The road is long with many a winding turn that leads us to who knows where? Who knows where? But I’m strong. Strong enough to carry him. He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother. So on we go. – Hollies
I remember the song, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother from the Hollies only because it was playing at the end of Rambo II (I’m a sucker for 80′s action movies. Don’t judge). The credits scroll and the one man fighting machine, John J. Rambo walks off into the distance without a friend in the world after feeling betrayed by his country and mentor. For all the campiness of the movie, this was an emotional scene made more compelling by the accompanying lyrics. I just heard your heart string pull.
Seriously, that song always makes me think of Proverbs 17:17, “a friend loves at all times and a
brother is born for adversity.” Friend and brother are synonymous in this verse and implies that a true friend loves in all seasons but displays an extra amount of compassion, grace and devotion in adversity.
Genuine friendship is like having an extra family member that loves us unconditionally no matter what is transpiring but is really “born for adversity” in times of trial. It is just natural for them to pick us up. And why wouldn’t it be? A true friend says he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother. So on we go..
May we all have the grace, strength and humility to be this kind of friend.Read More
And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” – Mark 9:33-35
The good ole disciples. They lived so long ago yet they act just like us. Peter, James and John had just been on the mountain with Jesus during the Transfiguration. They had seen the glory of God and been through something few human beings had ever encountered.
They had a transcendent experience that should have infused passion, joy and harmony into their community, yet it led to rank, file and posturing about who was the greatest. They got sucked in to the hierarchical view of life.
The hierarchical view asserts that the higher you are translates into the most influence, significance and greatness. The world’s philosophy is you are great if others are working for you, Christ’s message is that greatness comes from serving others.
Be involved in something great today and know that it probably won’t have anything to do with the world’s standards of greatness or success. But like Jesus instructed, that is what will make it great.Read More
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… – Ecclesiastes 3:1
I am not a big fan of acronym teaching all the time but I found this folded piece of paper in one of my prayer journals this week while perusing some old entries. It was given to me several years ago and written by my friend and former colleague at Liberty University, Hope Mink, who has since battled cancer and is likely one of the godliest ladies I’ve ever known.
She shared this with me in a season of waiting in my life and intense longing for God to speak and guide me to a door of opportunity. What I’ve since discovered, and was brought back to again through Hope’s piece, is that we exist in a constant season of waiting in our lives. Our human nature always pines for something or perhaps, someone. The topic is perpetually relevant.
This was a great reminder of what we should do in every season of waiting; powerful truth to make sure we don’t waste a chance to grow while holding out for something. I pray this helps you:
W – Worship Him with a willing heart which overshadows the anxiety of waiting.
A – Acknowledge Him by our behavior and attitude that He is in control of all circumstances.
I – “I” must decrease and He must increase. Inward strength comes from Him while waiting.
T – Trust the timing to God. He is not overly concerned with the timing as He is with the character being developed in His child.Read More
“But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” – Mark 16:7
I often wonder what it was like to be a disciple after the resurrection. I’d like to think I would’ve been excited out of my mind and undignified on the level of a pre-teen girl at the sight of Justin Bieber. Then I wonder what it was like to be on that mountain in Galilee when Jesus laid out his mission for the world. I hope I would’ve been eager, prepared and reverent. But reality tells me that I might have been somewhere in the variance of worship and doubt like the disciples who were actually there.
In Matthew 28, Jesus had been raised from the dead and appeared to many. He then told his followers to go to the precise place where he wanted to commission them for His work on earth. The Bible says that when they arrived some worshiped and some doubted. The word doubt in this context means, “to hesitate or be uncertain.” They believed in Jesus but their hesitation and anemic faith prevented them from truly worshipping him.
This is a microcosm of our Christian experience. In a moment, the Gospel eternally alters our lives. Jesus saves and changes us by his resurrection power. He reveals himself in amazing ways while calling us to be on mission with Him. Some worship and some doubt. The church is filled with worshippers and doubters; redeemed people exercising a powerful faith in Christ or a debilitating lack of it.
I don’t want to constantly get caught up in that discrepancy. I don’t want God’s mission for the world to be hindered by my ambiguous faith. I want Jesus to receive glory in the world through my worship of him. In every area of our lives, I pray that God will help us be worshippers and not doubters.
Do you find yourself being more of a worshipper or a doubter? What often causes us to be doubters instead of worshippers?Read More
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. – Mark 16:5-6
In their book, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Gary Habermas and Michael Licona assert, “If Jesus did not rise from the dead, he was a false prophet and a charlatan whom no rational person should follow. Conversely, if he did rise from the dead, this event confirmed his radical claim.” They go on to say, “The good news to the world is that the sovereign Lord of the universe has overthrown the powers of darkness by his conquering death and resurrection.”
A dead savior is no savior at all. The four words spoken by the angel to the women at the tomb make all the difference: “He is not here.” This message was not of this world. It was transcendent, unequalled and divine. It confirmed that Jesus had fulfilled his predictions that he would rise from the dead. It settled, once and for all, that he was indeed the savior of the world. That was and is real good news.
As this good news pertains to our lives, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” When we encounter and are changed by the risen savior, the old habits, behaviors, thinking and person can’t be found anymore. He or she is not here.
When people look for the old father, he is not here. When people look for the old wife, she is not here. When others ask for the old co-worker and friend, he or she is not here. They’re gone. Changed forever by the One who conquered death in the grave; who was alive when people went searching for a dead man. He was not there.
A dead savior is no savior at all.Read More
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. – Mark 16:1-2
My parents were big fans of the Andy Griffith Show and by default I got into the stories and characters from Mayberry and their various exploits. Occasionally, I’ll catch an old episode on cable and just sit in the chair with a nostalgic grin on my face.
One of the most endearing role players on the show was Gomer Pyle, the gentle, simple-minded mechanic at Wally’s Filling Station. Gomer didn’t really get into a lot of mischief but he was known for his comedic timing and catchphrases like: “Shazam”, “G-o-l-l-y”, and my personal favorite, “Sur-prise, Sur-prise, Sur-prise!”
A surprise is exactly what Mary, the mother of James, Mary Magdalene and Salome were in for when they went to the tomb on that morning. When they walked up to where Jesus was buried, they were met with a set of events that left them astounded.
The first surprise was finding the stone already rolled away from the entrance to the tomb so they were able to go in (16:4). The second surprise was running into the angel when they entered the tomb (16:5). The third surprise was the message the angel gave them about Jesus (16:6-7).
What a morning. No wonder they were amazed. But isn’t that what Jesus does? We show up expecting one thing, and in his authority and power, he says, “Sur-prise, sur-prise, sur-prise!”
How has God’s power left you amazed throughout your life? Recall an instance, large or small, when you’ve been surprised by joy and thank God in your heart for all he’s done for you.Read More