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Lent Devotional 32 – A Resurrection that Christian Companies Can’t Profit From

“…’Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘He’s alive!'” – Acts 20:10

I got an email from a Christian company that is knee deep in its campaign to help churches prepare for its ever-important Easter service. This company promised to fulfill the church’s mission by providing the best literature, worship backgrounds, compelling banners, emotional vignettes and everything else to make the Easter service memorable. All of this is available, of course, for a nominal fee. Christian companies are not the only ones who are trying to profit from the season as any patron who walks into Walmart will notice, front and center, the aisles of candy, Easter eggs, baskets, outfits and anything accented in a pastel color for the would-be customer to purchase.

Make no mistake folks. Easter sells.

I wonder what Jesus thinks about all of this right now. The man endured inexplicable physical torture, false accusations, abandonment from his closest friends, separation from his father, all for many people who take his name in vain, live selfishly and only think of him when they are in trouble or a couple times a week.

Look, I am not opposed to companies who make a profit and I totally understand what they are trying to do. Yet, sometimes we (me included) divorce ourselves from the mission of Easter and are caught up in the consumerism of our society. We are sure to get our Instagram pic of our Easter outfits all the while our hearts are still dressed in our own selfishness.

What the companies cannot sell and what the stores cannot advertise is the resurrection that can happen in your life.

If Lent speaks anything to this world, it is a stiff-arm to the rapacious narrative of “me” so pervasive among us.

In Acts 20 a sleepy Eutychus has grown tired from Paul’s message. The NIV says Paul talked “on and on” (v. 9). Soon Eutychus fell asleep and the mishap caused him to fall out of the window and to his death.

We are a bit like Eutychus don’t you think? We are tired from hearing the resurrection every year (every Sunday…) and though we are alive many of us have fallen asleep.

Paul went down to Eutychus and the people were understandably concerned. I imagine the scene unfolding dramatically. Everything is normal until this man falls out of window and then there are screams from people. The sound of his body hitting the earth must have been excruciating to hear. Paul, in a very calm manner, says these words: “…Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘He’s alive!'” (Acts 20:10). It seems to be a weird story from outside looking in. Yet, in this Lenten season this story makes perfect sense to me.

We all have fallen asleep before but each of us have been revived. The word of God might be whispering to you right now, “He’s/She’s alive!” That is the encouragement you may very well need at this time. It is easy to desensitize ourselves from our mission when there is so much consumerism around us. But isn’t Easter still important? Isn’t resurrection still fundamental?

I think so.

Come alive friend.

Wake up.

May you come alive as we crawl our way to the cross.

Teaching My Kids About Valentine’s Day

I must admit that when it comes to Valentine’s Day I am a bit of a conscientious objector. There are many reasons for this: 1) Hyper Consumerism, 2) I have a lot of single friends who spend this day upset, 3) Why do I have to show love one day? This does not mean I am completely against it but rather I am against the typical overt expressions of this day. Heather and I typically do not celebrate this day.

Call me a grouch.

Call me whatever.

I have four kids so let’s just say I celebrate with my wife more than one day :)!!! I just went there. It’s biblical so keep reading.

So often as parents we have to teach them a different narrative then what they hear from culture. Our culture tells them bigger is better and we have to say, “Not necessarily.” You get the idea.

So what about Valentine’s Day?

How do you teach your kids about the overt nature of what culture is telling them about this day? I must say that I fall short completely short so I am no expert but here is me thinking out-loud.

If you have girls then dads make sure you are their first valentine.

Every year I have bought my girls flowers. “Robbie, you hypocrite!” I know. Reach your hand straight up in the air, bend it, extend your arm backwards and pat yourself on your back and whisper to yourself (in a Robbie voice): “Good job!” Do you feel better now? My point is that if there is going to be someone I want them to learn how to be loved from that someone is going to be me. I am going to set that high standard and buddy you better come up to that standard or beat it. The only thing that can separate the love I have for my daughters is death… and even that is temporary.

Take her to lunch, where a nice suit and tie and pamper that little girl. I guarantee you when some loser comes they will look at him, roll their eyes and move on. Just a note for you single moms (if Dad is out of the picture): see if you can arrange for your dad to pamper that sweet girl or if you have a brother or some positive male role model. They need them in their lives.

If you have boys then coach them on how to treat a lady with respect and dignity.

The horrible ways guys treat girls is a global epidemic. Look at the news and you will see all the domestic violence issues and this is just completely unacceptable. Also the small things though. Like opening a door. My wife and I were eating at a restaurant and I remember a couple was going through the doors with the guy heading first with the girl four steps behind him. He walked right in. I hurried to the door, looked at her and opened the door for her and she responded: “Thank you so much!” I noticed them later at the dinner table with his head buried in the phone and I thought to myself: “This moron. He has a prize (she was gorgeous) right in front of him and he is looking at a $300 phone.”

I threw a roll at his face. Kidding. But I wanted to.

The way society objectifies women it is difficult for men not look and treat women as puppets. This has to change. It starts with dads leading sons.

Finally, sit down with kids and talk about what love is and what it isn’t.

Yesterday I sat down where I volunteer for after school kids and a question was asked: “Who are some people you love?” Me and a kid from my group had this exchange:

Me: “Who do you love?”

Boy: “My girlfriend.”

Me: “How old are you?”

Boy: “Nine.”

Me (pointing to the door): “Get out of this building. You have no clue what love is.”

Actually I didn’t say that but I just went to the next kid rolling my eyes. Love is not just a feeling but a sacrifice.

Ask Jesus.

Look at 1 Corinthians 13 and look at what love is and what it is not. Many want a feeling but not the sacrifice. Love takes work. Love take humility. Love take devotion. Love ruins your pride. Love shatters your false expectations. Love gives and expects nothing in return. Love is metaphysical.

This is not a one-time conversation you have with your kids but an ongoing conversation that is both verbal and nonverbal. They need to know what love is from what they see in your own marriage. If you made some mistakes then talk about them. Coach them.

So what are some suggestions you have?