Here is your weekly newsletter created for listeners and friends of
Paul Heil's "The Gospel Greats" syndicated radio program.

Published April 15, 2014

In This Edition...

Paul's Epistle...
"The Cross – Worth It?"

Hollywood has tried. Really tried!  But no graphic images of Christ hanging on the Cross, no actor's portrayal of His great suffering (no matter how skilled), could come close to depicting the actual agony Jesus suffered as He bled and died there.

The Lord's flesh had been ripped open countless times by the Roman scourging. Much skin was ripped off in the process, laying bare raw subcutaneous tissue. Bleeding profusely, He was battered mercilessly by the Roman guards. He was subjected to brutal torture as He summoned what little physical strength He had left to carry His Cross through the streets of Jerusalem on the way to Golgotha. He was nailed – nailed! – to the Cross with railroad spike-sized nails. Medical experts say the Lord's physical suffering was unbelievably excruciating. (In fact, that word, excruciating, comes from the same root as crucifixion.) While it sometimes took days for crucified criminals to die, Christ died in hours – because of all He'd gone through. Scholars believe His physical torture was among the worst the Romans could muster.

But why did Christ have to go through all this? And was the unimaginable agony worth it?

Jesus' crucifixion on the Cross was not just something that happened. It was not simply the result of the way the religious leaders of the day got stirred up over His teachings. It was not some "unintended consequence."

Jesus knew in advance what would happen. In fact, He said, in so many words, that it was for that very reason that He came into the world. And He predicted it all at least three times to his confused and non-comprehending disciples. In Luke 18:32, speaking of Himself, He said, "For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again." How much clearer could it be?

But why? Well, John 1:3 affirms that "all things were made through Him [Jesus], and without Him nothing was made that was made." And Colossians 1:16 tells us that "by Him [Jesus] ... all things were created through Him and for Him..." If Christ created us for Himself, can you imagine the pain he endured when man sinned? (No you can't – because it's a God-size pain that we couldn't possibly understand.) But He knew before He made the world what would happen. And He already knew what He would have to do. (That boggles the mind.)

Karen Peck & New River sing a song1 that puts it this way:

      You did it anyway.
      You walked up on that hill.
      The sounds of sacrifice are ringing still.
      You knew the magnitude of the price You'd have to pay.
      But for me, You did it anyway.

But why?

Sin has a penalty attached. Human sin causes separation from God. It always has, it always will. It's a temporary separation if we ask Him to forgive our sins. It's a permanent separation if we don't. Christ, the perfect sacrifice, came to pay that sin penalty for us – if we accept His offer of salvation.

Think about this. Knowing what would happen when man first sinned, knowing He would have to die an excruciating death on the Cross to pay the penalty for that sin, He decided He would rather die than live eternally without us.

Read that again – Christ decided He would rather die a painful bodily death than to live eternally without us. Without you. Without me. What amazing love! John writes, "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us" (1 John 3:16). And, in this way, He made it possible for us to live with Him eternally. That's why He died. Hebrews 12:2-3 tells us about Christ's motivation: "...He was willing to die a shameful death on the Cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterwards..."2 That "joy" would be the salvation of all who accept Him as Savior and Lord — and an eternal, joyous fellowship with them in heaven.

So – was Jesus' death on the Cross worth it?

HE obviously thought so.

But what do you think? Was it worth it to you? Whether you accept His offer of salvation – bought with His blood on the Cross – or, instead, reject His offer ... is how you decide if His death was worth it to you.

- Paul

1. "You Did It Anyway," Don Poythress, Rich Als, John Colgin, Integrity Worship Music/Eight Oaks Music ASCAP, from Karen Peck & New River's "Revival" CD.
2. Living Bible paraphrase.

Comments on this?

Hear last weekend's Headline Update report about your favorite artists by clicking here.

Coming on the broadcast the weekend of
April 19th & 20th, 2014:

Resurrection Day Celebration!

Join us as we celebrate Easter in word and song!  You'll hear compelling songs about the Lord's amazing resurrection, as foretold by the prophets and by the Lord Himself — and songs that remind us what His resurrection means to us today. You'll hear comments about the significance of the Lord's resurrection from such artists as Steve French and Arthur Rice (Kingdom Heirs), Parker Webb (Rick Webb Family), Sonya Browder (Browders), Susan Whisnant (Whisnants), Wes Hampton (Gaither Vocal Band), Nic Holland (Poet Voices), Chris Little (Skyline Boys), Jim Brady (Booth Brothers), Ivan Parker, Pat Barker (Mark Trammell Quartet), Rodney Griffin (Greater Vision) and others.

Who can YOU invite to listen this weekend?

From the broadcast the weekend of
April 12th & 13th, 2014:

Our Featured Artists on this program, the Perrys, have been through a lot in the past year. As you know, Tracy Stuffle suffered a stroke back in January of last year. Doctors didn't give him much hope. But his recovery is progressing, slowly but surely. And you heard me do a short interview with him on this program. You also heard a song on which he sings (which is an amazing accomplishment for him) on the Perrys' brand new "Into His Presence" CD. All of the songs I included from this CD on the program — and most on the CD that I wasn't able to include — reflect what the Perrys have gone through and what they've learned about trusting the Lord through the most difficult times. From that standpoint alone, this CD will touch people in a very personal way — because everyone has gone through (or is going through) some difficult things in life. It's been great to see Tracy interacting with people and even singing on stage to a limited extent once again. God is obviously honoring the many thousands of prayers sent up on Tracy's behalf.

The Perrys' CD featured on this program, "Into His Presence," is available from our mailorder service, Springside. Just call 1-800-38-MUSIC to order. Call by Friday, April 18, 2014, ask for the "Featured Artist Discount," and get 20 percent off this item. You can order easily from our webstore by using this link to go directly to this item. Note, too, that our "Featured Artist Discount" applies to any other currently in-stock recordings by this artist. While ordering online, when you get to the "Checkout" page, find the "Special Instructions" lines near the bottom, type in "Featured Artist Discount - 20 percent" to get the discount. Note that the discounted price will not be reflected online or in your first confirmation e-mail, but it will be applied here when the order is processed and before it is charged or shipped.

As has been our tradition in recent years, this program the week before Easter had a "Cross" theme. Aside from the Featured Artist songs (and including two of them, come to think of it), all of the songs on this program were, in some way, about the Cross. I was delighted to see a recent study by Daniel Mount which found that, in Southern Gospel music, the number of songs about the Cross has been increasing in recent years. And so it should be, because what Christ did for us on the Cross is the way our individual salvation was obtained. This Holy Week, ponder anew what one song on the program called the "beautiful, terrible Cross."

For the song list from this broadcast, click here. (PDF viewer required.)

Click here to view this week's Southern Gospel music specials in the Springside Music Update newsletter — including 20 percent discounts on this week's new Southern Gospel releases. Or get the Springside Music Update newsletter by email each Monday. Details can be found here. Or call 800 38 MUSIC during weekday office hours to ask about this week's specials.

Shelia Shares....
"Encouraging News"

Need some encouragement today?

Please don't let anyone convince you that "real" Christians don't get discouraged. We all do. But, as a Christian, we have a source of encouragement and a solid, unbreakable promise that God will be with us to the end. Eric Bennett shared the following and I trust it will encourage you to keep trusting a sure and faithful God.

- Shelia

"God has been so real to me these past few days. He has shown Himself to me in amazing ways; in the Scripture, in quiet time, through people, in sermons and in music. He has been a great Comfort to me, wrapped His arms around me and He has really loved on me these last few days. Does He always love me? Yes. But sometimes I need a little extra. :-) I love my kids all the time but there are times when I sense they need some extra attention and I love to give it to them. In the same way, God loves His kids.

"So, just a Word for someone who is wondering where God is. Maybe right now He seems to be a million miles away. You haven't felt Him in some time. You haven't witnessed His power in a while. You haven't heard from Him. Let me assure you, He is still there!!! He loves you no matter what you've done or where you've been.

"1 John 4:8 says ‘God is love.' It's not an attribute of His, it's who He is. You haven't done anything to make God love you any less. You can't. It's impossible.

"If I may, I would like to make a suggestion. James 4:8 says if we will draw close to Him, He will draw close to us. Tell Him you need some extra attention. Spend some time with Him sharing your needs. Yes, He already knows your need, but He wants to hear from you.

"It's been my experience that He will show up, wrap His arms around us, bless us, meet our needs and prove to us once again that He loves His kids."

Eric Bennett is the bass singer with the Triumphant Quartet.

Comments on this? .

On the Lighter Side...

The Pageant

Every Easter our church stages an elaborate pageant. Last year the man who played Pontius Pilate had to work on the night of the dress rehearsal, and a chorus member substituted for him. As we began rehearsing Pilate's solo, the conductor stopped the orchestra. "Pilate, I don't hear you," he called out. "You're not loud enough." "Pilate is at work," a voice shouted back from the stage. "We've got our co-Pilate tonight."

Day Three

My Sunday school class of kindergartners was studying the Bible's creation account. After several weeks, we were ready to review. "What did God make the first day?" I quizzed. "The second day?" They answered both questions correctly. "And what happened on the third day?" I asked. One little child, face shining with enthusiasm, exclaimed, "He rose from the dead!"

Free Will

A young couple came into the church office to fill out a pre-marriage questionnaire form. The young man, who had never talked to a pastor before, was quite nervous and the pastor tried to put him at ease. When they came to the question, "Are you entering this marriage of your own free will?" there was a long pause. Finally, the girl looked over at the apprehensive young man and said, "Put down 'yes!'"

Technology Dependent

A friend of mine recently went on a trip and had to stop at a rest area on the Interstate. She took her keys, left her purse and cell phone in her car, and went to the restroom. When she returned, her remote wouldn't unlock the door and she panicked. "What am I going to do? My cell phone is still in the car and I can't call Onstar!" Another traveler nearby overhearing this asked, "Have you tried the key?"

Weighty Matter

A new government study found that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than men who mention it.

Are You Ready?
1 Thess. 5:2-10; Matt. 24:44; Luke 21:34,36
Free Gift
Pray for the President!
Until next Week...Keep Looking Up!

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