Monday, April 13, 2009

That's my King!

Dr. Shadrach Meshach (S.M.) Lockridge (March 7, 1913 – April 4, 2000) was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, a prominent African-American congregation located in San Diego, California, from 1953 to 1993. He was known for his preaching across the United States and around the world.

Shadrach Meshach Lockridge was born March 7, 1913, in Robertson County, Texas, the oldest of eight children and the son of a Baptist minister. A graduate of Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, he worked for two years as a high school English teacher. In 1940 in Dallas, he felt led to preach. In 1941 he married Virgil Mae Thomas but they never had any children.

In 1942, he accepted his first pastorate at Fourth Ward Baptist Church in Ennis, Texas. In August 1952, he was named pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego where he served until retiring in 1993.

During Dr. Lockridge's tenure at Calvary Baptist, a predominantly African-American congregation, his ministry touched the lives of more than 100,000 people. He preached at crusades, revivals, religious rallies and evangelistic conferences around the world.

He held doctorates and numerous honorary degrees and was often sought as a public speaker, even after he retired in 1993. He served as guest lecturer at numerous schools and universities and on the faculty of several others, including the Billy Graham School of Evangelism.

His best-known message is a six and a half minute description of Jesus Christ, known as "That's my King!" for Lockridge's repeated refrain.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Old Rugged Cross

Old Rugged Cross by Anne Murray pictures: "Passion of Christ" by Mel Gibson

Day 40: Silence
by Ray Pritchard

The four gospels do not tell us much about what happened on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We know that after Jesus died, the disciples stayed behind locked doors for fear of the Jewish leaders (John 20:19). Their fear was well-founded because on that Saturday, the chief priests and the Pharisees met with Pilate and asked him to order the tomb sealed to prevent the disciples from stealing Jesus’ body (Matthew 27:62-66). After the resurrection, those same religious leaders would bribe the guards so they would spread the rumor that the disciples had indeed stolen Jesus’ body from the tomb (Matthew 28:11-15). In a bizarre twist, Jesus’ opponents had a greater belief in his resurrection than his disciples. The only other detail we know about Saturday is that because it was the Sabbath, the women who were with Jesus at the cross rested according to the commandment (Luke 23:56).

In the various Christian traditions this day goes by several names: Holy Saturday, Great Saturday, Easter Eve, and Silent Saturday. There are not many liturgical practices associated with this day. It is meant for rest and reflection because on this day Jesus “rested” in the tomb. Often this day is used to prepare food for the great Easter celebration that comes on Sunday. Some churches celebrate the Easter Vigil that begins after sundown on Saturday night.

It is a long day, this Silent Saturday. In many ways it represents life as it is for all of us. Though we like to say that we live on the other side of Easter, and that of course is true in the ultimate sense, it is also true that we live somewhere between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. The crucifixion is behind us, but death is still with us and the final victory lies somewhere in the future. Every funeral reminds us that “the final enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death was defeated by Jesus, but it has not yet been destroyed. That happy day is still in front of us.

The message of Holy Saturday is, “Get ready. Something is about to happen. But it hasn’t happened yet.” Thank God, we’re not moving back toward the crucifixion. It may be Saturday but we’re moving toward Easter. Sunday’s coming. All we’ve got to do is hold on a little while longer and Sunday will soon be here.

Keep the faith, brothers and sisters. Yesterday our Lord was crucified. Today his body lies in the tomb. Tomorrow he rises from the dead. Saturday can seem like a long day–and it is–but be of good cheer. The crucifixion is behind us, Saturday will not last forever. Sooner than we think, Sunday will be here. As one writer put it, when Jesus walked out of the tomb, all his people came out with him.

We are Easter people marching from Good Friday through Holy Saturday on our way to Easter Sunday. We’re not quite there but we’re moving in the right direction.

It’s Saturday, but Sunday’s coming. Let that thought give strength to your heart today.

O Lord, waiting is so hard. And waiting is what this day is all about. Grant us faith while we wait so that we will be not lose heart but will be ready to rejoice when Sunday finally comes. Amen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday 2009 - Walk With The Cross

Christian pilgrims from around the world traditionally fill the narrow cobblestone streets of Jerusalem's Old City on Good Friday, some carrying large wooden crosses as they follow the route Jesus took on the way to his crucifixion.

Carol and I served as pastor of Christ United Methodist of Indianola, Mississippi, from 1982 until 1989. On Good Friday 1988, we began what would become a tradition for area Christians of carrying the cross through the streets of their city.

Watch this video presentation of the 1988 Walk with the Cross in Indianola, Mississippi, as we begin at First United Methodist Church – carrying the cross through the streets of Indianola – and reaching our destination at Christ United Methodist Church.

Good Friday Walk With The Cross from Buddy Smith on Vimeo.

When they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him. —Luke 23:33

When Jesus died on the cross, He paid for the sins of the human race. Only those who believe on Him, however, can receive His loving provision. The sacrifice of Christ is sufficient for all, but it is effective only for those who place their trust in Him.

On this Good Friday 2009, let’s thank Jesus for paying for our sin. If you haven’t trusted Him, do it today!

We may not know, we cannot tell
What pains He had to bear;
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there. —Alexander

"Still He Walked"

Author Unknown

He could hear the crowds screaming "crucify" "crucify"...
He could hear the hatred in their voices,
These were his chosen people.
He loved them,
And they were going to crucify him.
He was beaten, bleeding and weakened...
His heart was broken,
But still He walked.

He could see the crowd as he came from the palace.
He knew each of the faces so well.
He had created them.
He knew every smile, every laugh, and every shed tear,
But now they were contorted with rage and anger
His heart broke,
But still He walked.

Was he scared? You and I would have been
So his humanness would have mandated that he was.
He felt alone.
His disciples had left, denied, and even betrayed him.
He searched the crowd for a loving face and he saw very few.
Then he turned his eyes to the only one that mattered
And he knew that he would never be alone.
He looked back at the crowd...
At the people who were spitting at him
Throwing rocks at him and mocking him
And he knew that because of him,
They would never be alone.
So for them, He walked.

The sounds of the hammer striking the spikes echoed through the crowd.
The sounds of his cries echoed even louder,
The cheers of the crowd, as his hands and feet were nailed to the cross,
Intensified with each blow.
Loudest of all was the still small voice
Inside his Heart that whispered "I am with you, my son",
And God's heart broke.
He had let His son walk.

Jesus could have asked God to end his suffering,
But instead He asked God to forgive.
Not to forgive him, but to forgive the ones who were persecuting him.
As he hung on that cross, dying an unimaginable death,
He looked out and saw, not only the faces in the crowd,
But also, the face of every person yet to be,
And his heart filled with love.
As his body was dying, his heart was alive.
Alive with the limitless, unconditional love he feels for each of us.
That is why He walked.

When I forget how much My God loves me,
...I remember his walk.
When I wonder if I can be forgiven,
...I remember his walk.
When I need to be reminded of how to live like Christ,
...I think of his walk.
And to show him how much I love him,
...I wake up each morning, turn my eyes to him,
.......And I walk.