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Issue 15

Matt Cimone takes the helm!

Dear Recipients,

Today's issue was written by a member of your ranks. It's really good, even though I have my suspicions that the author was up till some unearthly hour writing it. So, without further adieu (none of you try to pronounce that last word. It has been my experience that 99% of English-speaking people in the world today cannot pronounce "adieu"), here's a great Christian with awesome faith , Matt Cimone!!!!

January 22:

Hey crew, for those of you who don't know me my name is Matthew Cimone. I became Christian three years ago. Since then my life has completely changed to one huge adventure in God's plan. (I know that's a very general way of putting it, but I was just filling you in on what's most important to me so you would kinda know where I was coming from) Anyhow, Matt asked me if I wanted to write a blurb for Random. So although Matt is crazy and most of the time I tremble in fear whenever he attempts to communicate with me for fear of his Scottish Man-skirtness (just joking Matt) I decided that would
be cool.

Part 1 "The Veil"

"At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to
bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and exclaimed, Surely he was the Son of God"'
Gospel According to Matthew 27 : 51-54 (NIV)

Out of all the things that transpire in the New Testament because of
Christ's presence on Earth, I believe this to be one of the most
significant. I always understood that since Christ was seated on the right hand of God that I had a mediator. It was such an amazing thing to accept into my life. It gave my life meaning and every moment a divine purpose. So, when I finally heard a sermon about the significance of the torn veil, I was elated to hear how much it reflected the relationship that I, and us as Christians, have with God.
In the temple in Jerusalem during the times of the Old Testament, there
were three levels of separation. The first area was the common place or place where common Jewish folk would be seated for worship. The second area, where the priest would be located before an altar, was the holy place which was viewed from the common place. The final area of the Jewish temple was the holy of holies or the "holiest place." It was there that the presence of God was said to be and it was here that only the high priest could enter and even then only once per year. On this annual occasion the high priest would make several animal sacrifices, the first of which was always for himself to cleanse himself of his own sin before he continued.
So why is it significant that the veil was torn from top to bottom at the
time of Christ's death? It is important to remember who Jesus was in the order of the universe. Translated directly from Greek, Jesus' role would have been as high high priest. Jesus was indeed a priest, and the greatest that we shall ever have. Christ's crucifixion was, in a sense, Christ's entering of this holy of holy places to perform the sacrifices. But instead of laying an animal down on the alter, He laid himself upon it. In addition, it was not necessary for Jesus to make a sacrifice before beginning for His own sins for He was already the Lamb of perfection. He was in fact God himself, but human. The destruction of the veil indicates that the separation between man and God no longer exists now that we have a perfect priest as our mediator and intercessor on our behalf as believers, people of prayer and yes, as sinners. There would be from that time forward a declaration from God himself that no more sacrifices were needed. God's work to redeem mankind had been completed and the church of Christ was paid for by God's own blood.

Part 2 Why aren't we Pagans?

Good question! In fact what most non believers don't understand are the fundamental differences between Christianity and all other religions. In essence when they ask us questions about our faith in Jesus Christ, they are
really asking us how our religion is different from all other pagan
religions or why, since we worship "god" as well, are we different from
Muslims or Jews. I will address these in order.

1. The blood of Christ and the blood of Jupiter's lunch.
God himself stated. "It is done." What was "it" that he was talking about. "It" is the redemption of God's children but also the formation of the Christian religion which is basically the end state of all of God's work to redeem us. Christianity is essentially a completed task at its end. We are just trying (God willing) to spread the message to tell people to stop looking for signs and wonders. These wonders have already been completed. God isn't outside anymore. He's inside!! So then people say "Well what do I do?" and you say "Nothing! God did it all. Just believe and ask Him to be a part of your life!" And they say "Really?" And you say...something like sure. (Back yourself up with some scripture here of course or a nice tear jerking testimony) The point is that we have not purchased our own salvation.
"...but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of
Phil 3:12

The apostle Paul was not converted from Saul the Christian killer on
his own accord. He was changed by the will of God. He, like us, was
purchased by the blood of Christ, provided to us by God himself. So what about old Jupiter and one's sacrifices to him. Well the point is that Jupiter provided nothing for "his" people. In all pagan religions that I am aware of, one must work to obtain a level worth in order to be in favor with that god. God clearly states in the Bible that all is already His. What can we offer to Him that is not already His? He knew we were incapable of saving ourselves so he reached down and pulled us up. Jupiter is concerned with how many religious acrobats you perform each day. Jesus is concerned with hope, faith and love. Don't perform acrobats for God. He's not interested. Work for his kingdom and not for your own salvation. That's already been paid for.

