“And Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.’ Saying this, he breathed his last.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
All during the Advent season last year I gave you a different song each Friday to help get your mind and heart in the mood of the season. This isn’t Advent, but I wanted to give you a song this morning to get you ready for what is coming on the third day. As you reflect today on the cost of your salvation, let these words prepare you for Sunday. May you have a blessed Good Friday and a very Happy Easter!
“But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
I was up early this morning composing today’s entry in my head before my fingers could hit the screen. I had a good intro and several profound points to make. It was going to be really good too. We were going to talk about one of my favorite things Jesus said on loving one another. I’d been planning on this day all week long. Then I got up and opened the Scriptures to read a bit before I wrote and the Spirit messed all of that up. Here’s what He wanted me to talk about instead.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.’” — Luke 2:10-11 (CSB – Read the chapter)
A week’s worth of joy is not such a bad thing to have. Better would be a whole season of it. Even better than that is a permanent joy that no amount of trouble or fear can shake loose from our hearts. When Jesus arrived on this earth in the form of a little baby, that’s exactly what He came bringing with Him. Rejoice with me today in this good news, this Gospel, and then close out your week with a song that’s sure to bring a smile to your heart.
“Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)
When are you the most at peace? I’ll give you a hint: It’s probably not when it feels like everything is flying apart in midair on you. We’re generally the most at peace when everything is going well; when it’s all happening according to our plan. Having the ability to make certain things are going according to our plan, though, is not a universal thing. It tends to be a thing directly connected to the amount of resources a person controls. In other words, it’s easy to be at peace when you’re rich. When you’re poor? Well, life’s just harder then. The peace Jesus came bringing with Him, though, is for everyone no matter what their resource level may be.
This Sunday we finally got back together. At long last we were able to worship in the same place rather than scattered all over the community and beyond. It was something wonderfully new in a season that has gotten pretty stale. Appropriately, then, we started a new teaching series. For the next few weeks as we rediscover what it means to be the church, we are going to immerse ourselves in the story of the very first church to see just what wisdom we can glean from their experiences for our own. In this first part we are reminded of just how big the task before us really is. Fortunately, that’s not the only reminder we get. Read on to find out about the next one.
A Big Task
When the first Frozen movie came out a few years ago, it was an unexpectedly big hit. The mixture of compelling storytelling, classical Disney animation, not one, but two new Disney princesses for young girls to idolize, and truly terrific music (“Reindeers are Better than People” was my personal favorite) turned out a film that became one of the most successful animated films of all time. As a matter of fact, only one animated film has done better than it did in terms of box office receipts: Frozen 2.