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Palm Sunday


Why do you remember?  It’s the beginning of whats known as the Passion Week.  But why do you celebrate?  Why do you take time, if you do, to remember Jesus?

We often go through this week recognizing the events, moving through the motions as our heritage or tradition dictate….but why?

I believe its simple.  We forget.  In our day to day schedules we become caught up in all thing ‘us.’ Jesus, when around the table at what we commonly refer to as The Last Supper, asked his friends to remember Him when they celebrated the Passover. 

He created us (John 1:1-3) and He knows that we struggle with sin and Satan’s strategies against us.  Regularly being mindful of Him and the grace we need might very well keep us in the right frame of mind to be a faithful servant to our King, and a faithful servant to our neighbors.

Remember well.  Let it drive you to pleasing our Lord.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,
ed

Never Ever Forget

March 21, 2012 Leave a comment

Never Forget – Exodus 12:24-28, Mark 14:12-26

 

***

The man of the house finally took all the disabled umbrellas to the repairer’s. Next morning on his way to his office, when he got up to leave the street car, he absentmindedly laid hold of the umbrella belonging to a woman beside him, for he was in the habit of carrying one.

The woman cried “Stop thief!” rescued her umbrella and covered the man with shame and confusion.

That same day, he stopped at the repairer’s, and received all eight of his umbrellas duly restored. As he entered a street car, with the unwrapped umbrellas tucked under his arm, he was horrified to behold glaring at him the lady of his morning adventure. Her voice came to him charged with a withering scorn:

“Huh! Had a good day, didn’t you!”

***

 

Forgetfulness.  It stinks…and I’m and expert.  I walk into a room and forget why I’m there.  I often forget which jacket I place my car keys in.  I put receipts in my wallet so I won’t forget what they were for, only to forget that I need to look at them and months later thumb through them with confusion.  I try to use a calendar…but I forget where I put it last.  Sticky notes?  Yes, I put them in lots of places…but forget to look at them.  Names?  Let’s not even go there.  I’m sure I’m not the only one in this situation.  Call it stress related, sleep related, busyness related…I’m forgetful.  Many of us struggle with this.

 

In kid’s worship, when we have communion time, the question is asked weekly why we take the bread and the juice.  The overwhelming answer is “to remember.”  And that’s the reason.  Way back in the book of Exodus, we see the Lord giving Moses and his fellow Israelites instructions on the Passover meal.  This meal was to be eaten on a specific evening as the “death angel” made his way through Egypt.  The blood of the Passover Lamb, sacrificed for this specific meal, was to be painted around the door frame of each house.  As the angel of God passed through the area, He would pass over those houses covered by the blood…saving that house from pain and heartache.  God also instructed to the Israelites that this meal, this ceremony, would be a lasting ordinance practiced regularly.  Why?  To never forget about what God did.

 

Many years later, Jesus is about to experience this meal and ceremony with His friends in an upper room in Jerusalem.  Mark 14 records this event.  During the meal, that was specially prepared as the Lord commanded in the book of Exodus, Jesus picks up some bread and some wine, blesses them, and calls for the disciples to remember Him now whenever they experience this meal.  Why?  Because He didn’t want them to forget what was about to happen.  He was about to become the perfect lamb sacrificed for us.  His blood would now cover us from the consequence of sin.

 

Another question that we always ask in kid’s worship at our church is this, “Who remembered Jesus every minute of last week?”  A couple well meaning kids often raise their hands.  They want to be able to do this because they instinctively know it’s the right thing to do…to remember Jesus.  But the truth is the truth.  None of us think about Jesus and His love and His grace every minute of every day.  We’re forgetful.  However, we’ve been given a gift.  The book of Acts record that the new Christians met regularly remembering Jesus and His sacrifice for their souls.

 

So the question is this.  Do we remember?  Do we take time on a regular basis to remember Him?  It doesn’t matter how a specific church family does this, the point is to remember.  Weeks after the horrific events of 9-11, bumper stickers and posters and banners and buttons started popping up everywhere across our country.  Remember what they said?  Never Forget!  We are called to never forget our Jesus, His sacrifice, and the redemption that He freely offers us.

 

Deuteronomy 6:12 “…be careful that you do not forget the Lord.”

