Beginning With Moses

Our family sat together this evening and found this gracious message from Dr. Steve Lawson. What an incredible testimony of the grace of God that points clearly and unequivocally to the centrality of the Lord Jesus Christ in the entire Scriptures.

Replacing Easter

What is society afraid of?

What is Christianity afraid of?

What are you afraid of?

Society is afraid of the truth. Christianity is afraid of being offensive. As for what you are afraid of, that is something only you can answer. My goal is that this post will have you thinking about why you do what you do.

Easter is a great time to bring this subject matter to light. Let me explain. For almost 40 days, many have been practicing the idea of “Lent.” They have no clue why they do it except that it is part of their religion. Many have not a single thought about God, but want to make sure that they cover all the bases just in case. They will live like the world every single day, except for a special day or two in the entire calendar so their “God” box will be checked. This leaves them feeling good about themselves so they can have a sense of being a “Christian.” Yet, the heart condemns those who think they can please God by pleasing themselves.

For years, I have worked with many people who can live, talk, and act like a minion of the evil one every single day. Yet, in one swift moment, as soon as they find out that you are a believer, they can and will proclaim, “Oh, I am a Christian.” The follow-up questions are quickly followed by silence until it grows awkward and the person soon finds something else with which to occupy their time. Or, in the better scenarios, you hear the response of, “Well, that is private and is just between me and the Man upstairs. Besides, who are you to judge me? The Bible says, “Don’t judge!”

What types of questions might we ask of any individual with whom we may meet? This could be another family member, a friend, a neighbor, or a work colleague.

“Where do you attend church? Where are you in fellowship each week with other believers seeking to remind the world that we are not of this world, but that we are just passing through?”

“What about your relationships? Are you married or just living in a way that goes contrary to the Word of God? Why would you want to be living with somebody who does not share your views, if you are a true believer?”

“Do your words and actions reflect that you are different, or do you strive to be just like those around you? Would your Sunday appearance give forth the reflection of a hypocrite, or a genuine believer longing to be more like Jesus Christ despite the difficulties of living a life of holiness?”

Despite the awkward silence or vocal calls about not judging, Easter and Christmas find more people claiming the name of Christ than any other time of the year. They are willing to give up things for Lent, but not for Christ. Far too many think that they are meriting favor or grace with God by giving up chocolate, meat, intimacy, or whatever.

When the forty days of Lent arrives, people flock to services for Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or Easter Morning service never to be seen again til Christmas. Yet, for all the fasting or giving up of things, nothing has changed in their lives. They produce the same cursing, same vulgarity, same illicit relationships, and not one thing to indicate that they have actually spent time with Jesus Christ and are a new creation.

As for society, just look at our workplaces. Lies, deceit, and dishonesty rules the day. Few are willing to take a stand, and when something is said as a reminder, those speaking up are quickly removed. What does this have to do with Easter time? Simply this. These same practices and philosophies have moved from universally being accepted as part of the workplace to being fully accepted in the circles of so-called Christianity.

Let me be very blunt!

Easter is NOT about a bunny that lays eggs!

Easter is NOT about furry chicken that lays candy!

Easter is NOT about egg hunts, bouncy castles, and clowns on a Sunday.

Easter is supposedly to revolve around the holy Person of Jesus Christ. The reminder of the week prior to the Sunday should be a solemn reminder of the price that was carried on the cross. The wrath of God the Father was poured upon His only begotten Son because of the sins of mankind. It pleased the Father to bruise and crush His own Son because of the cursing, the vulgarity, the illicit relationships, and all sin that separates us from a holy God.

Christianity has allowed society to tell us that Easter has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. We are not allowed to speak of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary, but we can speak the religion of secularism and commercialism all day long. Nobody has one single problem with that. The world and the church have now merged in such a way that it is almost impossible in most circles to know where one starts and one ends.

If you are a true believer and have placed your faith in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, then this next section is a solemn reminder and exhortation to you and your family.

This coming Sunday, we will have the privilege of celebrating the most glorious even that has ever transpired in all of human history. Nothing can top what took place almost 2000 years ago. Let me summarize what this Sunday SHOULD mean to you.

1. He laid aside His glory as the all-powerful majestic King of all Creation and came down to this sin-cursed earth.
2. He was born in a lowly stable showing the stark opposite of what He had enjoyed for all of eternity past.
3. He was welcomed by magi as well as lowly shepherds who guarded the lambs that would be sacrificed each Passover.
4. He grew in wisdom and stature and lived in obedience to the commands of both His earthly parents and the will of His heavenly Father.
5. He spent 3 ½ years walking the dusty roads of Galilee, Judea, and Samaria preaching the kingdom of heaven.
6. He was betrayed and abandoned by every one of His disciples.
7. He, the King of all Creation, was beaten, mocked, scourged into a bloody mess, and then hung between earth and heaven.
8. He bore upon Himself our sins and was ultimately forsaken even by His own Father in heaven because God the Father could not stand to look upon sin.
9. He became sin on our behalf and became clothed with our filth so that we would be clothed in His righteousness.
10. He died and was buried like a common criminal in a borrowed tomb.

