Restored by the Resurrection

The day has finally arrived. For the first time in three years, yesterday we gathered together in person to celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. It was quite a day. We also wrapped up our series, Plugged In. Getting and living plugged in to Jesus is a great thing. But it’s not a thing we can do on our own. The resurrection is what makes it possible. Let’s talk about it. Happy Easter! (P.S. It’s Spring Break week for us. I’ll be back with you next Monday. Have a great week!)

Restored by the Resurrection

When was the last time you failed? It could be a small failure. It could be a big failure. It could be an actual failure. It could be merely a perceived failure. Whatever form it happened to take, though, failing isn’t any fun. In fact, it’s a terrible feeling to have. And if there were just one feeling associated with it, that wouldn’t be good, but failure comes with a whole mixed bag of feelings and emotions. We feel like we’ve let down someone; maybe a number of someones. We feel like we’ve lost a bit of our purpose as people. We’re angry. We’re embarrassed. We’re ashamed. We want to hide—especially if the failure is the result of sin of some kind. Failure is just kind of a mess. Nobody wants to feel that. And yet, the truth about living in a world broken by sin is that sometimes…we do. 

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Morning Musing: Isaiah 30:18-21

“Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. For people will live on Zion in Jerusalem. You will never weep again; he will show favor to you at the sound of your outcry; as soon as he hears, he will answer you. The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: ‘This is the way. Walk in it.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

The most common characterization of God people have from the prophets is that He is angry. He is filled with wrath and is waiting up in heaven to catch us in some wrongdoing so He can smite us. He’s like a kid with a magnifying glass on a sunny day perched over an ant hill. The first time we show our head out of the pile, He’s going to smoke it off with a blast of lightning. And, there are some passages scattered throughout the prophets that would seem to justify such an image. But what you perhaps don’t realize is those are the exceptions, not the rule. The rule throughout the prophets is something very different and entirely more New Testament-y in their flavor than you might expect. This morning as we finish up our short look at Isaiah 30, I want to set before a passage that is much more in line with the major picture of God we get from the prophets. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Luke 15:14-16

“After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing. Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He longed to eat his fill from the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one would give him anything.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever considered someone to be irredeemable? It’s easy for us to do. When someone does something terrible enough, our first instinct is to write them off. Or, when someone falls into a pattern of troubling behavior long enough, the ones who have tried to help them out of it for a long time finally throw up their hands and give up on them. Sometimes, when another person just irritates us enough, we pass a final judgment on their character as terrible, and that’s the end of their story as far as we are concerned. How many marriages have ended with the stated reason given being “irreconcilable differences”? In all of this, we begin to believe a lie: That person or situation will never change. This is certainly a tempting lie to believe, but a convincing lie is still a lie. Let’s talk about the truth this morning.

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Morning Musing: Mark 14:29-31

“Peter told him, ‘Even if everyone falls away, I will not.’ ‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus said to him, ‘today, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ But he kept insisting, ‘If I have to die with you, I will never deny you.’ And they all said the same thing.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever made a promise you couldn’t keep? Perhaps it wasn’t your fault. You had every intention of keeping it, but the circumstances of life made it impossible. That’s bad enough. Have you ever made a promise, though, you couldn’t keep, and you insisted on making it even when someone else warned you that you wouldn’t be able to keep it. You took the warning as a personal challenge. You made the promise, fully intending to keep it, just to show them they were wrong. Except they weren’t. Peter did that with Jesus, and this morning I want to talk with you about it and what it means for us.

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Morning Musing: Zechariah 13:1

“On that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the residents of Jerusalem, to wash away sin and impurity.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Why do you behave toward your kids and make the decisions you do when they have done something wrong? “Because they’ve done something wrong,” you might be tempted to answer quickly. Yes, but why? What is the goal of your actions and decisions? Is it punishment? Retribution? Revenge? Sometimes that seems to be the intended goal of God’s actions and declarations in response to sin in the prophets. But here, Zechariah points us to something even better in His crosshairs: restoration.

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