Layout Image

Worship

The Frozen Friday Morning

It’s April, late April, in Minnesota. Upon stepping out my front door, I found frost on my windshield. Begrudgingly, I ignored it and I hoped it would go away. I got into my car and I started it for hopefully that last “warm up” of the winter.

I went back inside and immediately this thought struck my mind; is there frost on the windshield of my heart? After letting that question sink in, I found myself allowing God to highlight the cold frosty areas of my heart that so desperately need a warm up!

“When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him [Jesus] there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” Luke 23:33-34

When Jesus said, “forgive them Father” is it possible that he wasn’t just referring to the crowd, or to the soldiers driving nine inch spikes through his hands and feet? Indeed, it was for everyone, from the beginning of time to the end of time.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Today on Good Friday, we celebrate the strangest holiday; the slaughter of the sinless God-man. The perfection beheld in Jesus led him to his betrayal, condemnation and crucifixion, all for the sole purpose of saving those most unworthy of His affection. The somber truth of perfection ransomed for the freedom of the guilty ones is the very essence of grace. This is what we celebrate on this cold Friday morning.

So I ask the question of you, is it possible that there is frost on the windshield of your heart? This question is hurled into relevance as we consider the concept of the atonement. Our guilt is was the reason for his suffering . And our apathy to that conviction from the Holy Spirit builds a cold shell around our hearts. Yet if we allow the Holy Spirit to scrape away that frost, we can see the truth.

Let us be thankful, grateful, and appreciative. These attributes honor Jesus and this is our righteous response to atonement. We aren’t un-guilty, but we have been made guilt free! Thank you Jesus, for your gift of freedom, bought through your blood, by your innocence!

2 Corinthians 9

Life After Life

We have all heard the phrase “life after death,” but what about “life after life?” I think that sometimes as Christians we tend to focus so heavy on life after death that we miss life after life!

Christ has come and given life freely and in abundance!

Just as Daniel Olson challenged us this last Sunday, I want to reiterate that Jesus Christ holds in open hands the fullness of life. This means that we don’t have to experience fear or anxiety. We don’t have to worry or anger; we are free from the oppressive hand of lifelessness!

Live life in the fullness of Christ this week friends!

“They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10

The Sufficiency of the Gospel

This morning, as our praises filled the room, thoughts of the gospel filled my mind. There happened to be someone attending our church today who openly opposes Jesus and I caught myself thinking; “finally, the gospel will be ‘shared’ with someone on Sunday morning.” My erroneous reasoning was swiftly greeted from The Lord with “my Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16 ESV). My heart was reminded that the Gospel is sufficient not only for justification, but for sanctification and glorification as well!

The Gospel isn’t done working in my life or anyone’s life for that matter. It remains active and when I assume that any person needs it anymore than I, it highlights my gross misunderstanding of its sufficiency!

Friends, let us remember that the gospel works as much in the life of a believer as it does in the life of the unbeliever.

Heart Exfoliation

The heart is dynamic, not static. It is always moving in one direction; toward either sensitivity or callousness. In Mark 3 we read the account of a Sabbath showdown between the Pharisees and Jesus.

“Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.”  Mark 3:4

The confrontation is over the healing of a man with a withered hand. The text says he was angry at the hardness of their hearts and after the healing of this man they allowed their hearts to harden further. The condition of our hearts is fundamental in loving God and man. So I ask, what is the condition of your heart today and where is it headed?

Discipleship

Will you follow Jesus? A simple invitation. However, this invitation isn’t for those who want to blaze their own trail. Why you ask? Well, let me ask you this – is a man walking south following the man walking north? You see, a man cannot claim he follows another unless he abandons his current path and aligns with his leader. So, I ask again; will you follow Jesus daily?

Before the Throne

As we had sweet fellowship this last Sunday with the men and women of Teen Challenge, who just so happen to be my personal heroes, The Lord laid something upon my heart.

As I heard testimony after testimony, song after song, one consistent theme was present. In their life and through the program, they have come to a place of brokenness; recognizing and vocalizing their own incapability and lack of strength. Highlighted against their honesty, The Lord showed me that I, with all my “little ducks in a row,” am every bit a broken mess as my friends before me. The only difference is, they are honest with Jesus about their brokenness, while I pretend I am not even broken…

Lord, help us all see our brokenness and our deep need to come before You, as You are the only one able to make something beautiful from that mess.

Peace

As the Word of God was spoken publicly this morning, the Holy Spirit highlighted one specific word that invited my contemplation down a path I hadn’t traveled before.

And let the peace of Christ “RULE” in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15 ESV)

Does peace rule in my heart? Is it so unwavering that daily worries avert at its sight? Is peace so so evidently ruling in my heart that in perilous moments my bystanders feel a contagiousness about it? Perhaps it doesn’t as it should…

To rule is to have control, and peace, in control, rules with a gentle hand. Will we let peace “rule” in our heart?

Advent or Event?

As we kick off Advent season with a disappointing, or perhaps gratifying, Vikings-Packers showdown, I can’t help but find myself contemplating the “reason for the season.” For we (who claim the blood of Jesus Christ as propitiation for our sins) ought to find great excitement in all that the Advent represents. “Adventus” or “coming” has the power for the re-invigoration of gratitude and dedication to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Advent represents not only the passing of a seasonal Holiday, but much more! From the prophetic promise of salvation through the glorious restoration, the birth of the messiah marks a moment in time that declares the hope of an eternity.

“Father, let us not miss the birth of the messiah for jingle bells and mistletoes.”

20121205-125823.jpg

What is a masterpiece?

When we hear the word “masterpiece,” what is it that populates your mental picture frame? Perhaps a well-known painting by a master painter like Van Gogh, or perhaps your favorite song by a skilled band.

If I were to answer that question on the fly, free of context, likely I would think the same, but with our third child possibly only moments away, a child comes to mind.  A child is masterfully crafted with fear and wonder in the womb of a woman (Psalm 139:14), doesn’t this constitute as “masterpiece?”

This week, let your thinking be challenged. God took the time to knit you in the womb and hand select your personality, and He will be faithful to turn us into His masterpieces, if we allow.

Who are you?

Beneath every thought, word and deed are two fundamental perspectives; our understanding of God and understanding of self. For we who claim the name of Jesus Christ, if we allow ourselves to be deceived and think God and self are both trivial or insignificant, we do a great disservice to God and man alike.

If we think too low of God and too highly of self, pride rears its ugly head. Yet, if we think highly of God but too low of self, we misalign ourselves with the value God places on His new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17

It is imperative that we not only comprehend our identity in Christ, but that we contemplate it daily. Our challenge this week is to press into our identity in Christ!