But Sunday was coming!

There should be no doubt that the disciples had contacted the local businesses to ensure that bouncy castles were set up outside the tomb to celebrate what was going to happen. There should also be no doubt that the apostle Peter, having just denied the Lord three times earlier that week, was the instigator in setting up an Easter Egg hunt in order to entice the children of the murderous hordes to come to their service so that they would have greater numbers. There should be no doubt, based on what we see in modern Christianity, that the early New Testament church was prepared with the latest jokes and frivolity after having just seen the King of all Creation die and be buried.

Dear brothers and sisters, do you see the hypocrisy in the above statements? If it does not bother you to see the entertainment on any given Sunday in church, then it is time to examine your heart to see whether you are truly of the faith. If the only thing you can think of is, “Well, what you say may be true, but the Bible says not to judge,” then you have failed miserably to comprehend the solemnness and the seriousness of what this Sunday is all about. If you think that Easter is about the bunny and candy eggs, then your pastor and church have failed in their responsibility to teach you the truth of the gospel.

Easter is NOT about you and your perceived needs!

Easter is about the conclusion of the worst week in the history of mankind!
Easter is about the reality of the sacrifice that Christ made on Calvary!
Easter is about the truth Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am chief!
Easter is about the defeat of sin, hell, Satan, and the grave!
Easter is about Resurrection Sunday!
Easter is about Jesus Christ coming back to life victoriously!
Easter is about Jesus Christ one day coming for all who believe on Him!
Easter is about change and becoming a new creation in Christ!

Today, you have a choice. You can choose to continue replacing Easter with the world, or you can stop setting your affections on the things of this world, and setting your affections on the things of heaven.

My purpose is not to judge the world with my words. My thoughts are to be a beacon in the wilderness shining a light that points others to Jesus Christ, and not to Mark Escalera. My desire is to be a gentle reminder that true believers are called to be different, not the same as the world.

We are NOT replacing Easter in our home, but we will joyfully, reverently, and humbly celebrate –

Resurrection Sunday!

He is risen! He is risen indeed! Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Our Eternal Sabbath is Alive!

It was a long three days, but some time between sundown on the old Sabbath and sunrise, the Lord Jesus Christ rose victorious over death, hell, and the grave! He is now our Eternal Sabbath for all who place their faith in Him alone. Maranatha!

Another CCM star comes crashing to earth.

As we’ve reported on numerous occasions in the past, the rot that is underlying in the Contemporary Christian Music industry seems to keep oozing to the surface as time marches on. We’ve seen numerous examples of this and it appears that there’s no end in sight for the skeletons falling out of the closet of this “Christian” music industry.

The latest news to reverberate through today’s “positive and encouraging” Christian music world is that there is yet another Christian musician who has chosen their sin over their Savior. According to this news article, CCM recording artist Jennifer Knapp has now “come out of the closet” as a “gay Christian.”

Jennifer Knapp doesn’t consider herself to be a crusader for the gay community and she still considers herself to be a Christian, a gay Christian [Emphasis theirs]. Her new album will be a little more mainstream and she hopes her fans, Christian and non-Christian alike, will give it and her a chance.

I encourage everyone not to ridicule Ms. Knapp like some will do, or coddle and affirm her in her sin like many will do, but sincerely pray for her to be convicted of her sin and turn to the only One who can truly make her a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are all great sinners in need of a greater Savior and the fact is, if we claim to have fellowship with the Savior but walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (1 John 1:6).

And in spite of this and many similar stories of CCM artists who have embraced their sins in contradiction to holy writ, the drumbeat continues as thousands of professing Christians will continue to thrive on intoxicating doses of Contemporary Christian Music, thrust themselves deeper into idolatrous frenzies at CCM concerts, and continue to garner most of their theology from music lyrics.

I ask, how many more Christian musical artists, icon, idols have to come forth announcing their decision to embrace and practice their love of sin before evangelicals begin taking a serious look at what they entertain themselves with?

I read a great quote from a commenter a few years ago on another blog that is so apropos:

“When I got saved I threw away all my secular music. When I really got saved I threw away all my Christian music.”

The Church of No Offense

[This article by Paul Proctor really speaks to so much of what we see in the church today.  The church that uses pragmatic and carnal means and foolishly believes that these flesly tools are going to do a spiritual work.  Sadly, this betrays a complete ignorance of the truth that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.  The word of God that likewise must be quickened or made alive by the Holy Spirit else it will fall upon deaf ears. 

But such truths are not believed by countless preachers who would rather employ gimmicks, rock and roll, skits, dramas and the like, instead of faithfully preaching the whole counsel of God’s word.  And why not because you cannot grow a successful money-making business unless you have a product that will appeal to a mass market.  Peter Drucker taught his church growth disciples well and they are doing their utmost to give the people what they want.   

