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-Good Friday: “It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming”

by Dr. D ~ April 18th, 2014

Here it is again. My favorite message of all time for Good Friday is by Dr. Tony Campolo. It has become a tradition on this blog to post it every year on this day.

Here is a link to the famous tape and where it can be downloaded.

image

The whole tape is great but the best part is at the end when Tony Campolo recalls one Sunday when he had a little preaching competition with the head pastor at the church where he attends.

Dr. Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon in every way and had taken the congregation to ‘the heights of glory’. As he sat down beside his pastor, Dr. Tony patted him on the knee and simply said, “Top that.” The older black pastor looked at him and said, “Boy, watch the master.” Then Dr. Campolo recalls for us the very brilliant message which followed.

The following is a short printed version of the 45 minute sermon–the printed version doesn’t really do justice to the original, but you can at least get an idea what the last part is like:

It’s Friday. But Sunday’s coming—

It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this.

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It’s Friday; but Sunday’s a coming.

It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.

And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb. Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.

It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave. It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.

At the end of the message the pastor shouts out:

It’s Friiidaaaay!

And the whole congregation responds:

But Sunday’s Coming!

*Top

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-Chilling: Flyers in Eastern Ukraine Demand that Jews Register and Pay a Tax?

by Dr. D ~ April 17th, 2014
English: Eastern Ukraine. Filled with red - al...

        (Eastern Ukraine: Wikipedia)

Here’s a shacking and chilling development in Eastern Ukraine. Not only has some of the declarations and actions of Putin reminded folks of the Nazi/Hitler ramp up to WWII but now some of the Russian ‘separatists’ who have taken over the government in Eastern Ukraine may be following in Nazi footsteps with their treatment of Jews.

Flyers have been printed and distributed to the Jewish community demanding that they register, declare their possessions, and pay a ‘special’ tax.  Here’s the incredible story from The Blaze:

The Jewish community in Donetsk in eastern Ukraine was stunned earlier this week when flyers were distributed calling on all Jews age 16 and older to register with separatists, list real estate and vehicles they own and pay a special tax, or face deportation, loss of citizenship and confiscation of their property.

The International Business Times reported that the flyer ordered Jewish citizens to register at one of the government buildings that was taken over by separatists earlier this month and that a special registration fee of $50 due May 3 was being levied.

The Israeli news site Ynet wrote that the leaflet specified what documents Jewish citizens would need for the registration process.

“ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property that belongs to you, including vehicles,” the document read according to Ynet’s translation from Russian.

<Read the whole article>

Response: The Russian news service is denying that it is an official policy of the new Russian separatist ‘People’s Republic of Donetsk’ and I doubt that the Russian authorities under Putin would be quite this stupid. However the flyers were handed out near the Donetsk synagogue by “three unidentified men wearing balaclavas and carrying the flag of the Russian Federation” and they are causing quite a concern and a controversy among the Jewish community in Donetsk.

While the leaders of the separatist movement may deny any involvement in the flyers or the chilling anti-Semitic policy it proposes, some connected with the separatists may have originated and distributed them. Since those distributing the flyers were wearing ‘balaclavas’ I have a suspicion that they might have actually been Muslims who are either a part of the Russian separatist movement or pretending to be in order to cause further controversy. The idea of a special tax reminds me of the Muslim ‘Jizyah’ which is levied against Jews and Christians living in Muslim dominated countries.

For sure it is really difficult under the current chaotic conditions in Donetsk to ascertain the entire truth of this matter. Regardless of who is actually behind the flyers it is a chilling reminder that there are still people out there who would like to mimic the Nazi treatment of Jews. It is particularly outrageous that it is happening during the Jewish Passover and the Christian Holy Week.             *Top

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-So Now You Are Weird and Subject to Ridicule If You Believe in Creationism?

by Dr. D ~ April 16th, 2014
Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin during a ga...

             (Blake Griffin: Wikipedia)

Is this where the dominant culture is going in America. The vast majority believe in God but now you are considered weird and subject to ridicule if you believe the Biblical teaching that God created everything as opposed to accidental evolution?

