Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

It’s been said, “There aren’t words large enough to describe Jesus.” Well, let’s make that real estate as well.

While Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father, we have known our Savior also has a summer cottage in Rio de Janeiro. There he stands, high atop a mountain in a tropical climate becoming the centerpiece of postcards everywhere.

Giant Jesus in Poland

Jesus. Truly Above All Else!

Now, with real estate prices tanking, the time is ripe for the Lord to secure a winter home as well. And he found some prime real estate according to this story in USA Today.

Rev. Sylwester Zawadzki, the 78-year-old priest who created the statue said it rises 108 feet, or 33 meters — one meter for every year that Jesus lived. Other members of the construction team, however, gave differing figures. One said it rises 167 feet if you include a mound it sits on and the crown on the head. By comparison, the statue in Brazil’s Rio is 125 feet tall.

There’s some creative license, which is nice. Chiefly, Giant Jesus has a gold King’s crown fitting for a risen Savior versus the Crown of Thorns noted in every Catholic church across… well, Poland.

Apparently, the locals think Jesus making a home will be good for the local economy too:

They believe it will put their town of 22,000 on the map for tourists and Roman Catholic pilgrims and bring in needed money to renovate the historic buildings in the tiny town center.

“I am extremely proud,” said Danuta Gordzelewska, a 60-year-old who watched as the statue’s head was lowered into place.

Gordzelewska has donated money to the statue, which was funded by contributions from as far away as Canada. “It’s special to watch something being built that later generations will have.”

Yeah! Stimulate that, Congress. What! (Not a direct quote from the statue. Just sayin’.)

So, there he is.

In the humble Polish town of Swiebodzin stands the only begotten Son of God with arms open wide and becoming the bane of existence for all planes as the Lord refuses to leave the flight path for anyone.

Yes, Ghost Rider, the pattern is so righteous and full.

In this month’s ubiquitous and divine hallucinogenic moment in time, we have  our Savior dying for another cause – the cost of terrestrial phone usage.

I know there are much bigger fish to fry, such as the price of gas and just what is “The Event”, it seems people have been praying to the heavenlies about their landlines and cell phones.

As most of us know, the Bible declares in Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”

He gave his all for 500 free minutes of salvation

Evidently, people did call… literally. And the Lord heard. So much so, that he decided to show himself in full glory, and in full support of Thomas Alva Edison, according to the Telegraph (UK).

Rickey Navarre [who testified to someone at Louisiana’s KPLC-TV] did a double take of the pole while driving along Highway 26, and said he sees what appears to be Jesus Christ hanging on the cross.

“It just caught my eye. I said to myself, that sure looks like an image of Jesus hanging from the telephone pole,” said Navarre.

You know, I figure this makes a load of sense because when I am driving along the highway and an unfamiliar road hazard is alongside the road, I usually yawp, “JESUS!”

Don’t you? No? Just me?

Today is September 11, Patriot Day, a moment in time that will also live in infamy.

On that day nine years ago, religion didn’t matter, race wasn’t an issue and your political party was a moot point. What was important was birthright – we were all Americans, united by God.

Captain Dale Goetz

Capt. Dale Goetz (1967 - 2010)

This week, a tragedy happened during war that has not happened since the Vietnam War and brought back the concept of this being “God’s Country” – a Chaplain died in the line of duty, for his country and for Christ.

U.S. Army chaplain Capt. Dale Goetz, 43, was killed in the Arghandab River Valley in Afghanistan, when the convoy he was traveling in was struck by an improvised explosive device, according to the Department of Defense. Four other soldiers also were killed in the attack. Goetz was serving as the battalion chaplain for the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment.

What was once a unifying issue has now become a political one. Dead soldiers are no longer symbols of bravery and honor; they are unwilling pawns in a slothful, apathetic game of Congressional chess. Case in point – this story.

Did you catch it? Anywhere?

It was news because of its calamitous significance, but hardly made a ripple in the sea of polluted water known as “breaking news.” And why? There was no political leverage to be made. He was a Chaplain.

In the Christian media, that was a different story (take this blog, for example). Christian Post and Christianity Today both did a nice job covering statements and testimony of the Army chaplain:

“He had a great burden for the soldiers,” recalled Jason Parker, pastor of High Country Baptist Church of Colorado Springs. “His specific prayer request was to see 300 soldiers come to Christ. He was also praying for God to call ten of those soldiers into the ministry. That was one of his specific prayer requests.”

