when the Father says, “No.” He is able to sympathize with us (Hebrews 4:15). And through the Father’s difficult response, we can also learn what authentic trust and faith look like.  Even in the pain of the “No,” we entrust ourselves “to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).  Even knowing the Father has heard us and has answered us in ways we would rather Him not, we can echo Jesus’ words, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46).  We can trust our souls into the Father’s care.  Father always knows best.

As you pause on this Friday, are there areas in your life you need to trust the Father?  Are there areas where the Father has said, “No” and you need to follow Him in faith? In your pain and fear, listen. The Father is faithful.  You can trust in Him.

If you are looking for a place to worship tonight, join us at 6:00 pm as we consider our Lord. We will solemnly pause to reflect upon the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

Thoughts on the Equality Act

On February 25th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of a controversial bill called “The Equality Act.” The name of the bill sounds wonderful and sounds as if everyone should support it.  However, I have sincere concerns about this bill.  The Equality Act, H.R. 5, would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the classifications protected in federal civil rights law. “‘ Sexual orientation’ includes homosexuality, bisexuality, and pansexuality, while ‘gender identity’ refers to the way a person perceives himself regardless of his biology at birth. [1] The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention “believes that this bill represents the most significant threat to religious liberty ever considered in the United States Congress. Opposing this bill is among our topic public policy priorities in 2021.”[2] Russell Moore, President of the ERLC says, the bill “is poorly named because, among other negative effects, it would punish faith-based charities for their core religious beliefs. Every human being ought to be treated with dignity, but government policy must continue to respect differences of belief.” The ERLC says this legislation will cripple religious freedom, undermine civil rights protection for females, become the most pro-abortion bill ever passed, and redefine sexual identity. 

As a conservative Christian, I can not support legislation like this.  I will encourage my Senators to vote “No” on this bill when it comes to the Senate floor.  The real question for the church is how do we navigate an ever-widening cultural gap?  It seems like every day, Christians are falling more and more out of favor.  What we believe is no longer reasonable and often is seen as hateful and intolerant. Jesus’ reminder of the world’s hatred toward us is coming more into focus.  There is no doubt the gap between a biblical worldview and a liberal progressive worldview is expanding.  How should a Christian live during these days?  With deep humility, I offer a few personal goals.

  1. I focus on the mission.  The mission of the church has not, and will not, change.  We preach the gospel, we make disciples, we love God with all our hearts, and we love our neighbor.  I remind myself every day that the image bearer in the LGBTQ community is not my enemy but the mission field.  I ask God to help me see them with compassion as harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
  2. I hold fast to my anchor.  Jesus is my hope.  I am blessed by the Matt Boswell song, “Christ, my sure and steady anchor.” When you are in doubt, take time to listen to Matt’s song.  It will reel you back in. My hope and faith are in God.
  3. I stand firm on the Word.  I am unashamedly pro-life, pro-marriage, and strongly affirm religious liberty for all.  I also believe Scripture teaches that God “created man in his own image, he created him in the image of God’ he created them male and female” (Gen 1:27).  There are not many genders; there are only two. I can not believe otherwise. 
  4. I try to faithfully live as salt and light in a dark world. I will be kind.  I believe the church must create gospel space for the lost to come and find Jesus.  I don’t expect the lost to come to church acting like Jesus.  We must be a place of hope, a haven for people to come and experience Jesus. I have no desire to be involved in divisive politics. But I firmly believe abundant life is found in Jesus Christ (John 10:10).
  5. I try to love fully.  I decided years ago to live my life in a way that love and kindness are supreme. I still often fail in that area. I know some see my kindness as weakness; I see it as my greatest strength.  When I meet Jesus one day, I would rather him criticize me for loving too much than not enough. Therefore, these attitudes are not phobia-driven.  I have no hate in my heart.  I only have deep biblical convictions in areas of marriage, gender, sexuality, and religious freedom. 

Here are a few steps you can take.  First, get educated on the Equality Act.  I have included a couple of websites that might be useful.  The ERLC is especially helpful. Contact your Senators and let them know how you feel.  Stand upon the truth of Scripture.  Do all of this with love and kindness. Don’t allow fear and anger to rule over you. God is sovereign and in complete control.  Pray for our President and leaders.  Always point people to Christ through both word and deed.  Finally, ask God to revive His church, and beg Him to begin that work in you.