A firestorm of media ridicule followed in the wake of a recent Rolling Stone interview where Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin admitted that he believes in creationism and a young earth. Here’s the story from the Blaze:

The revelation came after contributing editor Rob Tannenbaum asked the NBA star, 25, whether he’s “Team Creationism or Team Evolution,” considering the fact that he was home schooled through the 7th grade.

“I was raised in a Christian household and went to a Christian high school, so I believe in creationisim, for sure,” Griffin responded.

Tannenbaum followed up by asking if the NBA star also believes that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, to which Griffin replied, “I don’t want to do the math, but somewhere around there.”

Deadspin’s Tom Ley responded to the possibility that Griffin is a creationist, writing, “Now, Griffin is known to be a very witty guy who possesses a dry sense of humor, so it’s entirely possible that he was just joking. We really, really hope he was joking.”

Response: Actually there is probably quite a wide divide between how the majority of Americans view this issue as opposed to the secular major media. There is even a considerable difference of opinion among conservative Bible believing Christians over age of the earth. I have considerable problems myself with using Biblical chronologies in dating the earth. On the other hand, the carbon dating methods used by evolutionists have also been demonstrated to be vastly inaccurate on a number of occasions. 

Nevertheless, the media reflects a driving bias for evolution among the educated elite. So much of the media are holed up in blue state coastal conclaves that middle America is seldom reflected in their views.

The affect of all this type of hype is to drive those of us who do believe in creation to be silent about it all and allow accidental evolution to march forward and claim the victory in winning the hearts of the majority of Americans. The opposite is true of course. Believers need to continue to openly assert their Biblical beliefs and not allow them to be marginalized and identified as strange. More Americans still believe in the Biblical account of creation than the accidental view. Stand up and be counted.             *Top

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-The Coming Attack on Church Tax Exemption

by Dr. D ~ April 14th, 2014
Logo of the Internal Revenue Service

                             (IRS logo: Wikipedia)

In the last five years or so there have been more lawsuits over the American church tax exemption than ever before in the entire history of the republic. However I believe that this is just the beginning and soon we may see a rising storm of litigation challenging the traditional exemption for churches.

Progressive activists have been particularly encouraged by the example of how leftist officials working for the IRS were able to deny tax exempt non-profit status to conservative groups including Tea Party organizations. Now some are beginning to question why churches, particularly conservative ones, should continue to receive tax exemptions since they oppose a progressive agenda on so many different fronts. For years, atheist groups have been looking for ways to challenge the exemption without putting their own non-profit status at risk. I believe that soon they may have additional company and support in their efforts.

Look for gay activists to launch the first serious challenges to the exemption. LGBT groups in the near future may claim that conservative churches are violating their ‘civil rights’ in their refusal to allow same-sex marriages or the hiring of LGBT clergy. The rational will be this: there may be freedom of religion in America and Churches may be free to teach whatever they want and hire whoever but the government does not necessarily have to support those ‘archaic discriminatory views’ through tax exempt status.

Look also for the progressive media to launch a new supporting philosophical view that tax exempt non-profit status should be reserved only for ‘inclusive’ organizations that further the betterment of all members of society.

Meanwhile here’s an article identifying the reasons the exemption should continue to be supported from the Speak Up Movement:

So why should churches be tax exempt? There are very sound and valid reasons for church tax exemption. First, there is the “social benefit” theory of tax exemption. This recognizes the fact that churches provide great benefits to society by their good works. Churches minister to the poor and needy in the community, provide numerous social services for the downtrodden among us, and reach out to the “least of these” in thousands of different ways. The social benefit theory justifies tax exemption for churches as a kind of bargain – churches provide needed services, so they are entitled to tax exemption.

One corollary of the “social benefit” theory that is often overlooked is what I have termed the “intangible benefit” theory of tax exemption. This highlights the intangible and often unseen benefits provided by churches to the community. Things like reduced crime rates resulting from transformed lives, suicides prevented when people surrender to Christ, and people with destructive behavioral patterns that harm the community changing into hard-working and virtuous citizens who contribute to the well-being of the community. It is difficult to put a price tag on these types of intangible benefits provided by churches, but there is no question that they exist.

