Tag Archives: #ceworks2019

TWO ANSWERS THAT TRANSFORM

EASTER THOUGHTS ON JOHN 10 AND GALATIANS 2 & 3

By Bruce McMordie, former Member of the C.E. Board of Directors

Who killed Jesus of Nazareth? Who died with Him on Good Friday? Correctly answering these questions will transform Easter and your life.

Think for a moment about Jesus’ death. Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross where He died. Pilate unleashed those soldiers on Jesus. The crowd cried “Crucify Him!” This prompted Pilate’s action. Pharisees and Sadducees incited that crowd. Judas betrayed Jesus into the custody of those conspiring leaders. My sins and your sins inspired God the Father’s just wrath that filled the “bitter cup” Jesus embraced when he yielded to Judas and his mob. So, who killed Jesus?

Everyone is complicit in the death of Jesus, but the correct answer is no one killed Jesus! “No one takes [my life] from me,” Jesus says. “I lay it down of my own accord.” Jesus is Life incarnate. No one can deliver a fatal blow to Life!

God the Son gave up heaven to be Jesus of Nazareth. He became a man like us, finite and limited by time and place. On Good Friday, Jesus gave up the last remaining essence of His heavenly nature. Having suffered every last bit of God’s wrath for our sins, Jesus said, “It is finished,” bowed his head and gave up his spirit. He laid down His life.

Now, consider who died with Jesus. Two thieves died with Jesus that day. More importantly, the power of the Law died with them. From Sinai to Calvary the Law rightly judged every man, woman and child guilty of sin and condemned them to death. Then on Good Friday, the Law cursed an innocent man. Leviticus declares, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” In the moment the Law cursed Jesus of Nazareth, its power was broken. Christ redeemed all who believe in Him from the curse of the law and gave us the Holy Spirit! The power of the Law died that day.

I also died that day, so did you, if you’re a Christian. Put yourself in this passage. “I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Every believer died with Christ that day.

Jesus took His life back again at His resurrection and all of His people came to new life with Him! “We were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4).

All this happened because Jesus laid down His life. No one took His life. All who trust Him died that day as well. The Law’s power over us died too. And all who died with Him have been raised with Him! Walk in the glory of your new life in Him! Happy Easter!

Three Things Christians Can Learn From Muslims: A Trip to Pakistan and Back

by Dr. Dave Coryell, General Secretary World-CE and Executive Director CE-USA

I recently returned from Pakistan. There has been great discord between Christians and Muslims because of our differences and our history with each other. I thought my readers would enjoy a positive spin on the relationship so below you will read three insights Christians can gain from Muslims before I offer one parting word.

Insight #1: Generosity

I had numerous encounters with Muslims during my stay in Pakistan. Since this is the country’s dominant religion and the country’s name is “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan” you should not find this surprising. Uber drivers, hotel workers, vendors and people serving at tourist attractions tended to be Muslim people. When introduced to these people I was unsure how they would respond to a tall, white, bald foreigner. First I met a family that owns several manufacturing plants including denim clothing, rice mills, bottled water and confectioneries. Following my tour I was given numerous pairs of jeans, boxes of candy, water and many smiling selfie pictures. When I inquired with my host his comment was, “In my experience the Muslims out-give the Christians.” Another day I met a Pediatrician from a local hospital. He learned about medical missions being run by a local Christian pastor. After going through a screening process he began volunteering his time a few times a year to do eighteen hour days, seeing one hundred children patients, and writing numerous prescriptions. This young Muslim doctor was willing to do this alongside Christians because people needed help. A generous spirit runs through the hearts of many Muslim people.

Insight #2: Devotion

The news media has taught us that Muslims are all fanatics lurking at our doors waiting to bomb our public places and fire machine guns into the air. My experience in Pakistan was that Muslim people are very kind and devoted people. Please understand, I believe their devotion is misplaced. They pray five times a day and carry out other behaviors because they believe they need to keep the vengeance of Allah at bay. However, it was encouraging to converse with a taxi driver who gave all the praise to his god for providing his taxi. He also discussed how after he dropped me off that he would be pulling into a parking spot so he could do his afternoon prayers. I silently prayed for this man because I realized that a proper understanding of God could make this devoted person a great asset for Christ and the Church. It is imperative that we look at Muslim people as people. Yes, there are fanatical Muslims just as their are fanatical Christians, but the people I met were kind and devoted to the god that they know.

Insight #3: Innovation

Many people believe that anyone living in a country ending in the letters “stan” must wear a turban, veil, ride a camel, and daily avoid dust storms while giving the middle name Ishtar or Muhammad to all of their children. This is so far from the truth! While I was in Pakistan I walked through three story malls with hundreds of brands. I sat in a food court with most of the fast food chains from the USA. I went through a store that would have rivaled any of the Walmart, Target, or Costco superstores in my home country. Along with this there are trampoline places, mini-golf courses, large cineplexes, amusement parks and more. I walked through a seven story electronics mall with 900 computer stores. Yes, contrary to your thinking, these people communicate with smart phones and not just carrier pigeons and falcons! Our media has caused us to have a false impression of the innovation of places like Pakistan. I am interested to see where this innovation takes them in the next ten years.

Final Thoughts

Now, before I receive countless emails and “unfriend” requests, let me part with this statement. Muslim people do not know the way to God. They believe by doing enough good things that their god, Allah, will be appeased. We worship different gods, but our approach should follow 1 Peter 3:15 where we are always prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ and we will share this with gentleness and respect. Pray for Muslims to have visions of Jesus in their dreams. I have one friend that came to Christ in this way from a Muslim background. May God grow us in our ability to love all people as God’s creatures and then lovingly direct them toward Him with our attitudes, words and actions.