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"Let us reason together…" Isaiah 1:18

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The Consecration and Dedication of Hyatt Moore’s “The Beatitudes of Jesus.”

In Consecration and Dedication

“The Beatitudes”

Hyatt Moore, Artist

Call to Worship         Exodus 28:2, 40; Psalm 27:4

And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.

For Aaron’s sons you shall make coats and sashes and caps. You shall make them for glory and beauty.

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

Invocation

Congregational worship in song

Have you ever seen the wonder
In the glimmer of first sight
As the eyes begin to open
And the blindness meets the light
If you have so say

I see the world in light
I see the world in wonder
I see the world in life
Bursting in living colour
I see the world your way
And I’m walking in the light

Have you ever seen the wonder
In the air of second life
Having come out of the waters
With the old one left behind
If you have so say

I see the world in light
I see the world in wonder
I see the world in life
Bursting in living colour
I see the world Your way
And I’m walking in the light

I see the world in grace
I see the world in gospel
I see the world Your way
And I’m walking in the light
I’m walking in the wonder
You’re the wonder in the wild
Turning wilderness to wonder

Congregational worship in tithes and offerings

Congregational worship in sharing God’s peace

Congregational worship in song

For the beauty of the earth,

For the beauty of the skies,

For the Love which from our birth

Over and around us lies:

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise.

 

For the beauty of each hour

Of the day and of the night,

Hill and vale, and tree and flower,

Sun and moon and stars of light:

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise.

 

For the joy of ear and eye,

For the heart and brain’s delight,

For the mystic harmony

Linking sense to sound and sight:

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise.

 

For Thy Bride that evermore

Lifteth holy hands above,

Offering up on every shore

This Pure Sacrifice of Love:

Christ, our God, to Thee we raise

This our Sacrifice of Praise.

Introduction of artists Hyatt and Anne moore

Variations of Hymnological themes, The daughters Kress

The unveiling, hyatt moore

Consecration and dedication

Presentation of The Beatitudes

In the nine exquisite pieces of “The Beatitudes” Hyatt Moore experienced the anointed gifting of the Holy Spirit as seen in Exodus 35:30,

Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the Lord has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts.

In this work people of every tribe, kindred, and tongue are invited into the full spectrum of the Jesus life.  Experiencing “The Beatitudes” is a call to embrace the height, depth, and breadth of the invisible qualities of Christian interiority for in them the invisible becomes visible.

We present these nine artistic renderings of The Beatitudes to be consecrated and dedicated to the praise, honor, and worship of almighty God and for service in the preparation of God’s people in discipleship.

Act of consecration and dedication

Therefore, we the members of this congregation, with glad and grateful hearts, consecrate and dedicate “The Beatitudes” to the glory and in the name of the holy and triune God.

In grateful remembrance of all who have loved and served this church in the past and for those who will serve it in the future,

With sincere gratitude, we consecrate and dedicate “The Beatitudes,”

In reverent appreciation and respect for the Master Artist who brings order out of chaos, gives beauty and creativity to His people, and who draws all people to Himself,

We consecrate and dedicate Hyatt’s artistic rendering of “Jesus’ Beatitudes,”

Trusting God that each person who experiences the beauty in these pieces will fully develop the complete spectrum of the Jesus life.

We now consecrate and dedicate “The Beatitudes” as sacred worship of God and spiritual ministry to all people.  In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, AMEN.

Congregational worship in song

Your love oh God, displayed for us
As crimson covered over sinless hands
Your majesty, for all to see
In raging storms and quiet cloudless days

Beautiful Jesus, beautiful Savior
Nothing is greater, brilliant Creator
Friend of mine

You’re powerful, above this world
The universe is under your command
Your glory shines a holy light
That leads our hearts to praise
Your holy name is on our lips

Beautiful Jesus, beautiful Savior
Nothing is greater, brilliant Creator
Friend of mine

My lips will sing, my heart will bring
Praise to you, the holy king
My lips will sing, my heart will bring
Praise to you, the holy king

Beautiful Jesus, beautiful Savior
Nothing is greater, brilliant Creator
Friend of mine

Perfect in power, matchless in glory
Nothing is greater, brilliant Creator
Friend of mine

Benediction

Posted on 14th April 2018 in Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post
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Toward a Theology of Beauty

The Word Hand, published by Navigator Press has been very helpful in experiencing the Word of God.

