Last month, my congregation (Abiding Grace) celebrated our 10th anniversary. And there is plenty to celebrate. In 10 years, we've grown in people, in facilities, in opportunities to serve our community and spread the word around the world - in so many different ways. Things are rocking at Abiding Grace. So, looking at that, we must be doing something right, right?
We spend billions of dollars as a nation every year on physical health and fitness.
Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had been lying. "Dear woman, why are you crying?" the angels asked her. "Because they have taken away my Lord," she replied, "And I don't know where they have put him." She turned to leave ...
I'll admit it. I am a big college basketball fan, which means I'm loving life right here in the middle of March Madness.
At that hour, Jesus said to the crowds, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day, I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled." Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Today is Good Friday. The name seems like a misnomer when you consider that it marks the day of an execution - three in fact.
Oh, my aching tongue! You may never say that unless you bite your tongue. And while biting your tongue is painful and most of us avoid doing it as often as possible, it may be a something we should practice on a much more regular schedule.
I look at the calendar and realize tomorrow is already Easter4Kids. Let me explain. That's an event Abiding Grace has been putting on for years now, a free event for all the 3 to 10 year olds in our community. It's a day to celebrate the real meaning of Easter. (You still have time to register your children at e4k.abidinggrace.com, but I digress). But here's the thing. It always takes place the day before Holy Week starts.
As the time approached when Jesus was to be taken up into heaven, he determined to go to Jerusalem.
"Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel."
It's one of those stories I've heard in so many different variations that I wonder about the real facts: A farmer comes upon the scene of a recent fire and finds a hen with wings spread, burnt to a crisp. He wonders why the hen didn't fly away and escape the fire until he gets a little closer and sees the little chicks are still alive and moving under the wings of their charred mother. They had been insulated from the fire by their mother's sacrifice.
"Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who will receive good things from my Father. Inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you before the world began. I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you welcomed me. I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.'"
You have heard it said, "One of these days, your tongue is going to get you in trouble!" But it isn't the tongue's fault - the tongue is just the messenger. The real culprit is the heart! (Luke 6:45) While the tongue is neither good nor bad, it can be used for both. Again, this is an issue that begins in the heart, but, if we set our heart on speaking truth, encouragement, godly instruction, ...
"Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?"
While Jesus was speaking to them, a ruler came and knelt in front of him, saying, "My daughter has just died. But come and place your hand on her, and she'll live."
"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me."
"Or don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you? Don't you know that you have the Holy Spirit from God, and you don't belong to yourselves?"
Solomon's humble spirit and request of the Lord resulted in God making him great (2 Chronicles 1:1, 7-12) He stood high above all others and had no peers who could compare. However, while God (and his walk with God) made him great, something happened, something that took this great man down.
"So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust and evil desires. Don't be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming.
Have you ever thought about how silly worship seems? And I could go through so many of the goofy seeming things that we do in the ritual of worship, but I just want to cut to the chase. Think about how crazy it seems that we give offerings. We go out of our way to get to church and then just give up significant proportions of our income...for free. Why? Why on earth would we go to church and take our time and give our money?
What do you do when the bottom falls out from beneath you? I don't know about you, but some people look up, others look around, and yet some jump up. By the end of Solomon's reign he was experiencing a great fall. He never does look up; he never does look around. In fact, he just keeps acting like this isn't really happening. But it did happen and it was Solomon's own fault. And at ...