So Much More Than Zombie Jesus

So Much More Than Zombie Jesus

Feb 22, 2016

Phil Lawton SDB Church of Shiloh, NJ It’s Easter, so you might think that I am going to be talking about bunnies and eggs and pastel colors. Nope. I want to talk about Zombies. Yes, you heard me right…Zombies. At this point some of you might be thinking I have gone off the deep end. Well, I might have, but that is not why I am talking about Zombies. A few years ago, I saw an image on BuzzFeed that told us that Jesus was not a Zombie. After all, Zombies eat humans and Jesus most certainly did not. It continues that He is not a ghoul since they continue to decay. This goes on through things like vampires and ghosts, and ends with the conclusion that Jesus is a lich. The explanation is that a lich uses magic to return a soul to a body for the express purpose of living forever. Oh, and a lich has the power of necromancy. Now this image was meant in jest, and as someone who understands the fantasy world, I laughed. But it also made me think. What do we believe about the resurrection? What does it mean for our lives? Was Jesus some kind of “Biblical lich”? The answer to the last question is most certainly “no.” But the other questions are good questions to ask. What we believe about the resurrection has a dramatic impact on our faith. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 12:19 that if Jesus is not raised, “we are of all men most to be pitied.” (NASB) This is not some hyperbole of Paul. For Paul the central hope of Christianity rests in the resurrection of Jesus. If this is true, then a full understanding of the resurrection is central to all Christian belief. What DO we believe about the resurrection? This brings me back to BuzzFeed and the “Jesus Zombie.” That image was created because it was very popular for people on Facebook to post “Happy Zombie Jesus Day.” After all, isn’t everyone who comes back from the dead a Zombie? Well, the creator of that image understood this was not the case and sought to inform the world....

Freedom!

Freedom!

Feb 22, 2016

by Julia Coleman SDB Church of Shiloh, NJ We are given the responsibility to testify to the world of the freedom Christ has brought to us through His propitiatory act on the Cross. Seeing Jesus during the time of the Crucifixion from the perspective of three women in the Bible gives us an insight into who Jesus is, the value of the Cross, and what He did in changing their lives and ours for all eternity! I moved among the crowds, watching the sequence of events and remembering how different, painful and sad my life used to be — how much things had changed when this Man came into my life! I am not the same. Instead of hiding in the shadows, I freely moved through the people who were now shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Pontius Pilate, the Governor, stepped forward, “Why? What crime has He committed?” The crowd shouted even louder, “Crucify Him!” Pilate washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this Man’s blood. It is your responsibility.” Pilate’s soldiers took my Savior, my Healer, into the soldiers’ Praetorium where I watched them strip Him, put a scarlet robe on Him, force a crown of thorns on His head, and mock Him: “Hail King of the Jews.” If they only knew; if they only knew how much more He is. I held back the tears, the piercing in my heart, fighting not to hate but to love as He taught me…as He taught us. I pushed my way through, wanting to see what was going to happen next. They spat on Him and repeatedly struck the crown of thorns on His head with a staff. Blood ran down His face, scarlet like the robe He wore. The soldiers thought this was a game. I heard myself say, “No, stop that!” but nothing came from my lips. A tear ran down my cheek. You see, I am a woman among a society ruled by men. My voice is silent here! Heartbroken, I watched my Messiah take insult after insult. What is happening? He is being tried. For what reason? For being kind, for healing the sick, for feeding...