I have become convinced a sixth finger could properly be added to The Word Hand; seeing.

John 1:14 values experiencing the Word through “beholding.”

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[a] from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John’s selected word for “seen” is θεάομαι, which carries the following emphases:

  • To gaze at a spectacle
  • To gaze on in contemplation
  • To observe intently
  • To interpret something by grasping its significance
  • To concentrate on so as to significantly impact and influence the viewer.

http://biblehub.com/greek/2300.htm 

The Psalmist is committed to experience through beauty.  Psalm 27:4

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.

“To gaze upon” in Hebrew carries the following emphases:

  • To gaze at; mentally, to perceive, contemplate (with pleasure)
  • To have a vision of
  • To behold

As Lead Cultural Architect of MCA Church, I have been increasing the emphasis of “beholding and gazing” upon the beauty of the Lord.

In “The Beauty of Holiness: Sacred Art and the New Evangelization”, Jem Sullivan invites us into a three component dance with the beauty of the Lord.

  • Seeing
  • Contemplating
  • Adoring

This trifecta of experiencing beauty is almost lost in our age of hurried glances, microwave devotionals, and self-absorption.

Unwittingly we have fallen into Isaiah’s 6:9 prophetic statement,

And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

Jesus, in Luke 8:10, challenges His contemporaries with their inability to truly see, contemplate, and adore.

10 he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’

Failure in Christianity to see, contemplate, and adore may be the driving force inside the surge of “mindfulness” from a Buddhist perspective in western Christianity.

As is the enemy’s standard operating procedure, mindfulness as presented in Buddhism is the exact opposite of God’s plan for mindfulness.  Mindfulness for a Christian is not a journey into the self in a meditative state to become more self-aware, but an astute observation and meditation upon God to become more aware of His grand, glorious, and gracious presence in and among His people.

Jem Sullivan writes, “It follows that the role of sacred art in the new evangelization is to lead the faithful from seeing to contemplation to adoration of God.”

“In this way, sacred art – paintings, mosaics, stained glass, sculpture, sacred music – become a “visual Gospel,” by which the faithful see, hear, and touch the mysteries of faith so as to incarnate its truths in holiness of life and Christian witness.”

Jem quotes John Paul II, “In becoming man, the Son of God has introduced into human history all the evangelical wealth of the true and the good, and with this he has also unveiled a new dimension of beauty, of which the Gospel message is filled to the brim.”

One of the epoch insights of Paul in Romans 1:20 is that humans are to see the invisible in the visible.  The visible opens windows to the invisible.

20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.

Combining Paul’s Romans 1:20 and Jem’s trifecta of beauty, we are called to an entirely different level of seeing, contemplating, and adoring key Christian symbols.

  • A cross
  • Holy Communion

May you and I leave this place with a greater grace to:

  • See
  • Contemplate
  • Adore
Posted on 11th April 2018 in Beauty, Wednesday Evenings  •  Comments are off for this post
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God’s Rewards

Beyond Heaven’s Gates

Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames paints a picture of the requirement of having one’s name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

God, in my opinion, intentionally left His revelation of the details of resurrection and the following accountability a bit vague.  In fact, I am a bit leery of the person who has all the details of resurrection and accountability figured out and in concrete form.

However the timing of God’s resurrection and accountability unfolds, He has revealed several specific details:

  1. Everyone will be resurrected and be held accountable for their lives. Hebrews 9:27
  2. Those who have not trusted in Christ for salvation will give an account for their lives and receive God’s just sentence for their deeds. Revelation 20:11-15
  3. Those who have trusted in Christ for salvation will give an account for their lives and receive God’s just reward for their deeds. 2 Corinthians 5:9, 10

Today we are investigating the rewards God gives to those, in the resurrection, who have trusted in Jesus for salvation.

