Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday?

Today is the day followers of Jesus look back and remember the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. For some reason its called Good Friday. For years I have wondered why we refer to it as ‘good’ Friday. In German, for example, it is called Karfreitag. The 'Kar' part is an obsolete word, the ancestor of the English word "care" in the sense of cares and woes, and it meant mourning. So in German, this day is Mourning Friday. And that is what the disciples did on that day—they mourned. For a few days they thought all was lost.

Perhaps the English language refers to this as 'good' Friday because it is pivotal to our future as we look forward to facing life's challenges and overcoming them just as Jesus did. We know that he endured horrific things but we also know that because He pressed through, we have power to endure things too. Yes, there is agony in remembering His suffering but we understand that "joy" comes in the morning! Death is not the winner...and later this weekend you and I will celebrate what makes all of us different from every other religion in the world: Jesus rose from the dead...resurrection power...the Champion! He conquered death, hell and the grave!

All is not lost. God is in this day. God is in everyday. You can call it what you want but I can assure you that if you face your giants, if you never lose hope and you never back down from adversity you will turn this Friday into a GOOD Friday!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Knowledge is Power

During the final week of ministry on the planet, Jesus had to face much scrutiny and criticism. The Pharisees wanted to know where his power was coming from. People continued to be astonished by the power in his words and actions. Still today, everyone wants to know the source of that power. They say that "knowledge is power" but in reality, life in Christ is truly the most powerful thing we can be a part of. So I guess we could say that when you know Christ, you become more powerful.

During this special week in the church, hearts are turned towards Him and people are looking for real ministry that comes from the heart. Today is the day when Jesus would gather those closest to him around the table for one final meal together. He would summarize the past and prepare them for their future...and his.

You see, when you find Jesus you find all that you need. It's not difficult to understand, just hard to do. Perhaps it all boils down to something more easily understandable: how about a short quote from Tim Keller:

"If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn't rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead".

Heroes believe he rose!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Born Again?

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:3-8 NIV)

You must be born again? It confused Nicodemus then and many others today. How can this be? Jesus speaks of our soul and spirit needing cleansed and renewed much like our bodies do. Our spiritual life can become polluted by ideas that are not healthy much like our bodies can be harmed by foods that are toxic. When we surrender our lives to Jesus so that we can serve Him and He can work through us, we experience a new birth that prepares us for an eternity with Christ. We are born again...born into life with Jesus!

I cannot explain many things that scripture tells us and that Jesus said. But I do know that life with Him in charge is so much more fulfilling that life with me in control. As we approach Easter, this is a great time to make a decision to trust the Lord with your life, your talents and your resources. This is the year that you give it all to Jesus and watch how He takes care of everything necessary for you to live the life He designed for you. Start fresh. Allow your spirit to be born again in Christ!