Get that. The man was more than a Chaplain to our stalwarts overseas; he was their pastor encouraging God’s calling to manifest in – and through – their lives. Now that’s news.

Goetz joined the Army one year before the disastrous events and today, his life serves as a stark reminder to the Body of Christ that there is a lot more to this drama in Afghanistan than some nappy bearded, extremist recluse that no one can find. Well, except for every TV camera working for Al Jazeera.

There is a dire need for prayer. We need to pray for our country, our troops and our government. That’s a trinity that needs to be held in the highest regard, saints. What is going on over there has nothing to do with politics; it’s all about purpose. We should be mindful of our troops more than on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and 9/11. They need prayer. They need God’s people.

Pray for our troops for protection and peace

I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121 NIV)

May God bless all the men and women who serve our country with valor… and the men and women who serve them for Christ. Never forget… remember?

Ramadan speeches. Clandestine trips to the Middle East. Fighting for Islamic equality.

Is it any secret that according to a recent Pew Research poll, 1 out of 5 Americans think Barack Obama is a Muslim? And if so, consider his middle name is Hussein and people in the country tend to be a skosh on the narrow-minded side of things.

What’s probably even more concerning is the amount of people in this country that can’t tell:

Alan Cooperman, associate director of research for the Pew Forum, says, “I think overall the picture that we see is of uncertainty and confusion about the president and religion.” Cooperman also says, “When we simply ask people, ‘Do you happen to know what is Barack Obama’s religion?’ it is only one-third of Americans who say he is a Christian. The largest single percentage, almost half of Americans, don’t know what religion he is.

The Graying of America

Being president can’t be easy, as seen by the rapid need for ‘Just for Men’ products on that cropped hair of his. Sure his teeth have gotten mysteriously whiter, but that head is becoming silver like the lining he keeps searching for on the clouds looming overhead.

But I digress… everyone wants to put him in a box. What side of the fence are you, Mr. President? What color are you, Mr. President? Where were you born, Mr. President? If you love the planet, you’ll get a hybrid… an American one, right Mr. President?

However, the one that has probably caused the most gray hairs high atop his afro is “What religion are you, Mr. President?”

This is a man whose trek to find a church became national headlines. As was his inability to find one. Sure, he says he is a Christian and many preachers vouch for the guy, but wouldn’t you fall in line with that one rudimentary principle in the Bible:

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:19-20 NKJV)

If you take this gig, you do so at your own peril. Everything you do will be under the microscope of American perception. So far, what has been perceived is the only fruits President Obama attracts are the ones who… ah, that’s too easy. Never mind, but you get the idea.

Jesus and President Obama - the odd couple?

Jesus is always looming over Obama's shoulder

Where is his prayer life taking him besides Martha’s Vineyard for some much needed R&R? Why does American media types only seem to catch him knee-deep in Arabic shawls and bowing to leaders of Middle Eastern nations? Other than Rick Warren at the inauguration, what relationship has this president had with the Christian population he so desperately tried to court in the election?

Ever since the kerfuffle about the Islamic activity center mosque place being suggested to be built around Ground Zero, this country has become the compass of the Church and demanding to see his “I got saved and baptized in the 80s” card.

Why? Or better yet, why now?

They lost interest years ago in his faith, but now that he seems to advocate an Imam with a death wish, inquiring (and narrow) minds want to know.

Of course, where the media is going for answers is rather obvious. No one is going to clown the president during a presser about the economy, so let’s ask someone who should know [cue CNN]:

Asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King if Franklin Graham had any doubts about Obama’s Christian faith, Graham, who has made controversial comments about Islam in the past, said the president’s background is fueling the false perception that he is a Muslim.

“I think the president’s problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name,” Graham said. “Now it’s obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed and he has renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That is what he says he has done, I cannot say that he hasn’t. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said,” Graham continued.

Again with the “Perception is reality” card, Mr. President. Where is your fruit? Sitting in a bowl on the Resolute Desk? Somewhere in your chambers? Or are they seemingly like your Bible, resting comfortably in the rear windshield of your Suburban collecting dust?