Enjoy the article…brother Michael]

By Paul Proctor
April 7, 2010

From compromise to capitulation

There was a time during Jesus’ earthly ministry when the crowds that followed him grew quite large. He had become what we would call today, a “celebrity” and, by those same societal standards, a “success,” even though He had not yet faced the cross for which He came.

The Gospel of John tells about “a great multitude that followed Him because they saw His miracles.” When Jesus looked up one day and surveyed the enormous crowd before Him, He knew they needed to eat. So, taking “five barley loaves and two small fishes” that were found among them, He fed His followers. The men alone numbered five thousand.

Considering the seductive tactics many churches use to draw crowds these days, it is important to note that Jesus did not use food or the promise of it to bribe people into following Him. More…

Easter 2010.

Last Sunday was Resurrection Sunday (Easter) and I thought I’d give you a peak at what services were like at a few churches in America.

SOS church had a message based on Avatar.

You’re invited this Easter. Bring your family and friends to come and experience CHRIST IN 3D! The one true AVATAR!

Granger church had a message based on The Matrix complete with a marching band.

You never know how GCC might open an Easter service. This year, for the “Wake Up! What if some dreams only come true when you’re awake?” series, it was a little bit of The Matrix and a marching band of volunteers performing “This Too Shall Pass.” It was an unexpected and must see arts element.

And North Point church had a laser light show described as a “spectacular Easter laser show” to kick off their “Paparazzi” theme.

If your pastor presented a doctrinally sound exposition of Scripture that exalted the risen Lord without all the distractions, consider yourself blessed and part of an ever-shrinking and endangered populace within American Christianity.


See also, last year’s DefCon post: What is the sermon topic at your church going to be for Resurrection Sunday?

My thoughts on “Easter,” and a plea to pastors.

I must admit, I do not care much for Easter. The one day of the year that most people go to church is the one day of the year that I would prefer to stay home. (And this has nothing to do with the pagan celebration of the spring equinox.)

As I sit back and watch the church advertisements roll in, there’s one common theme I see among the churches vying for your annual attendance. The day that Christians recognize as the day our Lord rose from the dead seems to be all about entertaining kids.

Will someone please tell me what colored eggs, grass filled baskets, pastel hats, face painting, bounce houses, coloring contests, chocolate bunnies, and jelly beans–all of which are being endorsed and even performed in many churches this weekend–have to do with the resurrection of the Lamb of God? The disciples did not celebrate the resurrection as a “holiday,” but they did celebrate the passover, which I’m certain did not include a ham dinner.

All of this “stuff” serves only to diminish the truth and reality of the day. And sadly, the churches that are supposed to be lifting up Christ so that all men will be drawn unto Him, have acquiesced and now do just as much to distract the sinner from the meaning of the day as does the rest of the secular world.

The once-a-year church goers will flood churches all across America tomorrow, never to be seen or heard from again until next Easter (except maybe some at Christmas). This is a fantastic opportunity for pastors to present the gospel to those who would never sit through a sermon any other time. My experience has been, however, that this opportunity is usually squandered on a vain attempt to make those in attendance feel “comfortable.”

This Sunday is a day when the greatest shows are put on: The goats adorn themselves with their Sunday best and put on a show to appear as though they’re as spiritual as everyone else. The pastors put on their show too. Their marketing strategies will crescendo this Sunday as they put on display their best humor, finest story-telling abilities, and most stunning oratory prowess in an attempt to prove to the unregenerate visitors that they’re just like them and just as worldly as them but they have Jesus as an icing on their cake. And this is all done to secure the return of those once-a-year attendees, while Christ and His gospel simply take a back seat.

Resurrection Sunday in America has become a display, but not of the risen Lord.

Soft, feel-good messages about how the resurrection of the Son of God can help improve your life, finances, marriage, etc. will be the sermon de jour in far too many congregations tomorrow. Pastors, hoping that some of the visitors will return, will shove the message of sin, judgment, wrath, and propitiation aside in order to not offend or upset those who need to hear this truth the most.

If you are a pastor reading this, and you are planning on offering a gentle, watered-down, comfortable “talk” to those in your Church tomorrow, I encourage you–no–I beg you to reconsider. This will be the one and only opportunity for many people to hear the true, unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ, and tomorrow it will be your responsibility to deliver it to them.

Please, take just a moment and read this brief plea I wrote to pastors back in 2007: A Sobering Call to Pastors, Preachers, and Teachers.

And for those of you who are going to lay it on the line and preach a Sinners-in-the-Hands-of-an-Angry-God type Edwards sermon this Sunday, not caring one bit if someone is offended by the preaching of the cross because it’s your job to do so, then I commend you and offer this post as an encouragement:  Thank You: An open Letter to Faithful Pastors.

Oh, and have a very happy Resurrection Sunday, for He is risen!.