President's Blog

Getting Used to the Stink of Death

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. I hope we’re all planning to celebrate the mothers and grandmothers within our church families and communities.

A pastor heard another pastor preach a sermon on mothers. He started by saying, “You know the happiest days of my life were spent in the arms of another man’s wife!” The congregation gasped!

He quickly added, “It was my Mother!”

The pastor liked the joke, and so, the following Mother’s Day Sunday he started his sermon with: “You know, the happiest days of my life were spent in the arms of another man’s wife!” His congregation gasped. But he froze, forgetting the punch line, he blurted out “And I cannot remember who she was!?”

I doubt any of us would ever forget our mother. Mothers make such an indelible impact on our lives. They are instrumental in developing our beliefs, values, and skills in life. A mom’s role is critical in helping a child to gain a world view that will bring purpose and meaning in life. What purpose might be worth passing on to a child?

The Bible says true meaning in life is found in a relationship with God.

Mothers are willing to do most anything to PROTECT and SAVE their children. In 2013, I recall hearing of a young mother in Oregon who was mauled to death by a cougar who was seeking to attack her daughter. Nothing was going to stop her from protecting her child.

We often acknowledge that God is our Heavenly Father, and while the Scripture speaks of God in the male gender, the Scriptures also share some allusions of God having a maternal side to His character.

One of the best known Scriptures on this is when Jesus was descending the Mount of Olives on His way to Jerusalem, a week prior to His death on a cruel Roman cross. He laments, saying in Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”

Jesus knows people all too well.

Although people have heard the message of God’s love, grace, mercy, and salvation over and over again, they still do not respond.

Jesus’ response is not the response of a puffed-up ROOSTER but a nurturing HEN who wants to protect people from the destruction they bring upon themselves. That was 2,000 years ago. Times have NOT changed.

People still don’t want to believe despite the truth about Jesus.

People still choose to willfully disbelieve.

The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 3 about our spiritually lifeless state. Spiritually lost people have “no understanding” of God and they do not “seek God.” Like spiritual cadavers they have “turned away” from God and their “throats are like open graves” (vv. 11-13). Their response is like throwing themselves into the cougar’s jaws.

On Mother’s Day, many local churches will give the gift of a carnation to each mother. They are beautiful; they smell nice for a day or two. But the carnation is dead. It died the moment the florist cut its stem. If you wait long enough you see it wilt. No matter what you do, you’ll never bring life to the carnation. The flower is dead.

The spiritually-lost are dead. They are the spiritually-walking dead. Cut off from their Heavenly Father, dead spiritually and utterly incapable of making themselves spiritually alive. A dead flower has no life. A dead body has no life. A dead soul has no life.

Jesus could not stand the idea of spiritual orphans rotting and dying for their sin. Just like a young mother hen willing to give up her own life for her chicks, Jesus came to rescue us.

"Though we were spiritually dead because of the things we did against God; He gave us new life in Christ.” Ephesians 2:5

One of Jesus’ best friends, Lazarus, lay dead in his tomb. Jesus yells: “Lazarus”, and his dead friend rises from the dead. The stink of four days of rot must have been horrible in the hot Judean sun.

The human race is dead. Dead in their sin and they don’t notice it. We’ve been in the smell so long we’ve grown accustomed to the stink. But Jesus has not! The Lord cannot stand the smell.

Spiritually-lost people don’t need to try to get up, but admit they are dead. The only ones who remain in the grave are the ones who don’t think they’re dead.

Why have I shared this?

More husbands will show up this Sunday for their wife’s sake than any other Sunday on the calendar. For God’s sake… preach the Gospel and point spiritual orphans to the Heavenly Father they are currently estranged from. Let me know what happens, ok?