Jesus

A Funeral…A Vacation…A Family Reunion!

The week began like most.  We were planning to go on vacation then to a family reunion.  But life gives you a turn…in this case it was T’s Uncle who passed away on Tuesday.  Uncle ‘D’ as he was known, had lived a good life.  He had three grown daughters and was a respected teacher and former football coach.  Uncle ‘D’ had lost a kidney years earlier to cancer.  He had been on dialysis for the past 8 years and finally his body said enough…God called him home!

Destin, Florida is a great place to go and celebrate the summer.  We got to have a ton of fun and enjoyed our time together.  We were able to:

  • Ride on banana boats…I fell off twice…the second time did me in!
  • Conner and I got to deep-sea fish 12 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.  We caught 6 Snappers…it was fun!
  • T and Conner got to parasail…got great pictures!
  • We rode jet skis and found a school of dolphins…that was very cool.
  • And we ate like we didn’t have good sense!

After our time in Destin was complete, we drove to North Texas to the town of Kilgore.  It was T’s dad’s family reunion.  It was great to meet some folks I had never met…but yet felt ‘connected to’ all the same.
After all the clean up was done, we drove back home.

My take away from all this…cherish the moments you have with your immediate and extended family.  Get away and be refreshed and make some great memories with those in your home.  Last but not least…we all one day come to the end of our days.  Let’s not live in a way that would cause us to have regrets.  Make sure you know who Jesus is so when your earthy body finally gives out, you will be ready to meet the Lord face to face!

Peace!

HE IS RISEN!

1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.

4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

From Matthew 28:1-9 (TNIV)

WAS IT A MORNING LIKE THIS

Was it a morning like this
When the Son still hid from Jerusalem? And Mary rose from her bed
To tend the Lord she thought was dead
Was it a morning like this
When Mary walked down from Jerusalem? And two angels stood at the tomb
Bearers of news she would hear soon
Did the grass sing? Did the earth rejoice to feel You again?
Over and over like a trumpet underground
Did the earth seem to pound “He is risen!”
Over and over in a never-ending round “He is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
Was it a morning like this
When Peter and John ran from Jerusalem? And as they raced toward the tomb
Beneath their feet was there a tune?
Did the grass sing? Did the earth rejoice to feel You again?
Over and over like a trumpet underground
Did the earth seem to pound “He is risen!”
Over and over in a never-ending round “He is risen! Alleluia! Alleluia!”


EASTER WEEK 2012 – FRIDAY!!!

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

From Luke 23:4449 NIV

Good Friday is a day when I feel the weight of the sacrifice Jesus made for me. Normally, I can go about my day having some awareness that I’m broken and sinful, but my soul isn’t very disturbed. Do you know what I mean? However, in this season when I slow down to reflect on the details of Jesus’ death, I come face-to-face with the consequences of my sin.

Darkness. Suffering. Death.

With each detail, I’m drawn into the emotion of the day. In verse 49 above it says, “…those who knew him (Jesus), including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”Those who knew and loved Jesus watched him die. There was tremendous hurt and grief . . .

Caused by my sin.

My human mind can’t reconcile the unfairness of an innocent man taking on the penalty for the guilty. I want to apologize and take back the things I’ve done to wrong God—as if a mere “I’m sorry” would ever be enough. I can’t make things right. I can never repay the debt I owe God. There is nothing I can do.

Regret. Shame. Helplessness.

As I focus my eyes on what happened on the cross this day, I realize once again the depth of God’s love for me. I always know he loves me, but remembering the details of this day forces me to look at the depth of that love and the great cost attached to that love. Jesus’ death means life for me, and he endured it because of his love for me. How do you wrap your mind around that type of love?

Gratitude. Hope. Love.

So, today, I slow down. I reflect. I remember the sacrifice Jesus made on my behalf. It weighs on my heart and there is a tremendous sadness. I sit here and let it stir in my soul. And as I do, it causes me to fall even more in love with Jesus.

Buckhead BLOG

EASTER WEEK 2012 – THURSDAY!!

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”

For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

From John 13:1–17 (NIV)

Do feet make you cringe? Maybe it’s the memory of having to clean your nasty feet after playing in the yard with no shoes. Perhaps you’re like me and aren’t a fan of touching someone else’s feet. But in the verses above, it’s not just the feet that make me cringe; it’s the fact that it’s Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Emmanuel, washing men’s nasty feet. He has no business doing this. It’s uncomfortable.

Peter would have agreed. Imagine the appalled look on his face as Jesus approached him with the basin. “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” (John 13:6 NIV). This wasn’t right to him. Christ shouldn’t have been cleaning their feet; they should have been cleaning his feet. Why wasn’t that the case?

These disciples were ready to give anything and everything for this man they knew to be the Savior. They trusted his every word and stood true to his side. But this was bizarre. What he was doing was a servant’s job; in fact, it was the least-favored servant who was tasked with feet washing. It wasn’t a dirty job; it was the dirtiest job. It was unfit for Jesus, unfit for the Son of God. Yet somehow it was a beautiful act of service. Jesus knew what was coming. He knew he was to suffer a criminal’s death, a crucifixion, the dirtiest, and lowliest of executions. Unfazed by the future’s events, he took the opportunity to instruct. “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet” (John 13:14 NIV). In one incredibly humble act, Jesus showed us our charge.

