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In Other Words...
A Research Service Of Facts & Humor For Christian Leaders
April 2020 Issue 1
CHURCH: As we gathered for Christmas in 2019, nobody could have imagined we wouldn’t be able to congregate for Easter. We just assumed we’d come together for the Resurrection after having celebrated the Incarnation just a few months earlier. For many, these are the two main times they amble in to church. And for a number of others, they presume the church will always be there when they transition to a less chaotic season of life and have more time for it. Although Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) didn’t attend church nor profess faith in Christ, he wrote two thoughts that are apropos for this Easter. He said, “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” He also noted, “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Huxley died the same day as C.S. Lewis, November 22, 1963. Both were brilliant thinkers steeped in humanistic thought as highly educated adults, but Lewis came to realize he could not ignore the facts about Christ or take for granted what He did. We should consider Huxley’s two comments and follow Lewis’ example. The Little Red Book of Wisdom, Mark DeMoss, 2011, p.99
EASTER: Jonathan Wainwright was the only U.S. General to be captured in WWII. General Douglas MacArthur had given the orders, “No surrender. Fight to the end.” But intense fighting in the Philippines pushed Wainwright to surrender. For months in a Mongolia POW camp he was immersed in self-condemnation for having surrendered to the enemy. His body deteriorated under the harsh conditions and he was forced to hobble around on a cane. When MacArthur ultimately prevailed, the Japanese were forced to surrender. Wainwright was now free, but he continued to live as a prisoner because the news had not reached Mongolia. An Allied plane landed near the POW camp and an American officer walked to the fence. He saluted Wainwright and said, “General, Japan has surrendered.” With this new information, Wainwright stood tall, limped to the commandant’s office and declared, “My commander-in-chief has defeated your commander-in-chief. I am in control now. I order you to surrender!” Without a shot being fired, the Japanese commandant laid down his weapon and surrendered to the emaciated, weak man he had once controlled. The power of that transaction was not dependent upon Wainwright’s strength, but on the truth of what had occurred. When Jesus arose from the grave, His actions declared victory and liberation for anyone who will accept the truth of what He has done. The Grace Walk Devotional, Steve McVey, 2013, p.181
EASTER: In the introduction to his sermon The Sympathy of the Two Worlds, Charles Spurgeon stated, “The only full heart is the overflowing heart.” Any Easter would force us to honestly assess whether or not our heart is overflowing, but 2020’s COVID Easter has forced us to all truthfully ask, “Is my heart really full?” Spurgeon.org
RESURRECTION: Many people look at Jesus’ resurrection with skepticism or outright disbelief. They argue that we must focus on that which is certain or scientifically verifiable. Ironically, the field of science actually confirms uncertainty. The “Uncertainty Principle” is a key scientific principle and it states that we cannot know both the speed and location of subatomic particles. Aspects of these fundamental building blocks of life escape the most brilliant minds so it shouldn’t surprise us that there are limits to our finite under-standing. We’re all free to reject the evidence of Christ and His resurrection, but it can’t be done with certainty. It requires faith. God’s Not Dead, Rice Brooks, 2013, p.159
SACRIFICE: In May of 2006, Dr. Samuel Weinstein performed one of the most unusual surgeries of his storied career. The pediatric cardiothoracic chief surgeon at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, New York had traveled to El Salvador for life-saving procedures on needy children. Through the ministry of Heart Care International, Dr. Weinstein was set up to operate on the heart of 8-year-old Francisco Fernandez. Although the surgery was going well, the young boy was bleeding a lot and they didn’t have an adequate supply of medicine to slow the blood loss. He also had a very rare blood type, B-negative, which only 2% of people have. Uniquely, Dr. Weinstein had the same blood type so he stepped away from the operating table and gave a pint of blood while his colleagues continued. Twenty minutes later, he rehydrated, ate a Pop-Tart, and then completed the successful operation with his own blood saving the boy’s life. On a scale infinitely larger, Christ gave His blood to save the life of every sinner who accepts the indescribable gift of God’s love and forgiveness. Leadership Journal, Fall 2006, p.71
SALVATION: Dr. Francis Collins is a medical doctor & geneticist who was appointed by President Clinton to head the Human Genome Project. His team successfully decoded the three billion genes of human DNA. Collins spent much of his early life looking at Jesus as a fairy tale suitable only for bedtime stories. But as his career evolved, he was deeply impacted by the faith he saw in some of his desperately ill patients. He researched history and was amazed at the evidence concerning Christ. Collins wondered how a rational scientist could believe in such “difficult stuff” like the resurrection. He concluded. “If Christ really was the Son of God, as He explicitly claimed, then surely of all those who had ever walked the earth, He could suspend the laws of nature if He needed to do so to achieve a more important purpose.” Ultimately, it wasn’t the evidence that held him back, but his pride. Collins wrote, “My desire to draw close to God was blocked by my own pride and sinfulness, which in turn was an inevitable consequence of my own selfish desire to be in control.” Understanding the incomparable value of exchanging his pride and control for God’s grace eventually led Collins to embrace Christ as Lord. Dr. Collins’ story mirrors so many in that we realize it’s not the evidence that prevents us from believing in the resurrected Christ. It’s often our pride. The Language of God, Francis Collins, 2006, p.221
EVERYDAY HUMORFAITH: For Easter in 2019, Ikea began selling a 3-piece “Self-Assembly Milk Chocolate Bunny.” The Swedish home furniture retailer created this novelty so buyers could attach the ears to a slot on the head and a stand for the legs. It’s chocolate, and it’s an abstract looking rabbit, but the buyer is reminded that assembly is required. Faith can’t be given to us or experienced for us by another. It requires “self-assembly.” People, 3/25/19, p.6
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