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Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #13”

“It is finished.” — JC
John 19:20 (NLT)

Surely you have used this phrase before? I have spoken this after completing a Final Exam, book report, doing the backyard or eating a a large pizza all by myself.

When is the last time you said, “It is finished?”

When Jesus says this, He speaks it from the Roman Executioner’s Cross just seconds before his heart beats its last beat. He has just spent the last 18 hours going through unspeakable torment. It is Finished, is a statement of a champion. And in this case…the meaning behind this phrase impacts every person on earth from the past and every person to yet exist in the future.

When Jesus says from the cross, or as I have been pretending, “Tweets” it from the cross. Every Roman follower of Jesus’ Tweets would have perfectly understood in context what He meant. Keep reading…

You see in the Roman empire the Death penalty could be carried out in several different forms. Crucifixion or beheading were the two most popular death sentences given to non-military law breakers. The Roman Empire wanted to be known as fierce and they also wanted to avoid being known as uncivilized. So they had a death sentence “program” that was swift yet brutal. Swift so as not to be too cruel and unusual, but brutal enough to warn a potential criminal that Rome meant business when it came to following their laws.

The military had a few death penalty ways about them that could strike fear in the heart of anybody and hopefully would prevent a potential law breaker from going through with his plan. Here are some of the ways a Roman Military person could be put to death if they caused Rome to be embarrassed or if they broke the military code of ethics. If while on night watch as a Roman guard, the guard fell asleep, and his superior officer actually caught him sleeping, the commanding officer would awaken the sleeping guard, have his clothes stripped off to his ankles, then light the clothes around his ankles on fire and the guard would be burned alive. (One didn’t want to fall asleep on duty. They didn’t have energy drinks then, either!) Another tactic that Roman Officers would use when trying to find the culprit in a military regiment that had “messed up,” was to line the whole group up along a tall cliff. The entire Roman Army Regiment would then walk to the edge of the cliff and literally, while standing, put their toes on the edge of the cliff, and of course, everybody would be looking down, fearful of what could happen. The Officer in charge of the regiment would walk behind each of the soldiers as they stood on the edge of the cliff and would be yelling at them to identify the person who “screwed up,” broke the law, or embarrassed Rome due to negligence. If there wasn’t anybody in the entire Roman Regiment that would “Nark” out the guilty person, then the Officer in charge would begin to walk behind the group and push one soldier at a time off the cliff and have the group watch this person fall to his death. The hopes of the officer was that somebody would finally point out the offender, or the offender would finally confess and then be pushed to his own death, saving the lives of the others in the regiment.

If there was no cliff to be found in the area then the Roman Officer would have his regiment of soldiers line up anyway. He would take out a cup that he carried with him for this very purpose. The cup would be filled with a mixture of Hemlock. Hemlock is a lethal poison. Whether you drink a little or a lot, it is going to kill you. (Hemlock is the poison in the story of Romeo and Juliet. It is also how Socrates was given the death sentence) This cup that the Roman Officer carried would be filled with the Hemlock mixture and was known as “The Cup of Suffering” in the Roman Empire. In the Roman Empire if an officer in charge had to use the cup of suffering there was only one rule…The cup had to be completely drank for the officer in charge to be satisfied that “the crime” committed was paid for. So imagine the Roman Regiment lined up. If the officer had an idea of who the offending soldier might have been he would place that soldier in the first position, the front of the line. He would give the cup of suffering to that first soldier. Now the soldier has a moral dilemma. The first soldier knows that he is going to die whether he drinks a little of this cup of suffering or if he drinks the whole thing. If the first soldier drinking from the cup of suffering only drinks a little, he then would have to pass the cup to the next in line. That next soldier would have to drink a little and then pass it on to the next. However…if anybody in the line wanted to spare the lives of everybody else, down the line, all he had to do was drink the whole cup of suffering himself. If the soldier chose to drink the whole cup of suffering, he would drink the whole cup, give the cup to the officer in charge and the officer would say, “IT IS FINISHED!”

Do you get what Jesus did, when He “tweeted” from the cross, “IT IS FINISHED!”

Jesus was saying, “I will take all the punishment upon myself and spare everybody else for all time past and future.”

However…please think about this with me…this is important…Just approximately 24 hours earlier, Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and was begging His Father in Heaven to do what?

“Father, Please take this CUP OF SUFFERING away from me!” Jesus begged His Father three times this exact request.

Understanding the Roman’s Cup of Suffering brings about a lot more depth of meaning to this whole situation doesn’t it?

