Your Jesus Is Too Handsome

Okay, I admit it, the title of this post is just a hook to get you to read it. In truth, this post is just a few rambling reflections of what was a great (GREAT) Bible study last night in our Monday evening men’s study.

I mentioned a week or two ago that we were studying The Cross of Christ (the smaller bible study version of it) by John Stott. Last night was our first lesson and it was outstanding! A real blessing!

Our focus was Isaiah 53. The eyes of our men, who had never really interacted with that text of Scripture before, were opened to the deep realities of what our Lord went through on our behalf. Those of us who were more familiar with that text were also humbled as we walked through the chapter, verse by verse, and reflected on God’s love lavished upon those as undeserving as we. I can’t help but think of Charles Wesley’s, And Can It Be that I Should Gain“…

And can it be that I should gain
an interest in the Savior’s blood!
Died he for me? who caused his pain!
For me? who him to death pursued?

Amazing love! How can it be
that thou, my God,
shouldst die for me?

So, besides serving as a hook to get you to read this post, why did I say that “your Jesus is too handsome?” Well, because (and this is neither new nor profound) all too often our image of Jesus looks a little too much like us. And I don’t mean just his physical appearance. Isaiah made a point of saying that there was nothing so particularly attractive about the Servant that would compel us to desire him. I don’t think that Isaiah was painting a portrait of Jesus’ physical appearance by saying that as much as saying he was a plain and humble man. He didn’t come in power and prestige. The Lord of heaven and earth took on our flesh and dwelt among us. And though he knew no sin, he became sin for us!

If you haven’t read the whole text in a while, here it is…

1 Who has believed our message
   and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
   and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
   nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
   a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
   he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

 4 Surely he took up our infirmities
   and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
   smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
   and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
   each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.

 7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
   yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
   and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
   so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
   And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
   for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
   and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
   nor was any deceit in his mouth.

 10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
   and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
   and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
   he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
   and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, 
   and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
   and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
   and made intercession for the transgressors.

May God bless you as you read and contemplate his word. And may he pour his grace upon you as you reflect on what Christ has done on your behalf.

One Last Thought on Men’s Ministry…

A great many men’s studies never seem to divert the gaze of the men from themselves. Now, I’m a proponent of assessing ourselves and how we are, or are not, progressing in our faith. Introspection is important. Yet I’ve realized over the years of ministering to men that while we need to take God’s Word and see how it “hits us where we live,” we also need to spend some time (quantity and quality time) reflecting on our God and the great doctrines of our faith. Only that will give us the footing we need for standing firm in our own lives. This new study is helping us with just that very thing.

Grace and Truth,
Dale

Calling All Mission-Minded Men at Southside

Brothers,

Below is some information about the mission trip to Guatemala that some of the men of our church will be going on this coming April. The info-meeting referred to has already happened, but the contact information is still good and it is definitely not too late to learn more and/or sign up, though space is limited. (Just to be clear: this mission trip is open to any and all men at Southside… though, as I said, space is limited.)

PS – One of the best and most inspiring messages I ever heard on missions was by John Piper. You can read or listen to the message by clicking here.

Grace and Truth,
Dale

Have you been looking for a way to put your faith in action?  Has God begun to give  you a heart to serve?  Do you desire to deepen your relationship with God by sharing His love with others?

Then we’ve got a trip for you!

The Baxter Boys men’s ministry here at Southside is sponsoring a mission trip to Guatemala on April 21-29 of 2012.  We will be involved in a construction project with the Mission2Guatemala team–the ministry our youth have worked with over the past few years–and will stay at their center in Chisek.  The cost of the trip will be $1500 per person which includes airfare, living expenses in Guatemala,  and construction materials for the project.  A deposit of $400 will be due by January 15, and we hope to offset the rest by fundraising.

We will have an exploratory meeting on Wednesday, December 14 at 5:45 PM in the Family Life Center main area.  We will discuss the trip, pass out the FAQ sheets from M2G and plan fund raising.  If you have any questions or are interested but cannot attend, contact David Preston at prestondinjax@aol.com or 616-6817.  You don’t have to be a “Baxter Boy,” just a man of God willing to rise up and go forth in His name.  See you on the 14th!

Courageous: The Movie – This Friday

Back in May I shared the news that a great new movie for everyone… but especially dads and dads-to-be was coming out in September. Well, this Friday it will be here. Details and trailers are below, but I wanted to point out that a movie’s lifespan at the theatres depends greatly on its opening weekend. Therefore, I want to encourage you to go and see the movie this weekend, whether it’s with your friends, your son(s), your father, your men’s group, or whomever… just GO!

I’m hoping to have a group (or perhaps several groups) from our men’s ministry at Southside invading one of the theatres here in Jacksonville this Friday night.

Here’s the trailer for the movie…

Here’s some information about the movie…

From Fathers.com –

Why should you see Courageous? The movie is full of lessons for dads. In just about every scene, there’s a powerful truth or insight that we could stop and talk about, probably for hours.

To get some snapshots of what the movie is about, see this video of the song “Courageous” by Casting Crowns – from their new CD, Come to the Well.

As the song says, “Where are you, men of courage?
You were made for so much more.”

Isn’t that a strong call for all of us to step up in our role as fathers?

You probably know by now that there’s a clear faith emphasis in this film. Maybe you’re on board with that, but even if you aren’t, I hope you’ll still give it a chance. I’m quite certain there’s still a lot in this movie that will inspire you to be the father your children need. Find out more or reserve your tickets at courageousthemovie.com.

Come to the Well by Casting CrownsAlso, there are some fantastic resources available that go right along with the movie’s message. You can get this music from Casting Crowns (now available for pre-order) here. Or, see the new books available that complement the movie, such as The Resolution books for men and women, and my new book, The 21-Day Dad’s Challenge, which is out very soon.

Here are some ministries that have partnered with the folks who produced the movie.

Here’s Courageous the Movie’s YouTube channel with lots of clips, reviews, etc., from and about the movie.

I hope to see you at the movie.

Grace and Truth,
Dale