 

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

ed

 

Questions for Growth:

  • Have you remembered Jesus every minute since last week?  Ok, that’s a question to center us.
  • Since we forget about Jesus, our very Creator, controller of the universe, able to make the sun stand still and judge our very soul, what do we do to help us remember?  What can we do?  Read Deuteronomy 6:1-12.
  • If we were to remember Jesus more often, how would that change our lives…our choices…our words?
  • Should we simply pass this off as forgetfulness?  Or should we be proactive?  Eternity hangs in the balance…maybe remembering that will helps us…remember.

Parenting 101 Part 3

March 20, 2012 Leave a comment

In the last couple articles, I’ve discussed Christian parenting.  It’s been tough to write because as I write, I learn.  And what I’ve learned is that I’m struggling with this parenthood things as much as the next person.  When stacking up my strategy or successes in parenting against God’s model, I’m extremely weak.  We covered basic expectations in Part 1.  We covered some basic “how to’s” given from Moses out of Deuteronomy in Part 2.  This time let’s go one step further.  Baby steps!

God wants us to raise kids who love and know Him.  In order to do that, we need to be constantly reminding them of God’s ways.  How many times have you said, “Put that down!”  Moses’ instructions were to write God’s ways on doors, door posts, gates, walls…to talk about them all the time…and to tie them to our foreheads and hands.  OK, so some of you are asking the question, “How in world do I do that?  Posters?  Tattoos?”

I’ve got some simple answers.  I’m not sure how easy this will be to implement if you’re not used to it…but they are simple ideas.  And…..they are from the Bible.  Smile, we’re in this together.  First idea is simple.  And yes, it’s posters.  Haha…some of you didn’t expect that.  Here’s the idea.  Our little brains need reminders.  We forget easy.  That’s one reason we have the Lord’s Supper.  Sometimes we get caught in the rut of continually going through the same routine each and every day.  Sometimes we forget why we do things.  Posters, pictures, and notes taped to the wall help remind us.  3M found this to be true when they started making millions of dollars by selling pre-stickied pieces of paper called “sticky notes.”  What a concept!  There are some awesome artists who burn or carve scriptures into wood (P. Graham Dunn).  Does the name Thomas Kinkade ring a bell?  We love the beauty of the items these and other artists put out, but the hope is that the truth painted, sculpted or carved and hung on our walls will burn itself into our soul.  Moses’ big fear was that we’d forget about God.  My wife has become notorious about printing quotes and verses out and taping them to our door frames and bathroom mirrors.  Why?  So we’ll remember.  How many of us post and repost inspiration and scripture as our Facebook status update?  How many of us Tweet God’s truth on a regular basis?  We need reminders of God’s truth so when we’re up against temptation or inside of a dark time, we can remember the Truth.

So with all of that said, let’s just take Moses’ suggestion literally.  Let’s set ourselves up to remember.  We know we’re forgetful.  We just need to be proactive.  You don’t have to go out and buy a $100 piece of art work.  Just get out a piece of paper and a marker, write down a verse that you think God wants you to remember, and tape it to the fridge, or porch door, or to the dash board of the car.

Second…and this will be a tougher one for many of us.  Get to know your Bible.  Help your kids get to know their Bible.  It’s long been a rite of passage for a child to receive their first Bible.  But how many of our kids carry it daily…read it daily…even know where it is daily?  I know my kids have trouble with that.  Know why?  Because dad does too.  They will do what they see.  How many of us have our kids carry their Bibles to church services on Sunday but then forget about them the rest of the week?  My hand is raised…guilty.  I think this one starts with us as parents.  We need to be “meditating on His word…”  That’s from Psalm 1:2…the rest of the verse says “day and night.”  That’ll rearrange your schedule won’t it.  But the beginning of that verse starts by saying this, “Blessed is the man/woman who…”  Is that something we can do?  Heck yes!  And Satan will fight every step we try.  He will approve of our every excuse.  “I can’t understand it.”  “I’m too busy.”  “I already go to services.”  “I’ll just use the pew Bible.”