This topic is VITAL for every person who has placed their trust in Jesus for salvation.  J. C. Ryle said it very well, “A mistake about your soul, is a mistake for eternity.”

The Bible is very clear.

  • God will reward you according to the “deeds done in the body.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
  • God’s rewards will vary, depending on the deeds done in the body.
    • Great is their reward in heaven. Matthew 5:12
    • Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward Matthew 6:4
    • Our deeds will be analyzed by God, as if by fire, and rewarded accordingly. 1 Corinthians 3:11-14

We don’t know the details of God’s rewards.  However, God’s rewards are referred to as a highly prized crown.

An Incorruptible Crown          1 Corinthians 9:25

A Crown of Rejoicing               1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20

A Crown of Righteousness     2 Timothy 4:8

The Crown of Life                       James 1:12

The Crown of Glory                   1 Peter 5:2-5

God’s promises about His rewards are inspirational and motivational.

  • Hebrews 6:10 reveals God will not forget your work and labor of love.
  • Colossians 3:23, 24 state that work done “heartily to the Lord” shall receive the reward of the inheritance.

God’s rewards are so important, John warns us in 2 John 8, “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.”

MCA Church LIFE Group Homework

Listen – My Story

  • What is the favorite reward you have ever received? What made it your favorite?
  • What is the favorite reward you have ever given? What made it your favorite?

Learn – Digging Deeper

  1. Read Proverbs 24:12
    1. Who knows what you have done and are doing?
    2. What does He know?
    3. What does He who knows do?
  1. Read Matthew 25:31-46.
    1. Are Christian acts of service important in this passage? If so, how important?
    2. Is one’s eternal standing with God impacted by acts of service in this passage?

Life – Taking it Home

  1. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you through this lesson? Does someone in your Life Group want to make Jesus Lord of their lives today?
  2. How can your Life Group help you apply this weeks’ teaching?

Lift – Prayer

  • Pray for the wisdom and strength to live with pure motives and unending commitment to Jesus.
  • Pray for your friends who might be impacted by Hyatt Moore’s “The Beatitudes” to attend with you on Sunday, April 15.
  • Pray for your friends who might be impacted by the Queen of Katwe to attend with you on Sunday, April 19.
Posted on 7th April 2018 in Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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#Yes

Blessed Resurrection Sunday and Feast of Firstfruits!

An invitation to eternal life is life changing. Thank you for saying, “#Yes.”

Friendship is where it’s at and we would love to have a cup of tea (coffee for those so inclined) with you and exchange life stories. Out of friendships come helpful conversations about things that really matter.

At 6 PM, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week, Pastor Kent will be hosting (in his office) a friendship time with questions and answers about your #yes decision.  We hope you will enjoy the sandwiches, desserts, and friendship.

Maybe the videos in this conversation will help in your “#Yes” decision.

If you said “#Yes” a long time ago and have drifted from your “Yes,” this conversation will be super helpful to you.

My friend, Mark, established this conversation after facing divorce and not being able to find online resources to help with normal every day experiences. Looking to talk about real life issues like anxiety, guilt, emptiness? This conversation may be the best dialogue you have ever joined.

Posted on 31st March 2018 in #Yes  •  Comments are off for this post
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Resurrection Sunday: Firstfruits

Awaken the Wonder:  The feast of firstfruits

Everything God does in His world today, He does by His Spirit.  The Spirit and His ministry are full of wonder and are wonderful.

God’s appointments with Israel and the Jewish people are all significant in the ministry of Jesus.