Do you have a child or children? Can you imagine one of your children coming to you…and by the way…this child coming to you has been the PERFECT child, literally. This child whom you love so intensely begs you to not do something. But this something he is begging you not to do is so intensely painful and humiliating. How could you follow through and give the go ahead and then watch it happen to your child? You give the “go-ahead” to have your perfectly innocent child beaten to an inch of his life, stripped naked in front of everybody, you watch him get beaten over the head with clubs, they force a huge thorn crown down upon his bleeding head, make him carry his own cross through the streets while people spit and jeer him. You continue to watch the people throw your perfect child on top of the cross beam and drive nails into his hands and feet. Dislocating his shoulder or both shoulders. Laughing and jeering the whole time. They then hoist the cross, with him nailed to it, to an upright position where you have to watch your only perfect child literally suffocate to death, fighting for air.

I couldn’t do it. If I had to pick who was going to go through that kind of agony to pay for all mankind’s sins. And my choice is between my own perfect child and you…the one who sinned and brought this whole curse to a reality. I’m sorry…You would die. Not my only perfect child.

How much does the Heavenly Father love you? How much does the Heavenly Father love you that He chose for you to live and have His perfect son, His only child, pay the price instead?

REALLY…HE CHOSE YOU TO LIVE. HE MADE JESUS DRINK THE CUP OF SUFFERING INSTEAD OF YOU.

This is the way God desires us to be everyday of our lives. Sacrificial, Giving, Loving, Serving, Accepting.
That’s what He did for you. That’s what He did for me. By doing this, God demonstrated to us how much He loves us and accepts us without having us do a single thing to earn His acceptance. In fact the Bible says that while we were sinners, God absolutely accepted us by having His son die for us…again…while we were still sinning, we were accepted by God. By God giving His only Son as a replacement for us on the cross. (To drink the Cup of Suffering) It shows that you can’t do one thing to earn God’s acceptance and love for you. It is a gift. That gift was given when Jesus was placed on the cross instead of you. Oh, I wish all people lived in this kind of behavior. Let me demonstrate by inserting a diagram below.

The image I have inserted below is an image that demonstrates, perfectly, the difference between Love’s way and Control’s way. I wish I could say that I created the diagram. I did not. Credit is due to the Life Training Material we used to teach at Parkway Christian Church. If you would like to check this full material out then look up www.vcli.org. Vcli stands for Victorious Christian Living. They are headquartered in Phoenix AZ. The material is actually called S.A.L.T. (Seven Areas of Life Training) Its good stuff. The following thoughts are from this material.

God is Love. He COULD control, but He chooses to demonstrate his power and position by Love not control. Please be “self-aware” enough to know which way you live your life and lead the people you influence. Do you live/lead by Control or by Love?

As you can see, Love doesn’t make you earn anything. Love gives you total acceptance first. Love gives you an “A” and then allows you to earn an “F” if you want to. Love says, “I have AUTHORITY to make you earn my acceptance, but I am going to ACCEPT you first and show you how much I love you. When you know how much I love and accept you, you will feel AFFIRMED by be. As you feel affirmed by me, then you will desire to be ACCOUNTABLE to me and when you choose to be accountable to me, you acknowledge that I am an AUTHORITY in your life.

That is God’s way. That is the way God wants you to live and lead others. It will take you totally trusting in God as you live and lead this way.

People, who have a problem with God, usually think that God leads using the Control side of the diagram.
They have had either a controlling parent or too many controlling people in their life.
They have been forced to submit to the person in authority first. It goes like this…
Somebody, with power, demands that you follow their AUTHORITY, period. They do this by forcing you to be ACCOUNTABLE to their rules/style/ways. When you prove you are being accountable to their authority, then the person in authority will begin to AFFIRM you. “Keep up the good work, you are really catching my attention,” they say. As you keep up the good work because you want this person’s affirmation and you continue to work for their affirmation and you stand the test of time…you will finally be ACCEPTED by the person in authority.

How Horrible. Right? Thank God, that God and Jesus didn’t do this to all of us!

This is the way of corporate and worldly living. This is the way of control. People who control are living as if they are God. You agree, right, that ” all control” belongs to God?

So…I say…THANK GOD that God leads us using the Love side of the diagram. God accepts first. How wonderful.
The Cup of Suffering that was given to Jesus proves it.

“IT IS FINISHED.”
That means you don’t HAVE to have control. God’s got that part.
ACCEPT first.
God didn’t force you to make Him your Authority.
Why do you make others bow to your Authority? (If you do.)

God’s Got your Back.
(Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Live like God in all your ways and He will take care of the rest.) That’s my version of Proverbs 3:5-6.

Accept first. Love first. Trust first. You really didn’t EARN anything in your life that you have. You might pridefully think you did. But everything is a gift from the Lord. Everything.

