News, Views, and Whatnot for the Week of 6/16/2012

» The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached Outside the Ministry

Remembering David Foster Wallace 1962-2008

“‘Think about it: There is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute center of.’

Wallace goes on to challenge his audience that getting outside of oneself is THE challenge every human faces every moment of every day. Wallace was right.”

» Adolescent Christianity

When Are We Going to Grow Up? The Juvenilization of American Christianity

“Today many Americans of all ages not only accept a Christianized version of adolescent narcissism, they often celebrate it as authentic spirituality. God, faith, and the church all exist to help me with my problems.”

“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” sound familiar?

When Are We Going to Grow Up? The Juvenilization of American Christianity

» Apologetics

How were the books of the New Testament chosen? How would you decide who was right?

» The Man You Don’t Want To Marry

Is there a hidden “love of money” in conservative churches?

“Writers and other creatives have it tough in conservative churches –where providing for a family financially is a top priority.”

I’m a writer with a creative calling, and the Christian subculture has no use for me.

» The New Theists

You’ve heard of the “New Atheists”? Check out the “New Theists”

Get To Know The New Theists

» Holding People’s Hands

I don’t think I could do this. What about you?

Just for Fun Music Videos

Rockelbel’s Canon (Pachelbel’s Canon in D) – 4 Cellos – ThePianoGuys


Constraining Love

For the love of Christ controls (constrains) us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV)

What does Paul mean that the love of Christ constrains us?

The Greek word behind our word “controls” or “constrains” is: συνέχει. συνέχει means to “compel us toward a course of action” or “press us forward” or “move us into a position of contact”.

We could write it this way, “For the love of Christ is pressing us to action.” It is the love of Christ that is doing this. It is an ever present action upon us.

Why does Paul tell us that the love of Christ constrains us?

Paul writes: “because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

Paul is using what I would call “Union with Christ” language. The love of Christ constrains us because we are united with Him. He heightens this language when he explains,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

The atonement is not a goal unto itself or something that occurs outside of Christ. Our sins are atoned for when we are united with Christ. TF Torrance explains,

“It is not atonement that constitutes the goal and end of that integrated movement of reconciliation but union with God in and through Jesus Christ in whom our human nature is not only saved, healed and renewed but lifted up to participate in the very light, life and love of the Holy Trinity.”

We are united to Christ in such a way that,

“In the Church of Christ all who are redeemed through the atoning union embodied in him are made to share in his resurrection and are incorporated into Christ by the power of his Holy Spirit as living members of his Body…Thus it may be said that the ‘objective’ union which we have with Christ through his incarnational assumption of our humanity into himself is ‘subjectively’ actualised in us through his indwelling Spirit, ‘we in Christ’ and ‘Christ in us’ thus complementing and interpenetrating each other.” ~TF Torrance

We are propelled to action by the love of Christ because we have experienced the love of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) through our union with Christ by the Spirit. In other words, because of our union with Christ by the Spirit, we cannot not be constrained to spread the Gospel.


We Do Not Think Enough Of Sex

What was not said is, “we don’t think enough about sex”.

Books Gospel Interviews

Journey in Grace: An Interview with Mark Lauterbach

I have enjoyed and benefited from Mark Lauterbach and his blog- Gospel-Driven Life (for his old site here). I want to publicly thank Mark for his putting the time, effort, thoughtfulness and grace in his responses to some questions I posed to him via email. I have, once again, benefited from a man who has tasted and seen that the Lord is good most clearly in the Gospel and has committed himself to helping others to see and taste that the Lord is good most clearly in the Gospel.

For starters, would you tell us a bit about yourself, your family, and your ministry?
Thanks for asking. I am a native of Pittsburgh and a lifelong Steeler fan. I was there for the immaculate reception by Franco Harris (and if you don’t know what that is, look it up on google). My wife Rondi and I have been married for almost 29 years and she is my sunshine. We have three adult children, all graced by the Lord with faith. We have served church in the West primarily, since 1976. We have been in Oregon, Arizona, and California. I am currently the pastoral team leader for Grace Church in San Diego. I follow on the heels of a godly and gifted planter (Craig Cabaniss) who started Grace 11 years ago from scratch and laid some great foundations. I love ministry with my wife, and we cannot believe we have the joy of serving this body of people.

