Yesterday was another anointing Sunday for my family and I. We listened to four amazing sermons that kept our spirits lifted high. This week I will start off by sharing our home church’s encouraging word about not letting the fear and anxiety control you. Be anxious about nothing! But first, I wanted to share my favorite song that came out on the new album by the Rhett Walker Band: Peace in the Family.
Below is the link to Compassion Christian‘s sermon, delivered by our Lead Pastor’s son, Harrison Huxford.
19“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores….
29“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
30“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them they will repent.’
31“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”(Luke 16:19-31)
I collaborated with my beautiful wife to pick this last passage to focus on as March comes to a close. She picked out this parable, the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. I thought it was an excellent choice to help close out the Book of Luke, because here we read another parable that can only be found in this Gospel. So what’s this parable about? Jesus tells the story of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus, who begs at the rich man’s gate every day, longing to “eat what fell from the rich man’s table.” I know what you are thinking: typical bum, trying to mooch off the rich man’s success and hard-earned wealth… Hopefully that is not what you are thinking, because as Jesus continues to describe, the beggar and the rich man both die, beggar goes to Heaven and the rich man goes to hell. Jesus doesn’t explain the lives these two men lived for each to earn their places in eternity, but what we do know is that Jesus does not think highly of rich people, especially when so many suffer in the world. Regardless, there is purpose to Jesus labeling the unnamed man “the Rich Man.” They, of course, are both Jewish men, so when the rich man is looking up at Lazarus from hell, he sees Lazarus by the side of Abraham (the father of the Jewish faith). The rich man begs for Lazarus to come down to ‘hades’ to “dip the tip of his finger in water and cool” the rich man’s tongue. Abraham explains that since the rich man had enjoyed the comforts of his wealth during his time on earth, he did not deserve the comforts of his eternal life. Abraham also explains that the chasm between Heaven and hell is too great for them to cross. Then the rich man begs Abraham to send Lazarus to his family, so his brothers can be warned to change their lives so they will not be trapped in hell for eternity. All this is what I did not include in the verses above by putting that infamous ellipsis. Instead we picked up where Jesus states that Abraham explained, just like the rich man, his brothers have Moses and the prophets to listen to, and if they do not listen to the prophets of old speaking out from the grave, why would sending Lazarus back from the grave make a difference to these men?
This is a deep parable that speaks many truths. We could easily look at the meaning behind Lazarus going to Heaven and the rich man going to hell. Or we could speak of how it seems unfair that Abraham attacked the rich man because he received his “good things” in his lifetime, and that is Abraham’s only explanation as to why the rich man was in torment. Or we can discuss how Lazarus, being just a beggar, who somehow earned eternal life in heaven, had desires as bad as the rich man, where he “longed to eat what fell from the rich man’s table” instead of being satisfied with what he had in life. But all of this is a distraction from what the parable is actually saying: Lazarus and the rich man had the words of the old prophets to guide them in their lives, and it seems that only Lazarus worshipped and loved God. Abraham points out to the rich man that his brothers have the same truth available to them, sending Lazarus down from Heaven would be an unnecessary miracle to try to convince them when they do not believe.
Well, God did one better for all of mankind when He sent Jesus into the world, allowed the world to nail His beloved Son to a cross, and then, God did the miracle the rich man in this parable desperately wants: God raised Jesus from the grave and sent Him back to Jerusalem to show the world the truth, the way, the life.
So now not only does the world have the prophets of old and the truth they spoke, we have the New Testament and around ten different authors who interacted with Jesus, recorded His most important teachings, and pieced together the most important instruction manual for living a life that will guarantee our place in eternity. This project was created because despite us having the resources of the Holy Bible, the majority of us have never read the Bible. Instead we go to a church and listen to sermons that fit our lifestyle and don’t challenge the way we live, act, or love. And looking at the history of the world, and the course of our current nation, I’m not sure what message most Christians are getting when they go to church. America has never been so consumed with themselves as they are in this current season. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised which way they are looking after they die. Start looking up to Jesus now, so you’re not looking up to Him when it’s too late and all that’s between you and Him is a “great chasm.”
Since January 1, I asked those following this blog to pray for a specific miracle to happen in your life, and we have prayed for it everyday since. If you have not seen your miracle be brought to life, for the next week we are going to ask God to speak life into this prayer and answer your request by the end of this month. Today we are also going to start to pray for another specific miracle. We are going to pray for God to use this pandemic to open the eyes of the world and bring everyone’s focus back to God and allow them to fix their eyes on Jesus. Maudy Thursday will be the day COVID stops spreading and Good Friday will see the first day of recovery. And Easter Sunday will be the day of resurrection for this country. Pray this prayer with me every day.
Reading plan: Luke 24
Deeper reading plan: 2 Samuel 24
Prayer and meditation: continue to pray for your request from day 1 and pray for God to lift Coronavirus off the face of this Earth on Good Friday.
Fitness challenge: This week will take us into our fourth month of calisthenics. Soon I am going to start mixing up the exercises, but for this week, we are keeping our original seven but increasing our amount of reps per set. Instead of just 14 reps, it’s now 21 reps per set, but for this first week, we only have two sets. So do 21 reps of each exercise 1-7, then repeat :
1. Standard push-up
2. Sit-up or crunches
3. Air squats
4. Hand-release push-up
5. Leg lifts
6. Lunges (7-each leg)
7. 4-count flutter kicks