Eyes to See

Do you have eyes to see?
Easter was a wonderful celebration of the Resurrection. We sang, prayed, laughed, ate delicious treats, and delighted in God’s big victory. It was a beautiful morning of worship.
But the blessing of Easter is as much about the subtlety of the event as it is the huge news of the Gospel. Not everyone got it. Only Mary Magdalene saw Jesus was not in the tomb. She ran and told the Disciples who were huddled together in fear. Only Peter and John ran to see the tomb. The rest stayed behind. Even when they came back to confirm it, Thomas could not believe in Jesus until he saw his wounds himself.
Nothing has changed. People still don’t believe in Easter. Then and now, many see the same facts and can’t trust God’s power and work in our lives.
As Jesus said to Thomas when he finally showed him his wounds to prove his identity, “Because you have seen me, you have believed, but blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29
I find most people are still waiting for God to show them something new to change their minds and hearts. Simply put, we still don’t believe. Jesus overcame death completely, has power and authority over EVERYTHING, so we have nothing to fear… yet we still worry over death, money, health, and our circumstances. We are still afraid. We still don’t believe that the Resurrection means everything to us.
The things that are not of earth are hard for our earthly eyes to see.
So that is the project for today. Our prayer for you is that your eyes open to the work and power of God.
Do you see and appreciate the way God is weaving all things together for good for you? Do you pray thanks over the sunbeam that catches your eye and lifts your heart, or the song that says just what you need to hear, or the stranger who smiled at you just when your mind was racing towards worry? Are you looking for the people God draws near to you for your blessing of kind words, a prayer for their needs, or an invitation? Are you keeping track of how your generosity blesses your finances? Are you eager each week to get to church Sundays to be encouraged and to encourage others to draw closer to God?
Open your eyes and your spirit to all God is doing around you, and in you, and through you. He IS alive! Let his peace and the promise of His goodness saturate all things and TRUST in Him and His way.
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.” -Jesus in John 14:27
See you Sunday at 10. We believe this one hour of worship each week can change every situation and every relationship in our lives! Come ready to grow, change, give, and serve! Invite a friend – you may never know the difference it will make in their life.

In the Shadow of the Cross

As we start Good Friday, we stand in the shadow of the cross.
Jesus has served the Last Supper, and He has taught His Disciples His Commandment to love one another.
Judas has betrayed him for silver coins.
Jesus has gone to the garden, distressed about the trials He knows He has to face.
The soldiers have come, Judas has kissed him on the cheek, and they have arrested Him.
He has been mocked and scorned for His teachings by the church leaders who will turn him over to the Roman authorities to be killed.
What remains for today is unthinkable… scourging, the crown of thorns, and He will be condemned to die.
He will be made to carry his own cross to Golgatha alongside common criminals to be crucified.
And finally this afternoon, He will be nailed to the sky for all to condemn as He draws His final breaths as a man on the cross.
Then as all the worshipers have left him to die, He will forgive His captors, and commend His spirit to God.
In the middle of the afternoon, they will verify his death with the spear. The sky itself will fall into darkness and the stones WILL cry out as they heave and tear apart the temple’s curtain.
The people who love him will sit in the shadow of the cross as their teacher, their healer, their God-among-them suffers and is extinguished – seemingly gone from them forever.
The earth returns to the darkness of hopelessness. And fear and uncertainty seem to have won again.
Can you relate at all? Do you feel alone? Have you suffered loss, fear, pain, or sickness? Are you waiting in uncertainty for something you expected?
The shadow of the cross is for you. The shadow of the cross is for me. Regardless of how great we suffer, Jesus has been there too. The worst we can face will not ever be worse than what He has faced.
And the Good News is …
the story IS NOT OVER. Your story, our story, His story… is not over.

Maundy Thursday

So it begins…
“On this day around the world Christians remember that tense, sensitive time Jesus spent with his disciples in the upper room and the last supper he shared with them. Many refer to this day as “Maundy Thursday.”
The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for commandment (mandatum), which Jesus talked about when he told his disciples that he was leaving them “a new commandment,” that they “love one another.” (Read more from Bible Gateway.)
Maundy Thursday is the day our celebration of Communion comes from. We serve the bread and cup to one another in worship Sundays every week to remember His gift and sacrifice as He first did on this day in the upper room.
But there’s more to Maundy Thursday than being the first demonstration of Christian Communion. At this same meal, Jesus undressed, wrapped a towel around his waist and began washing His followers feet. One by one, around their table, he washed all their dirty feet off in a basin of water.
Imagine that! Here’s a modern metaphor: you are called to an important meeting with your boss, the founder of your company. You don’t understand what is going on at the company. You changed your whole life to work for it because you believe in it – but now you suspect there’s trouble. Your boss has mentored you and frankly, you can’t imagine ever working for a better leader. When you arrive at the corporate gathering, all the department heads are there. Your boss stands up, takes off their suit, puts on a bathrobe and says you have to get a foot massage from them. You’re tired from traveling, you are nervous and anxious over the situation, and a foot massage would be great in another setting. But your boss on their knees touching your feet? That’s crazy.
But Jesus did just that. His Disciples were as uncomfortable as you would be. And he did it because as He described, ‘He did not come to be served but to serve.’ This is possibly the most important and definitive lesson in Christianity. It defines our posture towards the world. And illustrates what Jesus himself meant when He commanded that we “love one another.”
“Do you know what I’ve done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do. I assure you, servants aren’t greater than their master, nor are those who are sent greater than the one who sent them.” -Jesus in John 13:12-16
Now here’s the hard reality. Christians have a very hard time being the servants RATHER the ones being served. Churches often look like a different – more human – kind of hierarchy and believers often use the exact opposite language and thinking from Jesus. Our comfort as believers is often the most important thing to us – and our church experience centers around how we are being served – rather than how we are serving one another. Our humanity just keeps creeping in, while Jesus’ divinity – His example – His mandate – keeps getting pushed aside.
So do a gut check today on our remembrance of His great servanthood. As a believer, are you taking? Or are you giving away? Is your concern about your own comfort, desires, and tastes? Whose feet (metaphorically) are you washing?
Pray and reflect on this today. If you are able, celebrate Communion tonight… as a family, alone, or with friends. Read Matthew 26:17-30
Watch for our Good Friday devotional tomorrow.
See you Sunday at 10 as we celebrate EASTER!!! We believe this one hour of worship each week can change every situation and every relationship in our lives! It’s our happiest day!