By Jesse LeMay
An estimated 110 million people will watch this year’s Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. While that number has declined some over the last few years, it is still an enormous audience and will be the largest viewed television program of the year. Companies will pay $5 million for a thirty second advertisement. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an estimated $15.5 billion on items related to the big game. Hype surrounding the game grows day by day for the two weeks leading up to the event. Many conversations are centered around who will win, what the score will be, etc. There is no way to deny the impact and the level of commitment people have towards this football game played on “Super Sunday.” For whatever reason, it is important to people and fans all over the world.
What if there was the same kind of devotion showed to the event that happened on the “Super Sunday” nearly 2,000 years ago? The word “fan” comes from fanatic. As has been shown, men and women alike certainly have a fanatical attitude and dedication towards the Super Bowl. Think about the impact that could be made on the world if that same fanaticism, along with the amount of time and money spent, was put towards worshipping and serving our Lord who rose from the dead on that Sunday. People plan to host or attend a party for the big game weeks in advance. Is Sunday, the Lord’s day, the most important day of the week for us? Imagine what might happen if we talked to our friends and co-workers about Jesus the way we do about certain sporting events.
There is nothing more important than praising, remembering, and worshipping our Savior with other dedicated followers. Are we “fans” of Jesus, who express our passion to others and show our dedication in our commitment to His day, and how we live our lives? Scripture tells us to be mindful of “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). As Christians, every first day of the week should be “Super Sunday.”
By Jesse LeMay
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a special holiday for many here in the United States. Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis in 1968, while leading the charge for equal civil rights. Although many advocated for a day in his honor soon after his death, it wasn’t until 1983 when Ronald Reagan finally made it a national holiday. In our current time of the 21st century, King is widely recognized as the champion and hero of the civil rights movement. Answers would no doubt vary as to why one would coin Dr. King with this title, but as a whole, his non-violent and peaceful approach is what has appealed to most throughout the years.
In addition to heading the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. was also a believer in Christ. King himself said that his first priority was to preach the gospel and serve in ministry. Dr. King also made it well known publicly, that the non-violent approach that he passionately pushed for, was based on Christian ideals and the teachings of the New Testament. This peaceful approach was constantly challenged, as the men and women participating in the demonstrations were met with hatred and violence. Despite all of the violent opposition, King maintained his peaceful stance, all the while maintaining that ALL men were created equal.
If Dr. King were alive today, he would surely feel a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for where his and many others efforts have led. Martin Luther King’s message was “equality,” and he claimed that the origin of his message was from the Holy Scriptures. King was correct in that we are all created by God, and in His eyes we are all of equal worth. Sadly, the reality of such equality lies within the fact that we are all sinners in need of God’s saving grace (Romans 3:23). Yes, we are equally lost in our sin, and the only thing that can give us hope is the blood of Jesus Christ. True and glorious equality comes to those who are in Christ, and have been given the free gift of God’s grace (Galatians 3:28).
By Jesse LeMay
The day after Thanksgiving pulls millions of turkey-filled Americans from their homes and out into the retail abyss. Motivated and dedicated, many deal-seeking shoppers embark on their endeavor in the wee hours of the morning, braving the elements and crowds alike. Origins of this tradition are as cloudy as the eyes of some of these determined consumers; however, it symbolizes the day when many companies go from the red into the “black” financially. Ironically, the first actual use of the term was seen on September 24, 1869, and had to do with the crash of the U.S. gold market after a majority purchase by two men named Jay Gould and Jim Fisk (history.com). That day was “black” not in a positive sense, but in a negative. Despite the sorrow of that Friday, there is one even darker in the vault of history.
Such a day is the day that our Lord was crucified. Luke the physician gives us a detailed account of this event in his gospel. Just after Jesus tells the thief that he would be with Him in Paradise, we read that darkness fell over the whole land from the “sixth hour” (noon) until the “ninth hour” (3 p.m.), “because the sun was failing” (23:44-45). There was no sunlight for this three-hour period. A “Black Friday” it was, literally and metaphorically. We know that the day was Friday, because Luke tells us that it was the “preparation day” for the Sabbath, which was “about to begin” (23:54). Metaphorically speaking, this day was dark and black because the only truly innocent and sin-free man to ever walk this earth was put to death for a crime that He did not commit. Not only that, but He was also crucified according to God’s plan for those who have sinned.