Our School Teachers are a perfect demonstration point on this. Depending on the teacher’s personality and whether or not they are power hungry, they can start you, as a student, with either an “A” or an “F”. The grades work out the same either way in the end.
Everyday you can tell the attitude difference between the teacher that accepts you first and teaches as if you have an “A.” Versus the teacher that has the attitude of not accepting you first and you come into class with the teacher seeing you as a student starting with an “F.” Its an obvious difference and everybody knows it except the teacher.
Which teacher is better to sit under as a student?
Which teacher do you actually WANT to learn from ?
Which teacher really is better at teaching?
Get it?

It Is Finished!
You don’t have to control anything.
Live for others like Jesus lives & died for you.

In your marriage, does your spouse start the day with an “A” or an “F”?
In your workplace, do those “under” you start their job with an “A” or an “F”? (BTW…Jesus washed the feet of those “under” Him.)
In your parenting do your kids start the day with an “A” or an “F”?
In your friendships do your friends start each day with an “A” or an “F”?
In your everyday life as you drive, do totally dumb drivers get to start with an “A” or an “F”? Ohhh…that’s a hard one for me! Can you tell? LOL
Shopping for Groceries does the lady slapping her kids at the check out counter start with an “A” or an “F”?
Waiting in line…wherever…did the guy that cut in line start with an “A” or an “F”?

Give people in your life an “A” first and then you’ll be following the example of Jesus Christ. Fully accept first. Then work from there.
How they treat the “A” you gave them is up to them. There comes a time where that “A” starts dwindling to a “B” or a “C”…its then you and I need to confront the offender…if you wait until they get an “F” to confront…well…that’s just a tough meeting! Its hard work. Never quit working on it. We all have shortfalls. If we follow the teaching of Jesus to treat others like we like to be treated, then hopefully that gives us a few more “A’s” in our pocket to hand out to others. Make sense?
Can I help you with anything?

All right…I can finally say about this long blog…
“It Is Finished!”


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #10”

(To Mary) Woman, here is your son. (To John) Here is your mother. — JC
John 19:26-27(HCSB)

Awkward. What a strange message for Jesus to share publicly. Yet, because Jesus said it publicly with other people hearing…I chose to make this one of Jesus’ “Tweets.”

Imagine the scene. Jesus is on the cross. He is literally about to die. He is looking out at the people and He sees His mom. His mom is Mary (do I really need to write that?) She is crying (I assume) and is standing next to the disciple named John. The Bible describes John as, “the one whom Jesus loved.” Is it ironic to anyone else that the book of JOHN is the only book in the Bible that actually says that “John is the disciple whom Jesus loved?” In case you don’t know…the author of the book of John and the John referred to as the one whom Jesus loved…is the same person. John, wrote that about himself! There has got to be a good story in there somewhere. Someday we can ask him.

What’s the point of this Tweet? Its pretty simple. In Jesus’ time where Hebrew Culture ruled the day…Jesus was Hebrew…Yes…Jesus was a Jewish man. That would mean He wasn’t white. That would mean He wasn’t black. He would have more likely been very…what we call…tanned. Dark thick hair. He was Jewish from the Mediterranean area. Dark eyes. But…I suppose I could be completely wrong. Maybe he really could have looked just like Jim Caviezel. We know his mom was Jewish. But His real Father….well…Genetics wouldn’t matter! I can’t wait to meet Jesus face to face and see what He really looks like. Maybe He really did have blonde hair and blue eyes. LOL

Back to the Hebrew thing here. In Jesus time and in the Hebrew Culture it was the husbands job to be the head of the household. The husband was the provider. If something happened to the husband, then the first born son would be responsible to step up and be the head of the household. If the new head of the household died…then right on down the line to the next oldest son. The next oldest son would take responsibility for the family in all areas. If there were no more men in the family to take this responsibility it would be passed to a different man in the family, maybe a cousin…if there were no other family men, the responsibility could be passed on to a friend of the family. You get the idea.