Q1. Would you explain your journey toward Gospel-Centeredness? Was there a watershed moment or sequence of moments?
That all began with an older man in our church in Tucson telling me one day that I did not preach Christ. Since I was in the middle of Romans I was quite perplexed. For a year or so he would make his point in various ways and I would try to understand him. I respected him greatly and thought I should hear him. About that time a friend moved to be near us. He had just completed his PhD, and when I asked him what it was about, he said he focused on the theme of the New Testament: “Jesus the Son of God came, lived a sinless life, died for sin on the cross, and rose again from death – now live in light of that.” I pressed him for more but that is what he kept coming back to . . . I was surrounded.

I set off on a journey of years. I started with the New Testament and circled or noted every reference to the achievements of the cross as I read and studied. I was shocked at how much the NT was blood stained and how I had turned it into a book of moral guidelines and rules. I was also reading Spurgeon, Charles Bridges, plus whatever I could get my hands on. I was being helped by the Lord to see that everything in the NT is a response to the Redeemer’s work. It took years. The final two “Wow” influences were Tim Keller and C J Mahaney. Keller showed me the Gospel everywhere and CJ showed me how to apply it and not just preach it.

I think the key was my re-reading of the entire NT. There are also more books coming out to help: Goldsworthy’s book on hermeneutics, and Dennis Johnson’s new book on preaching Christ.

Q2. Has your understanding of “the Gospel is for Christians” altered other facets of your theology? Why? Why not?
It has changed everything. I think all theology needs to be read through the Redeemer’s work. I think the character of God is most clearly seen through the cross and the empty tomb. I think the church is valued because Jesus died for it. I think eschatology is Redeemer centered not Israel centered (oops, that will get me into trouble with some). I could go on. There is no reason to fear that we lose something if we are focused on the cross and the resurrection. I am careful with theology that makes people feel burdened and heavy (that seems to be a side effect of Calvinism) and look for God-glorifying joy in a great salvation that brings us to God.

I now measure my own life by how much I live in the good of the Gospel every day. I measure my preaching and counseling by how clearly I help people grasp the full salvation achieved by Jesus and rest in it. Are they seeking to commend themselves to God? Are they defending themselves? Are they living under condemnation?

I have a sixth sense now for moralistic preaching. Anything preached that instructs, exhorts, admonishes, convicts – all the stuff we think makes it good – anything that does that but does not lead people to the cross seems to fall short of the apostolic pattern of ministry.

Q3. In your opinion, why do many Christians view the Gospel as only for unbelievers?
I would guess because we are all slow of heart to see the Gospel clearly. Luther said we have to remind ourselves of it all the time and beat it into our heads continually. I am so deeply self-righteous and self-reliant that it takes effort to remind myself of the grace of God. Take that tendency in all of us and mix it with lack of reading the Bible where we see the Gospel everywhere, and you have all that you need to have a “front door to salvation” view of the Gospel. I also think God is doing this work of making us Gospel centered in a new way in our day.

Q4. How do you stay Gospel-Centered in your preaching without allegorizing?
Who needs to allegorize? Most texts are Gospel centered – but there are lines to the Gospel everywhere. One of the key lines is to show how any law-demand cannot be met by us but is met in Christ. Another line is to show the sinfulness of the people in the situation and how they need a Savior. I think I read the passage praying for eyes to see Gospel issues – sin, redemption, grace, self-righteousness, etc. I think the link is often in application in its best form.

So, for example, the other day I read in Luke 22 what I have looked at a dozen times but never noticed before. Jesus tells the 11 that they will abandon him. He celebrates the Lord’s Supper with them. They immediately start fighting about who is the greatest! It is shocking. There they are in the presence of the Son of God who humbled himself for them – and they are arguing for pre-eminence in the group. So, Jesus teaches them about servanthood. That is Gospel-rich by itself. They need a Savior before they need moral teaching about humility. Luke makes that clear. But then the next verse bowls me over – he looks at these 11 who have been bickering and contending for honor and he says, “You are they who have continued with me in my trials.” Wow, — that is not what I am thinking. I am thinking they ARE his trials. But he, in grace, anticipating the cross, points out grace in their lives. I can use that passage to show how we all need a Savior – and how grace-filled eyes see people differently – and Jesus is the example for us. I can also point out to people that this is how Jesus sees his own – including them.

