Friday July 3rd: I am in Houston. Community meeting tonight. Below is my interview on TBN from last Thursday night. It aired nationally then and Friday afternoon. IF you want to get right to my interview, fast forward about 50 minutes. I'm the second guest. Praise
At long last my new book is available: Challenges Make Champions. Be among the first to order: Champion
It is the 4th of July weekend. We thank God for our country and the freedoms we enjoy. However, Freedom isn't Free. This excerpt is from my just published book: Challenges Make Champions.
Freedom Isn’t Free
There is always a price to be paid for freedom. We treasure
our freedoms but sometimes we forget the cost. Freedom is very expensive. Some
time ago I visited Washington D.C. As I walked among the historical sites I
came upon a long wall with thousands of names etched upon it. It was the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall honoring those who lost their lives in the
Vietnam war. The black granite wall contains the names of the over 58,000 men
and women who died in service to our country. Over 1000 of the names are people
missing in action.
It is hard to describe the feeling I had standing beside
that wall. That memorial is a reflective, quiet prayerful place. The wall is
long and sometimes high, etched with name after name after name. Each carving
represents a family, a life, a history. Each person had gifts, goals and dreams.
Most of them died all too young. Had not their service taken their life, they
would be alive now enjoying families and jobs and living full lives. Each of
them died with courage fighting for what we now enjoy: freedom.
Near Washington D.C., across the Potomac River I visited the
Arlington National Cemetery. Over four hundred thousand men and women from
every war we have ever fought are buried there. Crosses and headstones in
striking symmetry grace the grassy fields. Row upon row of headstones dot the
landscape. This cemetery is yet another sobering, prayerful place that speaks volumes
about the cost of freedom. Innumerable brave men and women have given and
continue to give their lives so we can live the quality of life we so dearly
prize and treasure.
Countless others are wounded warriors. These are the ones
who have lost limbs or been wounded in a variety of other ways. Some have post
traumatic stress syndrome. They are now troubled mentally and emotionally. I
remember I was about to board an airplane one time. As we all gathered by the
gate the airplane official announced, “Any uniformed military person in active
duty is free to board the plane first.” Two men in the army passed by everyone
and proceeded to board the plane. As we watched them pass, the whole group of
us burst into applause. They humbly proceeded. I’ve heard some stories of those
in first class who offer their seats to our military personnel. Our fighting
men and women live lives of great sacrifice in order to protect and preserve
Freedom isn’t free. Men and women throughout our history
have died and have been wounded. The price of freedom is sacrifice. The cost of
freedom is blood.
Similarly in order for us to be set free from slavery, sin
and death, the Son of God himself suffered and died on a cross. Jesus’ passion
was the supreme sacrifice. It involved torture, blood and death. But his
sacrifice had ultimate meaning. As he taught, “The Son of Man did not come to
be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk. 10:45)
Jesus was explaining the meaning of his passion. His crucifixion wasn’t some
isolated meaningless event. His self-giving was the ultimate act of service.
His death “ransoms” us from sin, slavery and death.
A ransom is the price paid to free a prisoner or slave from
their captivity. Usually a paid ransom takes the form of money or goods of some
sort. We’ve all heard about Patty Hearst, the daughter of William Randolph
Hearst, who was captured by the Symbionese Liberation Army and held for ransom.
Millions were paid to get her back. John Paul Getty III was captured by Italian
gangsters and held captive. Only after his ear was cut off and mailed to the
Italian press was the millions paid to free him.
For our freedom, no amount of money, gold, or goods would
suffice. In order to liberate us from our ultimate captor, death, a death had
to be paid. The Old Testament sacrificial system foreshadowed this. Lambs and
goats were sacrificed on Passover. Blood was always seen as the purifying
element in the Bible because life was thought to be in the blood. On the Day of
Atonement, the high priest sprinkled the blood of a goat or bull on the mercy
seat to gain forgiveness for the sins of the people.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of things to
come…he entered once and for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of
goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. (Heb.
Jesus paid a debt he
did not owe and we owe a debt we could not pay.
At the cross the needed blood has been shed. The sacrifice
has been offered. A death has occurred. Because of this complete offering of
the true unblemished lamb, a new covenant of forgiveness and salvation has
occurred. Our guilt and shame has been healed and we are now right with God. It
is our faith and trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf that justifies us. We
have been redeemed. We are ransomed. We are now free. If the Son sets you free,
you are free indeed!
My newsletter for your download: Passion!
TBN/Church Channel viewers: Church Channel: New time: Fridays at 8 am ET. My episode: Series 125 is being broadcast. If you purchase all 18 of my books they are 1/2 price! Books. The book "You Can Change" will help you experience needed change in every area of your life.
TV viewers: If you become a partner we'll send you a prayer card and book. Help me reach out around the world with the Gospel! (If you would like the beautiful print of the crucifixion, just make a donation and tell me you would like the print in the misc. instructions, or call and tell my representative (844-FATHERC) that you would like to donate.) Thank you!
June 1st: I taped new talks (5) for my next Television series. I will continue with 5 more new talks July 6/7 at our center. Pics from early June:
My itinerary has been updated for the summer/fall and 2016. Events.
***Our Holy Cross Province puts out a Passionist Magazine. My preaching in Naples made the cover and there is an article where I talk about this special year of consecrated life inside. Enjoy. PASSIONISTS
Great news! I'm now reaching out to the UK, Wales and Scotland on TBN Sundays at 8 am England time: https://www.tbnuk.org/schedule
***Great news: I now air on KETH-14 Dish 14, ATT 14, Antenna 14.1 in Houston (TBN subsidiary) Thursdays at 11:30 am.
My precious "Pen Pals" write those who are incarcerated to encourage and inspire them. It is Jesus who is our inspiration: "I was in prison and you visited me" (Mt. 25:37) If you would like to participate in this wonderful writing ministry: Email Nancy Firmin at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Liguorian Magazine did a feature article on my ministry. Here it is: Passion
Here are some "pearls" of wisdom I've collected: Pearls