A man was brought into court for trial and found guilty.  The judge happened to be a close boyhood friend of the accused, although they had not seen each other for many years.  Remaining impartial, the judge sentenced the defendant and levied a penalty – a fine – appropriate to his crime.  The fine was so large that the accused could not pay it, so a jail sentence seemed to be the only alternative.

The judge then did a very unusual thing.  Leaving the bench, he approached the convicted man, shook his hand, and announced, “I’m paying the fine for you.”  There in the courtroom the law was satisfied, and so was love.

Beautiful justice.  Scandalous love.

What a picture of the cross.

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree

On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me

Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white

On that beautiful, scandalous night.

The ultimate intersection:  two beams connected, the vertical and the horizontal.  One pointed to God, one reached out to man.  And there, suspended between heaven and earth, the Prince of Glory was judged in love.

The ultimate paradox:  how could something so ugly be so beautiful?

The ultimate collision:  sin met grace.

The ultimate demonstration:  the love of God and the sin of man.

The ultimate betrayal:  thirty stinking pieces of silver for the life of the Son of God.

The ultimate rejection:  unconditional love, hammered through with nails.

The ultimate ransom:  innocent blood for guilty humanity.

Beautiful justice.  Scandalous love. [click to continue…]


jackassA couple of weeks ago I asked an associate to pick me up me a cup of coffee when he went out for an afternoon break.  He did.  Since I take cream and sugar in my coffee, I looked all over the church for some form of sugar to put in it, and couldn’t find any anywhere. Even though there were at least three people who could have helped solve the problem, I didn’t ask for help.  I just poured out the coffee.  It felt better to feel sorry for myself than it did to solve the problem.

Self-pity stinks.

I wish I could tell you that this was the first time I had ever felt sorry for myself, but I’m sure you’d know better.  Truth is, at times I’m something of an artist at it.  Given the right mood, the right circumstances, and just the right amount of self-absorption, I can not only feel sorry for myself, I can influence you to do something to “make” me feel that way.

Like the time in Mrs. Trimble’s class in fourth grade when I kept whining and crying, “Nobody likes me.  Nobody!” [click to continue…]


drowningYears ago I led a high-school junior to Christ with the promise that He would make her life easier and her circumstances better.

He didn’t.

A few months later she wrote something to this effect in a letter to me:  “Why is it that all this trouble started after I became a Christian?  Before I was saved, I never had this kind of trouble.”  How would you respond?

Following the tragic and untimely death of his son, a grieving father looked directly at me and said, “God is punishing me for not taking my boy to church.”  What would you tell him?

Ever since Cain killed Abel, and Job lost nearly everything dear to him, the universal question of the race has been, “Why?”  [click to continue…]