Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chum Chat: Jack and His Thoughts on Christ and Easter

My father—also named Jack Garcia—is a truly great man.  He’s charismatic, compassionate, and a strong believer of the Christian faith.  With the Easter holiday quickly approaching, I thought it would be a good time to talk to him a little about Christianity and the true meaning of Easter.

JOAQUIN:  Hey, Dad!  Like all of us, you’ve faced some trials in your life, but when was it that you felt compelled to devote your life to God?

   It was when I was living in Fort Lyon, Colorado.  Molly [his second wife] and I had separated, and I was all alone in a big house on the grounds of Fort Lyon Correctional Facility.  I wanted my marriage to Molly to work, and I cried out to God to reconcile me to my wife.  His immediate response was: "Reconcile yourself to Me."  From that moment on, I became a true follower of our Lord, Jesus Christ.  I still have my ups and downs, but I live my life as a response to God's patience, love, mercy, and grace in my life.

  And I’m guessing that’s what led you to study at the Nazarene Bible College in Colorado Springs.  What is it like now that you've graduated?

  Nazarene Bible College helped me come to know the truth of God's Word regarding God and grace.  I am able to live a life of security, and I am able to do so because I now understand what the Bible has to say about Life.  I truly understand that we are fallen and broken people navigating a fallen and fractured world.  This understanding helps me as I minister to those in need. 

JOAQUIN:  Speaking of those in need, you now work at the Springs Rescue Mission.  How does your job benefit your life?

JACK:  At Springs Rescue Mission, I come into contact with a lot of broken and wounded people that society treats as outcasts, and realize that God gave them the same value He gave me when He emptied Himself and came down to earth, taking on the form of a man, and being obedient to death, even death on a cross.  The love of God is not just for those who understand the true nature of God's relationship with us, but for every single person.  The beautiful thing about God's economy is that I am ministered to by those who come to the mission for help.  It's amazing the faith of the people of God who are enduring adversity, and their strength of faith is an example for me.  I am at a place in my life that I believe I am doing what God has put me on earth to do--and that is to love and be loved.

  So they give to you what you give to them:  a strengthened faith in Christ.  Based on what you believe, who is Jesus Christ?

  One could really be bogged down in theology trying to answer this question.   The bottom line is that Jesus Christ is God.  He is the God who saved His people by dying for their sins.  He is the God who earnestly seeks us out.  He is the only true God, and not only does He love us in a way we can't even wrap our brains around to understand, but He wants us to love Him.  Imagine that!  God, Creator of all, wants us to fall so madly in love with Him that we desire to please Him, to write Him love letters and sing love songs. 

JOAQUIN:  That’s beautiful, Dad.  What role should Christ play then in our day-to-day life?

JACK:  He should be everything for us and to us.  He's not a genie in a bottle that we cry out to when we have an earthly and physical need.  Too often, we look to Christ for what we can get out of the relationship.  When we say that Jesus Christ is our Lord, we need to understand that we come under His sovereign rule, but His sovereign rule is not like that of men, but is a rule in which we are blessed and led to eternal Life.

  As you know, Easter is just around the corner.  What is the spiritual significance of this holiday?

  Easter is about the two parts of the Atonement:  Christ's death on the cross and God raising Him from the grave—RESURRECTION!!!  When Jesus took the place of Barabbas on the cross, He took the place of each and every one of us.  We are all guilty of death, but Jesus died a substitutionary death for us, and all we have to do is believe in Him.  Easter is the event in which sinful and unholy man was reconciled to a Righteous and Holy God. 

  So with the greater meaning that all Christians give to the holiday, does the secularization of Easter bother you?  You know what I mean.  You see movies like Hop in theaters, with bunnies and chicks and eggs…

  I wouldn't say that it bothers me per se.  I'll still eat the Easter eggs and the chocolate bunnies!

JOAQUIN:  Ha ha!  Well of course you will.  You have a worse sweet tooth than I do!

JACK:   I will say this, though... today at the mission I noticed a big picture of an Easter bunny on the pantry door.  I took it down.  Why?  Because such things have their place, and I don't think their place is in the pantry door of a non-profit organization that honors and preaches Christ.  There might be fellow employees who would have left it up.  That would be their prerogative.  I don't think this is anything worth fighting over.  Besides, God's grace is bigger than such things as Easter bunnies.  So, there.  I hope I've confused you just a little bit with my response. 

JOAQUIN:  No, I think I get what you mean.

JACK:  It's just an opinion...nothing dogmatic about it in the least.

JOAQUIN:  Well, thanks for the interview, Dad.  I hope you have a Happy Easter!

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