“He was wounded for our transgressions,

“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities” Check out this video a friend of mine made! http://ow.ly/4J6XK

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Sergio Ramos

I saw this a few minutes ago and nearly died laughing!  If you don’t follow soccer, the Copa del Rey is a Spanish football tournament that in Spanish means “the King’s Cup”.  It is a tournament in which teams from both Spanish leagues compete in knockout style matches over the course of the season.  Approximately 40 teams compete in the Copa del Rey and winning the tournament is a HUGE deal in Spain.  The 2011 Copa del Rey final was held a yesterday or the day before (forget!) and Real Madrid were this year’s victors after a completely un-Real Madridlike trophy drought.  It is customary for the tournament winners to celebrate with a trophy parade through their city on a tour bus while displaying the trophy for all the fans to see.  The trophy itself is like a little silver idol to the players and fans alike and they go absolutely bonkers over the trophy.

The reason why I laughed hysterically is because Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid’s left-back is hoisting the trophy…then drops it!  Not only does he drop it, it falls underneath the bus and gets crunched!  It’s like the football gods are not only mocking Madrid but also saying “Screw you guys!”  It’s hilarious because the newscasters who are covering the parade get so concerned about the trophy when it gets dropped!  You can clearly detect worry for the trophy’s safety when the bus rolls over it even though their speaking Spanish.  So I’ll stop talking and let you watch it!

A Must See/Listen!

I just listened to a really great message from Pastor Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA.  It’s called “The Coming of the Kingdom”.  It is a part of Mars Hill’s sermon series on the book of Luke.  This message is part 71 of the 2 year series.  If you want to listen to the previous 70 sermons go ahead, it’ll only take you 176,359 hours!  I would strongly recommend this sermon for preparation for Good Friday and Easter.  Click on http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/luke/the-coming-of-the-kingdom to listen/watch the sermon.  That is all!

Holy Week

Yesterday was the first day of what the Christian calendar calls “Holy Week”.  Beginning with Palm Sunday which remembers Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.  In the space of a week Jesus will experience exaltation at the gates of the city to despite and humiliation at the governor’s mansion.  It all begins with Jesus humbly riding in on a donkey with people laying down palm branches on His path while saying “Hosanna!  Baruch haba b’shem Adonai” which means “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  The people of Jerusalem were excited to receive their king who was going to free them from the oppression of the Roman occupation.  They had messed up beliefs about the Messiah and what He would accomplish.  However, when it became clear that Jesus was not going to lead a rebellion against the Roman rule He quickly falls out of favor with the public and attracts a lot of negative attention from the Pharisees and Sadducees with His teachings about the Kingdom of God.  The people assumed that Jesus would declare Himself king and restore Israel to its former greatness and usher in the Kingdom on earth.  The Jews had always had a nationalistic view of the Messianic mission and it led them to assume that they were the only people the Messiah would come for.  Assuming their righteous standing with God because of their chosen status with God.  They were God’s chosen people from among the nations of the world so the Messiah would be on their team and save them from the other nations, not themselves as Jesus taught.  Their national pride was one of the causes for their blindness to the real mission of Jesus.  Jesus taught from the beginning that He would die in the place of sinners and referenced many Old Testament scriptures as proof of His lordship and mission.

We are all in the same position as the people of Jerusalem who were blind to their own personal need of a Messiah.  The real problem was that we have sinned against a holy God and our sins deserve to be punished.  The punishment for our sins is an eternity in hell.  One sin against an eternal God requires an eternal punishment.  Each one of us is steeped in sin from the moment we’re born and are completely incapable of doing anything righteous in the sight of God.  But Jesus, being God, was sent from heaven to live a sinless life and die in the place of sinners so that He would be punished by God instead of us.  God punished Jesus on the cross to the full extent deserved for every human who would be saved.  Only an eternal soul like the one in Jesus could bear the eternal aspect of the wrath for sins.  So for three hours God relentlessly poured out wrath upon wrath on Jesus in our place.  Because of this substitution those who place their faith in Jesus are forgiven because there is no judgment left for them.  On top of that, Jesus was raised from the dead and gave us the righteousness He achieved during His life so that we can have a righteous standing before God until the day we meet Him in the eternal afterlife.

It takes a miracle work of God to reveal this in our hearts and before that miracle we were among the crowds crying “Crucify him!” before Pilate.  As C.J. Mahaney says, “Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us leading us to faith and worship, we must see it as something done by us, leading us to repentance.  Only the man or the woman who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of the cross may claim his share in its grace.”

I pray that all of us this Holy Week would seek to go deeper into the mystery and wonder of the cross and that we would find that our Savior’s love goes deeper than we had ever imagined before!  Seek out the Lord, acknowledge your sins, and find forgiveness and life at the foot of the cross and the empty grave.

