Reminiscing

Way back in my high school years I loved the song by The Little River Band entitled, Reminiscing.  It was a catchy, swingy, poetic song that I liked.  Reminiscing is generally fun to do and you think back on the good times you had.   High school for me was a pretty good.  Activities, music, sports, driving, learning how to handle some independence and growing in to who I am today.

It’s Holy Week and as we walk with Jesus to the cross and the empty tomb it’s more than reminiscing about what Jesus did for us.  We read the passion history during our midweek Lenten services and see how Jesus was treated.  Honored and revered by throngs of people on Palm Sunday; celebrating the passover with his devoted followers and being betrayed by a kiss for 30 pieces of silver; denied by his close follower; jeered at and made  fun of; mocked and beaten, hung on a cross; All of this he did for you and me.  He endured the pain to pay the price God demanded for our sins.  What Jesus did is more than ‘oh that was really thoughtful”!  It was Jesus giving his life for you and me and he did it willingly.  He defeated death and the devil and rose victorious on that Easter morn.

Bask in the glow of the empty tomb!  Hold on to the truths of God’s word when they say that Jesus rose!   Reminisce about and remember what Jesus has done for us- Share it and live it so others may know Jesus!

Free, free, free free free

If you’ve watched any network television the last month or so you’ve undoubtedly heard the words of my title:  Free, free, free free free.  Intuit has used this slogan to promote their free tax service.  The commercials can be kind of annoying but yet a bit funny.

Maybe we should use this as the cheer for Jesus. Free, free, free free free!  Your salvation is free because of what Jesus did for you for free!  God’s demand of payment for your sin is totally paid off, paid in full and is free to you and me.  There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation or the prize of salvation.  It is a gift from our loving father who wants us to be in heaven with him.

Ephesians 2:8  For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—

Enjoy the free gift of salvation won for you by Jesus!  Bask in the glow of our Savior’s faithful walk to the cross and resurrection!  Rejoice in the fact that we are free, free, free from the debt of our sins!  Perfection is ours!

 

Bracketology Craziness

How are your brackets doing? How many did you make?  How many challenges did you enter?  Is there a family bracket challenge or one at work?  Maybe you joined the ESPN or CBS bracket challenge.  According to Jimmy Boyd (an online betting guru) over 70 million brackets are filled out online.  That’s pretty amazing for a game that started with a peach basket for its hoop.

The idea surrounding the brackets is that you pick the winners of each game of the tournament with the goal of picking the final four, then the final two and ultimately the winner of the tourney.  Each and every year there are upsets and sometimes there is the “Cinderella” school that is winning games they shouldn’t be winning.

Well I’ve created a shortened version of a bracket for my life,

jesus bracket

I’ve got this battle of me verses sin which you have too.  We can never win that battle.  I’ve got the battle between me and death which you have too.  We lose that battle too.  And even though it looks like there is no way for me to win the race of life there I am with Jesus in the winners circle.  He defeated sin and death for me and you!  It’s no “Cinderella” story it’s a Bible based truth of God’s word.  You can put your name next to ME, next to Jesus, because he has won it for you too.

Go ahead cheer on your favorite college team during the tournament but know that we have a home in heaven because of Christ’s victory!

Stress in your life?

I’m sure many of us have felt some stress in our lives.  It might be the pressure of taking a test when we were in school or the time we tried out for a play or a sports team and we were awaiting the decision.  The stresses of relationships can be brutal as well whether its parent/child; boyfriend/girlfriend, brother/sister, husband/wife, Boss/employee or friend/friend.

We want to be able to work with and get along with those in our lives but sometimes the pressure of life just gets too much for us.  Every little thing ticks you off and you get frustrated.  The deadline at work is coming faster than you wanted it to and you aren’t ready.  Maybe your friend doesn’t appreciate all you are doing for them and you get frustrated and stressed out by their demands.

One great source of comfort me is turning to the hymnal.  “What a friend we have in Jesus” is a great hymn of comfort and stress release!  Here is verse one:

What a Friend we have in Jesus,
  All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
  Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
  O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
  Everything to God in prayer!

If you aren’t a big fan of hymns and want to go to God’s word, turn to Isaiah 40:31

but those who trust in the Lord
will renew their strength;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary;
they will walk and not faint.

Trust that God will be with you and in him we find our strength.  There is nothing God can’t handle not even the stresses of your life.

“I’ve been wronged!”

I’m wondering if you’ve ever shouted “I’ve been wronged!” when someone mistreated you or left you holding the bag in a situation.  We feel pretty indignant and appalled that someone dare do that to ME!  Just who do they think they are!  We go through ideas of how to get back at them or make them look bad. Maybe you have some feelings of hate starting to boil up.   Or maybe that’s just me.

We are supposed to forgive those who sin against us.  When we reflect back on God’s word and are reminded of how we are to treat others we understand what we are to do.   During the Lenten season we have a great reminder of how loving and merciful our Savior Jesus is.  How he willingly went to the cross to pay the price of your sin, my sin and the sins of the whole world.  He didn’t yell “I’ve been wronged!”  Rather, he humbly obeyed what his father asked him to do.

As you worship this week at a midweek service or next weekend be reminded of the forgiveness we have in Christ!  As often as we feel we have been wronged think about how many times you’ve wronged God and yet he forgives you.  No maximum number of sins he forgives-ALL of them.  Rejoice!  Shout to the heavens with joy knowing you and I are forgiven and will be with Jesus in heaven.

Three Words of Truth

Tomorrow is ASH WEDNESDAY and with it the Lenten season of the church year begins.  I love the season of Lent with its minor chords in the hymns, the meaningful words of the songs and the awesome readings of the passion history.

This year our midweek theme is “Three Words of Truth” where we highlight three different words that relate to Jesus’s walk to the cross:

March 6 “Is it I?”                                                   March 27 “I am He”                                          March 13 “Love one another”                           April 3 “What is Truth”                                  March 20 “Watch and Pray”                               April 10 “Take Him away!”

I’d like to invite all of you to come and join us in worship for these midweek worship services.  Soup and sandwich at 5:45 pm and worship at 6:30 pm.  Tomorrow, March 6th we have a 1 pm and 6:30 pm Ash Wednesday worship service. Come and hear the good news of what Jesus has done for you!

 

DO THIS …

Remember when your mom and dad said, I said DO THIS before you could go outside.  It may have been cleaning your room, taking out the trash, feeding the animals or putting groceries away but it was something they wanted done.  Whether we “forgot’ to do it or were just too lazy to do it we still were suppose to get it done and follow the rule.

And, when you didn’t DO THIS, were you punished?  Maybe you weren’t allowed to go outside and play or head to your friend’s house.  Or you were given more chores to do before you were allowed to do anything you wanted.

Our daily lives are like this when it comes to what God demands.  He speaks to us throughout his word, the Bible, and says DO THIS.  Many times we just shrug our shoulders and say, “eh, it’s no big deal. I’m not hurting anyone.” But the truth of the matter is that you are hurting yourself.  God demands perfection and when we don’t listen to his rules and what he wants us to do we are sinning against him.  He wants payment for that sin.  You fall short of what I demand then there is payment needed for your shortcomings.  We have a loving God however who also provided payment for our sins.  He sent his son Jesus to live a perfect life, die an innocent death and rise from the dead to make full payment for all of our sins.

God isn’t like a credit card company that charges interest on your sins.  He had Jesus pay the price in FULL for you and me.  This good news should be shared with others.  Don’t just hold on to the glorious news of the Savior share it with others.   DO THIS so that others may know the joy and comfort we have knowing Christ is our Savior.