<Read the whole article>

Response: There was a day when churches were considered to be a valuable social asset in any community but that is quickly changing.  Increasingly churches across America, particularly in the more progressive coastal ‘blue’ states, are viewed as liabilities by city administrators and shunned by zoning laws to locations that are off the beaten path and undesirable from a business perspective.

Soon conservative churches in particular may be viewed as undesirable sources of discrimination and archaic beliefs that run counter to the larger secular progressive culture. At that point the litigation may escalate in order to minimalize the damage done to society by ‘throwback’ organizations like traditional churches which continue to honor ‘outdated’ ancient Biblical teaching. It is at that point when the church tax exemption will be at risk before liberal activist judges.

While the current makeup of SCOTUS may still give us some protection the recent New Mexico case that was rejected by the court demonstrates the potential danger ahead. The greatest hope that we have against the implementation of this scenario is the dawning of a new awakening and revival across America. Christians should continue to pray for a special blessing from God that would touch our entire land and the dominant culture.            *Top

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-So The ‘Gospel of Jesus’s Wife’ May be ‘Authentic’ But The Story Really Isn’t

by Dr. D ~ April 11th, 2014

In 2012 the main stream media went crazy over a ancient papyrus fragment that indicated that Jesus had a wife. Now experts are saying that the document appears to be authentic.

So did Jesus really have a wife? No. At least this document does not prove it in spite of all of the press. Read the whole article and my complete response on the Apologetica page.            *Top

-Egypt: Islamists Kill Young Woman with Cross

by Dr. D ~ April 10th, 2014
Logo Muslim Brotherhood

           ( Muslim Brotherhood: Wikipedia)

Here is my Christian persecution story for the week. Radical supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, following Muslim prayer services on Friday March 28, pulled a young Christian women out of her car and killed her because she had a cross visibly hanging from her rear view mirror. Meanwhile the police have made no arrests in the case.

Here’s the horrific story from BosNewsLife:

The 25-year-old Mary Sameh George, a devoted Coptic Christian, was hauled out of her car, beaten and stabbed to death by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood group in Cairo, the capital, after they saw a cross hanging from her rear-view mirror, according to witnesses.

"Mary had stopped her vehicle and parked in front of the Sun Private School in Ain Shams Street, near the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael Church, because of the march," said Wahid, who saw the attack from his apartment. "The Muslim Brotherhood supporters saw a hanging cross on her car and recognized that she was a Christian, so they attacked her," he added in remarks published by the International Christian Concern (ICC) advocacy group.

George was murdered in Cairo’s suburb of Ain Shams where she often delivered food and medicine to elderly Christians and Muslims, after ending her shift at a local communications company, Christians said.

<Read the whole article>

Response: It has been a while since I posted about the ongoing persecution of Christian particularly in Muslim lands. Frankly, all of the stories I read are so numerous it is nearly overwhelming to pick just one but if I posted on all of them the entire character of this site would change considerably. In the last week alone there have been more bombings of Christians in Nigeria, A Christian couple received death sentences for ‘blasphemy against Islam’ for supposedly sending emails critical of Muhammad even though the couple are actually illiterate and there was no real hard evidence that linked them to offending messages. However this particular case of Mary Sameh George was so horrible and egregious that I could not pass on it. Here is a question that this event raises in my mind. Why is it that Muslims seems more prone to radical violence after attending prayer services on Fridays?

Our target area of coverage on this site is religion and culture with a focus upon Christianity and culture.  One particular concern we constantly address is religious freedom in America but also around the world. The persecution of Christians is only part of that ongoing focus.             *Top

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-The Future of Religious Freedom is Being Compromised by The Courts

by Dr. D ~ April 9th, 2014

Here’s a video report from Citizen Link that explores how the future of our religious freedom in America is currently being compromised by recent court decisions around the country. Just yesterday we looked at the recent refusal of SCOTUS to consider one of these key cases from New Mexico and how that may affect religious liberty.

In the video above Bruce Hausknecht puts it all in context how religious freedom is being re-shaped for our children and grandchildren. The sad thing is that very few folks actually see and understand the implications of some of these cases since they are not directly affected. Also, the opposition seems to have the ‘high moral ground’ the way the cases are being represented by the progressive media.            *Top