The Christian Science Monitor recently wrote a great article about this very conundrum entitled “Why doesn’t Obama wear his religion on his sleeve?” In the article, it asks a question I dare you to answer objectively:

What will it take for President Obama to convince the world that he’s a Christian … or at least not a Muslim?

Is that his job? Really?

Isn’t he supposed to be about creating jobs for the 17 percent of Americans who either do not have a job or are egregiously underemployed? Isn’t the office of the President supposed to be about protecting our soldiers who fight for us to have this inane debate?

Then if that is so, does he really have to convince us of anything concerning faith? Sure, if it is determined that he is not saved and all he was doing was playing politics, then he’s a tool for lying to so many in the Body of Christ. However, that doesn’t affect his ability (or lack thereof) to govern. That rests in his resume post-election.

And if I was President Obama, I would be looking at that dimly scuttled portfolio and praying for results. See there? Fruit after all.

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. (Acts 5:29 – 31 NKJV).

A cross or a tree, Jesus still died for our sins

Imagine worship without this picture in mind? Me neither.

Rappers, athletes, entertainers and Christians alike adorn themselves in bedazzled crosses or even a blinging crucifix to show how upstanding with the Lord they really are. Why? That’s the universal symbol of where Jesus gave his life for us.

Yet, thanks to this story from CNN and AOL News, we read one Swedish theologian who believes that’s not the case and perhaps the aforementioned verse in Acts is closer to the truth of Jesus’ crucifixion.

The Gospels do not say Jesus was crucified, Gunnar Samuelsson says. In fact, he argues, in the original Greek, the ancient texts reveal only that Jesus carried “some kind of torture or execution device” to a hill where “he was suspended” and died, says Samuelsson, who is an evangelical pastor as well as a New Testament scholar.

What the what?

First, I doubt dude was just doing an exegesis on the temperament of Christ, when perchance he tripped and slid his pen over to the crucifixion. No, he set out to do this and knew he would get the 10-inch headline before we had a chance to refute this hullabaloo.

So, congrats?

Anywhoo, it begs an interesting thought… although based in a wheelbarrow of bunk. Why does Paul write that in Acts? “Hanging on a tree.” I have read that verse many times and just considered it a synonym to two trees in the form of a cross. Didn’t you?

“When the Gospels refer to the death of Jesus, they just say that he was forced to carry a “stauros” out to Calvary,” he told AOL News. Many scholars have interpreted that ancient Greek noun as meaning “cross,” and the verb derived from it, “anastauroun,” as implying crucifixion.

“‘Stauros’ is actually used to describe a lot of different poles and execution devices,” he says. “So the device described in the Gospels could have been a cross, but it could also have been a spiked pole, or a tree trunk, or something entirely different.” In turn, “anastauroun” was used to signify everything from the act of “raising hands to suspending a musical instrument.”

Yeah, can’t you see every crucifixion scene in Hollywood depicting the Christ hung on a saxophone? Dimwit, of course that’s not what this instance means. Listen, crucifixion was different in different lands, nonetheless it was the death du jour for the Roman Empire. In fact, Caesar is said to line the main streets with crucified criminals … on crosses … to show the rest of the country, “Screw with Rome and do so at your peril.”

Roman crosses

Whatever the shape, a cross is all he needed.

Crosses are mainly Ts, for the Greek letter Tau. Legs had to held together and arms had to be spread apart to display surrender, helplessness and also eliminate any opportunity for preventing asphyxiation, because all that weight will certainly choke you if the pain doesn’t first.

For me, the moral of this story is this: Who cares. This should do nothing but galvanize our faith.

Jesus’ gift to us should not be relegated to a T, X or any other letter of the alphabet. Let jewelers and people who adorn the Vatican worry about that.

This guy may or may not have tried to undermine Christianity. I doubt it, but he did know this research would get his name on the theological map. Again, kudos Magellan.

Regardless of the research (and it is impressive), the end of the story is still the same.

Whether Jesus was hung on a high Tau with just “INRI” inscribed at the top, the regaled low Tau as seen in Catholic churches everywhere or even on a tree with branches flailing in either direction, the fact is irrefutable – he died, rose again and lives forevermore awaiting a triumphant return.

And for that, I’ll still wear my Christian jewelry, worship at the feet of Jesus and envision him there for me… on a cross, an X or a huge sequoia. Makes no difference to me. I’m still saved as a result.