Pastor Don Wolan

Pastor Donald Wolan
Downriver Christian Community Church
Melvindale, Michigan

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Aint Nobody Got Time for That!

A picture is worth a thousand words. Anyone who has seen a photo of Bob Cassady in a suit from the 80s would know what I'm talking about. This old saying was obviously true prior to the golden age of movies and videos where now multiple pictures bring an act or story to life. With the advent of motion pictures and video, today visual scenes can leave us grasping for words to adequately or accurately describe what we just witnessed on film. Watch the following video from a "Black Friday" store sale and see for yourself if you can find the correct words to describe the scene or the people involved!

I must admit I was left speechless after watching the above video taken by a security camera in a department store on "Black Friday."  As people pushed, shoved, yelled obscenities, kicked, and grabbed others' presents or trampled on those who fell on the floor, I could only wonder where are we headed as a nation. Imagine for a moment if we were struck by a disaster that made Hurricane Sandy pale in comparison. What would be the reaction of most people? Sadly, recent headlines tell us that the homes that were destroyed or damaged by Sandy were being looted over Thanksgiving Day.  Black Friday has turned into Free For All Friday.

Look sat some of the other headlines from the Drudge Report last weekend:
  •  Customers Run Over in Parking Lot
  •  Man Bitten in Walmart
  •  Men Steal Boy's Bag Outside Bed Bath and Beyond
  •  Woman Busted for Throwing Merchandise
  •  Rampage
  •  Thousands Storm Victoria Secret
  •  Gang Fight at Black Friday Sale

Whatever happened to the days of old where people stood in lines quietly, patiently, and well-mannered, waiting for businesses to open their doors to the public for business to greet everyone with a Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday? Nowadays, people don't take time for that. It's get through the door regardless of who gets stepped on or hurt and get those deals that will never come back. Forget all sense of decency, decorum, and compassion. Forget about any sense of fair play or sportsmanship. Forget about wishing anybody any Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday salutations! Have we as a nation forgotten what this season is all about?

As followers of Christ, may we celebrate this wonderful advent season as a time of reflection on God's precious gift to all mankind in His son Jesus Christ. May we follow God's example by giving gifts to others as tokens of our love for them and our desire to see them blessed. May we truly adhere to the scriptural admonition that says,"it is more blessed to give than to receive."

As the world continues to debase and secularize this memorial season and incredible historical event, may we as children of God illustrate to the world, through our humility and good will, what this season really is all about. May we be witness to the grace and mercy of our Lord in a world bent on getting what they want no matter who gets hurt or in their way. May we also keep Jesus as the real reason for celebrating the season. Let's all make time for that.

Stay Holy, My friends!


 Pastor Don

Friday, November 16, 2012

Give Us Barabbas!

Life is a competition between polar opposites: strong versus weak, big versus small, smart versus unintelligent, rich versus poor, Godzilla versus Tokyo! With the reelection of President Obama on November 6th, 2012, another demarcation line between two polar opposites was recognized by the discerning and God-fearing, but was completely ignored by the current majority of Americans. That line is the fine line between the life and death of a free and prosperous society.

As America continues to move away from its Christian heritage, calling, and pedigree - along with the blessings associated with them - it moves at breakneck speed toward socialism, totalitarianism, and death. It has become clearer and clearer to many Christians that the majority of Americans - and many so-called Christians - are making uniformed and very dangerous choices for our nation's future. These choices are similar to the one made by the mob of Jews who were given the choice between "their King" or a "counterfeit." The mob before Pilate was "persuaded by the chief priest and elders" to demand the release of Barabbas! This historic and symbolic choice was a choice between a failed revolutionary and murderer or the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. One of the imprisoned men was going to be released back into Jewish society - along with the example he modeled - to walk and work freely among the people. The mob foolishly chose the revolutionary and murderer as they cried out, "Give us Barabbas!"


We are told in the Bible that Barabbas was a notorious (famous, well known, popular) prisoner (Matthew 27:16) who had been imprisoned for rebellion and murder (Luke 23:19). He was scheduled to be executed, but was released when the Jews of Jerusalem were given a choice between him and Jesus. The Jews demanded Barabbas be released instead of Jesus at the feast of Passover, according to the Biblical accounts, and Barabbas went free while Jesus went to the cross. How significant to note that the "mob" will almost always reject Jesus and everything that he stands for and demand the release of a "Barabbas."