So this instance in time, where Jesus is sending this “Tweet,” has several angles to it. First…in my opinion…it proves that Joseph, Mary’s husband, has passed away. We don’t know for sure. We have no record of Joseph after the instance where Mary and Joseph can’t find Jesus for 3 days, and when they finally find Him, He is in the temple area speaking to the religious leaders…Jesus was about 12 or 13 then. After Joseph and Mary find Jesus, there is no mention of Joseph again. Nothing. Maybe God took Joseph’s life for losing Jesus? LOL…just kidding. See how I think? LOL

So in this Tweet, where Jesus is saying publicly to Mary….”Here is your son.” And to John….”Here is your mother.” I think this demonstrates that Jesus is the head of the household. The oldest son. I suppose its arguable that someone could say that Jesus is the Son Of God and can do whatever He wants…and He didn’t have to be the oldest son to give this Tweet. That could be true. But I see a theme throughout the Bible that Jesus honored culture and respected law.(He didn’t have to.) I’m pretty convinced that Jesus is head of the household here and is making sure that His mother will be cared for when He is gone. Now…Jesus had brothers and sisters. But it seems they weren’t on the scene. So, i think Jesus was asking John to step up and take care of His mother. We won’t know for sure until we physically meet Jesus someday. I’m sure we’ll ask and get a clear answer from Him then. How cool with that be?

The other, and more important point about this Tweet of Jesus being sent out while Jesus is on the cross…It shows that Jesus was continually focused on Promoting the progress and purpose of others. If there was ever a time for Jesus to say. “Hey…Everybody! This is about ME!” Then this was the time. Yet His focus was to make sure the people He was leaving behind would be cared for and loved. He was concerned about others. In fact, I can think of only one time where Jesus thought about himself. Its the time in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus begs to have “this Cup of Suffering” taken away from him. For a few moments, Jesus thinks about himself and begs for His Father to get Him out of the crucifixion. This thinking didn’t last long. Immediately after asking His Father to take away this pressure….He bowed and submitted and began to promote the progress and purpose of God/Others by saying…. “Not my will be done, but yours.” (If you want to watch a full message I preached on this very subject on video about this “cup of suffering” then click on this link, its the video titled “Cup of Suffering.”) PLEASE NOTE: If you leave this sight right now to watch the video without reading the rest of this blog because you intend to come back and read it later, the parts you have not read are all underlined. It should be easy for you to return and know where to “pick up” your reading right where you left off!

Jesus cared right up to His very last heart beat. He cared for you. He could have come off that cross and settled the score right then and there. He could have come off that cross right there and shut everybody up and prove His Lordship. He could have called on the angels with swords drawn to free Him from the cross and they would have obeyed Him. He could have worked any miracle He wanted to. Right then. How tempting it must have been. But He didn’t. He honored the wishes of His Father and stayed on the cross and kept His mind on others. He knew it was better to die to for you and your cause than it was to think only about His own feelings.

Jesus continually focused on the needs of others. Not his own. I love the phrase “Promote the Progress and Purpose of Others.” Its easier said than done.

There is no phrase that better describes the focus of Jesus.

Today…as you pursue your check lists and live in your rituals…would you pay attention to others around you? When you get to the office or wherever you work…God will already be at work there. Join Him. Open your spiritual eyes and see the spiritual needs in the people around you during your day today. Be the one who joins God in His work today and get to the business of promoting other people’s purposes in life. When you and I fully do that…That’s when Jesus has a way of bringing it all back around on us.

That is truly living.

What can I do for you today to help promote your progress and your purpose?
If you ask…I will do whatever I can.


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #4”

My Mother and My Brothers are all those who hear God’s Word and obey it. JC Luke 8:21 (NLT)

This Tweet of Jesus plays out like a movie in my head. Jesus is inside a house and He is spending some time with a crowd of people. He has just recently set out, going from town to town, teaching, and healing, and building His influence. In this scene He’s in a house. The Bible said that His mother and brothers show up and want to talk to Him but they couldn’t get to Him because the crowd was so big. How cool would it have been to be in the crowd? Someone runs into the house and said to Jesus, or maybe they shouted it over the top of the crowd. “Hey Jesus….your mother and brothers are outside and they want to talk to you.” I imagine Jesus taking a seat for a second, the crowd is silent waiting to see what He is going to say or do. He grabs His mobile phone and hits His Twitter App and tweets out to His followers, “My mother and brothers are all those who hear God’s Word and obey it.” –JC All throughout the room everybody’s mobile phones start beeping the tone that lets them know a new message has just arrived into their inbox. The women in the room grab their purses and begin to dig through them looking for their phone. The guys do a quick self “pat-down” trying to remember what pocket they stashed their new iPhones in. The rustling ends and everybody’s faces are aglow in the candle lit room as they are reading their message from their phones. At nearly the exact same time as the whole crowd finishes reading this obscure tweet…you can hear the crowd in nearly unison say, “huh?” The guy in the back who doesn’t have the new 4G phone sounds like an echo as he says, “huh?” about 24 seconds later.

It would be a strange tweet to receive wouldn’t it?

