Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day Seven: Do Something!

Today is Resurrection Sunday! The day we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Aren’t you glad that He rose from the grave to give us new life? The significance and impact of this stupendous event is something we cannot fully fathom, yet God designed it so that anyone who believes can share in its splendor, no matter who we are or what our station or circumstance in life maybe. As you celebrate Easter Sunday with family and friends, or even if you just choose to spend the day quietly by yourself, reflect on the following wonderful blessings of the resurrection of Christ.

1. We too, like Jesus, shall be resurrected to share in the eternal glory of God forever (Romans 6:4-5, Romans 8:11, 2 Corinthians 4:14, Philippians 3:21).

2. The greatest enemy of mankind—death or separation from God—has been conquered and has no more hold or power over those who believe (1 Corinthians 15:26, 51-55; Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 20:14).

3. We now have eternal life and we will never die (John 11:25-26).

As Holy Week 2010 draws to a close today, keep the meaning of His passion and resurrection fresh in your heart and mind all the year through. Then commit each day to doing something with this knowledge and experience that you have gained. Make up your mind that you’re going to do something for your family…for others…for society…and most definitely for God. And may the celebration of Holy Week become a lifetime experience of loving and serving Jesus more and more.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day Six: Give It Away!

This is now the first day after the crucifixion. Where is Jesus? Have you ever wondered what happened to Him immediately after His death? When He died on the cross Jesus released His spirit from His body. But where did His spirit go? What happened to His body? The following portions of Scripture are provided for your reflection today.

Matt. 27:50—“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit.”

Eph. 4:9—“Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth.” Matt. 12:40—“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Mark 15:46—“So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body (of Jesus), wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of the rock.” As burial generally occurs after someone dies, this placement of the body in the tomb or grave attests to the truth that He had in fact died. He was not merely in an unconscious state as some critics have claimed.

Acts 2:31—“Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was not abandoned to the grave, nor did His body see decay.” Even in death God’s miraculous power preserved the sinless body of His Son and suspended the natural process of decomposition.

While His body lay in the tomb, Jesus’ disciples may have lost hope and became disillusioned and dejected (Matt. 26:56, Luke 24:21, John 20:19). But even in death, Jesus through the Holy Spirit, was actively working at His Father’s awesome plan of redemption—for them, for us and for all of mankind.

Everything about Jesus’ life and death was remarkable, extraordinary and filled with wonder! Not only can we reflect and meditate on its rich, deep meanings, but we can share it with others. We have the awesome privilege and opportunity to share these living truths about Him with others. Today, why not choose to give somebody the wonderful news of what Jesus has done for you and the new experiences you are enjoying with God during this Holy Week?

Friday, April 2, 2010

Day Five: Staying on the Road of Obedience

Good Friday is here! Historically it is the day in which Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world. This most significant day in the whole drama of human history was indeed a good day for all of mankind in every sense of the word. It is good for the following reasons and more:

1. It forever paid the sin debt we could not pay ourselves.

2. It delivered us from the power of sin and restored us to right standing with God.

3. It brought joy to the Father’s heart and vindicated God’s Holy Name.

4. It underscored what the power of obedience and total devotion to God can do.

Yet the benefits of the events of Good Friday came at a very great cost—the cost of Christ’s obedience. Jesus stayed the course through every stage of His passion—including betrayal, ridicule, beatings and eventual crucifixion—all because of obedience to the Father’s will. As a result, look at what eternal incalculable benefits it produced—the lives of untold millions saved and transformed by the power of God!

Jesus drove home the absolute necessity and cost of complete obedience when He said emphatically in Luke 9:23 “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” In fact this is the only way we can fully demonstrate our appreciation and gratitude to God for the sacrifice of His Son.

This Good Friday, I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on these tremendous truths and making a fresh commitment to stay on the road of obedience to God no matter what it costs or where it takes you. In the long run, you will undoubtedly reap the abundant goodness of God in every area of your life.

Have a Blessed and Joyous Good Friday!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day Four: Going Deeper!

Hello fellow bloggers! How have your Holy Week journey been so far? I trust that you are drawing closer to Jesus and experiencing more of His incredible presence in your life. Since His invitation is always open, today let’s go even deeper with Him on this spiritual journey.

Someone may ask, “But what does it look like to go deeper? What does it really mean?” Going deeper means you make the commitment to go beyond the initial experience of salvation as represented by the cross and you enter into a lifelong course of spiritual growth in your relationship with the Lord Jesus. God has given us the Holy Spirit to take us step by step along the way in knowing and experiencing Him. The Bible says, “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God...We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians 2:10–12).

