Tag Archives: Sunday

The Real Easter

ultimate love.jpg

When I was little, I took everything that was taught me as fact. I questioned very little. But when I became an adult, I began to question many things that were being taught to me. Maybe you’re that way too. It’s good to seek the truth.

One of the truths that men throughout the ages have tried to clarify is the truth of what really happened the Sunday after Jesus was crucified. Did He really rise from the dead, or is this just a big hoax? With Easter coming this weekend, I thought it fitting to explore the three options for explanations as to why the tomb was empty on that historic Sunday morning.

Before we begin, however, I need to make one thing clear: I take the bible as a historical document. You can study this for yourself and find out that the bible is as much a historical document as any other document from that time, and there are some things about this book that leave me with no doubt as to it’s authenticity. If you don’t feel the same way, then I’d love to talk with you about that, but that proof is for another article.

The Swoon Theory:
Some people believe that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross, rather he fainted and later woke up and escaped unnoticed from the tomb.

The Stolen Body Theory:
Some believe that Jesus did die, but that the disciples stole the body of Jesus from the tomb when the guards weren’t looking. This theory is actually recorded in the bible.

The Resurrection Theory:
Some believe that Jesus did die on the cross, that he was buried in a tomb, and that on the third day, he rose from the grave.

Well, there you have it…the three theories that I know of as to why there was an empty tomb that Sunday morning almost two-thousand years ago.  Without this empty tomb, millions of people have a faith that is useless (1 Corinthians 15).  So what’s the truth?

According to history, a person didn’t die quickly on a cross.  It would take a person upward of 36 hours to die, so the soldier that fateful day would have known that these three men (Jesus, and the two thieves) would not be dead by sundown.  He then made the decision to break their legs to speed up the dying process.  On a cross, you can inhale because your lungs are expanded, but you must push up with your legs to exhale.  He broke the legs of the two thieves, but when he came to Jesus, he saw that Jesus was already dead.  This man dealt with death on a regular basis.  He KNEW if someone was dead or just faking it.  Then, just to be sure, he thrust his spear into the heart of Jesus.  If Jesus hadn’t been dead already (which he was), then this would have been the point of no return.

Suppose Jesus didn’t die and the guard missed his mark (however unlikely that is), Jesus had been through hematidrosis – which is agonizing and weakens the body, and he had been severely flogged and lost copious amounts of blood.  Mark’s gospel records that the stone in front of the tomb was exceedingly large.  Jesus wouldn’t have had the strength to escape from the tomb. Thus the first theory is busted.

Matthew’s gospel records the second theory.  The Jews were concerned that the disciples might do this, so Pilate had the tomb sealed and a detachment of soldiers sent to guard tomb.  The detachment would have probably been 16 soldiers with four in front of the tomb at a time on 6 hour shifts while the other 12 slept.  These soldiers would have been armed and standing close to the stone.  The seal would have been two leather straps cris-crossing the stone with a wax seal at the cross.  The penalty for the guards falling asleep on their watch would have been death.  Thus this story would have been HIGHLY unlikely.  Besides, it would have been difficult for the disciples to roll away the stone without waking the guards even if they were asleep.

Thus the only acceptable solution is the third theory.  Jesus DID rise from the grave.  He was alive!  The bible records that over 500 people saw him after his resurrection.  Because of the resurrection we have hope in Christ.  All of our faith as Christians rests on the fact of the resurrection.

Have you put your trust in this historical event?  Have you been connected to Jesus’ death and resurrection by being baptized (Romans 6)? Do you regularly fellowship with the body of Christ (Hebrews 10:25)? I want to personally invite you to connect with a church that will help you grow in love for Jesus and for his followers.  If you’re in the Four Corners area, would you join us at Aztec church of Christ? We would love to have you be part of our loving family.

Advertisements

Christmas Fatigue

I’m tired.  Aren’t you? 

Week after week there is so much to do between work and schooling activities and extra-curricular children’s functions and shopping for needed goods and visiting people. Even the fun times when we plan something extra for the family is usually involving some activity outside the home. 

Then Christmas comes along, and the schedule goes from fast to super-sonic. Now there are Christmas parties and recitals and Christmas gift shopping and trips to the post office and lines…oh, the lines! 

I feel like I’m aging more quickly every day. 

When I consider my exhaustion, there are two things I consider, and I recommend you do too:

1. What is the primary motivation behind my busy-ness?

Am I consumed with self? Am I trying to meet the status quo? Am I trying to live up to others’ expectations? Am I busy serving or receiving? Where is God in this busy life? Is He a motivator or simply a spectator?

If I am busy for reasons that don’t really have anything to do with my relationship with a God, then that reflects on my priorities. If I am busy to the extent that I am distracted from my relationship with a God, then that is a tragedy. If I am busy because there is much to do for the Lord and for others in His name, then that is good, but only in moderation. 

There is also a biblical precedent for rest. 

When we get tired, it is biblical for us to take time off for rest. This is the reason most people get at least one day per week off. It isn’t just physically important, but spiritually as well. 