As heartbreaking as that is, it was according to God’s will. Many crazed shoppers seek deals and low prices the day after Thanksgiving that they might not normally find elsewhere. That being said, because of that fateful “Black Friday” 2,000 years ago, every one of us has been offered the biggest and best bargain that could possibly be given. A debt that was paid on our behalf, which comes with the gift of eternal life. Such a deal can only be found in Christ!
By Jesse LeMay
It is easy to get caught up in all the negativity that much of the world dwells in on a daily basis. Those in the media and news thrive on the bad and often catastrophic aspects of life. A lot of peoples’ conversations are about those negative things they see in the news, or some other issue they may be dealing with at that time. Such an environment is naturally brought into the church. This can cause us as Christians to focus on what we think might not be going well with the church and Christianity in general. Unfortunately, we may feel that we do not have anything for which to be grateful. Is this true?
The Apostle Paul had more than his share of hardships. Despite such “negative” occurrences, his mindset could not have been more opposite. This is because he understood what life was really about. Paul was truly thankful for the gift of God’s grace that had been given to him. Not only was he thankful for this amazing gift, but he was also grateful for his fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Included in many of his letters was a thanksgiving to God for those to whom he was writing. One such instance was for his pupil Timothy, the evangelist in Ephesus. In his second letter to the young preacher, Paul wrote, “I thank God, … as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, … For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you” (1:3-5). What an example for us today! Here is this personally chosen Apostle of Christ, who is genuinely thankful for the work that this man is doing, and for his faith. The same gratitude was expressed many times for Christians elsewhere.
We too, can and should have the same thankfulness, but it takes focusing on what really matters. There is much to be thankful for. For the leaders of our church. For those who teach and preach. For those who do all the administrative and janitorial duties. For those who help and encourage others. For those who love God, are faithful to Him, and serve willingly. For those who strive to share the gospel with others. These are but a few of the many things we as Christians can give thanks for to God. What are you thankful for?
By Jesse LeMay (November 17, 2017)
Every year, November 11th is recognized in the United States as the national holiday of Veterans Day. Originally bearing the name Armistice Day, the date was officially made a holiday on May 13, 1938. It was a recognition and remembrance of the signing of the “armistice” between Germany and the Allied forces on November 11, 1918 during World War I. Following the Korean War, the veterans service organizations lobbied to have the name changed to “Veterans Day,” and on June 1, 1954, it was officially given the title we have today (timeanddate.com). Regardless of the name, Americans have always valued and understood the importance of remembering those who have served our country. There is something special about men and women who have devoted, and sometimes given their lives in sacrifice and service to their flag, to their fellow service men and women, and to their country.
Sacrifice and service are qualities that are universally viewed as admirable. Many of books, songs, and screenplays alike have been written about those who have selflessly served others and sacrificed for the greater good of their cause. This concept of sacrifice, at its core, is the very essence of Christianity. When indignation arose after the mother of James and John asked Jesus for favor for her sons in the kingdom, He responded by saying that selfish thinking was not part of being one of His followers. In fact, He said that, “whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave” (Matthew 20:26-27).
Service and sacrifice are the highest attributes a Christian can possess. Even Jesus, in speaking of Himself said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (20:28). Our own Lord came in a serving manner, sacrificing Himself for us, so that we might live. Christianity is about service, about love. It means putting others first before self. Every day it starts all over. If you desire to be His disciple, you must “take up your cross daily,” and follow Him (Luke 9:23). So, as we honor and remember those who have served our country, let us not forget the importance of serving our Lord.
By Jesse LeMay (October 17, 2017)
I was recently discussing the topic of creation and evolution with an employee at a local retail store. The lady told me that her husband was an atheist and that they did not attend church. My reasoning for divine creation was based on how that which exists cannot come from nothing. In technical terms, this is called the teleological argument. Simply put, anything with design demands a designer. Probably the most well-known “teleological” defense came from William Paley in his 1802 publication of Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity. Paley based his argument around the “watchmaker analogy.” The argument states that if one was to stumble upon a random watch on a place like a beach, that it would be assumed that the watch was designed by somebody, given that an item with such specific detail could not come about by chance. Using the same analogy, one should also assume that the universe was also deliberately designed by an intelligent designer.
