Archives For Easter

Ever see the movie Gladiator? All that “Christians fed to the lions” stuff really happened! These were the Christians going around with the newly written books of the New Testament saying that 6 people that everyone would have known (most importantly, Jesus) had risen from the dead.  Being lion food is not much of a reward…makes one wonder what motivated them?

Easter Sunday is coming, which has a lot of people thinking about resurrection from the dead.  Two Sundays ago, I preached on how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after he had been dead (and smelly) for 4 days (John 11).  This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the religious leaders to kill Jesus once and for all (John 11:47-53).  It’s sort of hard to disprove a religion where people keep coming back from the dead, after all.

This got me thinking about the significance of the other New Testament accounts of people being raised from the dead, and wondering if other religions made these same claims.  It’s sort of going “all in” once you say that 6 local “Average Joe” types that everyone knew had risen from the dead in spectacular, public fashion, most of them at their very public funerals, and you try circulating that story in the very town you claim it happened. (Knowing your reward for circulating it was persecution, torture, and death by the Roman authorities)

I did a little research…okay I posted in on my Facebook page…to see if other faiths/religions made such audacious claims of local people coming back from the dead or not.  If your God is able to make dead people come back to life, that’s a pretty good claim of authenticity. Continue Reading…

When I was growing up, the only people I knew who observed Lent were my Catholic friends, who honestly, didn’t know or care much about Jesus in their daily lives from what I could observe.  I remember they had to eat fish for lunch on Fridays in the school cafeteria.  I once asked a friend why they did this and they said it was because of Lent and because they were Catholic and that was that.

I chalked this up to another Catholic legalism; another way of trying to earn your salvation.  At the time, the only Catholics I knew were my friends who smoked pot, drank and had sex in high school, and begrudgingly attended CCD classes.  I figured this was all Catholicism was (it’s not, but that’s not what this post is about) and that since Lent was for Catholics, it wasn’t for me.  Continue Reading…

I originally posted this article a couple years ago and unlike most things I wrote from years ago, this is actually still pretty funny and on-point.  As Lent nears, and as I prepare to give a sermon on Lent this Sunday, my coffee consumption is at an all-time high!  (Seriously, my heart was pounding in my chest this morning!!) So my question to you, oh reader is, do I need to give up caffeine again for Lent this year???? (Please avoid quoting Scripture at me about how people aren’t supposed to know what I’m fasting from–trying to have a little fun here friends–any Scripture about how God made coffee and it’s extremely delicious are welcomed though) 

On a day when two people have already told me it’s 99 cent day at Biggby (and it’s only 9:30am), I am reminded once more that I’ve given up caffeine for Lent.  This brings up two topics I find interesting: Lent and caffeine. First, Lent.

I grew up Baptist and had no clue what Lent was.  I remember at my public high school asking my Catholic friends why they could only eat fish for lunch (or is it only fish on Fridays?  I don’t remember…), and I remember them telling me it was because they are Catholic.  No mention of Jesus; no mention of why.  I’m not saying this is the reaction of all Catholics, but for that period of my life, these were the only Catholics I conversed with.  So to me, Lent was something religious that Catholics did and I was glad I didn’t have to do it, because I didn’t even like fish very much.  Except fish sticks.  Those have always been good. 

I observed Lent for the first time last year when I gave up dessert.  I realized that the point of Lent is the same as that of other types of fasting, and that is to focus our attention on Christ’s sacrifice for us, and when we sacrifice something (food, dessert, coffee, etc.), it is a physical reminder for us to think about Christ.  I often forget about Christ throughout my daily routine, and while a large part of me does not enjoy fasting (and I don’t do it very often), when I do do it, it is helpful in drawing my attention to God.  What is unique about Lent is it specifically draws our attention to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as the Lenten season builds up to Good Friday and eventually Easter, the ultimate celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  So there you go: I like Lent.  I think people should observe it because they want to and not because they have to.  And no, my Baptist friends, the Bible does not say we need to observe Lent and no one is saying it does.  Breathe.  It’s just a helpful thing to do.

So why was I dumb enough to give up caffeine this year for Lent?  Continue Reading…