  1. Passover – Jesus is our Passover lamb. 1 Corinthians 5:7
  2. Unleavened Bread – Jesus’ sinless life. 2 Corinthians 5:21
  3. Firstfruits – Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:20
  4. Pentecost – The harvest of Jesus’ ministry. Acts 2:1, 41
  5. Trumpets – Jesus’ returns with resurrection and rapture. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  6. Day of Atonement – Jesus’ blood placed on the mercy seat in heaven. Hebrews 9:12
  7. Tabernacles – Jesus “tabernacled” with us. John 1:14

The Holy Spirit is wonder full.

Jesus died on the day of preparation of the Passover.

He was buried in a tomb during the feast of Unleavened Bread.

He rose, victorious over sin, death, and the devil on the Feast of Firstfruits.

The Holy Spirit fulfilled, in the life of Jesus, the feast system He established 1,500 years earlier.

The Apostle Paul explains Jesus’ resurrection and the Feast of Firstfruits in 1 Corinthians 15:20-26.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

The question then, is, “By what power did Jesus rise victorious over sin, death, and the devil?”  Romans 8:11

11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[a] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Jesus was raised victorious over sin, death, and the devil by the Holy Spirit.

Jesus is Good News!  Sin, death, and the devil are defeated in your life too, when you place your trust in Him.

Imagine sin, death, and the devil destroyed in your life, right now.  Not some day in the future, but in this service today.  1 John 3:8

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

Today, placing your trust in Jesus destroys the works of sin, death, and the devil in your life.

When you place your trust in Jesus, the Holy Spirit moves in and lives in you.  Ephesians 1:13, 14

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee[d] of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,[e] to the praise of his glory.

It is your choice today.  Do you long for sin, death, and the devil to be destroyed in your life? Romans 8:11

11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus[a] from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Text #yes to 907 337-9495 to continue the conversation.

Posted on 31st March 2018 in Holy Week, Resurrection, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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The Crushing of Christ


In today’s Good Friday service, we investigate a particular portion of Isaiah’s Suffering Servant prophecy in Isaiah 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Notice the details of the sufferings of Jesus;

  • Pierced
  • Crushed
  • Chastised
  • Wounded

Let us consider the crushing of Christ.

Moses, in Genesis 3:15, quotes God,

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring[a] and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

It is clear that the rulers of this world, including Satan, did not understand God’s mysterious plan.

But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit

The mystery includes the surprising fact that the crushing of His Son would be the crushing of sin, death, and the Devil.

Sin, death, and the Devil longed to even the score with God.  Banished and restricted to “this present dark world,” their bitterness ran deep.

“Was God crazy?” They must have questioned.  “God became human?  How easy is it to triumph over humans?  We’ve got this.  We’ll steal, kill, and destroy God once and for all.”  They thought.

Their hatred, bitterness, and vitriol were so pronounced they reveled in the thought of a slow, excruciating, and torturous death.

The more miserable, the better.

With every blow to our Savior’s head, with each cut in His precious side, and every curse in His sacred ears Satan was unwittingly crushing his own head.

Crushing of Christ

  1. He came unto his own and they received him not. John 1:11
  2. My soul is overwhelmed with sorry. Matthew 26:38-39
    1. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch[d]with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
  3. Sweat as it were great drops of blood. Luke 22:44
    1. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[a]
  4. Betrayal of Judas. 30 pieces of silver.
  5. Denial of Peter. “I never knew him.”
  6. Insult of the crowd. Matthew 26:66-67
    1. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”
  7. Give us Barabbas. Matthew 27:22-23
    1. 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”
  8. Crown of thorns.
  9. Plucked beard.
  10. Unable to carry his cross. Simon Cyrene
  11. Taken outside the city.
  12. Nails in the arms and in the feet.
  13. Cross lifted into place.
  14. Mocking crowd.
  15. Spear in his side.

He was crushed for my iniquities.

My sin, iniquity, and rebellion against God empowered the one who hates God.  The God killer gained strength from my sin.

Each turn of the press crushing the Son of God was empowered, in part, by my iniquity.

