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Fear, Caution, and Wisdom

Wednesday, March 30, 2016  |  posted by John Schroeder

President Obama was so close, and yet somehow so far when he discussed the relationship of fear and faith at an Easter prayer breakfast this morning.  Scripture does indeed, as he intimates, often tell us not the fear our enemy.  Likewise scripture often tells us that compassion is a hallmark of Christian character.  But those scriptural encouragements come in some very deep context that the president’s comments ignore altogether.

We do not fear our enemy because we fear God, who is bigger and more powerful than any enemy we can face on this earth.  Scripture teaches this over and over.  Basketball coaching legend Bob Knight used to say he wanted his players more afraid of him than the other team – that is what we are talking about here.  I don’t fear the enemy because God has got my back, but I sure as heck better fear God or else I do not really have a clue as to who God genuinely is.  As the Psalms say:

Who understands the power of Your anger
And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?
So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

It is said more bluntly in other places in scripture, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Continue Reading


Brokering a convention

Monday, March 28, 2016  |  posted by Matt Miller

Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert’s super private suite at Quicken Loans Arena has a view of the floor but cannot be viewed from any angle in the arena in which the three-day-old GOP convention seethed and often grew frenzied as Wednesday night’s preliminaries to the fourth ballot got under way.

When Gilbert ushered his friend and Ohio Gov. John Kasich into the suite, Kasich was still firmly in third place behind developer Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Cruz was already seated, flanked by his towering and ever-smiling father, Pastor Rafael Cruz. At 77, the pastor was a decade and a half older than the governor and the governor roughly that much older than the senator.

“Thanks, Dan,” said Kasich to Gilbert as he nodded the friend of downtown Cleveland and Detroit out the door, past waiting Secret Service and Ohio State Highway patrolmen with their distinctive charcoal grey campaign hats, grey shirts and black ties, every bit as grim as the mood inside the Republican National Committee suites one floor up.

“Hello, Ted. Pastor, thanks for joining us,” began the Buckeye State governor.

“Look, here’s the deal,” began Kasich. “We are stuck. And it isn’t going anywhere except south unless you and I come out of here in an hour or less with a plan and a deal, and I have a proposal.”

“I’m not sure about that John,” interrupted the Texas senator. “I’ve picked up strength each of the past two ballots.”

“And so have I, Ted. And we have both topped out. But hear me out. Pastor, help me out here, right? Senior man in the negotiation goes first, right?” Kasich got a smile and an approving nod from Cruz senior.

“That’s why I asked you to bring your dad, Ted. He’s been around. We learn things as the years go by. Here’s what I have learned.”

“We are each going to be president or neither of us are, and that means this.”

“We come out of here and declare Kasich-Cruz is a ticket or we watch the gears grind down for six, seven ballots and hell breaks loose outside and eventually they ask Mitt or Paul Ryan and I don’t even know if they take it by then. Trump’s 700 are never going for you or me and my guys aren’t going for you and your guys aren’t going for me. That’s just the way it is. That’s the reality. That’s what governors deal with, facts as they are, not as they’d like them to be.”

“John, wait a minute…”

“Ted, just hear me out, okay. Two minutes. That’s all.”

“Look at the polls. I kill Hillary. You and I win 40 states, maybe more. Even if you pull this out after this fiasco you’ll lose 40. Simple facts. Your team knows the numbers better than any of our groups. They know and I know you have a Hail Mary play but that’s it. Versus a near sure thing as my number 2.”

And here’s the deal. I will make it clear, tonight, that you are an eight-year VP and the party is going to nominate you in 2024. Of course that isn’t a legal deal but we write it the right way and everyone will be nodding and agreeing. You have eight years in the vice presidency to travel the world and learn everything you need to know to pick up after I come back here for Buckeyes football and to see my girls get married and have my grandchildren. You’re 53 and you are president for eight years. That’s 16 years of history, Ted, not six months. Sixteen years. It was Nixon’s choice and he jumped at it, made use of every minute. He wasn’t Ike’s equal and you won’t be mine, but you’ll be a key player and you will be the nominee in 2024 with a chance of winning, not a certain loser in two days or four months.”