Give Up Your Heart

by Rachael Osborn SDB Church of Boulder, CO As 2015 turns to 2016, the entire world seems to reflect on the previous year and resolve to be better in the upcoming one. You’re going to drink more water, and she’s going to lose weight, and he’s finally going to finish that one project. Our lives change so drastically in the span of a mere 24 hours as we begin the new year with determination. Yet, no one seems to last. Maybe you’re feeling really determined and you make it all the way to May before you give up — but, you still fail. We all do. We’re flawed. But maybe our failure is less of a lack of dedication and more of a lack of perspective. How can we expect to improve in any way when we are so wrapped up in ourselves and our desires? The only way to anything worthwhile whatsoever is through Jesus Christ. Maybe we should put less emphasis on self-improvement and more on self-sacrifice. God has been laying on my heart how comfortable I am with a passive faith. Lately, life has gotten so much in the way that I’ve missed out on truly living with a limitless faith. I have been so stuck. I try to get myself unstuck and I end up digging an even bigger hole for myself. The truth is that I cannot read my Bible enough, or listen to enough sermons, or dig deep enough into any theology to ever compel my heart on my own. For Christ’s love compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14). My head knows this, but my heart has a hard time believing it. So often I fall back into a pattern of complacency that leads to self dependence. I fail time and time again and wonder why. But, what is the Gospel but complete, utter failure on our part and the glorious grace upon grace of Jesus Christ? In trying to become better, I become worse and need Jesus more and more with each passing day. We all do. So, we become comfortable. We fool ourselves into believing that we are good enough, and mature, and where God wants us to...

Steps of Faith

Steps of Faith

Feb 22, 2016

by Nadine Lawton First Hopkinton SDB Church, RI “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” — Hebrews 11:1 We take many steps of faith throughout our lives. Our first steps are as a baby when we trust our parents to hold our hands as we take those first tentative steps toward walking on our own. My grandson is taking those tentative steps now. As we grow, we continue those steps of faith. One of the first major ones is making the choice to go to college or find a job after high school. Many parents pray for their child to listen to the Lord’s leading in that decision. My son just completed that step of deciding to go to college and is now trusting that the Lord will help him find the right job, since completing his degree. One step of faith that Seventh Day Baptist Young Adults might make is whether or not to go into Summer Christian Service Corps. Should they not get a summer job and spend the summer in the Lord’s service, supporting the ministries of one of our churches, or perhaps with the Missions Track serving our Jamaican Conference? Many hours of prayer go into these decisions. And many hours of listening for the voice of the Lord also go into these decisions. I have it on good authority that many have made the decision to apply for SCSC. It looks to be a good team this year, with a new SCSC director and many new staff members to help train these young adults as servant leaders. This is the 4th year that the Women’s Board is asking you to Step Out in Faith to support these Young Adults. The students are asked to raise funding to help with their transportation and training costs (they all like to eat and have a roof over their heads!). But they also need to come up with what it will cost them to attend Conference and travel home. Or perhaps they are only able to come up with enough funds to travel home and not attend Conference. The Dorotha Shettel Fund was created to...

Unwavering Faith

by Willy Villalpando Maranatha Community Church, Colton, CA   A little less than a year ago, I received a notification on Facebook that I had been added to a secret group. The notification read, “You have been added to the secret group ‘I have a Tumor in my Chest’.” I would have never anticipated entering my Facebook feed. I went to the group page to be met by a post by José (obviously the name has been changed for confidentiality). The post read something like, “I have a tumor in my chest and this was the easiest way to tell you all. I plan to do something within the next month; and odds are, I will die. I’ve known a couple months, but I’ve used that time to try and comprehend it. I was planning to just let myself go, but my resolve has strengthened. Do what you will with this information, but don’t tell my family. I need to do that. Thank you for being in my life.” A week later, José posted that he would be having surgery in an attempt to remove the tumor. Praise God, he had the surgery a week or so after that and everything went well. The tumor was removed and he was going to have radiation therapy in order to remove the last part of it! We even had a party to celebrate! Everything seemed like it was all going so much better! All of our prayers had been answered and our friend was going to be okay. Mid-July I received another notification from the secret group. I went to the group page and written there was one simple sentence: “They checked on my chest again and found that the tumor is still growing.” Our hopes had been crushed. What we thought had been healed and had moved past had returned. However, about a month and a half later, another post went up letting us all know that it looked like he might be in partial remission! Again, praises were screamed to God that our friend once again was going to be okay and he would be healed! A few weeks ago, another notification came to...