What does Barabbas stand for? Barabbas' name gives us insight into what the people back then were really demanding for themselves. The name Barabbas means "son of the father." This name, along with the Biblical description of his character, points us to the fact that God was not his father, but that he was a descendant of his real father Satan (John 8:44). And being a son of his father the Devil, he acted like his father - rebelling and murdering - during his lifetime. Some historical authors believe that Barabbas was later involved in leading and organizing the rebellion against Rome in 70 A.D., which led to Jerusalem's destruction by the Romans. On the other hand, all sons of God who are called by His name should be identified by their observance to God's holy word and devotion to Jesus (I John 3:7-10).

Also, according to early Greek text of the New Testament, Barabbas' full name was Jesus Barabbas. Later, scholars dropped the first name from the scriptures because of the possible confusion between the real Jesus and the false Jesus. The Biblical narrative sets the two Jesus-es in contrast to one another. Their lives, characters, and philosophies stand in stark contrast to each other and the possible blessings or consequence associated with each man. When the majority of this nation's people cry out and side with a Jesus Barabbas (all non-Christian worldviews) whose entire agenda is anti-Christian to the core and reject the remaining standard of God's law for their lives, we have figuratively demanded the release of a "Barabbas" back into our culture and our lives - accompanied by the horrific consequences of our demands.

When a "Barabbas" reenters our communities at our invitation, he brings with him his rebellious and murderous tendencies. He has not changed his character and has no intention of changing it. His history and influence will once again be allowed to move undetected and unhindered in our midst spreading destruction in his wake. The unfortunate part about his destructive work is that people will foolishly think that "Barabbas" will not affect them or their children. His destructive work all around us will not be noticed until it is too late. His work and influence will spread like gangrene (2 Timothy 2:17). When a society rejects God's Son as "King" and his word as "authoritative" for their entire lives, society slowly begins to crumple under the foundation of sand and soon reaps the consequences of a released "Barabbas."

In last week's Presidential election, the people once again cried out and let their voices be heard. The cry of "give us Barabbas" drowned out the cry for life, justice, truth, and numerous other Biblical principles associated with a free, healthy, fair, and prosperous society. Rejected by this mob are the remaining law and Lordship of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, in our nation. As the "Barabbas spirit" has the chains taken off its bloody wrists and is released, the work of rebellion and murder will grow and continue unabated and at the nation's expense. Abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, fetal stem cell experimentation, homosexuality, sexual perversion, and a host of other evils will be unleashed with demonic fury and championed by "Barabbas" sympathizers in the crowd while all remnants of Christ's remaining law will be mocked, striped, flogged, crucified, and buried by "public opinion." 

"What shall I do with this man named Jesus?" Pilate rhetorically asked the crowd? "Crucify him!" they demanded. "But he is your king!" Pilate pointed out. "We have no king but Caesar!" the crowd hypocritically replied. Barabbas was demanded and released, but we as Christians should not grow fainthearted and discouraged. Instead may we be resolute as we faithfully continue pressing into Christ in all parts of life. May we take the battle to the enemy in all spheres and stand boldly, proudly, and steadfastly for Christ and his law.  Barabbas may have been demanded by the crowd and released to them, but just wait and see what happens when the church truly rises up and is released in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
Forward into battle see His banners go!

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before.

At the sign of triumph Satan's host doth flee;
On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory!
Hell's foundations quiver at the shout of praise;
Brothers lift your voices, loud your anthems raise.

 Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
Brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
One in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

What the saints established that I hold for true.
What the saints believed, that I believe too.
Long as earth endureth, men the faith will hold,
Kingdoms, nations, empires, in destruction rolled.

 Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ's own promise, and that cannot fail.

 Onward then, ye people, join our happy throng,
Blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.
Glory, laud and honor unto Christ the King,
This through countless ages men and angels sing.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
With the cross of Jesus going on before...

Stay Holy, My Friends!

Pastor Don