The Price

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This reading could be used during the Easter season or for a Lord’s Supper service. The voice-over part could be a recorded voice, an offstage voice, or readers onstage.

Scripture Reader 1: “Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.”

Scripture Reader 2: “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying,”

Scripture Reader 1: “‘Hail, king of the Jews!’”

Scripture Reader 2: “And they struck him in the face.”

Voice-over: Christianity is the laughingstock of our society! It’s for weak-minded people who can’t live their own lives.

Scripture Reader 1: “When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, ‘Crucify! Crucify!’”

Voice-over: If there is a God, He has a lot of explaining to do. We are the product of evolution. Jesus was simply an insane leader glorified by the masses. People back then believed in anything.

Scripture Reader 2: “Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.”

Scripture Reader 1: “Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).”

Voice-over: It’s your body. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have a right to terminate the pregnancy. Take charge of your life. It can all be reversed.

Scripture Reader 2: “When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.”

Voice-over: We really ought to live together before we even think about marriage.

Voice-over: Did you hear what I heard about Martha? She is the lowest!

Voice-over: You’ve got to be there. The party is going to be wild: free booze, ecstasy, ludes, you name it!

Voice-over: Come on. Take it! The cashier’s busy. She’ll never know.

Scripture Reader 1: “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.”

Voice-over: (as to a child) When will you ever grow up! You come here right now. I’m gonna give you a beating you’ll never forget.

Scripture Reader 1: “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”

Scripture Reader 2: Forgive them

Whispered Voice-over: Hate

Scripture Reader 1: Forgive them

Whispered Voice-over: Murder

Scripture Reader 1: Forgive them

Whispered Voice-over: Apathy

Scripture Reader 1: Forgive them

Whispered Voice-over: Pride

Scripture Reader 1: Forgive them

Whispered Voice-over: Witchcraft

Scripture Reader 1: Forgive them

Whispered Voice-over: Tyranny

Scripture Reader 1: Forgive them

Scripture Reader 2: “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

Transition with a song or prayer.

Scripture: John 19:1-3,5-6,16-17,23,25-27,30Luke 23:34

16 Things I Believe About Prayer and Meditation

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  • We wait on Him, but O how often He must wait on us!
  • Train your mind to believe supernaturally and life will burst forth in faith that is both mysterious and definitive
  • God is big enough to handle your gigantic doubts
  • Dash your envy against the rock and there you will find peace in Your brokenness
  • I am often too fearful to pray because of the monster of disappointment. But all fears subside with the words- Our Father
  • How will we step into holiness without entering the closet?
  • Each believer will find her voice in prayer different than her friends… just as different as her fingerprints.
  • When we meditate on God intention and distraction are muted by perspective
  • Prayerfulness is awareness of the presence of the Creator.
  • Often in my prayer life I perceive that God is waiting for me to stop talking so He can speak.
  • Meditating on God is a settling of the daily internal conflict that is insidious in modern life.
  • He remains hidden from the arrogance of human ideology and cultural doctrine
  • We can never speak wholly of God for none of us know him wholly. There’s always something new. Little of it will fit on your bumper
  • Seeking God is not knowing about God. It is knowing Him. It’s personal not merely theological.
  • Meditation on The Father is not merely an intellectual pursuit
  • In spiritual midnights you can find true intimacy with God if you let go.

A Message for Anna

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He: We have a message for Anna.

She: It’s not one that we can simply speak. Because Anna sometimes doesn’t even know who she is. Not that she is mentally incapable. Not that she has some type of ailment or handicap.

He: Anna is simply not easily found.

She: But she’s there.

He: We try not to think about her most of the time.

She: But she can’t help herself. She’s Anna. That will never change.

He: She lives in a town not too far from here.

She: Closer than you may know. She grew up in a fine Christian home. Mom taught Sunday School, and Dad attended worship every now and then. He was a very busy man: a business man . . . business was his life, and life was the exception. He had mouths to feed and bills to pay. He cussed over the phone about missed deadlines and failed objectives. He was, in business lingo, “driven.”