The crushing continued until:

  • No beating of His Holy heart.
  • No blood in His vicarious veins.
  • No breath in His lofty lungs.
  • No life in Him who is Life.

The crushing of Christ was horrific beyond measure.  Isaiah 52:14

“his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,”

Sin, death, and the Devil did a good job on crushing Christ.

Against everything they had hoped and planned, sin, death, and the Devil’s crushing brought forth the:

  • Life giving blood of the Lamb
  • Juice of God’s victorious vine

The crushed grape became the Sweet Holy Wine.

In crushing Jesus, sin, death, and the Devil crushed themselves.

Posted on 30th March 2018 in Holy Week  •  Comments are off for this post
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Holy Wednesday and the Value System of Jesus

Jesus’ Wednesday of the Week of Palm Sunday, the Cross, and the Resurrection

Today is often called “Holy Wednesday” because of the significance of this day in the life of our Lord.

Let’s pick up the events of Jesus’ Wednesday in John 12:1-8.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound[a] of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii[b] and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it[c] for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

John 13:21-30 continues the story.

21 After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” 22 The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke. 23 One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table at Jesus’ side,[e] 24 so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus[f] of whom he was speaking. 25 So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it.” So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”28 Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. 29 Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor. 30 So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.

On Palm Sunday we studied the political and religious implications of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

This study investigates the value system implications seen in the contrast between Mary and Judas.

Church tradition indicates that Lazarus was raised from the dead the day before Palm Sunday.

Indicators of Mary’s personal value system regarding Jesus.

  1. “They gave a dinner for him.” John 12:2
  2. Martha served. Lazarus joined in eating. Mary gave an expensive
  3. More than just giving a gift, she anointed
  4. Mary anointed Jesus’ feet.
  5. She wiped his feet with her hair.

Mary’s value system indicates Jesus is more valuable than:

  1. Reputation.
  2. Social constructs
  3. Material goods and the value human beings give them.
  4. Pride

Indicator of Judas’ personal value system regarding Jesus

  1. He valued a supposed sale and gift to the poor above the adoration of Jesus.
  2. With God before him, he valued material goods more than God Himself.
  3. He valued a lie about himself (gifts for the poor) more than the truth about God.
  4. Eisegetically, I wonder if Judas would have the same response if Mary anointed his feet?

Considerations on Holy Wednesday

  1. Do I withhold things of great value from my worship of Jesus?
  2. Am I willing to lose my reputation because of my worship of Jesus?
  3. Am I willing to break social norms in my worship of Jesus?
  4. Am I willing to embrace humility in my worship of Jesus?
  5. Does failure to value Jesus open me to a fate similar to “Satan entered into him?”

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on 28th March 2018 in Holy Week, Wednesday Evenings  •  Comments are off for this post
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Palm Sunday and the Politics and Religion of Jesus

Today is the first day of what is often named “Holy Week.”

  • Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday
  • Holy Monday to Spy Wednesday
  • Maundy (mandate) Thursday
  • Good (from the now archaic meaning of holy) Friday
  • Holy Saturday (Black Saturday)

MCA Church is committed, this year, to the celebration of the Jewish feasts.  Passover celebrates the Jewish people’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt and in particular the blood of a lamb as the statement of obedience.  In this obedience of blood, God’s judgement passed over that home.  Additionally, Jesus fulfills many of the components of Passover.  For example, He is the Passover Lamb of our lives today.

In reality, this week is no more holy than every other week but is considered holy because of the commemorations and personal participation in the week of Jesus’ suffering.

Palm Sunday celebrates what is called the “Triumphant Entry of Jesus” into Jerusalem.

King Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem:

  • Fulfillment of prophecy about the kingdom
  • Establishes the King is in His kingdom
  • Anticipates the Kingly rule of Jesus in the eternal kingdom

It is precisely the “King” portion of Palm Sunday that was troubling to the world.

Politics is an English word built upon the Greek word for city and refers to gaining and exercising positions of power and control over a community.

King Jesus was a GIGANTIC political threat to the national powers of the day.

