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Christian Blog Easter

Nobody Knew His Secret Ambition

Blogger Beth Alison, from Lessons from a Lab, shared a post yesterday about the Christian’s new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Christ from the dead. A Moment with Our Creator: 1 Peter 1:3 closes with Beth’s request for her readers to share their favorite Easter song.

Musically, Easter brings to mind a favorite tune from back in 1988, Secret Ambition, by Michael W. Smith. The last line of the chorus summarizes the whole song:

🎢 Nobody knew His secret ambition was to give His life away.🎢

Michael W. Smith

I grew up Baptist, and the Passion of Christ (the events from the night before his crucifixion until his death on the cross) was not emphasized. Nevertheless, during the Easter season the Holy Spirit draws me to passages, like Isaiah chapter 53, where Jesus is described as our Suffering Servant.

He was arrested and sentenced to death. Then He was taken away. He was cut off from this life. He was punished for the sins of my people. Who among those who were living at that time tried to stop what was happening?

Isaiah 53:8 (NIRV)

Better yet, who alive at that time truly UNDERSTOOD what was happening–before the resurrection and ascension of Christ?

But He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by his wounds were are healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)

At one Baptist church I attended, we actually held a Good Friday service. The scripture readings, worship music, and a short sermon all focused on the death of Christ. The congregation was then asked to leave in silence, contemplating the significance of the crucifixion.

But our throughly protestant pastor struggled to stick with the plan. During the benediction he remarked, “Brethren, Jesus died for our sins; we must remember His sacrifice. But, praise the Lord, He rose again on Easter!”

Note: If you see a black box where the video should be, please search on YouTube for Michael W. Smith Secret Ambition. It’s the one with 3.4 million views and is worth watching.

Thank you for reading. πŸ™β€οΈ prayers and love. Have a blessed Easter!

Categories
Christian Blog Prayer

Safe Prayers are Dangerous

The Altar, St.Martin Of Tours, West Coker by Jeanette Rendell is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0

Imagine you visit a church for their mid-week prayer service. Walking in the front door you notice the spacious sanctuary, dark and empty. Down one hall, there’s light coming from an open door. You hear the unmistakeable sound of people praying.

Entering the smallish room, you are surprised to find only a handful of the church’s faithful. And what are they praying for? You read the prayer requests on the white board: “Bob has cancer. Theresa had a heart attack. Deacon Sam is under hospice care.

“This is well and good,” you say to yourself. “But is that all?

Fellow blogger Gary Fultz commented on one of my recent posts, “Safe prayers are dangerous.” Immediately, I thought of how the corporate prayer ministries of many churches are a mile wide and an inch deep.

Shallow prayers are relatively “safe,”after all. I mean, who could be offended by them? But this also makes them dangerous. Because if it’s all we do, are we truly covering God’s Kingdom work?


WAIT. Hold the presses! I read a first draft of this post to my wife and she said, “Sweetheart, you’ve described a problem but offer no solution. “Well, uh….,” that’s me talking.

“So, how do YOU pray?” she asked. (Please imagine the sound of crickets chirping).πŸ¦—πŸ¦—πŸ¦— I had no immediate response. Most of my prayers aren’t all that deep, either.

“Ok, how did Jesus pray?” she followed. πŸ¦—πŸ¦—πŸ¦— Despite being a former seminarian, I drew an almost complete blank. All that came to mind was The Lord’s Prayer, from Matthew 6:9-13. Well, it was a good start.

A little biblical digging revealed that Jesus said prayers of adoration, like when He praised God for revealing Himself to ordinary people (Matthew 11:25-27).

Christ also offered up prayers of intercession, like His High Priestly Prayer (John 17:1-26). Here, He prays for Himself–that He will complete His mission–and for His followers–that they will live in complete unity. Why? So that the world will know God sent Him.

Lastly, Jesus said prayers of thanksgiving, like when he thanked God for hearing His prayer to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11: 41.42). This is by no means an exhaustive list. Perhaps you can add to it?

Oops, I’ve rambled on for over 400 words. That’s not like me! I’m usually “Hemingway like” in my succinctness. Perhaps the following scripture sums up what I hope to say, after all.

For my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

Isaiah 56:7b (NASB)

Thank you for reading. πŸ™β€οΈ prayers and love

Categories
Christian Blog Prayer

A Tale Of Two Churches

The massive church, I visited while on a trip, was a sight to behold. The multi-acre campus was dominated by a circular building; one that looked more like a convention center than a traditional sanctuary.

The decor inside was just as grandiose. It was very “mall-like,” with lots of church folk wandering through a bookstore and lined up at a coffee shop.

Being a first time visitor, I decided to give myself plenty of time to find the sanctuary. I found it alright. It was a cavernous theater-style setup. I’m guessing 2000 seats.

With time to spare, I decided to wander around for a bit. Just outside the worship center, I noticed a single door with a sign that read, “Prayer Room.” Intrigued, I ventured in.

It was a comfy little nook, softly lit with trendy table lamps. The room smelled like fine leather furniture. But the most notable thing about this would-be-sacred space was what was missing: people. Unlike the bustling book store and coffee shop, the prayer room was empty.

I could hear the praise band warming up the crowd next door, but there was no one–this side of the wall–to warm God’s heart.


I heard a story about some Christians from the states who visited a large evangelical church while vacationing in Hawaii. It was ten minutes before the worship service but the sanctuary was half empty. Most of the regular attenders were in two large adjoining prayer rooms, lifting up their hearts to God.

The guests from the states found out later this was indicative of Polynesian culture. Many of the faithful at the church had been redeemed from a polytheistic background. Once, they had believed in many gods, but now they knew the one true God. For them, to come into His presence unprepared was unthinkable. β€œWe need to set our hearts to worship God,” said one of the elders.

I bet the Lord came to THAT worship service!

Thank you for reading. πŸ™β€οΈ prayers and love.