2 Cor. 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”

I’m Blue ’til I die!

As the old saying goes, if you can’t beat them,  join them.  Or in Chelsea’s case, if you can’t stop him, buy him.  The day that Chelsea fans have been dreaming of for almost four years since his arrival at Liverpool has come and passed.  After having a forgettable first half of the 2010/11 campaign, want-away and “skulking” striker Fernando Torres has landed at Stamford Bridge to the delight of West Londoners and fans worldwide.  It was believed that the £50 million striker would experience a rejuvenation at Chelsea with a new coach, new teammates, new atmosphere, etc…but the script has been torn up and the expectations we had for “Nando” now seem like a childish fantasy, just like the dream of winning the Champions League.  The Torres goal watch is now up to 650 minutes of goalless football.  Twelve hours of match time have passed since his last goal for either Liverpool or Chelsea.  Ten of those hours have come with Chelsea as the drought becomes of ever-increasing concern with every match that passes.  Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is desperately looking for a return on his £50 million investment and there is heavy speculation that if there is no goal for Torres by the end of the season manager Carlo Ancelotti could face the sack.  It has been proven that billionaire Abramovich’s patience and forbearance is not one of his strong qualities.  Only a few years back, Jose Mourinho was the victim of the Russian’s impatience.  After delivering back-to-back Premier League titles in 04/05 and 05/06, Mourinho was sacked after Chelsea went through a bad mid-season slump and Guus Hiddink was chosen to replace him.  Hiddink was let go after guiding Chelsea to the Champions League final in 2008, loosing to Manchester United on that infamous penalty shootout.  Although Chelsea did experience an awful mid-season slump which saw them drop from first to fifth in the league table, Ancelotti managed to survive with his job intact and a few new players to boast as well including Torres.  Fellow winter transfer David Luiz has found the back of the net twice already from the center-half position with strikes that gave Chelsea crucial victories against Manchester United and Manchester City.  The only question is how tightly are Torres’ goal drought and Ancelotti’s job bound?

Fernando Torres' start with Chelsea has been one to forget

Torres was one  linesman’s flag away from ending his drought today against West Bromwich Albion when he was brought on as a substitute in the 81st minute.  With the game already comfortably in the books at 3-1 there was a confident attitude from the away fans that Torres would net against a lack-lustre WBA defense.  Flourent Malouda served Torres a great ball in the penalty box and Torres’ first touch was supreme in poking around the goalkeeper to cooly slot the ball into the net and the Chelsea supporters went nuts!  But it was short lived because Torres was ruled offsides by the slimmest of margins, or perhaps not at all.  It certainly looked like he was level, at least from my angle on my couch.  Nevertheless, Fernando Torres’ Chelsea horror story continues.  But the way I see it things are starting to look up for the Spaniard.  At least now we know that he is capable of making a ball go in the net with his foot.  For a while we all thought that he had somehow left that skill in Liverpool, or even in South Africa.  But now that we’ve seen it we know it is still possible.  In a game that was comfortably controlled by Chelsea I’m OK with his goal being disallowed because it sure is a step in the right direction for a man who seems to have lost his form.  That “goal” sure seemed like something the old Torres was doing at Liverpool and Atletico Madrid.  The verdict on Torres for now, be patient with him.  We don’t necessarily need a breakout from him at this point in the season because we’re only competing on one front now and there are only 6 games left.  If he’s not in form, don’t play him.  He’s under contract until 2017.  He’ll come good for us eventually.  Play the strikers now who give you the best chance to score, and now that happens to be Drogba and Anelka and perhaps Kalou.  Substitute appearances are fine until he regains his form (which we all know will happen), but don’t dwell on the massively huge transfer fee that brought him in.  Chelsea will likely have a massive offload of players this summer to try and reduce the age of the squad.  With players like Drogba, Lampard, Terry, Malouda, Anelka, and Ferriera all over 30, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a couple names from that list sold before next season.  It is likely that Ferriera will go, Drogba might be a casualty also, and even Lampard’s or Terry’s place in the squad is not guaranteed with Luiz and Ramires proving their worth since January.  A Torres-Kalou strike force next season would be very enticing and potentially deadly if both strikers can find form.

What’s next for Chelsea?  For now it’s Birmingham City at the Bridge on Wednesday night.  The long-term future?  Well that’s difficult to see but no matter what  you can be sure that I’ll be Carefree ’til I die!  I wouldn’t have it any other way!  If you’re a Chelsea fan and you’re feeling down, take heart because we’ll surely qualify for the Champions League next season!  We’ll be back for sure!  Until then, keep the Blue flag flying high!