March 2008

I usually reserve my reviews for another blog, but you will want to get a copy of this book:  
Few books dig so deeply into the heart of the reader as to force life change. In the church culture we have, over the last decade or so, been bombarded with a mountain of books that have a tendency to approach this kind of effect. Several have made it across my desk, and have even influenced my thinking. The Purpose Driven Church, Transitioning, Simple Church, and Chazown have all had similar interest-piquing effects as they outlined either a new approach to church or personal discipleship, and have all created a desire to see a more effective ministry happen in my life and the church I serve (or served at the time). What these books did not do was drive me to my knees in search of the face of God. In this, Journeys: Transitioning Churches to Relevance is different.

For the full review click here.

And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” (Luke 24:5-7, ESV)

In an old spiritual we find these words:

Hallelujah! He is coming!
Hallelujah! He is here!
Hallelujah! He is coming!
Hallelujah! He is here!

This song about the birth, death and resurrection of Christ speaks volumes to those of us who follow Him. He is here. He is here because He is not there—in the tomb that is. He has risen and this gives us reason to rejoice.

Say it with me, say it out loud, “Hallelujah! He is risen!”

Father, make us bold to shout your rising to the world around us.

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:30, ESV)
It’s Good Friday—the day that Jesus was Crucified.
How? You ask. How can it be “good” if it is the day commemorating such a heinous death penalty? As a matter of fact, how can any death be looked upon and seen as good? The answer to this important question is in what happened on that first Good Friday. I’ll not go into detail about how awful the practice of Roman crucifixion was. Plenty of preachers have done that in the past. If you really want to know the cruelty of this form of punishment find a copy of The Passion of the Christ and watch it.

It isn’t that Jesus was crucified that makes today such a good day, but why He died and what He accomplished by going to the cross. Simply put, people are sinners. We are born that way. We can’t avoid it any more than I can avoid having blue eyes and curly hair. It is part of who we are. We defy and disobey God every opportunity that we get. The price of that sin is death, our death. Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross (because He was sinless) paid the price of our sin for us.

Why “Good Friday”? Because on the Good Friday Jesus made the escape from sin punishment possible. So celebrate! Sin is conquered through the crucifixion of Christ. It is Good Friday!

Father, Thank you for sending Jesus to make my sin payment and conquering my sin when He died.

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” (Luke 22:7-8, ESV)

Today is the day that Jesus met in an upper room with the disciples. The room prepared for the observance of the Passover feast. In that room, Jesus made the Passover come to life. In that room He explained that to the Twelve that He would die. Not only would He die, but He would be sent to His death by the betrayal of one of them there.They did not understand all that happened as Jesus taught them lessons. Lessons about serving one another, lessons about the payment for sin, lessons that would become real to them in a few short days.

The Passover meal was one that was to remind the Israelites how God rescued them from their bondage to slavery in Egypt. What we call “the Lord’s Supper” is a reminder to us that through the death of Jesus (the perfect Passover Lamb) God would rescue us from our bondage to slavery in Sin. During this most holy of remembrances, think about what Jesus did on that night—giving a visual representation of the breaking of His body not one day later.

Toward the end of the meal, Jesus sent His betrayer away to make the final arrangements. Afterwards the rest of the disciples accompanied Jesus to a garden to pray—a time of dedication in preparation for the miracle that was to come. It was here that Jesus was arrested.

Today is a day of remembrance, a day to consider what this season’s payment is for us all.

Father, teach us again what you did on the first Easter weekend.