Q5. What is the most challenging aspect for you in preaching? What have you done to overcome these challenge(s)?
The biggest challenge is my own dull heart and my tendency to think that I am done with preaching after I have preached – and to miss application. It still takes me 14 hours a week or so to do a sermon. It all depends on if it is a new series (takes more time up front), a topical series (more work), and if the passage is simple or complex. Half of my time is spent on the sermon itself and most of that is trimming and ordering the flow. Seeing Gospel connections is often helped by the other pastors, who will go over the passage with me. And even when we are all committed to the Gospel as central, we still have differences!

Q6. What advice would you share with people who are aspiring Pastors/Elders/Counselors within a church?
The first issue is to put yourself under the oversight and evaluation of your pastors – and if they are not willing to do so, find a church where they will. Proven character and careful evaluation of character is so important. And it can only take place where you are known. Getting a “call” means nothing unless it is tested and you are evaluated. The second is to give yourself to serve the church. Don’t worry about preaching. Find a place to serve. Change diapers. Help in the parking lot. Teach children. Serve because you love the church. This will test your heart motive too! Third, find ways to care for people. Initiate care, friendship, hospitality. Don’t wait until you have an official ministry to do ministry! Fourth, find some avenue for practice and growth in preaching. Get evaluation as you go. Fifth, be more trusting of how other people see you than how you see yourself. Don’t think you have certain gifts if no one else sees it. But they will see where your gifts are and will serve you.

Q7. What are some of the challenges you face as a Pastor in California?
Same as everywhere – sin is real, Satan blinds the unbelievers to Jesus, sanctification is partial, and I am my own biggest problem. I actually think more of about the specific people I serve and know than about statistical averages. I have never met a statistical average.

All that aside, in my opinion the unique features to California are 1. Climate, 2. Cost. Our sunny weather means people are always on the move and rarely at home. The cost of housing affects everything. People have to spend a larger portion of their income to be in a home, even rentals. I may add a third: we are the rootless coast. Mark Dever described it this way. England is made up of the people who stayed. The Eastern USA is made up of the people who left. And the West is made up of the people who left the East. People here are fairly independent and rootless. That is why they came here. So, we call people to apply the Gospel to all these areas of life.

Q8. Who are your past/present heroes of the faith? What draws your attention to them?
I was very influenced by Tozer-Spurgeon-Packer early on. They drove my heart into the grace and glory of God. I have also been very influenced by Piper, Keller, Mahaney. I would say Eugene Peterson kept me sane when I was trying to be a pastor in churches that wanted a CEO. I do not recommend anyone anywhere without encouraging discernment. Only the Bible is infallible.

But I would say my real heroes are people I know and not just people I read. I admire my wife for 26 years of burying her life into our children when she had many desires to do other things besides. She has followed me through many tough times. I admire my children for their love of Christ even though they have seen some painful times in churches I have served. I admire CJ Mahaney for his humility and joy. I admire Steve Shank (who is on the Leadership team of Sovereign Grace) as he has moved so many times for the Gospel I cannot count them. He does it with joy and leads his family to the same. I admire John Piper for living in the city near his church and living simply. I admire my friend Drew because he is more kingdom focused than self-focused and gave me an opportunity to serve short term a few years ago. I admire a whole variety of folks for their love of the church, their teachability, their pursuit of godliness, their grace filled living. I admire people for their lives more than for their books.

Q9. You have written a book called The Transforming Community: The Practice of the Gospel in Church Discipline. Can you explain why you wrote it and what your hopes are for the book?
Well. I wrote it because when a friend asked me what God had taught me most deeply in twenty years I discovered I had been through a huge number of church discipline cases. It is a reflection on those lessons and how I grew to see that the Gospel informs how we do discipline. I wish I could redo all those years of ministry as I made so many mistakes. I also wish I could re-write it as I do not think it is well written – but I try to set out the grace motivated, careful process of dealing with sin that I think we find in Scripture. What is funny is that it was published as I went to the Pastors College for Sovereign Grace! As I re-read it during my first year with this family of churches; I found that I was seeing it lived in some clear ways. I am convinced that if the church will humbly and graciously deal with sin and encourage each other, we will see significant grace in our lives. But it takes faith and courage and humility. And that comes from the Gospel.

