What Kind of King Is This?

At present I’m reading the biography of Eric Clapton. Clapton, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others, is the king of the guitar. He is so good that not only do people know his name, many know his unique style and sound.

On one occasion when Clapton was in treatment for drugs and alcoholism a counselor asked him a penetrating question, “who are you?”. At first he was filled with rage. He felt deeply disrespected that someone would even ask such a question. “Of course you know who I am”, he thought to himself.

I think if we are being honest we can all identify with Clapton. None of us likes to be disrespected. We especially don’t like being forgotten. Who of us hasn’t been a bit insulted because someone has forgotten our name?  We have a certain idea of our standing in society and our dignity before our fellow man. If someone treats us in a way that does not match up to our perceived worth and dignity we respond with anger.

As I read through John Newton’s sermon Voluntary Suffering I was taken aback by the contrast between Jesus and my own heart in this regard. He as Newton says,

“the King of kings, and Lord of lords, whom all the angels of God worship, made himself so entirely of no reputation that the basest of the people, the servants, the common soldiers, were not afraid to make him the object of their derision, and to express their hatred in the most sarcastic and contemptuous manner.”

What is shocking about this is that Jesus could have at any moment called upon a legion of angels and stopped the whole thing. Or, he having power over his own life could have gave up his spirit at any moment. But he did not because he

“knew that no blood but his own could make atonement for sin; that nothing less than his humiliation could expiate our pride; that if he did not thus suffer, sinners must inevitably perish; and therefore (such was his love!) he cheerfully and voluntarily ‘gave his back to the smiters’ and ‘his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair’.”

What kind of King is this?

This king who would endure the most offensive of insults—the spit upon the face—in order to procure freedom for the very people who disgraced him.

This king who endured the scorn having his beard plucked from his face. They couldn’t even give him the dignity of shamefully shaving his beard. They had to take it a step further and rip it out with their dirty hands. And this king endured it so that he could swallow up the shame of such men.

This king of whom they put a crown of thorns and mocked his kingdom. They beat him. They paraded and triumphed over him as if he were a helpless sheep being led to the slaughter and he endured all of this so that He could triumph and enemy far greater and do this for the sake of those who have mocked him.

Oh, what kind of King is this?

Newton’s finally application of this is fitting in our day. In the West Christianity is becoming less and less acceptable. We are being persecuted on every side. And as we quickly have moved from majority to minority I wonder which type of people we will be? Will we be of those who say, “Don’t you know who I am?” or will be like the suffering servant who endures the ridicule and scorn for the sake of His brethren?

I close with this from Newton:

Shall we then refuse to suffer shame for his sake, and be intimidated, by the frowns or contempt of men, from avowing our attachment to him! Ah! Lord, we are, indeed, capable of this baseness and ingratitude. But, if thou art pleased to strengthen us with the power of thy Spirit, we will account such disgrace our glory. Then we will not hang down our heads and despond, but will rather rejoice and be exceeding glad, if the world revile us and persecute us, and speak all manner of evil against us, provided it be falsely, and provided it be for thy sake!

You Had One Job…

It’s a day you’ve all been waiting for. You’ve got the day off and you finally get to take your children to their first ever baseball game. But it’s hectic getting them ready—just like every other morning. After a good thirty minutes chasing the kids around the house you finally restrain them long enough to put (and keep) clothes on them. After wrestling them to the ground you gain your greatest victory of the day—shoes and socks on their feet.

Now you have to go through your inventory.

Diaper bag? Check.

Extra clothes? Check.

Keys? Check.

Wallet? Check.

Scanning through everything else on your list, you leave the house and drive to the stadium just before the opening pitch. As you get to the gate you are disappointed to learn that you didn’t actually bring everything—you forgot your tickets.

One thing. All those other things where helpful and necessary. After all you can’t take kids to a ball game in their underpants (no matter how much they beg you). But the most important thing to going to a ball game is to REMEMBER YOUR TICKETS!

You can have the most well packed diaper bag, the best groomed children, and all the super dad supplies but you aren’t getting into the game without those little joy bringing rectangles that get you access into the stadium.

Preaching and ministry is the same way. There are many things good and well that go into a sermon and into an overall ministry. But there is one thing necessary. If you lack this then you aren’t much of a pastor.