2. Ding, Ding, Ding In the red corner, the almighty Lord of Lords Jesus
Christ. In the Blue corner, Muhammad
Here is a great quote.
"So I was lying in a ditch battered and bruised looking for guidance and
help. Buddha came by and said to me concentrate as if you were not in the ditch and your problems will go away' Then Muhammad came by and pointing to me said You shouldn't have fallen in that ditch you wicked servant!' Then Jesus came by and without saying anything, but noticing my broken body, lifted me from the ditch."'
Don't ask me who said that. Someone who God knew would pass it eventually to enough people that I would hear it and pass it on to you as something I could put in Random. So great. "What difference does it make? It's all God...right?" Errrgh!! Wrong, next! But no, seriously, it's a common question and one that makes sense. If Jews say they worship God, and Muslims say they worship God, why not say that Christ, and Muhammad are really just two guys that God loves or doesn't or whatever. I actually read a letter that the mother of a friend of mine gave me that was from a new minister. Although the minister wrote it, the letter was entitled "From God." At one point the letter said. "Do I really care which of my special servants you love more. Mary, or Muhammad or Jesus. I just want you to love." Wow!! Brutal!! I pray for the confused and meaningless things that will be taught in that tossed salad of a church. So what's the big deal. First is this. Although Muhammad may have been some prophet dudem, Jesus was not only a
prophet, HE WAS GOD!! The Muslim and Jewish religions to this day presume that Jesus was a good teacher. C.S. Lewis describes best the ludicrousness of this statement made by both other religions in his essay called "Lord, Liar, or Lunatic." In other words, Jesus could only have been one of these three things. He was either the Son of God, the best liar to ever walk the face of the earth, or completely crazy. The point is that Jesus said he was the Son of God. If the Muslims and Jews think he was a great prophet, then why don't they accept that. Christ, for those who believed the Old Testament and accepted the New Covenant, was He who answered all questions about God's character. We knew now how He felt towards us here on earth and
what was best for us to do to serve Him. He taught us how to pray, how to raise families, how to love an enemy, but mainly and most importantly was how to carry on a relationship with the Creator of the universe. Christ was the direct embodiment of God's grace. The God who allegedly sent Muhammad on a flaming horse, and the one who sent Christ, cannot be the same God.
Unfortunately for the new minister at my friend's mother's church, there is a big difference in who we listen to and who we trust. And who ever listened to the teachings and characteristics of both messengers, Christ and Muhammad, and was told they were one and the same would be as many I know, confused and frustrated. Don't mix the two. Christ would have a knockout before the fight began. So what about the Jewish religion? Simple yet sad. Those who worshiped the true and real and all powerful and all wise and all loving God who delivered them in Exodus with a true faith would have seen the savior when He came, or had understood that He had come and is now, right now in this very moment and forever, intercessing on our behalf before God. I know so because I asked and now here I am writing all this stuff.

Anyhow crew. Just remember that there is a savior listening to your prayers and that you didn't split the veil, it was broken before you. All is asked is that we step inside the holy of holies. Preach it on the house tops. If that doesn't matter, nothing else does.

P.S. I don't know if you all heard, but on Jan 22nd an Islamic girl was
caned 100 times for extramarital sex. After the bamboo lashings, that will probably leave her crippled for life, she said "Thank you Ala" and walked away. Sorry crew but no Ala of mine would require that kind of punishment for my sin. With my God, sin doesn't mean flogging, it means death. It was a death that was erased by His own hand so that I would go unpunished and instead go on glorifying him with a life fuller than I could have ever imagined now and forever. Pray for this girl. Pray for all of them.
- Your Bro in Christ, Matt

Copyright 2001, Matthew Cimone