March 2016


Thursday: preparations are made for the feast. And not just any feast, but the most solemn, sacred feast of the entire year. This is the commemoration of the awesome night that God sent the Death Angel throughout all of Egypt taking the lives of the first-born—old, young, highborn and low, even the livestock was not spared this night. But the Israelites? They were kept safe by the sign of the blood, and this is the feast the disciples celebrate tonight: Passover! Afterward, they adjourn to a quiet place for meditation, and then the mobs come.

Friday: After a night filled with mock justice and betrayal, sentence is carried out: Crucifixion. It is the most horrible, legalized capital punishment known in the history of man. And the Innocent of all innocents is hung to die. With His death, all men can be set free—just as the Passover set the Israelites of old free. All that must be done is to apply the Blood of the Lamb to the doors of one’s life—accept it willingly and apply it liberally. Even so, darkness covers the Earth. But wait for it . . .

Sunday: Hallelujah! He is risen! He is not here! Jesus Christ, having conquered sin, now conquers death. Now all we have is to tell this good news while we wait for His Return.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. —an angel (Matthew 28:6)

Today, I would like to focus, not on the crowd that turned on Jesus; the crowd that railed for crucifixion; the crowd, spurred on by jealous religious leaders, to frenzy for blood, but on the crowd who greeted Jesus.

Palm Sunday, the day recognized as the opening of Holy Week, is the one time when we see Jesus being treated as Jesus should be treated by the population at large. Yes, there are detractors, schemers among the number—even one skulking in the shadows of Jesus’ closest disciples—but the people at large honor him.

Today, let us join with the voices of those who call out in worship and praise of the Son of God. Let our voices mingle with those on that first Palm Sunday, lining the route of the Triumphal Entry. During this week, however, let us not lose sight of the One we shower with praise allowing our worship to turn into cursing. Instead, with the benefit of hindsight, let us continue, in the midst of doubt and second-guessing, to lift our voices in constant “Hosanna!” to the King of kings who comes in the name of the Lord.

Then the crowds who went ahead of Him and those who followed kept shouting: Hosanna to the Son of David! He who comes in the name of the Lord is the blessed One! Hosanna in the highest heaven! (Matthew 21:9)

Revival is the renewal of spirit that happens when people rediscover the excitement of something special. For instance, when someone re-discovers a favorite musical program, or an interesting book, the public might be treated to a revival of that program or literature.

In the Christian faith, revival is more specific and meaningful. Revival is when Christ-followers find renewed hope in their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They re-discover the joy that once was theirs when they first said yes to Jesus.

Today, we begin a series of special services designed to lead us to that place of revival. Here is my prayer (for myself, for FBC of Mulberry Grove, and for our world at large):

“Father, bring us back to you. Teach us to love you more. Lead us into the newness that You have already given to us. Let us carry the message of redemption and renewal to our community, our region, and our world.”

“This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.” – Jesus, Praying for Believers (John 17:3)

FLightShineSlideirst Baptist Church of Mulberry Grove will be partnering with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, Texas) to hold its annual Spring Revival. As part of the “Revive This Nation” program of the seminary, Mr. Jacob Oladipupo, a student from Nigeria, will be preaching.

Leading music for this year’s

JacobOladipupo_1218.jpg

Mr. Jacob Oladipupo

revival will be Bro. Ray Barnes, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church of Odin, IL. Pastor Barnes also sings with the gospel group “The Misfits.”

 

The theme for this year’s revival is “Let Your Light Shine focusing on Matthew 5:16. Services will be held Sunday through Wednesday, March 13-16, 2016. Sunday services will be in the morning at 10:45, and evening at 6:00. Weekday services will be each evening, Monday-Wednesday, at 6:30. Please join us and bring your friends to this exciting week of gospel preaching and singing.

Let me pause for a moment for an advertisement:

LightShineSlide

Revive This Nation Spring Revival

First Baptist Church of Mulberry Grove will be partnering with Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, Texas) to hold its annual Spring Revival. As part of the “Revive This Nation” program of the seminary, Mr. Jacob Oladipupo, a student from Nigeria, will be preaching.

Leading music for this year’s revival will be Bro. Ray Barnes, pastor of Bethel Baptist Church of Odin, IL. Pastor Barnes also sings with the gospel group “The Misfits.”

The theme for this year’s revival is “Let Your Light Shine focusing on Matthew 5:16. Services will be held Sunday through Wednesday, March 13-16, 2016. Sunday services will be in the morning at 10:45, and evening at 6:00. Weekday services will be each evening, Monday-Wednesday, at 6:30. Please join us and bring your friends to this exciting week of gospel preaching and singing.

“In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” – Jesus, Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:16)