This humility would be especially hard to repeat for those first-generation Jesus followers. They had status. They had been one of the twelve chosen to follow Christ. This was surely beneath them. But Jesus addressed this too: “Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:16 NIV). Then the playing field was leveled.

This playing field remains level.

Nobody showers when he’s already clean, so how can you offer cleanliness unless you go where the dirt is? No bath keeps you clean forever, so how can you offer eternal cleanliness with earthly solutions?

The point isn’t that Jesus is offering cleanliness; he’s offering an incomparable purity. He’s offering newness before God, a life free from the bondage of sin. He’s offering cleanliness greater than any servant, master, or king can provide.

So during this Easter week, consider what you would do if Jesus washed your feet. Would you sit and do nothing, or would you try to spread the good news of this cleanliness? Once you’ve made up your mind, snap back to reality and remember . . . he didn’t just clean your feet.

He purified you from head to toe.

Buckhead BLOG

EASTER WEEK 2012 – WEDNESDAY!

Français : Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame de ...

I don’t know exactly what Jesus did on Wednesday. I’m sure he either went back to the Temple, talked to people in Jerusalem, or went to talk to people in the country side. I’m sure he was teaching people and spending a lot of time in prayer.

I know something was happening behind his back. Remember, just a few days ago his disciples were walking with him into Jerusalem. They were with him in the Temple. They were hearing his teaching and watching him heal people. But one of them, Judas Iscariot, was deciding to make a little cash. He heard Jesus say that he was about to die. Judas wanted to secure his future, with money. He should have been thinking about securing his future with God!

Judas went to the preachers (chief priests) and asked how much they were willing to pay if he handed over Jesus. They gave him 30 silver coins.

So from that time on, one of Jesus’ own disciples started looking for a way to turn Jesus in.

EASTER WEEK 2012 – TUESDAY

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus' description of himself "I am the Good Shepherd" (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: "To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


When I read the events of Easter, what strikes me most deeply is Jesus’ determination in the face of unimaginable pain. We don’t simply get a factual play-by-play of what happened; we get a fascinating glimpse into the emotional turmoil he must have felt inside.
Jesus had come to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival, knowing that his time was drawing near. He had just raised Lazarus from the dead, which had raised the tension to a boiling point. The chief priests and Pharisees wanted him dead; they saw the rising tide as more and more people began to believe and follow him. He and his disciples had gone into hiding, and one more public appearance could very well be the end. The people wondered, “Would he come to the festival at all?”Of course, he did come. And the people cheered and welcomed him like a king. But as Jesus could clearly see, those cheers were about to take a sinister turn:Betrayal. False condemnation. Torture. Death.

Soon he would willingly give his life and make the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. He knew that before the glory of Easter Sunday, he had to face the agony of Friday night. And he chose it willingly.

We should take comfort knowing that his heart was troubled too:

“My heart is troubled. What should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No. This is the very reason I came to this hour. Father, bring glory to your name!” (John 12:27–28, NIRV)

Or, to use the imagery from The Message:

“Right now I am storm-tossed. And what am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’” (John 12:27–28, The Message)

In our seasons of darkness, we can’t see what’s ahead. Jesus could. He knew “the very reason” he was going through his darkest hour: to put his Father’s glory on display. We can take courage from his willingness to do what God wanted him to do —even death on a cross.

He was troubled. He was storm-tossed. He felt every emotion in his time of trial. And we can lean into him in our seasons of darkness, knowing that he truly understands how we feel, in every way.

When we imagine the anguish he must have endured in those moments, we understand just how much he loves us. He was willing to do whatever it took to restore us to God. And that was what made him willing to face the days ahead.

How can you and I trust God in our darkest times? And if we do, how can our faith put his glory on display?

EASTER WEEK 2012 – MONDAY

On Monday, Jesus Chases the money changers out of the Temple!

The Temple where Jesus worshiped was not the Temple of Solomon, which had been destroyed centuries earlier, but the rebuilt Temple of Herod the Great – the Herod who tried to kill Jesus when he was a baby.

The Temple was huge, and apparently it had become a great bazaar. Animals were bought and sold there – not just the sacrificial lambs and doves for the temple, but apparently cattle as well. People brought their own jars and bottles to buy oil, vinegar, or wine, just as some of us still bring our own kettles to buy soup or our own buckets to “pick-your-own” orchards and gardens.

Jews from many different countries came to Jerusalem for the Passover. Since they each traveled with the money from their own countries, money changers converted their money for them when they got there, charging a percentage of the transaction.

But remembering that Jews had to be ritually clean (washed and bathed ceremonially) in order to pray, it was no wonder that Jesus was shocked that people had to walk through what must have been a stockyard before they could reach the place of prayer. The disciples quote Psalm 69: 9.

Even though Christians believe that God hears our prayers at any time from any place, we, too, might have a hard time worshiping on Sunday morning in the midst of an auction barn.

John 2:13 – 22