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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