Preparing for Easter

Reading Luke 24:13:31

As Christians, Easter should be more than just a event on our calendar. Easter must be first the celebration of the central event of our lives. On the the first Easter Sunday as two believers walked along sadly remembering the death of Jesus, the living Christ came and listened!

In 2018 we have walked much further than they, yet as we share with one another in remembering Him He still comes along side. What sadness or grief do you carry today? Jesus Himself offers to share our journey and give us a life that is greater than any death! He is closer than we realize and still waiting to be revealed in the breaking of the bread.

Why Am I Still Here?

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He took him in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation     Luke 2:28-30

And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem Luke 2:38

“Why am I still here” is one of the most asked questions by our precious people at the nursing home. Their neighbor sleeps just eight feet away. Some cannot see. Legs that once hiked miles up woodland trails and arms that once held sick children all through the night are now too weak  to hold or walk. Every day blends into the next. I am reminded of the dedication day of Jesus in the temple. There waited Anna and Simeon. They had served in the temple for decades just as many of our dear saints in the wheelchairs at Allied Nursing Home. They have sung in the choirs, helped with the missions programs and cared for children of the church. Now few remember them and fewer still come to visit. But the secret of the faith of these two elderly saints was that they knew that one day Jesus would come for them! So whether you are going this Christmas to bring comfort and joy to the nursing homes or if you are seated in a wheel chair, remember that we all have the same hope. Our hope was cradled in the manger of Bethlehem and He still comes for those who wait for Him!

 

“They also serve who only stand and wait” John Milton

Women in the life of Jesus

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And certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance. Luke 8:2-3 NKJV

In a world of 7.3 billion people the church has never faced a greater task. Whether we are in the West or the Middle-East, the job remains the same. Whether our meeting place is Asia or Europe our challenges are great. But Jesus and His word have not changed, and the resources available to the first century church are still available to us today. Jesus has called us as a team and an army to go and tell the world the Good News about salvation. No army leaves behind half its troops on the way to its most important battle. No team in World Cup play allows half its members to rest on the sidelines. Today let’s consider the importance of our fellow teammates and our comrades in arms. Women in our churches are certainly kept busy, but keeping busy and fulfilling their calling is not always the same thing. The question isn’t about who is better or stronger, but rather why have we tried to enter the spiritual battlefield with one hand tied behind our backs?

In a cursory reading of the New Testament many people have come to the conclusion that Jesus was primarily interested in using men in his ministry. Though the apostles were all men, the Bible in fact does not make much of their ministry beyond the fact that they followed Jesus around and on rare occasions were sent out to preach. In fact, it was the men who often didn’t seem understand Jesus. Peter thought Jesus should forget about the cross. Thomas doubted that Jesus rose from the dead. James and John wanted to call fire down from heaven on the heads of some Samaritans. The entire group of the apostles went into one Samaritan village and never mentioned Jesus to the people while they went food shopping. Meanwhile Jesus met a woman at a well who immediately went and brought a crowd out to see him!

The New Testament is filled with stories of women who seem to be attuned to the practical needs of Jesus and to understand how He might choose to operate far more quickly than the men. The Syro-Phoenician woman came to Jesus begging him to deliver her daughter (Mark 7:25-27) The disciples response was to ask Jesus to send her home! A year later after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead Mary came to anoint His feet while the disciples, headed by Judas, began to complain about the enormous waste.

Jesus chose to honor women throughout the gospels. He defends the adulteress, honors Mary, uses the woman at the well to reach her entire village and makes sure while dying on the cross that his mother will be cared for by John. On the morning of His resurrection Jesus first met with Mary Magdalene and used her as His messenger to the apostles. For the church of the 21st century to succeed and be the overcoming church that Jesus meant us to be we must all be doing our own parts.

In a failing church our differences  drive us apart. To become a victorious church we must recognize our need for one another. No messenger is unqualified, no need insignificant, no act of mercy too useless and no person counted useless in ministry. Instead of praying for Jesus to send the people away who seem to be a bother, maybe we should listen to what Jesus has to say.

     Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 NKJV

You Came!

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People are starving for love, and thirsty for friends, they feel rejected like strangers, and exposed and alone in a prison of weakness. God bless you as you give of your time and your heart!

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Matthew 25:35

The microphone doesn’t work, some of the group came late, they forget some of the words, yet the people come in their wheel chairs eagerly waiting for the few moments our young people came to share. They clap and they weep, they laugh and then say thank you as we shake their hands. We give out hugs along with chocolate chip cookies and there among the wheel chairs sits the King of Kings unseen!