If I pour out a pitcher, there will come a time when it is empty, and I can no longer pour anything out. Without times of rest and refreshing, we get burned out, exhausted, and become useless. We need to be refilled.

This is one of the many reasons meeting with your church family on Sundays and Wednesdays is important. 

2.  I’m looking more and more forward to the rest that is eternal, spoken of in the scriptures. 

In Hebrews, we are encouraged to seek after that rest – living our lives in such a way as to achieve that rest – as long as it is still available for us to achieve. The rest referred to is heaven.  The presence of God is the most peaceful place to reside. This is the promised culmination of a live lived in devotion to God. 

I don’t achieve this rest if I have taken all the rest I need here on earth. Why would I need rest in the presence of God if I have never done anything for Him here that would exhaust me? Why should I get to rest in Him if I’ve never needed Him before? 

I pray that this holiday season you may find time to rest, and during that time you may find refreshing that is from the Lord whether through His Word, through prayer, or through the encouragement of your forever family. 


Huh? Is that really in there?

20120925-094707.jpg

When I was a young man, my grandfather would tell me a story from when he was a youth worker and my parents were teenagers. My grandfather has always been active in the church, so when my parents were teens, he saw a need to step in to facilitate classes and activities for the teens.

One Sunday morning he saw two young men walking down the aisle, and he decided to have some fun with them. Bear in mind that this was probably the early 1970’s. Both of these teen boys had mustaches, so my grandfather asked them,
“Do you boys read your bible?”
“Oh yes sir,” was their reply.
“Well, then you can quote Hezekiah 14:26.” My grandpa was trying to hold back his grin.
“Um, can you remind us how it goes?” The boys were back pedaling quickly.
“Thou shalt not grow tame upon thine upper lip what groweth wild upon thine leg.”

The two hairy-lipped boys thanked him and went their merry way. The next time Grandpa saw them they had shaved their lips. Obviously they hadn’t bothered to look up the verse, because if they had they wouldn’t have found it. Hezekiah was a king, it isn’t a book in the bible. There is no verse that says men shouldn’t grow mustaches. I cracked up every time I heard that story.

Do you know your bible? Let’s take a test today. I’m going to list some common phrases, and see if you can figure out which ones came from the bible and which ones didn’t.

Is this from the bible or not?
1. Cleanliness is next to godliness
2. The apple of my eye
3. The golden rule: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you”
4. Once saved, always saved
5. Spare the rod, spoil the child
6. God helps those who helps themselves
7. The sinner’s prayer
8. The lion will lay down with the lamb
9. Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned
10. The writing on the wall
11. Wolf in sheep’s clothing
12. You reap what you sow
13. This too shall pass
14. A fool and his money are soon parted

Well, how did you do? The only ones that are actually in the bible are numbers 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, and 13.

We believe a lot of things that just aren’t true. Not being willing to check out the facts through any form of research is a high form of self-deception. We are given a brain to use, but many of us just accept everything at face value.

When Luke wrote the book of Acts, he said that the Bereans were of “more noble character” than those around them because they heard Paul’s message and went home and searched the scriptures to see if it was true.

This practice should apply to every area of our lives. There is an election coming up. Do you believe the hype, or have you done the research so that you have an educated opinion upon which you will cast your vote? Do you accept what the preacher says just because he is the preacher? Do you accept what your school says because the teacher proclaims a message that sounds good?

“Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book.” Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Please don’t be a person who hears something and accepts it without verifying the facts. There are plenty of people who will lie to you with lies that sound too much like truth. Even some religions will expect you to take what they say at face value without verification. One very popular religion has even made it their rule that what they say is more important than what the bible says. Thus there is no way to be a Berean in that system of religion.

The bible is full of wonderful information that feeds your need for truth. Preachers, pastors, and teachers are flawed, erring human beings, so it is important that you verify what they say. Don’t do it because you’re just a skeptic. Don’t do it because you think they’re bad people. They aren’t, I’m sure! In fact, I try very hard to tell the truth all the time, but sometimes I get my facts confused. It is important, then, that you have the ability to discern truth on your own.

You can be noble like a Berean as well.

If you know any other common phrases thought to be in the bible but aren’t, then I’d love to hear them. Many of these are truths that can be verified in scripture, but the wording isn’t there. Shoot me a message at mrjdobbs@gmail.com or comment on this article at my blog at http://www.mrdobbs.org. God bless you as you seek His truth every day.


The Greatest Story Ever Told

20130304-095628.jpg

There is a book to which the best sellers on the New York Times list can never compare. It is the best seller of all time. No book has ever come close. But it is seldom read.

That’s right. It’s the bible.

Many of us have them on our shelves. Most of us have more than one copy. We have them in different fonts and translations. We have children’s versions for our kids. We have them in the pews of our churches. But they function more like dust-gatherers than tools for growth.

This March, on the History channel, a new mini-series is showing on Sunday evenings. It is titled “The Bible”. It will be shown in five episodes, two hours long each. I’m pretty excited about it.