You can purchase the book from Amazon: The Transforming Community: The Practice of the Gospel in Church Discipline.

UPDATE: Mark’s sermons are now online!


An Amillennial Rebuttal to Dispensationalism 2

A Christological Focus

But the greatest challenge (and the greatest privilege) in preaching the Old Testament is finding the way that it points to Christ and bringing that to the congregation in a way that clearly honors the Old Testament passage and makes much of Christ. This is not a call for importing some artificial connection to Jesus whenever we preach. Just the opposite. This calls for understanding and expositing the specific ways in which Old Testament passages point to Christ. But it does presuppose, based on Jesus’ own words in John 5 and Luke 24, that every passage of the Old Testament does indeed point to him.1

It is very true national Israel lies at the heart of all biblical eschatology and covenants, the Old Testament promises made to national Israel are the hermeneutical center of Scripture. However, Scripture Itself does not leave this principle where Dispensationalists plant their feet. The New Testament (see the book of Matthew) goes to great lengths to show that Jesus Himself fulfills all of the promises made to national Israel. Matthew explains that Jesus is very much an Israelite, He is very much the Son of David, presenting Jesus as the representative of all of Israel, thereby Christ’s rightful place in Scripture is the center.

1). Isaiah’s servant songs have a double referent that has long baffled Jewish commentators. On the one hand, they refer to Israel, God’s chosen one and servant (Isaiah 41:8-9; 44:1-2, 21; 45:4; 49:3). On the other, they seem also to refer to some individual (Isaiah 42:1-4). These prophecies are interpreted by the New Testament as referring to Christ (Matthew 8:17 and Acts 8:30-35)

2). Matthew sees a double referent in Hosea 11:1, (“Out of Egypt I called my son” Matthew 2:15)

3). Paul identifies Christ, not physical Israel, as Abraham’s seed (Galatians 3:16). Galatians 3:7 and Romans 4:11, 16, moreover, identifies the church as Abraham’s offspring.

4). Henceforth, we are in Christ the true Israel: Galatians 3:26-29, Romans 2:28-29, and Philippians 3:3.

5). The Old Covenant is obsolete, having been superseded by the New: Hebrews 8:8-12 identifies the new covenant with Israel (Jeremiah 31:33-34) with the covenant instituted by Christ with the church. Most importantly, Hebrews 8:13 declares the old covenant obsolete and passing away. This makes impossible the dispensational view of Ezekiel 40-48 as a reinstitution of temple sacrifice.

6). The upshot is that the Old Testament did not see how its own prophecies were to be fulfilled – indeed, it could not prior to Christ. The New Testament authors were able to interpret the Old Testament in the light of His coming of the new covenant that He instituted. So should we2.

This means that Jesus is the true Israel, and that all Scripture–especially its prophetic sections–must be read through a Christ-centered hermeneutic, not a dispensational one which centers upon national Israel3.

1The Greatest Challenge and Privilege of OT Preaching by Mike Bullmore Senior Pastor of CrossWay Community Church in Bristol, Wisconsin.
2Amillennialism by Prof. Robert B. Strimple – The Mountain Retreat.
3“John MacArthur on Calvinism, Dispensationalism, Israel and Hermeneutics: A Few Comments by Kim Riddlebarger


News, Views, and Whatnot for the Week of June 9

What are we teaching our kids? Morality? Or Christianity? There IS a difference.

Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales and founder of Big Idea Productions, writes:

“I looked back at the previous 10 years and realized I had spent 10 years trying to convince kids to behave Christianly without actually teaching them Christianity. And that was a pretty serious conviction. You can say, “Hey kids, be more forgiving because the Bible says so,” or “Hey kids, be more kind because the Bible says so!” But that isn’t Christianity, it’s morality.”

It’s not about the dream at

What Gospel-Centered Preaching Is and Does
“To equate the Gospel as merely an entrance to the Christian life is a misunderstanding of the real ramifications of what the Gospel truly is.”

Sadly, Christianity presented as mere morality is normal these days. This is why a Gospel-Centered approach to preaching/teaching is vital.