Let me offer five great tools that will help you go deeper through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit:

1. Pursuing God in daily prayer
2. Practicing other spiritual disciplines (e.g. fasting, meditation, worship, serving, etc.)
3. Daily reading and studying of the Bible
4. Fellowshipping with other believers regularly
5. Sharing your faith with others who don’t know Christ

Partnering with the Holy Spirit as He takes you into the unfathomable depths of Christ will be the most exciting, unbelievable adventure that you will ever experience! You will discover not only who Jesus is but also who you are called to be in Him. And nothing in the entire world can compare to the grandeur of that!

Specifically, in response to Demetrisha’s questions, I offer this word of encouragement. The fact that you are feeling increasingly infatuated with the idea that God loves you despite who you are is NEVER a sign of wavering of faith. It is exactly the opposite. Because that is exactly how He loves you. He loves you unconditionally and eternally which means His love for you will never change no matter what you or I may have done wrong. Not only did He give His Son on the cross for us (Romans 8:32), He went a step further and gave us His Holy Spirit to teach us how to access all the wonderful things He has provided for us in Jesus (John 14:26).

As far as what to do, I encourage you to begin by simply accepting the fact that He loves you lavishly, exuberantly and unreservedly! Let the awareness of that truth fill your heart daily, and I promise you, it will change you forever in wonderful ways. Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you put into practice the five points I highlighted above and you will begin to see His marvelous plan for your life unfold in even greater ways.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day Three: Keep on Moving!

“As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51). This and other supporting verses of scripture (such as Luke 9:31 and Luke 12:5) highlight the mindset that Jesus had in the days leading up to His crucifixion. If we trace the footsteps of Jesus from the early days of His ministry all the way to Calvary, He can be clearly seen moving inexorably towards completion of the Father’s will on the cross outside the walls of Jerusalem.

As Jesus overcame a myriad of obstacles and opposition to get to the cross, so we likewise have to persist and prevail against all odds, moving from one challenge to the next, in order to accomplish God’s purpose for our lives. In order to make meaningful progress, our movement must be filled with faith, devotion, and a holy tenacity. But do not be intimidated by this requirement, because the Holy Spirit stands ready and willing to supply all we need if we simply ask Him and surrender ourselves to Him.

One significant stop along the way to the cross was the Last Supper where Jesus instituted what is now called the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion that commemorates His suffering and sacrificial death for us. It was necessary for Jesus to persist in going through all He went through in order for us to now enjoy the fruits of His sacrifice represented at the communion table of intimate fellowship. As you draw near to this communion table, ask yourself these questions:

1. Is my heart totally committed to communing with the Lord on a daily basis? If not, what are some things that I can change this week to move me closer in that direction?

2. How does my level of courage and commitment in doing the Father’s will measure up to that of Jesus Christ who is my example in everything?

3. Does my lifestyle communicate to others that I am deeply in love with Christ and does it show clearly that I identify with Him in His death and devotion to God?

As we continue journeying through this Holy Week of contemplation, communion and celebration, may our hearts be filled with the same courage and devotion that Jesus had in fully accomplishing the Father’s will. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments via this blog. So why not post me a blog today and let’s enjoy a stimulating exchange around the person of Christ and His exalted preeminence in Holy Week.

I look forward to fellowshipping with you around the table of the Lord at our Holy Communion services (tonight at the East Campus and tomorrow night Thursday at the West campus). Blessings to you.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day Two: Headed in the Right Direction!

I trust that you had a meaningful time of confession and quiet reflection with the Lord yesterday. In this second day of our Holy Week journey, we will continue to reflect on the cross of Jesus—an earthly implement which has become the single most significant spiritual symbol of reality in all of human history.

Go back with me now over 2000 years to the place of Jesus’ crucifixion where you and I are standing with Mary and the other onlookers at the foot of the cross staring up at the gruesome spectacle. The cacophony of disturbing sights, sounds and smells at the crucifixion scene suddenly hits our senses. What emotions arise in our hearts toward the Man hanging there? Do we feel Pity, Shame, Love, Indifference or possibly even Revulsion? Yet the inescapable truth breaks upon our consciousness that He is fastened there by the gravity of our own terrible sins against God. Can you envision yourself hanging there paying the ultimate price for your own sins because no one else was found to take your place?

What more do we see as we continue to gaze upon the cross itself? Do we only see wood, nails, thorns and a bruised, bleeding body? Is the cross merely a crude wooden implement designed to execute hardened criminals? Or is it much, much more simply because of who hangs upon it? The finality and severity of the cross had to be that way in order to arrest our attention; to stop us dead in our tracks, to say to us: “Hey! Stop! You are going the wrong direction! The only way is this way!” God designed the whole drama of the cross to shock our overindulged senses into recognition of this sober truth—that we are guilty, condemned and headed in the wrong direction toward a sentence of eternal death. And the only way back to God is through Jesus Christ.

As we continue to survey the scene in silent contemplation, the magnitude of its significance slowly cascades over us. We see the foot of the cross stuck deep into the ground on Golgotha’s hill, yet we know it penetrates much deeper into all of human history. It is immovable. It not only goes down, but also points up to the sky and reaches out across time and space. In fact, it reaches out to all people everywhere and points us upward towards heaven. People flock to churches in great numbers every Easter Sunday because deep down they are seeking for a new direction. The cross is that new direction—it causes us to look up, to look to God, to look to Jesus Christ.

As you continue to reflect in quiet contemplation today, be reminded that the cross is God’s compass for the whole world, turning every person from preoccupation with self and pointing us instead towards God and His loving standards of holiness. Be blessed!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day One: The Road Less Traveled

Welcome to Holy Week 2010! Thanks for joining me on this exciting 7-day spiritual journey as we explore together the rich spiritual depths of Christ’s sacrifice and triumph for us. Yesterday on Palm Sunday, many Christians marked the commencement of Holy Week through Palm Sunday observances commemorating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem in the days before His passion. The road less traveled is often so because it is not a road filled with easy pleasures and popularity, but rather one of sacrifice and rejection. Jesus, in obedience to the Father and because of His incredible love for you and me, courageously took the painful road to Jerusalem and to Calvary. As you read through today’s blog, consider the following question: What road am I on today and where will it ultimately take me? The promise of Holy Week is that if you choose to travel the road that Jesus is on, despite its many difficulties, you will enjoy sweet intimacy with Him and discover the fullness of life and ultimate victory that only He provides.

Picture the Lord Jesus hanging on the cross—His body wracked with excruciating pain—and He cries out to you: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). As you see Him there, bloodied and broken, but resolute in His love for you, reflect on the following:

1. As many modern-day spiritual pilgrims mistakenly do during Holy Week observances, do you find yourself drawing close to the cross without hearing the cry of Jesus?

2. What does the cross personally mean to you?

3. How do you commemorate the meaning of the cross in your life on a daily basis?

4. How can you best share that meaning with others?

This perpetual cry of Jesus is still echoing distinctly through the passing centuries and is just as relevant and paramount today as it was then. In the midst of life’s difficulties and wearisome burdens, it conveys God’s personal invitation to you to come to His Son Jesus Christ and find lasting peace and rest.

If you have not done so before, why not take this opportunity during Holy Week to respond to Jesus’ perpetual invitation to come to Him? Find a quiet and private space right now and pray this simple prayer in faith: “Heavenly Father, I thank You for inviting me to come to You whenever I am weary and burdened. I hear the cry of Jesus calling out to me and I come placing all my cares and troubles at the cross. Forgive me for all the wrong decisions I made that have caused so much conflict and turmoil in my life and help me to stay on the road that You have prepared for me. I ask now for Your power to be released in every area of my life and I receive Your peace and rest. In the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son. Amen!”

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Preparing for Holy Week

Holy Week is one of the most exciting seven-day periods in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Palm Sunday and running through Easter Sunday, these seven days have the potential to ignite your faith to an all-time high.

If you are a Christ-follower, Holy Week allows you to reflect on the power of the cross; its significance, value, and ongoing impact on your life. If you're contemplating becoming a follower of Jesus, Holy Week reminds you that God is a permanent fixture in society. And, because of the cross, God's love for you...and all those you know, is still potent enough to transform your life.

During the seven days of Holy Week, my hope is to help you journey closer to the heart of God through contemplation, meditation, and reflection. These inward disciplines will assist you in becoming far more effective in every dimension of your life.

Make a decision today to get onboard this journey. In fact, tell your friends who blog about this journey. It will be my delight to help them draw closer to the Savior during Holy Week.

Let's take the journey!

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