Being able to read the bible is wonderful. Being able to see it is amazing. The first episode has already been aired at the writing of this article, and it was wonderful. Did it include everything I would have included if I had made the show? No! But I didn’t make the show. Is it a great conversation piece for those who are less exposed to what the bible says? Yes!

We need to be people of the word. The people who were considered as noble people in the New Testament, the Bereans, were considered as such because they searched the scriptures to verify the truth.

We Christians claim to know the truth, but many of us can’t even name the 66 books of the bible. How familiar are you to the stories therein? If I asked you what the book of Zephaniah was about, would you know? Do you take what the preachers say at face value, or do you search the scripture to verify their truth claims?

I encourage everyone who hears me teach to verify what I teach. I want to be held accountable to the word of God. It’s not my word I claim to teach, it’s His, and I want to be true to it.

This week, I want to encourage you to get in the word. If you’re watching “The Bible” read the scriptures that coincide with the stories and see what else they didn’t have time to put in their series. There is so much more.

If you’d like to see the series but don’t want to watch it alone or don’t have cable or dish, then you’re welcome to come watch it with us at the Aztec church of Christ. Whatever you do, be in the Word – God’s Word.

I’d love to pray for you and talk to you more about the saving message of Jesus found in the bible. If you’d like to talk, feel free to call me at the office at 505-334-6626 or email me at mrjdobbs@gmail.com. Blessings be yours as you dive into the greatest story ever told.


This IS My Sunday Best

20111130-085849.jpg

Do you like traditions? Some traditions are good and useful, but I enjoy finding those traditions that have need for change and addressing them.

I see some traditions like the daughter who always cut the ends off her roast before putting it in the oven. One day she finally wondered why she was doing it. So asked her mother, but her mother simply said, “that’s the way my mother always did it.” So they went to the grandmother. The grandmother chuckled and said, “my oven wasn’t big enough for the entire roast, so I had to cut the ends off to get it to fit.”

The daughter had been a part of a tradition that was no longer useful nor was it relevant.

Do we have traditions in our churches such as this today? Yes we do. In fact, new obsolete traditions pop up every year as cultures change. The trick is making sure we understand what is a tradition and what is scripture. Many people raise the traditions to the level of scripture and err in doing so.

If you are handy with Google search, you can find out what happened about 150 years ago. Before the industrial revolution there were basically two classes: the haves and the have nots. The haves were able to afford the nicer clothing due to the fact that everything was being made by hand to that point. The have nots had to settle with usually two outfits per person. One they wore to work and the other they wore to town. There was little difference in the style of these articles of clothing. One was simply cleaner than the other.

The haves would wear their nice clothes especially in public to make sure that there was a difference between them and the have nots. It was a status issue. This practice crept into the churches and there was still much division within the family of God as the two classes were still being encouraged through dress and action within the walls of the churches.

Then came the industrial revolution and the rise of the middle class.

With the invention of the Spinning Jenny, clothes manufacturing became less tedious and therefore more affordable to this middle class. More and more people had access to nicer clothes. The upper class began to push the lower classes to conform to their practice of wearing their nicer clothes to the Sunday assemblies. This idea was resisted for several years.

Finally, around 1850, the last of the denominations began to accept and practice this idea of coming to the assembly dressed to the hilt. The term “Sunday best” was coined shortly thereafter, and the rest is history.

Today we still have many people in churches as well as many church leaders who think that dressing your best on Sunday is the only proper way to attend. In this culture, however, people are dressing up less and less. Even business men and women are dressing more casually. The days of dressing to the nines are gone. It was merely a tradition, and a relatively recent one at that.

In the church what this does is continue the mindset of the haves and the have nots. I have known several people who do not attend worship anywhere for fear that the “don’t have anything nice to wear”. What a shame!

In 1 Corinthians there was an issue of the haves not treating the have nots as equal, and it came to a head concerning the Lord’s Supper in chapter 11. The haves could get to the assembly quicker because of horses and the like, but the poor had to come from the edges of the area and on foot. The rich would go ahead and feast at the supper, but when the poor got there no food was left.

If we continue this idea of “Sunday best” in our churches we harbor that same attitude distinguishing between the classes. Church is supposed to be a collective of unity. God does not show favoritism. God was fine with David dancing in his underwear before God. Where was his Sunday best? God didn’t seem to care.

In Joel 2:13, God says, “Rend your heart and not your garments.” God is more interested in your heart and attitude than he is in how you dress. If you have nice clothes, then church is for you. If you don’t have nice clothes then church is for you too. In fact, how awesome would it be if those that are haves dressed down a bit just so they could show their desire to commune with those that have less.

I know of churches that do just that. They minister to homeless and other poor, and the leaders dress down to keep from flaunting their wealth before the poor. It’s an attitude of acceptance and unity.

Remember, as long was your heart is totally dedicated to God, then no matter what you wear, you are in your Sunday best.

May we be a people who promote unity in our churches as we love each other no matter what they wear. May we humble ourselves a bit – remembering that Jesus, the King of kings, humbled himself and became a man…just like us.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this, please feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the office at 245-1611. God bless you!


%d bloggers like this: