The Beautiful Tragedy of Good Friday

Hebrews 10

“Paul’s overriding interest is not in evil men who have done a wicked thing but in a good God who has done a gracious thing.”—Gerard S. Sloyan, The Crucifixion of Jesus: History, Myth, Faith

Like many, I was enthusiastic about Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ when it  premiered in 2004.  My enthusiasm waned considerably about halfway through. I wasn’t turned off because of my weak stomach; I was dismayed at its emphasis. It’s my conviction that it wasn’t the brutality of the Crucifixion that made it significant, but rather the identity of the one crucified. The tragedy is that the creator would allow himself to be humiliated, abused, and ultimately murdered at the hands of his creatures.

The one who would soon lay claim to all authority on heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18) was betrayed with a gesture of familiarity and intimacy (Luke 22:47–53). Those who had sworn their allegiance fled and denied him (Matt. 26:69–75).  The mouth that had summed up the Law and the prophets with the admonition to treat others the way you desire to be treated (Matt. 7:12) was silent as Jesus was beaten and mocked.

A prefect of Rome apathetically dismissed the supreme sovereign of the universe (Matt. 27:24). The world’s only true innocent was scourged and forced to carry the device for his own execution through town. The feet that had walked upon the raging sea, the hands that had only recently healed the sick and raised the dead, were nailed to a rough piece of wood. Christ, who deserved to be elevated, was raised upon a cruel cross. And during history’s most unforgivable act, Jesus exemplified all his teaching in the prayer, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Good Friday, the most tragically beautifully date on the Christian calendar, is set aside to remember the passion of our Lord. It’s tragic for what the creator would suffer at the hands of the creature, and it’s beautiful for the work that was done on that dreadful day. As the writer of Hebrews put it, “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” It doesn’t really matter who was ultimately responsible for the Crucifixion. On this day we remember that we were all culpable—and are all beneficiaries.

And because of the humiliation endured that day, the head that wore a crown of thorns is now crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9), and any crown I receive will be laid at his nail-scarred feet.

Thank you, Jesus.

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Looking for resources for study or meditation this Easter season? Check out our specials for Holy Week.

Prepare for Holy Week with Logos

Palm SundayThis Sunday, March 24, marks the beginning  of the Christian calendar’s high point. Starting with Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and culminating with his crucifixion and resurrection, Holy Week is a sacred time for Christians.

To help prepare for this important time, we’ve discounted a number of important resources focusing on the Cross and Resurrection. Meditate on powerful books like:

As an added bonus, tune in to Logos Talk Monday, March 25 through Saturday, March 30 and enjoy daily devotionals post focused on this important season.

We’re excited to share this season with you.

Save 40% on John MacArthur, J. I. Packer, John Calvin, and Others!

The votes have been counted—only eight authors remain as contenders for the Logos March Madness championship. Whose work would you like to see discounted by 75%? Vote now!

Then save 40% on:

Need help sifting through over 500 items on sale? Here are a few of the best-selling authors so far.

Round 1 authors:

Round 2 authors:

Don’t forget to vote this round. Only four will move on, and their works will be discounted 50%!

Who do you want to see win? Vote early, and share who you voted for on Facebook, on Twitter, and in the forums!

Easily Manage Your Devices and Downloads

iPhoneWith Logos 5, you can access most of your library on multiple devices. Now, it’s easier than ever to manage your devices and downloads.

Managing Your Devices

When you download any free app from Logos (Logos Bible Software, Faithlife Study Bible, or Vyrso) on your iOS or Android device, and sign in with your Logos.com account, your device will instantly be logged on your account page. Under the heading “Mobile Devices,” you’ll see all your devices and downloaded apps.

Device MgmtAbove, you can see the apps I have on my Sony tablet and Motorola phone. Let’s say I have one tablet for home and one for work, and I get them confused. When I hover over either of the devices, I’m given the option to edit their names to make it easier to remember which is which.

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If I were to lose, break, or sell either of these items, I could simply hover over the device and choose to “Remove.”

Managing Your Downloads

I like to keep a couple books downloaded to read when I’m lounging around or have some time to kill. Managing those downloads is a cinch. Here are three ways you can manage your downloads:

1. Download books directly from the device

Click the information icon (i) to the right of any book in your library and you’ll get a pop-up with a button to download the resource to your device (iOS or Android).

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Click to enlarge

2. Download books from your order page

When you purchase a single volume, you’ll be taken to the order summary page. If you have devices on file and want to download your new book, you can do so here.

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Even if it’s a book you purchased a while ago, you can go to your order page, scroll down to the order history, click the order number, and choose where to download it.

3. Download books from Logos 5

My favorite way to manage my downloads is directly in Logos 5. Click on the Library icon, right-click on the bar to choose the information displayed, and check “Devices.” Once you choose for your library to display devices, you can see the books already downloaded.

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Click to enlarge

If there’s a particular item in your Logos 5 library you want to download, open the book, and then click the information icon.

Information

Now you can choose the device and app(s) where you want to download your book.

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We’re serious about Bible study. Not only do we want to give you the best tools available, we want to make managing those tools as easy as possible.

Do you have any suggestions that we could implement to make our tools easier to use? Leave us a comment; we’d love to hear them!

What’s the Significance of Biblical Words?

If you missed the Pastorum Live 2012 conference, you missed out on powerful teaching from 21 of evangelicalism’s leading scholars. Pastorum Live featured more than just lofty theology; it was scholarly teaching instantly applicable to your study and ministry.

In this short clip, Dr. Mark Futato explains what the specific word choices in Scripture can tell us about God and his character.

Join Dr. Futato, Ed Stetzer, Dr. John Walton, Jonathan Dodson and many others in Chicago April 11–12 for Pastorum 2013. When you register for Pastorum by Friday, March 8, you’ll receive a discounted rate—only $79! Register now!

Howard Hendricks (1924–2013)

Howard HendricksHoward Hendricks, professor at Dallas Theological Seminary for over 60 years, author or coauthor of 23 books, and chaplain to the Dallas Cowboys (1976–1984), went to be with the Lord early this morning.

“To guide a person in the name of Jesus is a great privilege and a sobering responsibility; to misguide an individual is no minor matter to Him.”—Howard Hendricks, The Christian Educator’s Handbook on Teaching

Hendricks shaped more than 10,000 students in his lifetime—but his influence doesn’t stop there. Thanks to Hendrick’s personal mentoring of leaders like Chuck Swindoll, Tony Evans, and David Jeremiah, he has left his mark through their ministries, too. Being mentored as a young man played an important role in Hendricks’ life, and as he communicates in As Iron Sharpens Iron, the most dramatic spiritual and personal growth often happens through the influence of a mentor.

“Show me a man’s closest companions and I can make a fairly accurate guess as to what sort of man he is, as well as what sort of man he is likely to become.”—Howard Hendricks, As Iron Sharpens Iron

Hendricks’ enthusiasm for God’s Word was infectious. Convicted that the Bible was one of the most important means of spiritual development, he encouraged more than rote memorization and scriptural exegesis. To him, the Bible needed to become part of us.

“Do whatever it takes to become an acquisitive Bible reader. Marry the truth of the Word with your own interests and experience—through personal engagement in the process—so that you do more than remember a passage of Scripture—you make it your own.”—Howard Hendricks, Living by the Book

From our finite perspective, it’s impossible to see the impact of Hendrick’s faithfulness. Someday, in the light of eternity, we’ll see its full influence.

“Too many believers die with an unsung song still in them. They finish life at the top of the pile in their field but at the bottom of life in terms of fulfillment.”—Howard Hendricks, Color outside the Lines

Get 25% Off Your BibleTech Registration!

You don’t want to miss BibleTech 2013! For years, BibleTech has been a venue to connect people who are passionate about the ways technology is shaping how we interact with, and share, the Scriptures. This year’s conference will be no exception.

Check out the list of presenters to see the breadth of topics. Here are some highlights:

  • From Paper to Pixels: The Effects of Technology on the Bible—Look at the best practices for developers and publishers seeking to create technological solutions that encourage good Bible-reading practices while minimizing negative technological effects.
  • Pastor Hacks: How Technology Helped Me Survive a Year of Rural Bivocational Ministry—Learn some “pastor hacks” used to prepare sermons faster, keep track of member needs, plan worship services, and stay sane while balancing “part-time” ministry and full-time business.
  • Exploring NoSQL and the Bible—Explore the basics of NoSQL technologies with special focus on the experiences one developer for Bible Gateway has had using them.
  • Disruptive Electronic Books—Consider how the concept of a book will change: it will be smaller, incremental, database-driven and computer-customized to the person reading it. Formatting text on a computer screen will be replaced with dynamic two-way social multimedia.

Get acquainted with the speakers and catch up on their preparations for BibleTech:2013 by checking out their personal links. You can also view the official BibleTech:2013 schedule and plan ahead for your BibleTech experience.

BibleTech will be held at the Red Lion Hotel on Fifth Avenue in the heart of Seattle’s vibrant downtown neighborhood—walking distance from the historic Pike Place Market.

Experience a fresh look into the exciting ways that technology is affecting the way we study, visualize, and communicate the Scriptures. Register for BibleTech today, and save 25% with the coupon code BBLTCH!

Free Book of the Month: Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Satan

“No subject was more dear to the heart of Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer than the teaching of the Scriptures on the spiritual life.”—John F. Walvoord, president of Dallas Theological Seminary

Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Satan is February’s Free Book of the Month.

Drawing on Scripture, Chafer encourages believers to be aware of the enemy’s tactics and schemes. This volume is both a challenge and a comfort to those who are looking to better understand Satan’s history—and future!

Lewis Sperry Chafer was born in Rock Creek, Ohio, in 1871. A Presbyterian clergyman and educator, he founded the Evangelical Theological College, which we now know as Dallas Theological Seminary. He served the college as president and professor of systematic theology until his death in 1952.

You can get Chafer’s book free through the end of February, and when you visit the Free Book of the Month page, you can enter to win the nine-volume Lewis Sperry Chafer
Collection.

Visit the Free Book of the Month page to get your free book and enter the giveaway.

Time’s Nearly Up: Call Our Sales Team to Upgrade to Logos 5!

This is it. There’s less than a week left to get introductory discounts on a Logos 5 upgrade! These discounts end Monday, February 4.

We’ve extended our sales team’s hours to handle the volume of upgrade calls we’re receiving. If you want to talk to someone about your upgrade options, you can call us at 1-888-875-9491.

Our team’s available:

  • 6:00 a.m–9:00 p.m. (PST) January 30–February 1
  • 6:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (PST) February 2
  • 6:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. (PST) February 4

Feel free to call us about upgrading. Come Tuesday morning, we don’t want you to be sorry that you missed your chance to get the best price on the base package you want.

Don’t forget, you can also take advantage of the Second-Chance Deal. Get the base package you really want without missing out on that first-time-upgrade discount!

Call or email the sales team now!

An Interview with MarriageToday’s Jimmy Evans

jimmy_evans I recently had an opportunity to talk with Jimmy Evans, Founder and CEO of MarriageToday. MarriageToday is devoted to helping couples build strong, fulfilling marriages and families. Jimmy has authored a number of books on marriage and family life, including 2012’s Lifelong Love Affair: How to Have a Passionate and Deeply Rewarding Marriage.

How did MarriageToday get started?

In 1993, I woke up three mornings in a row with God giving me a vision for MarriageToday. Like any time the Lord speaks to you, it was subjective and hard to explain to anyone else. But in my heart and spirit, I could see a television program with my wife, Karen, and myself sitting on a set talking to people about marriage. When I received the vision, the Lord also implanted this Scripture in my heart, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift a standard against him.”  (Is. 59:19)

It took about a year for us to begin producing programs, but within a couple of years we were purchasing time on major networks. We are now in our 20th year of production. The vision the Lord gave me 20 years ago is thriving, and we are now being broadcast into over 110 million households daily in America and to over 200 countries around the world. It’s very exciting to see what God is doing.

Every couple thinks their marriage has a unique set of problems—do you hear many similar stories everywhere you go?

I believe this is one of the most dangerous dilemmas facing many marriages. When we do marriage seminars and counsel couples individually, what we find is that, in most cases, they feel like their problems are unique. Because of this, they feel like others can’t understand them and will look down on them for what they are going through. When they find that their problems are common and almost everyone is going through or has gone through something similar, it sets them free to be honest and get help.

However, on the other side of that issue is the feeling of shame and fear when people don’t get help. Those feelings keep them from sharing with others. They put up a front while they secretly struggle or believe they are doomed to failure and call it quits.

I hope everyone reading this will believe me when I say—we are all the same! There are unique elements to every person and couple. But when it comes to how we struggle in marriage and how the devil attacks us in family relationships—we’re more alike than different. Don’t let the devil keep you in shame and fear by making you feel like you are the only ones going through problems.

I can’t name one church that doesn’t make keeping marriages together a priority. That said, more Christians are getting divorced than ever. Where’s the disconnect between the church’s emphasis on marriage and the practical reality?

I get really passionate regarding this issue. As a pastor for over 30 years, I’ve preached regularly on marriage and built a strong local church marriage ministry since the day I started. Part of my passion concerning the issue of marriage stems from the fact that I started in the ministry as a pre-marriage and marriage counselor.

But I can tell you that many churches have more support for divorce recovery than for couples preparing for marriage or those who are already married. I’m not against divorce recovery in any way. I believe it’s necessary. But if we had better pre-marriage and marriage ministry in the churches, we wouldn’t need as much divorce recovery.

Also, I don’t believe any church should marry a couple that hasn’t gone through pre-marital preparation. A couple that hasn’t been properly prepared is set up for failure. It’s the church’s responsibility to set the standard and give people the training they need. Much of this can be done by lay leaders in a small group setting or as marriage mentors assigned to pre-married and newly married couples.

At MarriageToday, we have created many resources specifically designed to equip the local church. I realize that a lot of pastors who have a heart for marriage don’t feel that they are qualified to teach or counsel on a wide variety of issues. I understand that. It’s exactly why we do what we do at MarriageToday. We specialize in marriage and love to come alongside the local church to equip them.

lifelong love affairHow difficult is it to get troubled couples to begin to be hopeful again?

It totally depends on how teachable they are.  All of us begin in marriage relatively ignorant and unexperienced. The difference between those who struggle chronically and ultimately fail is they will not turn to God and get the help they need.

I have had family members, neighbors, and good friends divorce without ever asking me for help. They may have been embarrassed or just felt that their problems were beyond help. But I have also seen thousands of crisis marriages resurrected over the years because they turned to God and were teachable.

The happiest couples I have ever seen are marriage seminar groupies that come to all of our seminars. Some of them have been married for over fifty years—and they’re still coming to seminars to build their marriages. There has never been more help available for people wanting to succeed in marriage. The key is to be humble and teachable and admit that we need constant help and encouragement in marriage. No one is the exception.

If a couple is coming to a MarriageToday seminar in a last-ditch effort to save a troubled marriage, what kind of advice would you give them to prepare for the experience?

Just to come and don’t let anything keep them away. The act of attending a marriage seminar says so many things about a couple. First of all, it says they’re fighting for their marriage. It also says they’re humble and willing to get help.  Finally, it says that there’s still an ember of love burning in their relationship.

We have seen thousands of divorces cancelled and marriages miraculously healed at our seminars. I believe when a couple attends and just gets into the atmosphere of God’s Word and power—anything is possible.

Would you like to transform your marriage by attending a MarriageToday event? Register now for the Lifelong Love Affair Seminar & Simulcast February 8–9, 2013. Watch the simulcast with your spouse, or make an event of it with your small group or church. If you’re near Southlake, TX, register to attend the event at Gateway Church. Let MarriageToday help strengthen your relationship. Register now.