Maybe you remember the Rembrandt (1635 A.D.) painting depicting the Genesis 22 account of the angel of the LORD preventing Abraham from killing his son. For years this chapter was the most demanding chapter in the Bible for me; theologically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Can you relate?
God asks His servant to sacrifice his son, Isaac, whom he loves. It’s a test and Abraham passes. The ram is in the thicket. Abraham, of course, had to make his decision on the dark road to Mount Moriah when everything was perplexing, and he didn’t know how the story would end. Our American ears may perceive the passage as dark, cruel and barbaric. How could God ask Abraham to do this?
Isn’t it a great lesson on faith as well as a beautiful allusion to the GOSPEL? Martin Luther once read this passage to his children for family devotions and his wife, Katie, couldn’t believe God would do such a thing. She said God would never have treated a son like that, but Luther replied, “But He did.” God treated His son that way by sacrificing the son whom He loved, Jesus, on the altar of the cross to make a way of salvation for all. Many people are not aware that Calvary, Golgotha-the place of the skull-is actually a part of Mount Moriah. What imagery … what significance …. what a Savior.
To many, the cross is foolishness, nonsense, absurd, moronic, ridiculous and insane. A crucified Savior is viewed as an oxymoron and so uncool. But to those who get this gracious, scandalous Gospel … it is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe. GRACE ADVENTURES/CAPITOL COMMISSION exists to faithfully introduce people to the Jesus of the Bible and to tell the grand story that one man could die on an ancient hill 2000 years ago in an obscure part of the world on a bloody cross and thereby shape the destiny of every person who was ever lived. There is even an empty tomb to prove it. It’s disturbing that so many today are trying to synthesize the gospel into a fashionable, eloquent, clever message that shrinks Jesus. Many churches are reinventing, reshaping and repackaging Jesus in an effort to impress an itchy eared world that craves a god made in their own image. Many end up with a loving God who has no wrath, people without sin, Christ without a cross, eternity without hell and salvation without repentance. Drink deeply into the picture above and the biblical GOSPEL. You can’t help but be amazed by grace and love Jesus more.
The same gospel that impacted the world so mightily 2000 years ago is the same gospel we make known today. The following are a few things to pray for as 2018 launches:
- The year starts with the launching of several new initiatives including a new Bible Study at the Capitol, a new study for emerging leaders, and a new Leader Faith Forum for elected leaders in Jefferson Parish. These are wonderful open doors to complement the existing set of Bible studies. There are one or two studies every day of the week except Saturday. Paul taught for two years in the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19) and the message went out to all of Asia Minor. Our leaders are being used to reach other leaders.
- Donna and I just finished speaking to Military Leaders and their families at the Officers Christian Fellowship Retreat Center in White Sulphur Springs, Pennsylvania. What an honor to teach Bible to choice folks who are sacrificially serving our nation. Pray for follow-up opportunities and possibilities.
- The Louisiana Legislative Session is gearing up, and an earlier Special Session is being discussed. This is my busiest time of the year as I try to be at the Capitol each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to connect with the legislators and the Capitol Community. Pray for the Bible Studies and one-on-one appointments.
- I am serving on the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast Steering Committee this year. If you would like to attend the 55th Annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast on Wednesday March 14, 2018 you can purchase tickets at www.lagpb.org. Pray for a life changing morning.
- Pray for a series of special events that I am leading or speaking at in the coming weeks:
Law Enforcement Day, St. Tammany Parish with Rep. Steve Scalise
National Prayer Breakfast Team to D. C. (Televised February 8th on CSPAN)
National Day of Prayer at the State Capitol
Business Conference in New Orleans (August 8-10)
Colson Fellows Program Project
Giving Hope Retreat Center