An Example Human Depravity

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” ~1 Timothy 6:9

I Am Not Fat and I Don’t Drink Sugared Soda

“A culture that redefines food choices as moral issues will demonize the people who don’t share the tastes of the priest class. A culture that elevates eating to some holistic act of ethical self-definition – localvore, low-carbon-impact food, fair trade, artisanal cheese – will find the casual carefree choices of the less-enlightened as an affront to their belief system. Leave it to Americans to invent a Puritan strain of Epicurianism.

[I]f soda is poison, then portion size is irrelevant. The Mr Yuk stickers don’t say “call 911 but only if you drank a lot of bleach. A little is okey-doke, though.” So it’s not a poison unless you drink huge amounts all the time, which is also true of shampoo and vodka and sugary lemonade little kids sell at card tables on the corner in summer, and motor oil. Right? So it’s not poison.

Unless you’re on TV and want everyone to like you because you’re concerned about the right things. Being concerned about fat people like being concerned about Tibet; it requries nothing but expression of the proper sentiment, usually containing sadness for The Children, but also some righteous anger for Big Food, which has tricked everyone into eating more. The idea thatsome kids are fat because they have lousy parents doesn’t apply, because whoa whoa whoa now we’re blaming the victims, the people who for some mysterious reason can’t arrange a family meal and influence their progeny’s ingestion. For those people, obesity just happens, somehow. But in general, it’s because of soda, because everyone saw that YouTube clip with the stack of sugar cubes, right?”

Over at: Lileks

The World’s First Coffee Machine That Takes Orders By Text

This is totally stout. If I am ever able to open a coffee shop, this may be in it. (Yes, I would love to open a coffee shop).

Gospel Videos

Don’t Be More Gospel-Centered Than Jesus

Gospel Preaching

What Gospel-Centered Preaching Is and Does

Tim Keller writes,

“Christ-centered preaching converts doctrinal lectures or little how-to talks into true sermons.”

“The gospel brings news primarily, rather than instruction.”

Keller explains,

“In Luke 24 we learn that every single part of the Bible is really about Jesus. The Christ-centric preaching approach sees the whole Bible as essentially one big story with a central plot: God restores the world lost in Eden by intervening in history to call out and form a new humanity. This intervention climaxes in Jesus Christ, who accomplishes salvation for us what we could not accomplish for ourselves. While only a minority of Biblical passages actually give the whole storyline, every Biblical text must be placed in the whole storyline to be understood. In other words, every text must be asked “What does this tell me about the salvation we have in Christ?” in order to be understood.

This understanding of preaching, then, turns all preaching into narrative preaching, even if it is an exposition of Deuteronomy, Proverbs or James. Every sermon is a story in which the plot of the human dilemma thickens, and the hero that comes to the rescue is Jesus. Christ-centric preaching converts doctrinal lectures or little how-to talks into narrative preaching, but it is still careful, close Biblical exposition of texts.

The “informational” view of preaching conceives of preaching as changing people’s lives after the sermon. They listen to the sermon, take notes, and then apply the Biblical principles during the week. But this assumes that our main problem is a lack of compliance to Biblical principles, when (as we saw above) all our problems are actually due to a lack of joy and belief in the gospel. Our real problem is that Jesus’ salvation is not as real to our hearts as the significance and security our idols promise us. If that’s our real problem, then the purpose of preaching is to make Christ so real to the heart that in the sermon people have an experience of his grace, and the false saviors that drive us lose their power and grip on us on the spot. That’s the “experiential” view of preaching.”

Objection to Gospel-Centered Preaching

One objection to Christ-Centered preaching was expressed like this:

“While I would never want to take any emphasis away from the gospel, I would ask why those who have accepted the gospel need to be continually reminded of what took place?

If we assume for a minute that the gospel message is synonymous with telling how one can join a club (again, just assumption for a minute for understanding purposes). It would be as if you continually, week after week, twice a week, told the members of that club what must take place for them to join the club.

That sounds somewhat silly.

Likewise, we have already believed the good news. The good news that Jesus did come. While it is still good news, and while we should always rejoice in hearing that Jesus did come and die for our sins, we cannot forbid ourselves from learning other truths presented within the Word.

