Monthly Archives: April 2014

Jesus Commissions Mary

This past Easter weekend was full and good.  I am not sure we could have packed one thing more into one of the best weekends I have had in a long time.  I am dedicating the blog this week to sharing about some of the highlights.

Friday evening we took our family to “Journey to the Cross” a 30 minute walk-through re-enactment that begins with Jesus’ first miracle and continues through His death and resurrection.  It was well done and allowed participants to experience Jesus’ journey to the cross and also His death on the cross.  There were many moments that caused me to pause and reflect upon Jesus’ sacrifice.  However the most meaningful moment for me, was captured in the picture below:

First Preacher

The Biblical account that goes along with this picture is found in John 20:11-18:

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

A couple points to consider:

  • I think it not insignificant that the first person that Jesus commissioned to share the gospel (good news) was a woman.  Jesus could have appeared first to any one of the 12 disciples.  Yet, he gave Mary the privileged task of being His voice-piece to His disciples.
  • It is also important to note that Jesus instructed her, “Go . . .  to my brothers and tell them . . .”  He didn’t say, “Go and ONLY TELL the women what you have just seen, and I will appear to a man so that he can tell the men.”  Very interesting, indeed!  (-smile-)
  • Mary was looking for him.  When you look for Jesus, you will find Him, plain and simple.  Don’t ever quit looking for Jesus in every situation.  He will show up.
  • When Jesus appears to you – you are then compelled to tell others what He has said to you.

May we keep looking for Jesus and, as we hear from him, be confident and faithful to share with whomever He places in our path.

Your Friend in Ministry,

Signature

 

He Bought Me Back

One of my dear friends, who lives in another town, recently had her house broken into.  In broad daylight, smack dab in the middle of the day, they walked right in and helped themselves to her things.  Most of what they took were both valuable and sentimental . . . jewelry that was anniversary gifts from her husband, her grandmother’s black hills gold cross, an opal necklace; on and on the list goes.  When I spoke with her on the phone, she mentioned that many people had suggested checking the local pawn shops to see if her items had ended up there.

As we ended our conversation, I prayed with her that she would be able to find her valuables which had more sentimental value than anything else.  When I prayed that she would be able to buy her valuables back, the Holy Spirit reminded me of God and how He bought me back.  My heart was tendered and tears filled my eyes as I changed the direction of my prayer, thanking Jesus for paying the price to buy us back.

That’s what today, Good Friday, is all about.  When God created humans, we belonged to Him.  We were His and His alone.  Then that sneaky serpent deceived us.  Just like that burglar, He came in broad daylight and took what belonged to God, by convincing Eve to disobey.  When she did, sin stole us, each and every one, away from God.  That burglar may have thought he had gotten away with it, but, when God found him, this is what He said.  “So the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals!  You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.  And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel’.”  Genesis 3:14-15

No such luck, you sneaky serpent!  Even in the middle of humankind’s greatest travesty, God had a plan.  He wouldn’t let his valuables (you and me) be taken forever.  He would buy us back.  But how?  With what would He pay the price?  There was only one option.  Only One could pay the price and not be found lacking, the Son of God and the Son of Man, Jesus.  That’s why Good Friday is so good.  God bought us back.  The invaluable blood of Jesus paid the price.  Now God is looking in the pawn shops of life – in dysfunction, in strip clubs, in disease, in bondage, in broken homes, and, yes, even in churches; to buy us back to Him.

Don’t you just love Him?  Aren’t you grateful for His grace – the undeserved acceptance and love you’ve received?

As you celebrate this most special weekend, make sure to take some time to thank the Lord for buying you back.  Maybe you would even re-commit yourself to the ministry He has given you.  Because He bought you back, with whom can you find to share this Good News?  There are many more valuables out there that need to know they don’t have to stay in the pawn shop. God has bought them back too.

Happy Easter Weekend!

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3

 

On Sacrifice

Happy Monday of Holy Week!  As I have been preparing my heart for this most special and sacred season, sacrifice is the one word that keeps coming to my spirit over and over again.  I have always known that Jesus sacrificed His very life when He died on the cross, however I have never felt the weight of it as I have this particular year.

Maybe because normally it has been relatively easy for me to sacrifice as I serve the Lord.  I won’t go so far as to say that sacrifice of my service is easy, but I also don’t remember a time that it has been as hard as it is right now.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, our church is on the home stretch of a large building project.  As the project continues to go on and on, I have come to realize how much of a sacrifice our family has made to build this new church building – sacrifice in family time, boundaries, working harder than ever & personal finances as we give to the building campaign, etc…  This season of sacrifice has been more than I am used to making.  It has neither been easy nor fun.  It’s a lot easier to sing songs about sacrifice on a Sunday morning than it is to daily walk it out for many months.

I guess that’s why the word “sacrifice” is so meaningful to me right now.  So much so that I looked it up in the dictionary to find out its meaning.  Sacrifice – giving up of something valued: a giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something else considered to be of more value or importance. 

When you think of God giving up His valuable and important Son because He considered you and me to be of more value and importance, it’s mind-blowing, isn’t it?  What amazing love!  The cross of Christ was motivated by God’s love for us.  In fact, sacrifice is always motivated by love.  If I truly love Jesus, I will be motivated to give up what I value and deem important – my time, finances, agenda, schedule, etc… because I consider Jesus to be of more value and importance than my own wants, desires or even needs.

Sacrifice is always motivated by love.  As I have been in a season where sacrifice is hard and I have becoming tired and weary from it, I have but one way to remedy it.  Ask God for a greater degree of love for Jesus.  That’s exactly what I have been doing – praying for a deeper love for Jesus, so that I can continue to sacrifice with a heart of love, not resentment.  Any sacrifice I make is for Him (and He is so worthy of it) just like He sacrificed His all for me.

As we remember Jesus’ sacrifice, may it motivate us to continue to sacrifice our wants, desires, even our needs out of a heart of love for Christ.  Even though it may seem like we are in a season where our life is Friday (the painful, dark day that Jesus’ died) Sunday is on the way – full of resurrection power!

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3