I have several things on my mind tonight.
I figure the best way to relate them is to write them here–as briefly as possible. ;
- Something I hadn’t thought about before
Easter is a very special time for me. It’s because it was Easter a few years ago that I settled my belief in a personal Jesus. The story of Thomas, found in John 20:24-29 struck my very marrow. I was Thomas, wanting evidence of Jesus “realness”. Wanting hard evidence that proved that Jesus was real. But then it hit me—I was different, therefore I was the evidence. God had made me different. I was no longer the hard unbeliever who turned to alcohol to numb the pain. No, I was different. My heart of stone had been replaced with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). When Thomas saw the evidence–the nail prints in Jesus’ hands, he proclaimed “My Lord and my God!” And that Easter, I was able to say “My Lord and My God!”
But I read something today that caused me to think. Easter really is no different than any other Sunday. Here’s what I mean….each and every Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of our Jesus. Each and every Sunday. Sure, we give it a unique and special emphasis on ‘Easter Sunday”, but our hearts should be prepared for such worship each Sunday. But do we approach it like that? I know, being in ministry for many years, that the goal sometimes seems to be to “hit a home run” on Easter Sunday–in the worship music, in the sermon, in the attendance. But what if we approached each and every Sunday that way, expectant and praying for God to move. For people to become believers. For the miracle of the resurrection to be celebrated with exuberant joy and quiet contemplation and prayer?
Something to definitely think about.
- Maundy Thursday
The Thursday during “Holy Week” is typically when Jesus’ last supper with his apostles is remembered. Some churches gather for communion together. I remember one Easter where the deacons dressed as the Apostles and reenacted the last supper. But in keeping with my thoughts from my blog Dying on a Friday, I’ve thought today what a last supper with friends would be like. The joy of being together. The grief of knowing that the end was soon. But what about this? What about sharing that last, intimate meal, with the one that you knew was going to betray you? Would I be able to love my enemy enough to do that? Would you? Jesus did. He sat there, knowing that Judas was going to betray Him. He served Judas the meal. He washed his feet! Even when Judas approached Jesus in the garden to do the heinous act, Jesus referred to him as “friend”. (Matt 26:50) Friend! The love that this required is overwhelming.
It’s beyond comprehension.
And yet the very next day Jesus gave His life for you and I. Out of obedience to His Father. Out of His love for you and I.
- Sometimes I don’t know what to think about Paul.
I read a passage of scripture today that once again made me wonder about who, exactly, Paul was. His words, his writings are so important. So rich in doctrine and teaching relevant for the first century church and relevant to us today. But sometimes I just don’t get him. This was one such passage: 1 Corinthians 15:3-10. But I don’t want to get into that here, I’ll save that for another post. But I do want to focus on one scripture, and that’s 1 Corinthians 15:10; here’s the first part of it (though I recommend you use the link to read the entire passage in context):
I’d never really seen this verse before. By the grace of God, I am what I am. And what is that? A believer in Christ. A worship leader. A single mom of four amazing kids. A divorcee. A victim, and yet an overcomer. A failure so often. A nerd. A writer. A hard worker. A person with many, many flaws. And who are you? Who are you? By the grace of God, you are who you are. And I am what I am. And this is what I want: that His grace toward me will not be in vain. That I will not live the remainder of this short life in such a way that His grace toward me was in vain. No. I want His grace in me to make a difference in this world. Do you?
- Getting to Teach
I’m sure that you do, too.I’m so excited. I’ve been asked to teach a women’s Bible study this summer on the book of James. I don’t know if I’m more excited that I’ll get the opportunity to teach, or that I’ll get the opportunity to dig deeply into the book of James. Probably the latter, if I am honest. James is such a practical book about living authentically for Christ. Central is Faith. I am so looking forward to the privilege of learning and ministering this summer, on Tuesday nights. I hope many of you will join us on this journey!
- Goodbye Google Reader
I’m sad that Google is pulling Google Reader. I’ve been a faithful user of it over the past few years. But alas, they are taking it away. So today I migrated to feedly.com. I’ll let you know how it goes. And along those same lines, I’ve added a couple of new pages….one that lists my favorite apps and tools for productivity and a page for Bible Study tools. I hope you’ll check them out and that maybe you’ll find something helpful there!
- Bethany’s Surgery
Tomorrow is Bethany’s big day! She will undergo surgery at Riverside where they will do some reconstructive work on her airway and palate, as well as remove her tonsils and adenoids. We’ve discovered she has severe sleep apnea–this will help to lessen that greatly, causing her to get much more restful sleep at night. Also, she’ll be able to smell, to taste things in a whole new and different way than ever before. We are so grateful for God’s hand in this. Had Bethany not won the essay contest for free braces, she would not have had the MRI that diagnosed this potentially lifelong problem. God is merciful.
Please be in prayer for her. The doctor says she’ll experience quite a bit of pain for quite a long time, that recovery will be slow. She’ll pretty much be down and out for 7-10 days. But while she is nervous, she is also excited, and I’m excited for her as well. Even so, we would appreciate your prayers. For Bethany. For the doctor as he operates. For me as I wait. That’s one of the many downfalls of being a single parent–there is no one else to worry with you. 🙂 But seriously, I do appreciate your prayers as I take the next few days to care for my girl. I’m grateful for a job where I can work from home, so I can take care of her. We will miss Good Friday services, but I still plan on helping to lead worship Easter Sunday morning because my big girl has offered to stay with her that morning.
I love my crew.