Friday, July 29, 2011

Is Dying On A Cross Funny?

A few weeks ago I was searching for a card at Wal-Mart.  I take my time and like to browse and read a variety of cards.  I always end up in the funny section and if you find me there, you'll usually hear me first, laughing out loud.
As I pulled several cards, I noticed one with two nuns on the cover.  The caption read, "The Lord died for your sins."  At this point I'm trying to determine what part of that is something to laugh at, but I decided to see what was on the inside anyway.  The inside read, "So, you may as well enjoy them.  Happy Birthday."
To say I was stunned and appalled would be an understatement.  I was both and offended to boot.  The Lord dying for my sins isn't funny and thinking I should live a sinful life and enjoy doing so is doubly unfunny.
I flipped the card over to see who produced this jewel.  The company was listed as Comic Relief - Recycled Paper Greetings.  Once home, I did a quick web search and made another startling discovery.  RPG is owned by American Greetings.  I felt such disappointment because I had such high regard for American Greetings.  I never would have expected them to produce such a blasphemous product.  A little more reseach showed AG purchased RPG in 2009, so it's not like they haven't had time to pull trashy cards.  In addition, I found other people didn't appreciate the RPG cards either, though none named any one card in particular.
Why is this card not funny?
First, it makes fun of someone who died for others.  If I'm wrong in my faith, it still doesn't change the fact that Jesus died for a cause.  A cause that didn't hurt others, just Himself.  Whether you're a Christian or not, is it really funny to ridicule someone who would willing die to save other people?  Do the RPG people bust out in a belly laugh when they read about a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save his comrades?  If someone takes a bullet for someone else, does that cause one to roar with laughter?  I don't find anything funny about anyone dying to save another human being.
Second, if I'm right in my beliefs and Jesus is the Son of God, then He and God are being mocked for having made the ultimate sacrifice.  Jesus died to save undeserving people like the knuckleheads who created and published this card.
I haven't written AG, but I'm still thinking about it.  However, I have decided I will not purchase any more AG or AG affiliate products ever again.  Some things aren't comedic, and however small my contribution to AG's bottom line has been, I don't want any more of my money going to a company that has so little respect for the God of the Universe.  Dying on a cross isn't funny.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Someone Worth Dying For

Am I someone worth dying for?  Are you?  I recently discovered the Christian group, Mikeschair, and their song Someone Worth Dying For.  I was immediately taken with the song and downloaded it from I-Tunes.  It's caused me to pause and ponder the first question I posed - Am I really someone worth dying for? 

To be blunt, most of the time I think I'm not.  In fact, it's safe for me to say Jesus definitely got the short end of the stick where I'm concerned.  I'm completely unworthy of the kind of love He has for me.  He doesn't get the same kind of love in return from me, and He should.

The gist of the song is people wonder if they are worth dying for, and Jesus is always telling us to see it and believe we are worth it.  He didn't have to do it.  We didn't deserve the grace offered to us, but He loved us so much He thought we deserved all He had to give. 

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd." (John 10:14-16)

As a human, I am weak.  I fail.  I sin.  And because I am a Christian, I beat myself up over and over again for not being able to do the things I should do.  And, if I really search deep within, I know if the situation were reversed I wouldn't die for me.  Sounds depressing and hopeless, but it's not.  I'm not worthy because of what I've done.  I'm worthy because of who Jesus is. 

This past Sunday, our pastor, who is brilliant, yet understandable, preached on how Christians should be the light.  He preached from John 8:12-30 in the morning service and Matthew 5:13-16.  In the morning, we saw how Jesus is the Light of the World.  In the evening, we saw how Jesus tells us to be light.  Wyman said this wonderfully simple, but profound statement, "God said let there be light in the world.  Jesus said let there be light in you!"

In the song, Mikeschair sings, "Your life has purpose."  And according to Wyman, our purpose is to be the light in the darkness.  More correctly, it is to be the conduit for Jesus' light to shine to the world.  Our lives should so affect those around us, our very culture, that things are better for us being in the world.

Is the world better for me being in it?  Can others see the Light of the World reflected through me by my behavior and by how I treat others?  I'm a work in progress.  I take two steps forward and one-and-a-half back most days, but I keep trying to move forward.  I keep striving to be worthy of Jesus having given His life for me.  In some small measure, I am finally doing things I believe show others how much Jesus loves them because of how I love them.  I'm not bragging because I could do so much more, be so much more, love so much more.  But, success for me has changed over the last year.  Yes, I still want to be successful in this world, but it's more important for me to be successful for Christ.  I want to live a life where Jesus would say, "Others saw my love for them through you.  Others knew how much I loved them because of the things you did.  They learned from you they were worth me dying for, and I'm pleased by that." 

In the end, success is hearing Jesus say, "Lisa, even when you messed up big time, even in your ugliest, darkest, most unloving moments, I always believed you were someone worth dying for."

Jesus wants you to see and believe that no matter what you've done or where you are right now, you are the most precious person to Him.  You are someone worth dying for.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nurturing New Christians

Last night I had something happen that I've not had happen before.  Someone other than a personal friend commented on one of my posts.  This person indicated he/she was a new Christian and had been reading my posts.  My reader had several questions for me, which I did my best to answer, but in reality probably didn't shed a whole lot of light on the situation.  The questions were good ones, and this experience has been humbling.

I read the Bible and attend church regularly, but Bible verses don't seem to pop to mind when I need them.  One of the questions I was asked was about salvation: Once you've accepted Jesus were you saved forever or could you lose your salvation and have to be re-saved?  My answer was there are those who believe in eternal security and those who believe it's possible to lose your salvation.  It depends on the denomination you happen to follow.

I feel secure in my salvation, but I have been a part of a church that didn't believe in eternal security and did believe people could reject Christ after having accepted Him as their Savior.  I must admit I still think God has given us free will and we could say I want no more to do with You or Jesus and if we did this we would reject Christ and be lost.  My conculsion for my reader was I couldn't imagine I would ever reject Jesus knowing what He has done for me, which would suggest I believe in eternal security.

Whatever you personally believe about salvation, there are scriptures to support both arguments and it really is up to the individual to decide what is the right interpretation.  I will say I don't believe you have to be re-saved every time you stumble, but you do have to repent.  The life of David really teaches us that forgiveness is there for us if we truly repent - no matter what we've done. 

I've made a promise to this reader to research the scriptures to find things that can help nuture their walk.  And I would also like to suggest to this person (if you're reading this post) to visit the website of Dr. Charles Stanley. 
His website is  He is THE MAN when it comes to understanding the Bible and covering the subjects that strengthen us as Christians.

Dr. Stanley offers many articles, sermons, and Bible studies that are available for anyone to read or listen to  Here's a sampling of some of the articles he's written:
  • Covered by Grace...Free to Sin?
  • The Price of Walking Away
  • The God of Second Chances
  • Developing Spiritual Discernment
  • To Believe or Not to Believe
  • Our Forgiving Father
  • When the Bible is Silent
  • What is Genuine Repentance
  • When Temptation Knocks
All of these look like they could answer questions for a new Christian. 

Over the next few weeks, I will try to post more frequently and look for scripture and other resources that might be helpful for a new Christian.  I believe God is faithful and He has promised if we seek Him, we will find Him.  He's right there waiting.