Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

Note: This is a slightly modified post I put up last Easter......

He is risen!

Can you think of more wonderful words than these? The blood-soaked cross and the blood-stained ground beneath it both look magnificently different today than they did yesterday. For yesterday they reminded me of a dead man and the death wherewith he died. Today however, they serve as witness to what a living Savior endured out of total love for me and total devotion and obedience to the Father!

Alas, today I have a new emblem! There is an empty tomb! An angel sits atop the stone that once sealed its’ entrance and proclaims, "He is no longer here, for he is risen – just as he said"! His death gave me hope – his resurrection gives me life! His last words on that cross, “It is finished”, hinted at victory. His resurrection gave credence to his claim of being “the Resurrection and the Life”.

Yet, as beautiful and victorious as this empty tomb is, my eyes keep glancing back at that wretched cross. The prophet said that I would be healed by His stripes, but I never expected those stripes to cut so deep.

I cannot understand this amazing love. For centuries men have pondered the question…. “Why would One such as this suffer and die for one such as I?”

Why would He trade in His kingly crown for a crown of thorns?

Why would He give up His place in the Heaven of heavens shrouded in glory to be wrapped in this putrid flesh?

Why would He exchange angels worshipping at His feet for men pounding nails through them?

The angels sang His praises. Men mocked Him and spat upon Him.

In His former estate, the entire heavenly host gave to Him…worship and adoration. Here, the creatures of His creation took from Him….always wanting food, or a miracle, or health.... They took everything they could from Him…even His life.

Why art thou cast down, oh my soul? Do not mourn the crucifixion…hope thou in the Resurrection! Oh, what a glorious thought this is! My Lord has risen and He reigns in majesty! He sits clothed in glory, angels worshipping Him in His righteousness! And wonder of wonders, His very presence at the right hand of the Father perpetually satisfies the just judgment and punishment that my sin deserves!

My risen Lord and Savior hath clothed me in His righteousness! My soul leaps within me! Death hath no power! The cross is no longer a picture of horror, but one of beauty! HE IS ALIVE! HALLELUJAH! I will shout with joy today! As long as I have breath, let me not forget to praise thee, oh my Lord! And when I’ve breathed my last…oh, how I long to be in thy presence and at thy feet, and sing glory, glory, GLORY to your wonderful name!


When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Isaac Watts

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

To Christ, who won for sinners grace
By bitter grief and anguish sore,
Be praise from all the ransomed race
Forever and forevermore.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Friends, Snobs, Jazz, BBQ, and a Free Steak: My Trip to Kansas City.

I just returned from a business trip to Kansas City. The highlight of the trip was a long visit with on old friend on Wednesday night (my first night there). I'll talk about that a bit later on, but first a couple of other brief stories about the trip.
  • The Bass Pro Shop in Olathe is an extremely cool place. There's a fairly decent restaurant in there and the entire place is just fun to look at. I wasn't able to spend much time in there, but it was fun!

  • I was shocked to find that some businesses are a bit snobby when it comes to their customers using cash! My company put me up in a fairly "ritzy" hotel. Any incidentals I incurred, I paid for out of my own pocket (internet access, room service, etc). These people honestly seemed put out that I used cash rather than plastic.....I didn't bother to waste my breath explaining that I haven't used plastic in five years and don't expect to ever use it frustrates me that green money is somehow inconvenient these days.

  • I ate one meal that I probably shouldn't have due to cost. While my company was reimbursing me for my meals, I still felt a bit guilty about the price of this one. The restaurant was extremely nice and the food was priced very high. I ordered steak and took so long for it to get there that they ended up giving me the meal for free! Normally, I would have said, "well, if I knew it was going to be free I would have ordered the steak and lobster tail"! Since I couldn't say that, I simply told the waitress that her tip just got a lot bigger than it was going to be! The food was fabulous.

  • As I said earlier, the hotel I was in was quite nice. There were 16 stories in the place and the higher you went, the nicer and larger the rooms and suites were (I was on the 3rd floor!). Thursday evening I got into an elevator with a guy and asked him what floor I needed to push for him. When he said he was on the 15th floor, I replied with a hearty, "Well, congratulations!"......he didn't get my joke.

  • I did get to enjoy a little jazz and BBQ while I was there. Kansas City is really a unique place with a neat culture. I enjoyed it!
Now, regarding my visit with an old friend... Tim and I worked together at the Wilds of the Rockies for two summers ('93 - '94). We "hung out" a bit, but I don't know that we were ever super close as friends. He was one of only a few guys who was there from the previous summer, so we had a good familiarity with one another and often went the same places on weekends. After that last summer, I'm not sure that I ever saw or spoke to Tim again until recently when our paths crossed on SharperIron and Facebook. When I found out that I was going to be in the KC area for a few days, I got in touch with Tim and asked if we could get together for a bit. So on Wednesday night (my first night in town), Tim and his wife had me over to their house for dinner.

The food was great, but the highlight of the evening was the conversation. For nearly 4 hours we talked about the goodness and grace of our Lord. While we did some "catching up", the bulk of our conversation was spent talking about lessons learned in our respective lives as we've strived to please God and get to know Him better. Honestly, it was one of the sweetest times of fellowship I've had in the last several years. I'd never met or spoken to Tim's wife until I walked into their home, but instantly I felt a kinship with her as if I'd known her forever. From the moment I walked into their house, I felt like I was family.....that sort of warmth and comfort only comes with Christian kinship I think. At any rate, the food was wonderful, the fellowship was superb and the ice cream hit the right spot!

As enjoyable as the trip was, it was certainly nice to get back home to my family. I got in a tad later than I expected, but everyone managed to stay awake and greet me (with the exception of our youngest child.....he was out cold!). As excited as my wife and kids were to see me, their enthusiasm paled in comparison to that of our dog, but his level of enthusiasm is just as high if I walk outside for 10 minutes and come back in!

I don't really enjoy taking trips without my family, but finding an old friend to fellowship with certainly makes it much more enjoyable!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Not a typical music post...

I came across this today over at Sharper Iron. I've never read it before now, but it made me laugh.....enjoy!

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

"Well," said the farmer, "it was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns."

"Praise choruses?" said his wife. "What are those?"

"Oh, they're OK. They are sort of like hymns, only different," said the farmer.

"Well, what's the difference?" asked his wife.

The farmer said, "Well, it's like this - If I were to say to you 'Martha, the cows are in the corn' - well, that would be a hymn. If on the other hand, I were to say to you:

'Martha, Martha, Martha,

the cows, the big cows,
the brown cows, the black cows,

the white cows,
the black and white cows,
are in the corn,
are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,

Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well, that would be a praise chorus."

The next weekend, his nephew, a young, new Christian from the city came to visit and attended the local church of the small town. He went home and his mother asked him how it was.

"Well," said the young man, "it was good. They did something different however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs."

"Hymns?" asked his mother. "What are those?"

"Oh, they're OK. They are sort of like regular songs, only different," said the young man.

"Well, what's the difference?" asked his mother.

The young man said, "Well, it's like this - If I were to say to you 'Martha, the cows are in the corn' - well, that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you:

'Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth

Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by

To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain

There in their heads is no shadow of sense

Hearkenest they in God's sun or His rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight

Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed

Then goaded by minions of darkness and night

They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

So look to the bright shining day by and by

Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn

Where no vicious animals make my soul cry

And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.'

Then if I were to do only verses one, three and four and do a key change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn!"

--Author Unknown
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