Friday, March 29, 2013

What is so good about Friday?


     Today is Good Friday.  It is the day when Christians around the world recognize the crucifixion of Christ.  It is also referred to by other names such as Black Friday, Holy Friday, and Easter Friday. It is a day of solemnity and introspection.  It is a day when we try to, once again, come to grips with the fact that Jesus Christ endured the sufferings of the cross for our sins.  In fact, it was our sins that placed Him on that cross.
So, with all of the sadness, pain, and suffering that is marked by this day one has to ask oneself..."What is so "Good" about this Friday?
     As a pastor I would tell you that the "goodness" of the day is marked by the realization that in just two days time Christ will arise triumphant from the grave and claim victory over death and hell, and it's true!  But that is an explanation that you will hear over and over again at Good Friday services worldwide.  What I want to do in the next few lines is to tell you what I believe is a better reason that the "Good" is in Friday.
     The problem that we have, as Christians, in reconciling Good Friday is that we use the word "Good" in the wrong context.  Now, I will be the first one to tell you that my grammatical skills fall far below the standards of today's public education.  I have always had problems with grammar.  I never know when it is "lie" or "lay", "affect" or "effect", or "who" or "whom".  I dangle my participles and I use way to many commas! (and exclamation points)  So with permission from Mrs. Ross, my 9th grade grammar teacher, I would like to wreck the written word in order to make my point.
     Most people use the word "Good" in Good Friday as an adjective.  By doing this they are using good to describe the word Friday.  Therefore we struggle in our tiny little brains to comprehend the goodness of this particular Friday and we come up unsatisfied, or is dissatisfied?  Anyway, I want to change your thinking of Good Friday.  I want you to change the word good from an adjective to a noun.
     The dictionary defines "good" as "morally excellent, virtuous, and righteous".  Now, that is a little bit more than we think of when we use the word good but there it is, right there in the old on-line dictionary. Don't believe me? Google it and you will see that I am right. You see, to me, the word "Good" in Good Friday isn't an adjective describing Friday it's a noun describing Jesus.
     The purpose of the crucifixion was atonement for sin.  In simple terms that means Jesus paid  a debt for us that we couldn't pay, He got the check, He paid the tab!  But He couldn't pay that debt unless He was morally excellent, virtuous, and righteous.  I guess you could say unless He was good!
     In other words, Good Friday isn't just a day when we recognize the sacrificial act of our Savior it is also the day when we recognize the attributes that enabled Him to be that Savior.  Jesus was good!  Not only was He good He was great!  Recognizing the righteousness of Jesus gives us hope on Good Friday.  Knowing that, because He was good, He had the authority to go and kick Satan's rear end over the weekend gives us an assurance that we share in that victory over death.
     So today don't just celebrate a Friday that is good, celebrate a Friday that demonstrated a Savior that was  morally excellent, virtuous, and righteous.  Celebrate today with the hope that in the midst of darkness there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that light is the Light of the World....and that, my brothers and sisters is good!

Until next time,


Monday, March 11, 2013

Follow Your Gifts

      It has been 64 days since I stepped down as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Las Animas, CO and applied for disability through the Presbyterian Board of Pensions. Since then I have been bombarded by all sorts of different emotions. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt have filled my mind and soul as I wonder what today's trip to the mailbox will bring. Would be an acceptance letter enabling me to keep my health insurance and be financially able to help support my family? Or would it be a denial letter stripping me of insurance and leaving me jobless? It is during these times when prayer and trust come into play and major questions come to the forefront of our minds. Do I really trust that God will take care of me no matter what the outcome? Am I listening for God's next calling on my life? What do I do next? I have struggled with all of these questions at one point in time during these 64 days and I have come to one conclusion: I must follow my gifts!
      God has gifted each one of us with miraculous gifts sent from the very throne of God. Each one of us have different gifts but all are given for the building up of the body of Christ. It only makes sense that if God has given me these gifts He must want me to use them! And if He wants me to use them then He will open doors in my life that enables that to happen. So, if I follow my gifts I find the door!
      I am reminded of Jesus in Luke 2:49 when He says, "Why is it that ye have sought me? Did you not know that I would be about my Father's business?" Living, looking, and following the gifts that God has given to us is what it means to be about our Father's business. Sure, I could spend the rest of my time waiting for my disability reply in a state of panic, uncertainty, and fear. Or, I could spend it following my gifts, searching the mind of God, and being about my Father's business. I am sure that you would agree that the latter is much more productive in the kingdom of God than the former.
      What about you? Are you following the gifts that God has given to you? Are you seeking that next calling He has for you? Are you praying and listening. seeking and knocking, following and finding, so that the will of God will be made manifest in your life. If not, why not?
      To apply for disability was my choice and I must live with the consequences of that choice be they good or bad. But what I do in the midst of those consequences is what determines my direction in life. The author Andy Stanley once wrote that, "Direction not intention determines destination". Simply put, it is what I do not what I want to do that determines where I am headed. Where do I want to be headed in the days, weeks, and months to come? What is it that I want to be doing? That's easy, I want to be about about my Father's business. So, I am going to follow my gifts because that is what will lead me to my open door!
     Until next time,