Tebow, Bieber, Celebrity Wife Swap and Jesus

This article was published in the St.Catharines Standard.

Jesus seems to be popping up in the most unusual news stories. I was scrolling the television listings the other day and came by ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’, a show I’ve never watched, but the names Ted and Gayle Haggard caught my attention. Ted and Gayle are acquaintances of mine. After their ‘scandal’ broke (if you haven’t heard about it, I won’ bore you with the sordid details), when most of the church would have nothing to do with them, I had the opportunity to spend a few hours encouraging them, that God is gracious and He gives people a second chance.

Pastor Ted Haggard was ‘wife-swapping’ with actor Gary Busey (nothing sexual). I soon caught the idea of the show, where for the first half of the week, the man runs the house by his rules and the second half the visiting ‘wife’ takes over. Early in the show Busey’s Lakota Indian Guru, “Indian Bob”, called Gayle “lost”, while banging on a drum to induce the cleansing of her soul. Busey took his turn and was repeatedly invoking the name of Jesus Christ as he feverishly pounded the drum, while the astounded Gayle sat there with a look of pained amazement. Later Gayle had her turn and Busey got his share of a more evangelical approach to ‘soul-cleansing’ and salvation.

Then hot off another newswire I saw the headline, “Justin Bieber gets Jesus tattoo”. Reportedly, in addition to two previous tattoos, one of a dove (a symbol of the Holy Spirit) and another a star (symbol of Jesus Christ), now the Stratford, Ontario born singer has added a depiction of Jesus. It’s amazing that the most famous Canadian (sorry Wayne Gretzky and Prime Minister Harper), claims to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Last time I was in Jakarta, Indonesia I met with our office manager’s family, and heard his two teenage daughters, squealing with enthusiasm, as they told the story how they brought their mother along to hear the singing sensation when he visited Indonesia’s capital. Bieber is #1 in the world’s largest Muslim country, and they know he believes in Jesus. Go figure.

Then there is Tebow and the Denver Broncos upsetting the stunned Pittsburg Steelers last week. On the first play of the overtime with a quick flick of the wrist and a throw that resulted in an out 80-yard run, the Steelers’ fate was sealed. Moments later there was Tebow in the end zone, one knee bent, his head resting in his one hand with the other fist pumped in the air in praise to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That’s his trademark; he does praise Jesus at the most ‘inappropriate’ times. I am a hockey fan, with very limited knowledge of American football. What caught my attention was when one of my closest co-workers at Grace Tv called the Tebow phenomena a ‘monstrous miracle’ (don’t ask me to explain that phrase). Apparently, Tebow passed for 316 yards, breaking the Denver Broncos all time rookie playoff passing record of 123 yards in one game, previously held by football great, John Elway. Not bad for a guy, who the pundits say isn’t that good.

I know modern day religious ‘know-it-alls’ will argue about the correctness of this. Are the Haggards really giving a good testimony to Jesus by appearing on ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’? Are tattoos scriptural? Is Tebow really giving a proper witness for his faith?

I find it interesting, inspiring and very scripturally correct that Jesus shows up in all kinds of settings. After all, His first miracle was at a wedding where He turned water into wine. One of His most inspiring sermons was to a five-time divorced, living common-law, Samaritan woman. Jesus notably visited the home of the Jericho mobster, Zacchaeus. And to the indignation of the religious leaders, he ate and drank with “publicans and sinners”. The Holy Book does say that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He’s holding true to form, showing up where you least expect Him. Maybe you have a family member who is too sophisticated, too intellectual, or even too sinful to pay attention to Jesus. Don’t be so sure. The Savior will keep showing up. No church, mosque, religious temple, tavern, home or street corner is off limits to Him. The Bible proclaims Him to be the savior of the world, so He’s about his business to bring the Good News of salvation to everyone.

Watch out – you could be next!

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