It was for us!

“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.”
Isaiah 53:5-6

“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!”
Luke 24:1

Happy Resurrection Day!

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Victory was only one day away!

Imagine how the disciples felt today?
Confused, hurt, scared…
What was going through their minds?

Their Messiah is dead.
He was supposed to conquer!

It wasn’t supposed to end like this…

Have you ever felt that way?

Maybe you’re jaded because God didn’t do what you thought he was going to do.

Jesus told them what was going to happen.

“For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.”
Matthew 12:40

Over and over he said that he would be dying, but they weren’t really listening.

Sometimes we do that, don’t we?
We ask God a question, or present a specific need to Him, and we have a preconceived idea on how He is to answer it.
We have expectations about who He is and what He will do, and they are not based on anything He said; but more on what we think He said, or on selfish expectations.

Jesus was not the Savior they expected.
He came as a spiritual Savior… to bridge the gap between God and man created by sin!

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Luke 19:10

What the disciples didn’t see at this moment was what was going to happen tomorrow.
Everything was going to change!

But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes. The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.”
Luke 24:1-7

If you find yourself in a difficult, confusing, painful place, I would encourage you to not get jaded.
Victory may only be one day away!

His Word gives us promises of victory, healing, provision, and life.
Fight through the selfish feelings and false ideas about God, and hold fast to what He did say.

He came to give us life!

Steve

*[I know it is an insignificant number but… I think it’s awesome that my 100th blog is written on the day between Good Friday and Resurrection Day. I would not want to be blogging about anything else on this day except Christ and His work on the cross!]

Speaking of Tiger Woods…

My last post mentioned people’s perceptions of one of the greatest golfers the world has ever seen — Tiger Woods.

He’s a jerk.
He’s rude.
Why won’t he sign autographs?!

I don’t know.
I don’t know Tiger personally.

Colin Cowherd said something the other day that really was profound (at least I think so). *You can hear his radio show, The Herd, on ESPN Radio in the mornings.

[Paraphrase]

When people look at Tiger Woods, they see a jerk. When I look at Tiger Woods, I see someone that is focused and determined to win.

Cowherd then proceeded to talk about how perception is NOT always reality, and the reality is the best in the world are not balanced people.

Balance.

Should we strive to live balanced lives?

  • The greatest athletes are not balanced. They spend every day watching film, working on their mechanics, and strengthening their bodies. That’s why they are the best.
  • The most profitable stock brokers are not balanced. They spend all their time watching the numbers, making trades, and tracking trends. That’s why they are the best.
  • The most accomplished musicians are not balanced. They spend all their time honing their skill, researching new/different techniques, and collaborating with others to create new sounds. That’s why they are the best.
  • The most accomplished doctors, businessmen, writers, ministers… You get the point.
  • The perception is this: We want them to be balanced, normal people that value the same things we value (like getting an autograph).
    The reality is this: We are paying them to not be balanced, but instead be better than everyone else. If they were like us, they won’t be the best, but instead be status quo.

    In fact, we don’t apply this Balance Rule to a lot of things in life!

    What about when it comes to our faith?

  • What is the balance between sin and holiness?
  • What is the balance between being a lover of Jesus and a lover of the world?
  • What is the balance between words of life and words of death?
  • What is the balance between the flesh and the spirit?
  • And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. (Deut 6:5)

    That doesn’t sound balanced.
    It’s an all-or-nothing reality.

    I want to be ALL about God!
    I want to be ALL about the Mission!
    I want to be ALL about who He has created me to be!
    I want to be ALL about holiness!

      What about you?

    • Would you consider yourself a balanced person?
    • Have you, like me, been taught we should strive for balance?
    • Are there other scriptures in the Bible that deal with all-or-nothing issues? List one, or some. (Hint: there are many)
    • Steve

    It drives me nuts!


    Stress!
    Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.

    I don’t get stressed too often.
    But when I do, man…

    My shoulders get tense.
    My head hurts.
    I get really warm.
    My neck gets stiff.
    And my attitude gets… well… chippy.

    You ever get that way, or know someone that does?

    I get a little short about things that normally are not that big of a deal.
    I get frustrated.
    I drive my car faster.
    I turn my music up — which is usually some sort of rock or techno, or super dramatic movie score…

    Lately it’s been the soundtrack to TRON: Legacy by Daft Punk; which is a combo techno-score!
    I’ve been listing to that a lot because 1) it’s really good, but also, 2) I’ve been noticing that the stress level has been higher.

    As times get busy, and projects pile up, and time grows shorter and shorter, the stress level can kick into fifth gear.

    Thankfully, I can turn to the Lord for all that I need to deal with the stress.

    Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
    Psalm 55:22

    We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
    2 Corinthians 4:8

    Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
    Philippians 4:4-9

    Another thing that helps is getting alone… like, at the beach!
    I love going to the beach to chill and unstress.

    So, for those that sometimes get the poopy Steve… the one that is acting uncharacteristically like a snappy, unhappy idiot…
    SORRY!

    Just remind me to “keep putting into practice all that I have learned“! 🙂

    Steve

    • Do you ever get stressed?
    • How do you handle it?
    • Do you often have to apologize for your attitude to others?
    • What is something you have learned to handle stress?

    Thoughts on post-retirement age

    My 31st birthday is a week away.
    It has been pointed out by many that I’m still young.

    In my infancy as a “leader,” there are some things that I have observed, and some thoughts that I have been pondering.
    These thoughts are based in my worldview (naturally), and may change over time.
    But, with that said, the following is one of those thoughts.

      When I’m old, and at the point of mindlessness (I say that because I probably will be), I pray 2 things… okay, 3 things:

    • That I would be humble enough to admit it,
    • that I would have friends that loved me enough to tell me,
    • and that if I’m not humble enough to admit it, that my friends are bold enough to tell me anyway.