After having presented this evidence to the retail employee, her response was that her husband would still say, “Well, who made God?” This is a good question, which would be difficult to reconcile, if it were true that God was a contingent being. A contingent being is anyone or anything that is dependent upon someone or something else for its existence. One example of this is how children are contingent (dependent) upon their parents for their survival and delivery into the world. What makes God unique is that His existence is not dependent upon anything. He has and always will be in existence. In speaking of our Lord’s eternal nature, Moses once wrote that “Before the mountains were born and You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God” (Psalm 90:2). So, “Who made God?” The answer to that is no one, He is the eternal God. Therefore, because He is everlasting He was able to give the amazing design of all that we see around us every day. Without such a designer there can be no design.
By Jesse LeMay
Many within the scientific world want us to believe that “Science” has all the answers. Answers to questions such as “How did we get here?” and “Where did the universe come from?” To quote one of the most well-known advocates for science and atheism, Richard Dawkins, “science has the answers, religion is a disease worse than small pox, religious faith is based on zero evidence.” True science requires experimentation, testing, observation, and arrived truths that are based on facts, not THEORIES. So why is any of this important? Proper science may be able to tell “How” something occurs, or “What” may take place when we do x, y, or z, but it cannot tell us “Why” a thing exists or was made. This question is and has always been one of the pressing thoughts regarding our very purpose and existence here on earth. Science will never be able to provide that answer, only God the Creator can. Philosopher John Lennox explains in the following illustration.
“Imagine that my Aunt Matilda had baked a beautiful cake and we take it along to be analyzed by a group of the world's top scientists. The nutrition scientists will tell us about the number of calories and its nutritional effect; the biochemists will inform us about the structure of the proteins, fats etc.; the chemists, about the elements involved and their bonding; the physicists will analyze in terms of fundamental particles; and the mathematicians will no doubt offer us a set of elegant equations to describe the behavior of those particles. Suppose I now ask the assembled group of experts a final question: Why was the cake made? The grin on Aunt Matilda's face shows she knows the answer, for she made the cake, and she made it for a purpose. But all the scientists in the world will not be able to answer the question. Their disciplines, which can cope with questions about the nature and structure of the cake, that is, answering the 'how' questions, cannot answer the 'why' questions connected with the purpose for which the cake was made. In fact, the only way we shall ever get an answer is if Aunt Matilda reveals it to us. (God's Undertaker – Has science burried God? – p. 40,41).
By Jesse LeMay
Recently, I read an article by a fellow preacher in Paris, TN named Corey Sawyers. He wrote about how in the aftermath of great catastrophes such as tornados, hurricanes, etc., the question always arises, “Why didn’t they evacuate?” Were there no warnings given, did they not hear them, or was it because they did not heed the alarms of impending danger? Stubbornness and disbelief are often factors in keeping people from fleeing such catastrophes. However, sometimes there simply isn’t enough time, or even a means of evacuation. It is a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
There is an interesting parallel between these devastating events and the coming of the day of the Lord. Scripture is filled with warnings and statements promising Christ’s return and all that will come with it. For those who belong to Christ, this day brings them hope. Hope for themselves, but also for their loved ones who have passed on in Christ also, that they will all be caught up with the Lord in the air when He returns that final time in glory and judgment (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17).
Unlike a hurricane or tornado, there will be no pre-warning sirens broadcasted to people everywhere, giving them time to prepare or “evacuate.” This is because the “day of the Lord is coming just like a thief in the night,” which will bring sudden devastation to those who think all is well (5:2-3). It could be said however, that we are always under a storm “watch,” since the promise has been announced in God’s word and the conditions have been right for His return for 2,000 years.
Many people will ignore this impending storm. They will refuse to heed the warnings. They will deny the opportunity to prepare and to remove themselves from harm’s way. Christ will return, and he wants us to be safe: “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:9). May stubbornness and disbelief not prevent us from reaching safety and avoiding the potential disaster. There is still time. More importantly, there is a means of evacuation. Christ!
During His “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus told those listening that, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14a). In a universe full of darkness, we are to be “light.” In different words, He would explain that such illumination cannot be hidden (5:14b). When something is lit, its purpose is not to be withheld, but to be used to help people see. Sometimes sin, worry, worldliness, etc. can prevent our light from shining as it should. You could say that such things obscure others’ view of our light.