Good News for Dead People – 5 He Is Legend

RisenIn the 2007 film, I Am Legend, Robert Neville (played by Will Smith) is one of the few immune survivors of a pandemic that turns the diseased into human-hunting zombies. Neville is also a virologist, and though other survivors fled to find safety elsewhere, Neville remained in New York City attempting to develop a cure for the deadly disease.

His self-appointed mission involves capturing diseased zombies, and using them as test subjects for experimental vaccines he develops from his own blood. He believes that since he is immune, then his blood must carry the key to a cure. You can watch the rest of the movie to find out what happens.

Neville’s dramatic (horrific) search for a cure is based (loosely) on reality. Continue reading

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Good News for Dead People – 4 How to Save the World

RisenI wish I had a good story about saving someone’s life. I don’t actually wish a life-endangering situation on anyone. I don’t really want to go through the effort and trauma of having to swim to a drowning child, or push a car off of the railroad tracks. It would just be cool to say, “Yeah, I saved someone’s life one time.”

Maybe I’ve watched too much MacGyver. Wait. I didn’t mean that.

But, there’s a major problem with saving people’s lives in our world: they will always die later, anyway. Continue reading

Good News for Dead People – 3 Wrinkles and Cancer

RisenCancer.

What a horrible word. There is so much wrapped up in that word. Fear, worry, surgery, hospitals, chemo, hair loss, nausea, pain, sorrow, even death. To find a cure for cancer would be bigger than just helping the body destroy malignant tumors. It would be a cure for all that is associated with cancer, all that results from cancer. A cure for cancer would cure the fear of cancer, the pain of cancer, and the sorrow of cancer.

Death.

Another horrible word. But, as with cancer, death is so much more than the cessation of physical life. Continue reading

Good News for Dead People – 2 Indescribable Evil

RisenAt one point in my short life I thought I could write poetry. We all lie to ourselves, especially when we’re young, and this was one of my lies.

My English teacher told us about a poetry contest. It involved money, which was probably in the form of scholarships (they know better than to give kids cash prizes), but I didn’t know that or didn’t want to admit that, so I submitted a poem. It was about death. Continue reading

Good News for Dead People – 1 Beginning with the End

RisenHindsight, as they say, is 20/20.  Look back on your actions and choices and you are sure to see a lot clearer than you did before you made them.  Actions backfire and choices play out into life-altering decisions.  Don’t you wish you could always look back to make your decisions?

I want to begin this series of articles exploring the Gospel at the end.  I want to take advantage of hindsight, and examine a little of what God’s word says about the end.  Hopefully this will help us better understand some of the elements and purposes of the Gospel. Continue reading

Resurrection and Baptism

We make the best of funerals. We do what we can to take an ugly situation and make it beautiful. At least I think that explains all the flowers.

But, all the flowers in the world still don’t cover over the fact that death has occurred. As “natural” as death is supposed to be you would think we would be used to it. But, everyone who loses someone knows how unnatural death really is, how wrong and foreign it feels to let go. And I believe that explains why so many people avoid funerals.

So, it is incredibly odd that God would pick such an ugly event as death to represent the most beautiful opportunity He can offer us: new life. Continue reading

Resurrection, part 2

We live in a world of anxiety and anticipation, a world of death, taxes, disease, unemployment, and poverty. But, it is also a world of enjoyment, comfort, peace, family, and beauty. We live hoping for something better, but half-expecting the worst. We live a suspenseful existence.

All of us wait, like the disciples did on that Saturday nearly two millennia ago, for something we have a vague idea about, but we know for sure has not come yet. Those few men and women who had walked and talked and shared meals with Jesus were so certain that He would be the salvation and release they had been longing for. But, on that Saturday, Jesus was dead–and so was most of their hope. Continue reading

Resurrection, part 1

I had been a preacher for roughly one month. I had never yet been called to the hospital late at night, but that January night I got dressed around bedtime to go sit with a man I had never met because his wife, who I had also never met, was in the emergency room.

It was her fortieth birthday. She and her husband had been out celebrating over dinner, and returned to the house to settle in for the night. She had been complaining of a headache for most of the day, but had enjoyed her birthday, none-the-less. But, as she prepared for bed in her bathroom, she began vomiting violently and then passed out. Her husband called an ambulance, they rushed her to the hospital, and that was how I found the situation. Continue reading