He (as Dad on the phone): I don’t care how many times you’ve called him. Call him again! He’s got to change his mind about this. Visit his office. Woo him! Bend down and kiss his shoes. (Listening.) I understand that, but you’d better understand this: He’s a six-figure account, and if we lose him, don’t come crying to me when you see a pink slip. Call me first thing in the morning.

She (as Anna): Dad, I did it. I won first place in the poetry contest!

(She goes to embrace him, but he turns his back to her and speaks unemotionally.)

He: That’s great, Honey. Go show your mom. By the way, weren’t you supposed to clean up the living room on Tuesday? It’s a mess.

She (as narrator): And so Anna picked up the newspapers and vacuumed to the moon, but nothing on earth was to his liking. Words that were sterile and sharp pierced her.

He (as Dad): I don’t see how you can expect to grow up if you keep treating things like a child.

She (as narrator): Her heart bled.

He 
(as Dad)Poetry is good, but it won’t pay the light bill. Come back down to earth.

She: Her heart yearned to give itself away. This was the first man in her life. He fed her, clothed her. Even tutored her in algebra. But her heart wanted more than food and instruction. (As Anna): Merry Christmas, Daddy!

He: Thanks, Anna. Did you see what your brother gave me?

She: I love you, Dad.

He: Could you hand me the pliers?

She: I love you . . . Daddy?

He: I’m sorry. What were you saying?

She (as narrator)Mind, heart, body, and soul, she searched for something,

He: something that she had never known;

She: a void,

He: an emptiness that echoed throughout the long midnight of her life.

She: Vital signs were weak. . .

He: . . . perhaps almost gone until in the ninth grade when she met Joe.

She: Joe was a junior. Played varsity.

He: He was mildly popular.

She: And for the first time in her life, or so it seemed, someone looked at her as a woman. They talked on the phone. Went out. They laughed.

He: Vital signs growing stronger. She was in stable condition.

She: Was this the thing that would fill her heart—that empty heart that sought a reason to live? Would this fresh bandage stop the loneliness that bled from her soul? She could only hope that it would. She wanted so much to be healed.

He (as Joe): I just don’t understand why. There’s no reason for you to be afraid. I’m not going to hurt you. I’m frustrated. I need you. Why don’t you just give in? I love you. What’s wrong with it? If you truly love a person, you should have the freedom to express it.

She: I was just hoping that . . .

He: Hoping for what? Hoping that I would just stick around and wait for you to make up your mind about whether you love me or not?

She: It’s not a matter of love . . .

He: You don’t even know what love is about! The only thing you care about is yourself. What about me? What about my needs? (He turns away.)

She (as narrator): Anna was an emotional orphan. She had no place to turn; and so like most orphans, real or imagined, she went to the door that was open. But the wound did not heal.

He: Something was wrong.

She: He used words that were as sterile and yet as sharp as her father’s.

He (as Joe): I feel like we’re a married couple. I need some space.

She (a phone conversation): Dad, I thought you’d be around. My birthday was Tuesday, and you didn’t even call.

He (also on phone): Did you like the car we bought you?

She: I don’t want your car.

He: Anna! Anna!

She (as narrator): She hung up the phone . . .

He:
 . . . and went to Joe’s. He wasn’t expecting her, and neither was Joe’s friend. She was sitting on the couch with a smirk that only a 16-year-old can manage. Joe came outside, shut the door, and leaned against it.

She: Silence . . . for moments that felt like years.

He (as Joe): Somehow I knew it would come to this.

She: You lied to me!

He: We grew apart.

She: Why couldn’t you at least tell me about Lisa?

He: Everyone knew.

She: But me.