Rome and Israel were sort of the “two party system” at the time.

  • Rome’s authority was king Herod
  • Israel’s authority was the High Priest, Caiaphas.

Jesus and his “politics” were a threat to Rome and Judaism.

  • Political power
  • Religious power

Today, Jesus and those in his kingdom are as much a threat to political and religious powers as they were 2,000 years ago.

Any attempt to separate Jesus from politics and religion is foreign to the record of our Lord’s life and ministry.

  1. The politics and religion of Jesus are humble.
  2. The politics and religion of Jesus are an upheaval of the politics and religion of power and privilege.
  3. The politics and religion of Jesus are hated by most people.
  4. The politics and religion of Jesus lead to illegal trials, false accusers, untruthful convictions, physical and mental abuse, public scorn, and crosses.
  5. People move in a few short days, from “Hosanna to God in the highest” to “Crucify Him!” when Jesus lives out His politic and religion.

Recommendations

  1. Don’t succumb to the requirements and immense pressure to keep your Christian faith private. Matthew 5:16
  2. Seek to learn the politics and religion of Jesus as revealed in the Bible. John 18:36
  3. Celebrate your citizenship in Jesus’ invisible kingdom and His kingly rule. Mark 11:9, 10
Posted on 24th March 2018 in Holy Week, Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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High Impact People link Faith and Promises

It is my understanding that this congregation is filled with people who:

  1. Want to be energetic for God.
  2. Desire to be major impact players on God’s mission in the world today.
  3. Long for expanding influence in the world for the cause of Jesus Christ.

God commanded Abraham to go and all the world would be blessed through his seed.

Jesus is Abraham’s seed through whom all the world has been blessed.

God commands you and me to go with the message of and invitation to Jesus for salvation.

Through you and me, all the world continues to be blessed by Abraham’s seed through Jesus.

Energetic. Impact. Influence.

These kinds of lives are built with both faith and promises. 2 Corinthians 8:1-9

Love God’s work in the world so greatly that you BEG to be involved. 2 Corinthians 8:4

begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints

You determine that nothing will stop you! 2 Corinthians 8:2

for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.

Give the self -first to the Lord – and then by the will of God to His people

and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us

Participate to the fullest extent of my ability and then move into the realm of God’s ability. 2 Corinthians 8:3

For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord,

How are any of these amazing things possible?  The gift of God’s grace.  2 Corinthians 8:1

We want you to know, brothers,[a] about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia.

You and I participate in fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham by receiving God’s grace to be generous.

Jesus had this grace and he offers it to you and me today.  1 Corinthians 8:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Energetic.  Impact.  Influence.

 

 

 

 

Posted on 19th March 2018 in Weekend Talks  •  Comments are off for this post
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Life’s Long Endings

Joy and Sorrow in Ileen Fick’s Long-ending

In life’s long-endings we often experience a complexity of emotions.

  • We deeply grieve the dying process and the lengthy separation.
  • We celebrate the commencement of life in the special presence of the Lord

Maybe, most confusing for us, is we grieve and celebrate at the same time.

Most often we are emotionally monochromatic; we see and feel one emotion at a time.

A Christian’s long-ending requires us to experience two very different emotions at the same time.

  • Bittersweet
  • Happy sad

May I suggest there is much value in grieving death and life’s long endings.

  1. There is much value in grieving death’s victory over the human body. Ileen’s body has succumbed to the last enemy.  1 Corinthians 15:26

The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

  1. There is much value in grieving the human body’s perishability, dishonor, weakness, naturality, and mortality. 1 Corinthians 15:42-44

42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

  1. There is much value in grieving a long-term separation. The greater the love, the more significant the grief.

For me, the question of Luke 19:41, “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,” isn’t “why did Jesus weep over Jerusalem?”  The question, for me is, “why wasn’t anyone else weeping over Jerusalem?”

Jesus has the greater love and therefore his grief is more significant.