The question comes down to this.  Are you willing to fight for what you know God wants in your life?  Are you willing to fight for what you know God wants for your kids?  Will you do things that this world might consider radical or weird?  Are you willing?  We have a church family that spans the globe.  We’re not alone.  Hold on together…encourage each other…pray for each other.  That’s what the family is for.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

ed

 

PART 1

PART 2

10 Years Ago

September 8, 2011 Leave a comment

10 Years Ago

It was just around 9AM when I opened my door and walked out of my office.  Turning the corner at the end of the hallway, I ran into a colleague.  He said, “Have you been listening to the radio?”  It was common for me to be listening to the morning news…but I hadn’t.  “I think I heard that a plane ran into one of the big buildings in NYC,” were the next words out of his mouth.  My first thought was that a gust of wind or mechanical error took a single prop into the side of one of the skyscrapers.

I walked back into my office and turned on the radio, not even thinking about what my friend had just told me.  I then sat and stared out the window as I listened to the play by play of the newscaster for the next 45 minutes.  I struggled to picture what was happening.  I’m a picture type thinker…so I needed images to back up what I was hearing.   The rest of the staff and me would periodically meet in the main office as we heard different pieces of information.  I soon had my keys in my hand and was on my way home.

I steered into my drive-way, radio fixed to a news station, and froze as the news anchor said, “Dear God…”  The first tower was on its way down.  For the next 5 hours I sat in front of the television trying to make sense of what was happening.  My wife was teaching in a local elementary school, and had heard the news but not many details…that is until some parents came to pick their kids up in the middle of the day.  My kids were still in day care at the church building.  I had thought about picking them up, but couldn’t pull away from the TV.  I knew they were in safe hands.

The next few days were a blur.  Actually, the next week was a blur.  I was dealing with lot of phone calls from parents wondering what to tell their kids.  People were calling the church office to see what kind of service we were going to have on Sunday.  Sunday School teachers were wondering what they should or should not talk about in class.  I think we were all shaken.

Why?  That was the biggest question.  I still have no answer other than this one.  A few people who don’t believe in my God chose to fly planes into buildings for the purpose of mass murder.  That’s all I know.  Well, that’s not completely true.  I know this as well:

  • Matthew 5:45 says, “For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”

This event was huge in the history of not only America, but all world.  Some cheered the destruction and others mourned with us.  Some formed conspiracy theories and some wanted heads on silver platters.  Many signed on the dotted line committing the next few years of their lives to the armed forces of the United States.  Others froze in fear and saw terror everywhere they looked.  What we all found was a feeling of being vulnerable.

We were reminded, forcefully so, that we are not in control of this world.  We were reminded that bad things happen.  We were reminded that life can be short and that grief is never far from our doorstep.  We were reminded that we need to stay close to a God that allows for free will.  Many of us were reminded of the scripture that says ‘This world is not my home’ (John 17:16).

Here is something else I know.  There are two forces in this world…only two.  God and evil.  We are reminded everyday of these two forces.  We see love and we see everything we would call the opposite of love.  In reality, there should be no reason to forget about God.  But sometimes we do.  And sometimes, events of this world shake us and remind us that evil is still around.

If it is true that God causes the sun to shine and the rain to fall on both the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45), then we can assume righteousness and evil will both be in our world.  From what I read in the Bible, I figure that God either allows or causes things to happen.  That means He has given people the opportunity to follow His will.  In doing so, He’s also allows people to disobey His will.  Ten years ago 19 hijackers chose to disobey God’s will.  God allowed it.  Why?  I have absolutely no idea.  But the scenario fits within what I know from the Bible…so I have to trust that God is working in the midst of tragedy.  The angry part of me also has to trust that the Judge of all people will render a judgment on those who murdered in the name of their ‘religion.’  I also have to remember that Jesus died on the cross for sinners such as those…and me…and everyone else.

So what do we remember at this ten year mark?  We remember that 3000+ lives were taken.  We remember that countless other lives were affected.  We remember that there are those around us, who like many that day, are willing to give of their own lives to save others.  We remember those who served and serve publicly and privately for our watch care.  We remember that our country continues to fight offensively against those that would try to tear our way of life apart.  We remember that there is a God that is bigger than all of our worries and fears and grief and that He is ultimately in charge and still holds the promise for all who choose to follow and believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.

That’s all I know.  I’m sure that my questions and yours will be answered one day.

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

ed

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