He: Don’t you get it, Anna? You’re living in a dream world! The thing you’re searching for doesn’t exist. You can’t expect everyone to live up to your fantasies of perfection.

She:
 How dare you! How dare you talk to me about fantasies. You taught me to believe in them. You liar!

(Pause.)

He: Nobody’s perfect.

She (as narrator): And indeed no one seemed to care. She felt like an object used for a season and then left on the shelf.

He: But she kept trying. Looking for something . . . someone to stop the bleeding. She married during her junior year of college; and she wanted to love him, to fulfill his needs and her needs as well. But the voices of those men of days gone by crept in through the back door.

She (as Anna)Why do you keep pressuring me, James? Leave me alone.

He: I can’t take the loneliness anymore. Can’t you see what it’s doing to me? To us? . . . Anna, I love you! Don’t you see? Don’t you believe me?

She: Why should I? You want me! That’s the bottom line. You want me for what I can offer you. Well, I can’t be had.

He: What are you talking about?

She: You’re not my father!

He: You’re absolutely right. I’m not your father. You’re the one who thinks I am!

She: I can’t love you!

He: Don’t do this, Anna! (Pause.)

She (as narrator)Emptiness.

He: Isolation.

She: Unfulfilled desires.

He: Hurt.

Both: Loneliness.

He: Voices that whispered in the dark closets of her past.

She: Voices of the men who sought to use her and then cast her aside.

He: Voices—intentional or unintentional—that cried out: unlovable, insignificant, worthless . . .

She: Unlovable, insignificant, worthless. . .

Both: Unlovable, insignificant, worthless!

She: But in the distance she heard a soft voice. One that was almost drowned out by the rushing noise of circumstance and pain. But it spoke to her just the same.

He: Anna . . .

She (as Anna): Leave me alone.

He: Come here. Come to Me.

She: You can’t help me. Just let me die. I’m tired of my life.

He: I will give you rest. I love you.

She: That’s impossible. If You say You love me, then You must not know me.

He: Anna. Please believe me. I know you. I know your every thought. Every moment I know where you are. I made every delicate cell and organ in your body. I love you. I died for you. If you come to Me, I will make you a new person.

She: I can’t live up to that. I can’t be new.

He: You’re right, Anna. You can’t. Not alone. There is no one on this earth who is righteous. Not even one.

She: Why are You accepting me?

He: It’s not for you to understand.

She: I don’t think I can live up to Your expectations.

He: You don’t have to live up. Just live. I saved you not on the basis of deeds which you’ve done to become righteous. I saved you by My love. Anna, surrender is much different from earning. I’m not asking you to earn it. I just want you to come home. (Pause.) Come home to Me. Come home, My weary child . . . come home.

Heading South With Caleb Tomorrow

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Caleb and I are heading on adventure tomorrow to Bogalusa. But first we’ll plan to stop in New Orleans to see the sights and hit some cajun food.  Looking forward to it and praying for Abey Baby (my old car) to get us everywhere we need to go on time.

What Could I Compare You to…

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What could I compare you to my old friend?
What could I know better than the memory of you.
The one to see me through
To hide the thought of you
in a small brown paper bag
concealed in my head
the vision of the summer’s shine
the smile so kind
the hopes resigned

You were worth every tear you caused
all recordings of the past you paused
the moon in all it’s glory
knows little of our story and yet there you were
in all things new
survivors few
from the past of your delicate mind
The smile that slew the serpents of shame
and gave me breath again.
And so I remember because I am the only one
who saw certain things about you that no one could claim.
this is my undiscovered fame.

Darlene’s first interview went well.

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She had a good interview at a place where Caleb might even get a job.  Things are looking really good for now.   Finished the audio editing for Friday Forum. I’m now about to dive into the David Uth talks.

Last night was really stormy and I woke up late.  A little fatigued from the past few days. Tomorrow I begin my trek to Bogalusa, probable staying at my Mark’s place with Caleb.  Praying for some good father/son time