    It’s difficult seeing people that are well beyond retirement (and by that I mean that you’d think they were already embalmed) holding on to the need to be heard…
    … almost as if they’re afraid that their life will go unnoticed once they are gone, so they are trying to make a big splash on the way out.

    These kinds of people make wild predictions, say very strange things that would normally go against their character, and struggle to understand culture.
    They become so greatly removed from reality, that even their sound, biblical foundations can begin to crumble.

    I had a pastor who was 72, and he was the sharpest 72-year old I have ever met.
    We were like best friends.
    He once admitted to me that he knew his time was coming to an end, and that he gets frustrated by older pastors who, in his words, “don’t know when to hang up the shingle.
    He also told me that he hopes he has people who are open enough to tell him the same — that it’s time to hang ’em up.
    (He was later diagnosed with a brain tumor, resigned from his position, and then passed away a year-and-a-half later. Still one of the greatest pastors I have ever known.)

    It should be clear to you now that he has greatly influenced this perspective I have.
    That, and the growing library of YouTube videos of more recent, well known TV/Radio voices that grow increasingly frustrating for the Church; who, in light of public statements, have to continuously defend Scripture and help others understand/filter their erroneous statements.

    Would I be abel to give it up?
    Would I be willing to simply bow out?
    Or, would I go down with a fight, holding on to every little bit that I can for as long as possible?

    I can’t really say how I will be when that time comes.
    Right now, this is how I view it.

    Maybe, if and when I’m that age, I will think differently.
    If so, is that your cue to tell me to hang ’em up?

    We’ll see…

    Steve

    P.S. I pray that Jesus comes back before then.

    What If You Have Nothing to Say?

    Go back to the Xanga years. Remember those? Yeah, that was my first attempt at blogging. My first account was named aURiCle_HolOcAUsT. Awful. I was sporadic in my posting, and usually felt like I needed to say a lot; or at least be really deep and thought provoking. When in Detroit, I attempted a rebirth of cool and started a new Xanga account; which was my first A Boy Brushed Red… blog—to no avail. I have revisited those accounts back in 2010, which are still active, and updated the profile pics; but it just feels like a wasteland there.

    I flirted with Blogger, but didn’t care for it (which meant no blogging). Then, I relaunched a blogger site when I began reviewing books, and it became solely a book review page; which is also titled A Boy Brushed Red… This is for my Booksneeze reviews.

    Finally, the world of the WordPress was opened to me. This was started a bit before the relaunch of the Blogger site. I love WordPress. But, even with my love for the site, it was more of an occasional affair due to my lack of blogging. This site launched in June of 2010, and I posted 20 times the rest of the year. Then, in 2011, I more than doubled that for the year! (Impressive, right? … not.) But, in mid-November of last year I had a revelation, and my desire to blog has drastically changed. Apart from my January Social Media Fast, I have been blogging about 4-5 times a week. This has been challenging at times, because I don’t want to say something just for the sake of saying something, yet I really want to be writing every day.

    But, what if you have nothing to say? This question used to run through my mind a lot. And then later along the line it hit me: I should always be able to say something. No, not for the sake of just saying something, but because I should be putting into my life the Word of God, spending time in prayer, and imparting truth into others’ lives. If I am actively doing this daily, then there should be ideas, thoughts, questions, Scriptures, and observations that can be shared with you. No, I won’t share everything I am thinking or experiencing. That would just be weird.

    So, why the long intro reminiscing on the ancient and failed blogging attempts? Because they demonstrate what my life was like, and my lack of discipline and desire to share what God is doing in my life. It is somewhat reflective of the kind of relationship I had with Him. I was treating Him more like an unstable, uncertain dating relationship rather than the devoted, faithful marriage that it should represent. There was a lot of growing that needed to take place in my life… maturity was a must, and it took some time to get there. Thankfully, God is faithful and He has grace that extends far beyond what I can comprehend. He allowed me the opportunity to be mentored by some great men, and used these times to break me and reshape me; and that has instilled in me a devotion to the Lord on a level that I didn’t have before. For that alone, I am forever grateful. Not that I can now blog about it, but because my life, family, and ministry are forever changed.

    Thankful…

    Steve

    I Can’t Imagine…

    Day 4 of Thanksgiving Week and I am so thankful for living a life of purpose!

    A few days ago, I was thinking back to the life I once lived, and wondering how my life would have been different if God had not plucked me from where I was, dead in sin, and set my feet on the solid foundation of His Son, Jesus Christ! Man, it’s unfathomable to imagine what my life would be like. The purpose that my life has in being follower of Christ is unmatched by any other goals, achievements, or purposes that any life could strive to attain. This is not to say that my life is that desirable. My point is this: The life that I have obtained in Christ is more desirable than all that!

    Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.
    Ephesians 2:9

    It’s not what I have done, but what He has done; and through this process of salvation, my life has been given new meaning and purpose—to bring glory to Him! That is done through serving God and others, demonstrating the love of Christ, and living out the plans and purposes He has specifically created me for.

    We each have a unique make-up. Our past, our experiences, our skill sets, our passions all come together to make a unique us; and this is the framework in which God works to use us to reach the people around us. This life, that is then defined by our Creator, is full of purpose, hope, and security—purpose found in leading others to a saving knowledge of Him through the work of the Holy Spirit; hope that we will one day be united with Him for eternity, and that all we face here on earth is only temporary; and a security in Him as to who we were created to be and that we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them (Romans 8:28).

    What a life that He has given me! The places I have been, the things I have seen, and all the experiences I have had as a result of the new life that He has given me is something I would NEVER, EVER trade in!

    Never going back…

    Steve