I can’t imagine how confusing this must have been to the crowd listening. Even more…imagine what Mary, Jesus mom, and His brothers might have thought when they heard His reply. I think James, Jesus’ younger brother might have pulled Mary aside and whispered to her that he thinks his older brother might be doing drugs. Or maybe James would have said…”Mom, you can’t let Him keep getting away with that kind of attitude.”

To be honest…I’m not really sure what to blog about this comment. It seems pretty clear.

Jesus is simply saying…My family members obey the Word of God.

I want to be in Jesus family. I want to obey the Word of God. What should I obey?

I think Matthew 25 gives us a “final exam” glimpse at what Jesus “Family” does while on earth.

Things like clothe the naked, feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, visit the prisoner, care for the sick, love and care for orphans and widows, do kind and loving things for society’s “least of these.” The Bible is also loaded with great things that Family members of Jesus should WANT to do.

Who are the “Least of These” in your circles of influence. In our world today our Circles of Influence have expanded. You and I can get on an airplane and arrive in the middle of Africa in very little time. The Word of God tells us to love our neighbors. We have world-wide neighbors and we have neighbors living under our own roof tops and next door.

To Obey The Word Of God…is to GO into all the world and love all people. Love is action.

Are you really a family member of Jesus?
What action will you do today or this week that shows you are a family member of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the final judge, the savior of the world, King of Kings, the Messiah, the doorway to Heaven?
Now that’s a family member anybody can be proud have!


GENERATION NEXT… The Crossroads


What are you a leader of? You lead something.
I have found myself preparing to lead again. The time is close. I’m excited. I’ve had some extended time off from vocational ministry and have had a lot of time to think, read and study. I have enjoyed it. I have learned immensely about the next generation and have been able to compare them to the current old school generation. Here’s some thoughts about what I’ve learned in the last year.

The next generation(Millennials aged 11-33) naturally have a knack for leading like Jesus…they just don’t know that’s what its called! They don’t do this deliberately, they actually do it instinctively.

We are at a crossroads that America has never experienced before in her culture. From this point in American History there has been nothing but building from an Agrarian type culture to an Industrial assembly line culture where bigger and more is always better. This has happened even within the church. The next generation has realized that bigger and more isn’t always better. The Millennials don’t know what the Industrial Revolution is. They have been raised in the “Service Industry” where customer service is king. There is a movement towards personal service and small. Nobody wants a great big cell phone. A great big flash drive.” A great big iPad. A great big corporation. I’m not saying any of those are wrong…I’m just saying….they are “out.” I won’t go so far as to say that small is the new big. I used to incorrectly believe that “Small is the new big.” But through the school of hard knocks I learned differently. This really isn’t about Big vs. Small.

Q: So what is the new big? A: The natural tendency of the Millennials.

The New Big is to be able to work using your ability/strength and be appreciated for it by the people you surround yourself with…especially your supervisor/boss.

The New Big will be led by the Leader in your organization who knows your gifts and strengths and gives you the freedom to use them effectively towards the goals and values of the organization.

The New Big has a Leader in the organization that knows your best work mode hours and lets you use those hours to be effective for the organization, be it morning, noon or night. (It no longer is about 8:30 to 5)

The New Big is led by the Leader in your organization who knows how you do your best work for the organization and they free you to pursue the organizational goal in the way you are bent to achieve it.

The New Big is led by the Leader in your organization who knows you have a group that you relate really well with and he/she will give you the freedom to accomplish your goals for the organization using the people you choose to accomplish the goal with.

The Next Great Leaders know the Next Generation is inspired by a leader who will generate a list of things to be achieved for the success of the company and then give his/her staff the ability to choose what they want to tackle and pursue. Can you see the energy of this system? The group excitement?

The Next Big Leader that leads like this…is a leader that is like Jesus. The Leader that leads like this will take his/her company into the future successfully and with significance and joy.

A new generation of young people is rising up. They have a lot of friends and would do anything for those friends. They want to work through motivation and not get so caught up in compensation. They want to work for significance and they aren’t that concerned about the comparisons and competition. They want to live a life of peace and camaraderie and they want to do a lot of good for our world.

Some companies that have already grasped these facts are proving very successful. Some examples are…

Zappos
Apple
Rock Harbor Church
Facebook
Venture Church
Southwest
Northpoint Church
Google
Life Church
Virgin
Twitter
YouTube
Tom’s

The list is actually extensive.

We are at a Crossroads…in our American Society.
Here’s the great news…
The Millennial Generation has unbelievable potential. They are deeply technologically savvy. They want to live for significance. They are highly relational. I’m sure there is some maturing yet to be done in this generation before their true colors shine. But don’t we all still have some maturing to do.

The future looks bright!
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