“Now, I know it’s hard. You beat me up and down the map, but truth is the party as a whole is center right, that center-right is the dominant half of the party right now and Trump is the guy who opened the door for you. You know you need eight years with these guys to fix things or they will kill your campaign in the cradle. If you even get out of here with the nomination, and I don’t think it is going that way. I just don’t. I didn’t bring Weaver in here because you know all this better than he does and he knows it better than anyone. You aren’t getting it and if by some miracle you do, Mitch and the gang will kill you dead in the cradle.”

“It is this simple. We go out together, go up and announce Kasich-Cruz, raise our hands. Hug Donald. Hug everyone. Get a team together, telegraph Romney at State, Carly at Treasury, and get this, whomever you want for Supreme Court. We’ll tell them that. Tell them you will make a recommendation to me by the end of October and that I am going to accept that recommendation publicly unless the nominee has insulted my wife or my girls. We also tell them you have the lead on all judicial picks, not our AG, and that we are dead serious about remaking the courts. You’ll be to the courts what Cheney was to national security in the first term.”

“One more thing, then I’ll let you and your dad hash it over. I have been in these rooms, Ted. I was there in the ’80s. I was there when W steamrolled us in 2000. I’ve won fourteen elections, Ted. You have won one. And you don’t know these Clinton people. I do, oh do I know them. You won’t beat Hillary. She’ll kill you. I know them. I can beat them. But I need you and, frankly, you need me.”

“That’s it. That’s my pitch. Turn me down and together we watch a great dramatic meltdown that ends in a catastrophe for the party and worse for the country. Could even be a miniseries. Might take a couple of weeks. Eventually Mitt or Paul will try and put the pieces together but everyone — everyone — will leave angry. Everyone. You and I do a deal, well, Donald understands deals. We’ll give him a lot to do. We’ll even give him the fence to oversee the building of. He can run the renegotiation of TPP. Kasich-Cruz will get out of here banged up but moving forward. We can beat her. But you can’t. You won’t even get the nomination.”

“Think about it,” says Kasich, rising. “Pastor, I asked you to listen in and of course you can tell him to tell me to pound sand but I don’t think you will. It’s the right thing, pastor, Ted. The right thing. And the only thing. I’m down the hall in another of these special rooms Dan built — Quite a place, isn’t it? —and my guys in the hats will come and get me when you want to talk some more.”

Kasich leaves, and the senator turns to his father. (To be continued.)


This column was originally posted on


Sunday, March 27, 2016  |  posted by John Schroeder

DSC_0057 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.  And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,  but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing;  and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?  He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”  And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.  Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles.  But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.  But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.

Luke 24:1-12 (NASB) Continue Reading

Good Friday

Friday, March 25, 2016  |  posted by John Schroeder

Authors Note:  I first wrote and published this post on my church’s Lenten blog in 2013.  Many people shared with me that they found it deeply meaningful.  Therefore I am reprinting it here with hope and prayers that the much greater readership of this blog will likewise find it such.


Since my visit to the Holy Lands in 2011, it is impossible for me to focus on Holy Week without reflecting on that visit. It is especially true this year since in just the last couple of weeks I have finished reading a history of Jerusalem. It was on my visit to Jerusalem that God demonstrated to me most vividly the importance of broadening my focus and taking the entire journey from the Hosannas of Palm Sunday to the Hallelujahs of Easter.

There is a tendency these days to de-emphaisze our sin and its cost – to focus on the pleasant happy portion of the gospel and to keep the less pleasant aspects out of focus. Too often, mainstream, best-selling Christian literature tells us the good news of Christ’s “helping us towards wholeness,” or His “granting us our hearts desire” – But what Christ did for us was so much deeper and so much more fundamental that to discuss such things in such a fashion is talk about Handel or Mozart as if they were mere ten bar jingle writers. Continue Reading

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