The Scripture speaks of the gospel, yes, but it does not only speak of the gospel. And while the gospel message may be the pivotal point and the climactic reason for all that is, this doesn’t mean that the gospel is all that there is”

Answering the Objection

I also can understand being a skeptic of Gospel-Centered Preaching. To reference the “joining the club” analogy, I must say that to equate the Gospel as merely an entrance to the Christian life is a misunderstanding of the real ramifications of what the Gospel truly is.

Scripture is like a great movie. Not every scene contains the main character, yet each scene pertains to the main character and would not make much sense without reference to the main character.

Think of Lord of the Rings. In the Two Towers, Gandalf told Aragorn to hold on and keep fighting. As far as Gandalf was concerned, the battle was already won. As soon as Gandalf showed up in the wee hours of the morning, all hope was instantly restored in those who were fighting. Even though Gandalf was not in much of the scenes at this point, it makes little sense for them to fight a seemingly losing battle without connecting what they are doing (fighting a good fight) to the one who has won the battle for them.

Likewise, even though Jesus is not specifically mentioned or even referenced in various passages, it makes little sense to preach to people “Do not lie,” and leave it at that. Yes, we should not lie, and it is good and right to tell the truth, just as it was good and right for Aragorn (and his allies) to fight for their lives and for that which is good, however, we must reference our doing (do not lie, love your neighbor, etc…) to Christ and His finished work. In the words of Paul, “It is Christ formed within us.”

Why shouldn’t we lie? Because it is wrong to lie? Yes, but a more profound reason is that as we partake of the nature of God (without becoming God, mind you – 2 Peter 1:4), the natural result is that we will want to tell the truth simply because of the Spirit of Christ Who lives within us. Because of the Spirit of Christ living in us, we partake of the nature of God which by necessity precedes the law – the law is the natural expression of the nature of God. To merely preach and teach our duty alone and it only being right to do because God desires us to do so seems to miss the point of our doing completely. We are to do these commands and follow these statutes because Christ Who is the exact imprint of the nature of God (Hebrews 1:3) of which we partake has 1) already finished the full requirement of the whole law (fulfilling our duty) 2) exhorts us to do them in reflection and admiration for what He (Christ) has done for us and in our place.

So why must we make the Gospel central in our preaching? Because Jesus and His finished work is the means by which we partake of God’s nature. Without making the Gospel the central reference point in our thinking and doing, we cease to preach a Christian message. The Christian message is Christ has fulfilled the whole law for us and in our place and it, that is, the gospel, is then what motivates us to do His will.

Glory of God Gospel

If God is Good, Why is there Evil, Pain, and Suffering?

It’s the age-old question. “If God is good and all powerful, why is there pain, suffering, and evil in the world?”

All kinds of evil, pain, and suffering you go through can color the lens by which you approach this question.

Loss of job, cancer of any stripe, death itself, financial debt, watching friends or family suffer, floods, homelessness, orphans, the list can go on and on.

We do not think much about pain and suffering, until, that is, pain and suffering affects us personally.

Pain and suffering only makes us sit up and listen when it’s personal.

So when we go through a traumatic experience of any sort, we ask, “If God is good…” We think, “God can’t love me and he can’t be all powerful since he’s letting me go through this!”

There is a myriad of answers to the question of pain: God brings pain in our lives for His glory, to teach us, to mold us into someone better, to help others, among many other possible answers.

But the most important thing that we must remember when pain becomes personal:

We are not left alone in our suffering

Scripture tells us that Jesus, Who is God by the way, was tempted in everything that is common to man:

Hebrews 2:17 “Therefore, He (Jesus) had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”

During a hurricane, which tree feels the full force of the storm?

The tree which never falls but stands firm until the end.

Jesus stood firm to the end–the end that is death–even the death of the cross being forsaken by the Father. He did this so that WE would never be forsaken, but fully and gloriously accepted and loved by the Father. Jesus is the one in whom we must trust because He has gone through the greatest pain and suffering anyone has ever gone through–standing firm to the end.

Jesus did this for us and in our place. To the end.

You are not left unto yourself, that is, if you trust Jesus. Trust Jesus and rest in His finished work on the cross.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal2 Corinthians 4:17-18.