At the same time, there is much value in celebrating life’s long endings and death.

  1. One celebration in life’s long endings flows from the truth that no one can say, “I didn’t have time to say goodbye.” Life’s long endings allow everyone to realign their lives around and make their loved one top priority.
  2. There is much value in celebrating Sister Fick’s total trust in Jesus’ birth, sinless life, death, and resurrection for her personal salvation. Romans 10:9-10

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

 

  1. There is much value in celebrating Jesus’ process of bringing death under his feet. Sister Fick’s body is under the rule, authority and power of Jesus and is awaiting Resurrection Day! 1 Corinthians 15:23-26

 

23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

 

  1. There is much value in celebrating, while Sister Fick’s body awaits Resurrection Day, she is away from the body and present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8

 

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Sometimes life’s long-endings allow our contrasting emotions to become conflicting emotions.

  • I shouldn’t be grieving! She is in a much better place.  But godly grief is good.
  • I shouldn’t be celebrating! She has died.  But godly celebration is good.

Sergei Losifovitch was a Russian Orthodox writer, born in 1900. Spending much of his adult life in Soviet prison camps, he was a man acquainted with grief. Once he came to visit a nun with whom he was close. As he entered the house, two nuns fetched an empty coffin from the attic. The woman’s death was imminent. Sergei walked into her room, and she breathed her last.

After reading the prayers over her body, he said, “We stood silently, not experiencing sorrow, for when a holy heart stops beating it is a sacrament, not a sorrow.”

https://www.alzheimers.net/stages-of-alzheimers-disease/

Stage 1: No Impairment

During this stage, Alzheimer’s disease is not detectable and no memory problems or other symptoms of dementia are evident.

Stage 2: Very Mild Decline

The senior may notice minor memory problems or lose things around the house, although not to the point where the memory loss can easily be distinguished from normal age related memory loss. The person will still do well on memory tests and the disease is unlikely to be detected by physicians or loved ones.

Stage 3: Mild Decline

At this stage, the friends and family members of the senior may begin to notice memory and cognitive problems. Performance on memory and cognitive tests are affected and physicians will be able to detect impaired cognitive function.

Patients in stage 3 will have difficulty in many areas including:

  • finding the right word during conversations
  • remembering names of new acquaintances
  • planning and organizing

People with stage three Alzheimer’s may also frequently lose personal possessions, including valuables.

 

Stage 4: Moderate Decline

In stage four of Alzheimer’s disease clear cut symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are apparent. Patients with stage four Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Have difficulty with simple arithmetic
  • May forget details about their life histories
  • Have poor short term memory (may not recall what they ate for breakfast, for example)
  • Inability to manage finance and pay bills

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Decline

During the fifth stage of Alzheimer’s, patients begin to need help with many day to day activities. People in stage five of the disease may experience:

  • Significant confusion
  • Inability to recall simple details about themselves such as their own phone number
  • Difficulty dressing appropriately

On the other hand, patients in stage five maintain a modicum of functionality. They typically can still bathe and toilet independently. They also usually still know their family members and some detail about their personal histories, especially their childhood and youth.

 

Stage 6: Severe Decline

Patients with the sixth stage of Alzheimer’s disease need constant supervision and frequently require professional care. Symptoms include:

  • Confusion or unawareness of environment and surroundings
  • Major personality changes and potential behavior problems
  • The need for assistance with activities of daily living such as toileting and bathing
  • Inability to recognize faces except closest friends and relatives
  • Inability to remember most details of personal history
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Wandering

Stages 7: Very Severe Decline

Stage seven is the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Because Alzheimer’s disease is a terminal illness, patients in stage seven are nearing death. In stage seven of the disease, patients lose ability to respond to their environment or communicate. While they may still be able to utter words and phrases, they have no insight into their condition and need assistance with all activities of daily living. In the final stages of the illness, patients may lose their ability to swallow.

 

Posted on 12th March 2018 in Funerals, Uncategorized  •  Comments are off for this post