Hear the words of Isaac Watts:

Had you all the refined science of Plato or Socrates, all the skill in morals that ever was attained by Zeno, Seneca, or Epitcetus; were you furnished with all the flowing oratory of Cicero, or the thunder of Demosthenes; were all these talents and excellencies united in one man, and you were the person so richly endowed; preach—yet you could have no reasonable hope to convert and save one soul in Great Britain, where the gospel is published, while you lay aside the glorious gospel of Christ and leave it entirely out of your discourses. (Isaac Watts in The Christian Pastor’s Manual)

In fulfilling the ministry God has given to you—don’t forget the one thing necessary.

Today in Blogworld 04.15.15

8 Super Mario Bros Tip, Tricks, and Glitches

As a Mario nerd, I’m inspired to try some of these. I already knew of a couple. Has anyone ever done these?

Mental Disorders of Cartoon Characters

This is both interesting and informative. Many of the cartoon characters you watch and enjoy have a mental disorder. (I might have a few qualms with some classifications here—but the point still stands).

You Might be a Pastor’s Kid If…

Taking his queues from Jeff Foxworthy, Barnabas Piper gives us a few things that might indicate you are a PK.

3 Reasons to Preach on Religious Liberty

I don’t feel all that comfortable engaging this topic on a Sunday morning.  But after reading Dan’s article I think I should.

Growing up I never heard the word gluten. Ever. Now it’s all over our grocery store. I think it’s a tad ridiculous and so I found this video absolutely hilarious:

Dreaming for the Glory of God

Are you a dreamer?

If so, that’s great.

You likely want to make your short life here on earth count for the glory of God. Being a dreamer means God has placed big plans and desires in your heart; plans and desires that shape much of what you do and think about each day.

Maybe your dream is getting a degree, finding Mr. or Mrs. Right, writing a book, influencing others, advancing in your career, or being a great parent. Whatever your dream is, we should seek to honor God with it. That may mean stewarding it wisely or making changes to your dream so you know you’re on the path God wants for you.

I’m a dreamer – but I didn’t used to be. After following Christ for several years and learning skills in the workplace and ministry, God expand my vision of how I could impact people. As I’ve grown, my dreams have also grown, and changed. While my goal isn’t very defined, I do know that I want to honor Christ through the writing and teaching His Word. As I’ve seen more of the beauty of Christ, I’ve also seen more of my need for Him due to my weakness, sin, or finiteness.

As I’ve reflected on my dreams (or long-term goals and desires), I’ve learned several important lessons.

1.Let Christ give you the dreams He wants for you.

Seeking Christ first and delighting in Him helps us discern God’s will for our lives. You may not have a magical experience where the clouds open and God speaks to you in a thundering voice, but you will be closer to Him and depending on Him—and that’s what He wants. He will lead you where He wants you.

2.Lay your dreams at the feet of Jesus.

You may have a wonderful plan for your life—but there’s always a temptation for your plan to flow from sinful motives and supersede God’s plan for you. Hold your dreams–even the ones you think are God-given– with a loose grip. In His sovereignty, He may change His plans for you, and that’s OK.

3.Take a long-term view of growth.

It can be tempting to think that some of the dreams of your life can be achieved quickly. For most of the things worth doing in life, there are no short-cuts. But you can count on blood, sweat, and tears with lots of failures along the way. Take a long-term view of growth and seek to do the best things each day to lay important groundwork for the future.

Taking the long-term view is often like laying the foundation for a building. Builders may prefer building walls, furnishing rooms, or using staple guns to lay carpet (who doesn’t love staple guns?). But without a firm foundation, you will have serious problems later on (if not sooner than that). For Christians with big aspirations in life, seek to strengthen your foundation through seeking God with all of your heart in prayer and Scripture reading, reading relevant books, pursuing godly mentors, and setting small development goals along the way to your ultimate goals.

4.Enjoy the ride.

Jim Elliot said, “Wherever you are, be all there.” He said this so people wouldn’t miss what God had for them during the specific times in their lives when they are tempted to focus on the future. If you have a hard time enjoying your current circumstances because you haven’t achieved all of your dreams yet, you are making your dream a god in your life.

Pray to God for contentment and for satisfaction in Christ. Don’t get so caught up in the big things of the future that you lose track of the small things the Lord has for you now. Enjoy the time and work He’s given you to do. We can’t let pursuing our goals blind us from living faithfully on the long journey that it takes to get there.

My prayer is that as you pursue your dreams, God would grow you in the “knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:9-10).


Kevin Halloran

Servant of the Word. Blogger at Word + Life. Baseball fan. Latino de Corazón. Serving with Leadership Resources International training pastors to preach God’s Word with God’s heart. Follow Kevin on Twitter.