My favorite part of The Voice

It’s at about the 50 second mark. Sixteen-year-old Jacquie Lee’s time is almost up and none of the super star judges have activated the switch to turn their chair around, signaling approval of Ms. Lee’s performance. If none of them turn, her journey will be over in less time than it takes to change classes at school.

Christina Aguilera’s hand hovers over the button.  Time is nearly gone as she finally pounces on her button, convincing Blake Shelton to rapidly follow suit. Both chairs spin around to a smiling young lady. She has been accepted. She has received the approval of people who could propel her into stardom. Continue reading


Jesus was made perfect. So, he must have been less than perfect, right?


Photo credit: Jilles / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Photo credit: Jilles / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Short answer: yes.

Perhaps it wasn’t the smartest idea.  I introduced the question posed in the title of this post to the young adult Bible study at Evangel Baptist Church for one of the first studies I led for them.  The look on Brian Barth’s face – a young man who studies the word and is faithful to it – was priceless!  He didn’t know me yet and was deeply concerned that I was bringing some kook teaching into the lives of our young adults.  We can laugh about it now, right Brian (tee-hee)?

But, it’s a question that is valid.  Hebrews 5:8-9 says, “Son though [Jesus] was, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. (NIV)”

Lest you think it’s a mistake, the Biblical author says it again in Hebrews 7:28, “For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. (NIV, too)” Continue reading

Why did the thief repent in the end?

it-is-finished-1_lThere isn’t much time left.  He knows he’s going to die a death that will relieve his physical pain.  But, there’s the question of his eternal destination.

Maybe he doesn’t think about it at the beginning of his final earthly destination that he shared with the Son of God.  He can’t anticipate what will baffle and amaze Jesus’ closest followers in a few days – that even such a brutal death can’t keep Him in the grave.  So there must be something along the way that turns this thief, that changes his mind about the Savior.

I wonder if it was Jesus’ plea on behalf of his executioners.  Despite the brutal beating, whipping and beard pulling – in the face of all of the mocking and slandering – Jesus asked God to forgive them.  The thief has surely seen an execution before.  But he’s never seen anything like this.

Continue reading

Passion Play at Highway Tabernacle in Austintown, OH

This pic taken earlier today is my Jess (the one on the left) with Billie, the six-month-old camel.  He’s starred in his first Passion Play just a few moments after this shot – and he did rather well, I must say.

We saw this presentation last year but decided to check it out again.  It’s funny, we knew what was coming – like Jesus rising from the dead and all (Sorry, I forgot to announce “spoiler alert”) – but the moment he pops out of the fake cave is awesome.  There’s a pause of a couple of seconds after it becomes clear that the tomb has been opened.  A light shone through the narrow gap and a thick mist obscured what was inside, and I found myself anticipating – almost unsure – of what I knew would happen.  Jesus didn’t just come out of the grave, he emerged with vigor and a huge smile, shaking hands with people in the audience.  A very Jesus thing to do.

It was great to see my kids respond to Jesus’ being beaten and crucified.  It looked to me like they were really drinking it all in; even Zach, our eight-year-old.  Maybe they grasped a little more this year than last?  I think I did.

The show is free and they’ll be performing tonight, Saturday and Easter evening at 7 each night.  Here’s a link to their website for more info: