Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day Thirty-nine

Psalm 119:89‐176, Leviticus 26, Isaiah 35, Ephesians 4:17‐32

Psalm 119:89‐176

In 2007-08 I spent 176 days going through Psalm 119. I'd encourage you to look back on my blog, beginning in August of 2007 to that time period. I love this chapter. There are so many verses here that changed my life. It was during this period of time that God gave our family clarity that Woodbury Community Church was where He would have us spend the next chapter of our lives.

This Psalm celebrates the law of God. To the Jew, the law represented the way, the truth and the life. When Jesus came to earth and announced that He was the way, the truth and the life, He shook up the establishment. In a sense, Psalm 119 is as much about Jesus as it is the law. Take some time to reflect on these beautiful verses today.

Leviticus 26

Lev. 26:12 - 12 And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. - Leviticus 26 records the blessings for obeying the Lord. God gives the people a grocery list of benefits to obedience. But, the best benefit in my opinion is that which is recorded in verse 12. God would walk amongst the people. He would be their God and they would be His people. There could be nothing more awesome than that!

Lev. 26:14-46 - Unfortunately, Leviticus 26 also includes the consequences for choosing to disobey God. The consequences aren't pretty. Our God is a jealous God, and the heart of God towards those who would spurn Him is laid out in graphic detail here. His jealousy isn't like a human jealousy. God doesn't sin. His jealousy is motivated by love, and His desire to see His children walk in His ways, to walk in the truth, and to be shielded from Satan's schemes.

Isaiah 35

This chapter records the final outcome for those who fear the Lord. They will experience salvation, while those around them experience desolation. Are you one who has experienced God's salvation? Salvation can only come through Jesus Christ. It' s important for us to recognize that Jesus came so that we might have life, and have it to the full. He came into a world of sinners as the sinless one. He died the most awful death imaginable on a cross so that we might find forgiveness. He wants you to experience that forgiveness that comes when we place our trust in Him. We must confess with out mouths that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God has saved Him from the dead, and then we will be saved (Romans 10:9).

Ephesians 4:17-32

Eph. 4:17-32 - 17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. - Want to know how a Christ-follower lives? Look at these verses. Paul gives the Ephesian church a beautiful description of the new life that is in Christ. This type of living looks peculiar in the world in which we reside. And, that's part of the point. Christians look different than the rest of the world. It's a God thing. As God works in our lives, we are transformed into His image. We should be reflecting Him to the world around us.

Day Thirty-eight

I missed day thirty-eight.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day Thirty-seven

Psalm 118, Leviticus 24, Isaiah 30:18‐32:20, Ephesians 3

Psalm 118

Ps. 118:8-9 - It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. - Psalm 118 is a bold declaration that the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever. And then the psalmist goes on to show us reasons that God is more to be depended upon than anything this world has to offer. I wish we'd remember that we can depend upon the Lord better than we can man, 100% of the time. It's easy to lose sight of that when going through a difficult time or trial. But, God's faithfulness is not dependent upon whether or not we believe that He will be faithful. He is. It's part of His character. And, He will prove it over and over again.

Ps. 118:14 - The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. - Notice the word "become" that the psalmist uses in this verse. He was growing spiritually. He was beginning to understand the depths of God's love and grace.

Leviticus 24

Leviticus 24 sets harsh punishments for blasphemy, calling for the stoning of the member of that society that blasphemed the name of God. God's name is to be kept holy. In verses 17-23 the principle of "eye for an eye" punishment is laid out. I like this note that was included in my study Bible:

Lev. 24:17–23 These verses deal with the principle of lex talionis (Latin, “the law of retribution”). It is a form of ironic justice in which the punishment for the crime is found in the crime itself. The principle applies to everyone in Israel without exception (see Ex. 21:23–25; Deut. 19:21). It is unlikely that fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth actually implies mutilation as the punishment for the offender; rather, the value of the injured member will be the imposed fine (cf. Ex. 21:18–19). This law, when properly applied, guides the judges in assessing damages and sets a limit on the thirst for revenge. Since this is a rule for judges to follow, it should not be invoked in ordinary daily relationships (cf. Jesus' stance, Matt. 5:38).

Isaiah 30:18‐32:20

Is. 30:18-32:20 - Is. 32:1-8 speaks of the wonderful coming reign of Messiah. It is quite a contrast to what Isaiah has been prophesying earlier. He promised that God will be gracious but gave specific warnings to those who travelled to Egypt, Assyria, and even the complacent women of Jerusalem.

Ephesians 3

Eph. 3:6 - 6 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. - If you like Indiana Jones, you've got to like Ephesians 3. Listening to Paul describe the mystery of the Gospel is like being in the first century. Gentiles are fellow heirs with Jews. That was and is a radical thought. It was earth shattering news. And, it's the news that Paul loved sharing around the Roman Empire. God loves people and wants to see people forgiven and accepting His gift of salvation. What wonderful news!

Eph. 3:14-19 - For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. - How cool is it that every family in heaven and on earth is named by the Father? What an awesome theological truth!

As I read Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, I prayed the same for the congregation that I am privileged to pastor. What beautiful things for a pastor to pray for those God has called him to shepherd.

Eph. 3:20-21 - 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. - Perhaps my favorite benediction in all of Scripture.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day Thirty-six

Psalm 117, Leviticus 23, Isaiah 29:1‐30:17, Ephesians 2

Psalm 117

Ps. 117:1 - Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! - This short psalm is a beautiful example from the Old Testament of God's plan to open salvation up to all who would trust in Him. My study Bible says that Paul quoted this verse in Romans 15:11 to help argue his point that Jewish and Gentile Christians should welcome one another and worship together. I'm grateful for these encouraging words.

Leviticus 23

This is a beautiful chapter in that it outlines the feasts that the Jewish people were to observe. These feasts are still observed across the Jewish world. I love that the weekly Sabbath was the first of those feasts that God gave instruction about. It is important to Him that we keep His Sabbath Day holy.

Isaiah 29:1‐30:17

Is. 29:13-16 - And the Lord said:“Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me,and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, 14therefore, behold,I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.” 15Ah,you who hide deep from the Lord your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?” 16You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”? - These are powerful words of warning to those who honor God with their lips but have hearts that are far from Him. Jesus used these very words to describe a group of Pharisees and Scribes in the New Testament (see Matthew 15:8-9). May He not have to say the same of us!

Ephesians 2

Eph. 2:4-10 - 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. - Paul begins this section of his letter to the Ephesians by reminding them of their life before Christ, which he describes as being dead in trespasses and sin. And then, in such stunningly beautiful words Paul writes about the riches of God's grace. God's grace is a gift. We can't earn it. We don't deserve it. And that is what is so wonderful about it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day Thirty-five

Psalm 116, Leviticus 22:17‐33, Isaiah 28, Ephesians 1

Psalm 116

Ps. 116:15 - Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. - It is beautiful to think about what the homecoming of a Christian is like. The psalmist tells us that the moments are precious to the Lord. He looks forward to our eternal arrival. But, He also wants us to live a life that glorifies Him here until our time has come. What are you most looking forward to about your eternal home?

Leviticus 22:17‐33

The second half of Leviticus 22 deals with offerings that are acceptable to God. He wanted the best, not animals that were lame or had defect. That tells us something about our God. He desires us to sacrifice, not just throw in a token gift every once in awhile.

Isaiah 28

Is. 28:5-6 - In that day the Lord of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people, 6 and a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate. - As Isaiah declares the Lord's judgment on Ephraim and Jerusalem he offers hope to those who are faithful to God. I'm encouraged when I think about the fact that God always has a remnant of people who are faithful to Him, no matter how dark the days can become. I'm also encouraged at the fact that the people still recognize the majesty and glory, the beauty and the power of Christ in these dark days.

Is. 28:29 - This also comes from the Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom. - How awesome that even given the difficult task of sharing these prophecies that Isaiah can rejoice in the wonderful counsel and excellent wisdom of God. Even though the religious elite may have scoffed at Isaiah, he wasn't deterred. Why should he be? He knew that if God was for him, who could stand against him.

Ephesians 1

Eph. 1:3-6 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. - How beautiful that even before the foundation of the world, God, knowing that we would need to be redeemed, had a plan, in Christ, to redeem us. His desire is that all would come to salvation, but only those who come through Christ can be redeemed.

Eph. 1:16-23 - I love the depth of Paul's prayer for the Ephesian church. I can't help but wonder what the Lord might do if we prayed for each other in this way.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day Thirty-four

Psalm 115, Leviticus 21:1‐22:16, Isaiah 26‐27, Galatians 6

Psalm 115

Ps. 115:1 - Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! - Chris Tomlin has written a beautiful song that uses Psalm 115:1 as part of the chorus. It's called Not To Us. It's important that as Christians we live our lives in a way that makes God look good. We need to be people of our word. We need to be people who show love and kindness. We need to show God's grace to the world around us.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day Thirty-three

Psalm 114, Leviticus 20, Isaiah 25, Galatians 5

Psalm 114

I did not add any notes to this chapter of my Bible.

Leviticus 20

God give his children specific rules regarding a number of sins in Leviticus 20. The key to the chapter is that God has called us to be holy. He is a holy God and expects the same from His children.

Isaiah 25

Is. 25:1 - O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.- Does God know the future? Yes! His plans will unfold, be sure of that. They always do. And, God's plans are good. Are there difficult things that come? Sure. But, ultimately, God is glorified in His plans.

Galatians 5

Gal. 5:1 - For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. - So many people that I talk with say that they won't submit their lives to Christ because they don't want to be controlled by someone else. The sad thing is, they are controlled by something else -- sin. Christ desires to set us free from bondage to freedom in Christ.

Gal. 5:22-23 - 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. - These verses are so key to the Christian faith. If the Holy Spirit dwells within us, this is the fruit that we will produce. When I began my ministry as Senior Pastor at Woodbury Community Church I preached a nine week series through these two verses. There is so much to be learned about living our lives in the Spirit way. The fruit of the Spirit is everything mentioned here. We can't pick and choose which of the fruit we want to display in our lives. It is all important and a true believer displays all of these characteristics.

Here is how I defined each of the virtues when I preached my series.

Love is the relentless pursuit of teh lifting up of others.

Joy is the result of living our lives with God's priorities.

Peace is the ability to recognize the sovereignty of God in life's ups and downs.

Patience is extending to others the grace that God has shown to us.

Kindness is knowing and acting upon the truth that small things done with great love will change the world.

Goodness is love in action directed towards God.

Faithfulness is following God no matter the cost.

Gentleness is the ability to love those who don't love you or God so that they might be drawn to Christ.

Self-control is when we yield control of our lives to God.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day Thirty-two

Psalm 113, Leviticus 19, Isaiah 24, Galatians 4

Ps. 113:3 - From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised - Have you ever sung the modern day worship song based upon this song? It's one of my favorites. The simplicity of the words and the cry of the psalmist are humbling. God deserves our praise all day long. He is worthy of our praise.

Leviticus 19

Lev. 19:2 - 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. - Leviticus 19 reminds me more of a chapter out of Proverbs than it does the Levitical law. The chapter is full of wise admonitions for the Children of Israel. It begins by telling the people to be holly, because God is holy,. This is not the first time that we have read this. God desires His people to be a generation that is set apart unto Him. We live lives that look different than the rest of the world, and He gives us the power to live pure lives.

Lev. 19:9-10 - 9 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10 And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God. - What a beautiful principle. God wanted His children to take care of the poor and oppressed. It was important to Him that we not hoard everything we produce, but that some be left for those who were poor and destitute. This principle is seen lived out in the book of Ruth, when Boaz leaves out food for Ruth and Naomi.

Lev. 19:18 - 18 You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. - God makes it clear from the beginning that love is what He desires to see in us whether it is in our relationship with Him or others. This includes not holding a grudge against someone, even if you have the "right" to do so. Forgiveness is one of the legs that love stands on.

Lev. 19:31 - 31 “Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God. - I believe that Christians have become far to lax in our day in age when it comes to evil and the occult. There is no question that seeking out the advice of psychics, palm reader, etc. is forbidden in Scripture. I would extend this to exposing ourselves to things like witchcraft, paganism, etc.

Lev. 19:32 - 32 “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord. - Do you have some elderly people that God has brought into your life? If so, thank the Lord. They are a gift to you. We need to honor those who are older than us. We need to honor their wisdom and experience. We need to seek them out. And, we need to help them when they have a need, sometimes before they even ask.

Isaiah 24

Isaiah 24 speaks about the judgement that shall come upon the entire earth when God pours out his wrath. I did not add any notes to this section of my Bible.

Galatians 4

Gal. 4:3-7 - 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. - These are some of the most beautiful verses in Scripture referring to the deep theological truth that God has adopted those of us who are followers of Christ as his daughters and sons. He has set us free from bondage to slavery and given us all of the rights and position of his children. We are princesses and princes in the kingdom of Heaven.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day Thirty-one

Psalm 112, Leviticus 18, Isaiah 23, Galatians 3

Psalm 112

Ps. 112:7 - He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. - Psalm 112 is a psalm about the righteous. Verse seven particularly ministered to me today. There are many times that I fear bad news. In my natural self, bad news about any number of things can set me back. I'm challenged as I read this verse. The psalmist is talking about not fearing bad news about a battle, because ultimately God will prevail. But, I believe that the principle is transferable to other areas of our life as well. It comes down to trust. Do we trust that God is control or not? If God is in control then even bad news should not shake our faith. We need to look at it as an opportunity to grow in our walk with God and to strengthen our faith.

Leviticus 18

Lev. 18:29-30 - 29 For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.” - Leviticus 18 records the laws concerning unlawful sexual relations. "But, everybody else is doing it," may have been the cry of the Israelites. God wanted his people to be different than the rest of the world. A society's lax attitude towards sexual sin is one of the markers that the society is in danger. The spread of sexually transmitted diseases, broken families, broken hearts, and more can be traced to sexual immorality.

Isaiah 23

Is. 23 - Isaiah's oracle concerning Tyre and Sidon is interesting. This seaport region was a powerful city. Important to the trade routes of many countries, it was a wealthy city and a popular and sinful destination. The lack of the fear of the Lord would lead to their being punished but the chapter ends with the hope that at the end of 70 years, God would once again bless this city. He would make their goods holy. He would supply food, materials, etc. for His children through this punished region.

Galatians 3

Gal. 3:13-14 - Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. - I read this verse, coming out of the Easter holiday just ten days ago with a deep appreciation for what Christ did for me at Calvary. He became a curse so that I might be redeemed. It reminds me of the popular line from the song Amazing Love, which says, "I"m forgiven because He was forsaken. I'm accepted He was condemned. I'm alive and well and His Spirit lives within me, because you died and rose for me."

Gal. 3:28 - 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. - What a beautiful picture of the ground being level at the foot of the cross. The cross changed everything. How beautiful that the grace of God now extended to Jews and Gentiles.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day Thirty

Psalm 111, Leviticus 17, Isaiah 22, Galatians 2

Psalm 111

Ps. 111:3 - Full of splendor and majesty is his work, and his righteousness endures forever. - What a beautiful and fitting description of the work of the Lord. Have you ever partnered with God in His work? It's an amazing and awe-inspiring process. I had a chance recently to see God just perform miraculous works in the life of a person that I know. It was so great to see their despair turn to hope, and their hope turn into reality. Keep your eyes out for where God is at work, and join him. His work is the best!

Ps. 111:7-8 - The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; 8 they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.- Do you ever just need to see the proof of something before you will believe it? I do. And, sometimes I need to be reminded of a truth that I know by seeing it on paper, in a life, or on a screen, right in front of me. These verses are like that. I need reminders many times about the faithful and just work of the Lord. I need to be reminded that He is trustworthy. I need to be reminded that even though following Him can sometimes hurt, it is always worth it. If God says that He will do something, He will. Take confidence in Him today!

Ps. 111:10 - The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! - I was fortunate enough to spend my elementary years as a student at the Wheaton Christian Grammar School. It was a good place for me and my brothers. Our school's key verse was this one. It's an appropriate verse for a Christian school, and an appropriate verse for any Christian. True wisdom begins and has its end in God. If we have no fear of God, we are ignorant and we are seeing the world through warped lenses. That is not to say that a quality education cannot happen in a secular institution. The best education should happen in our homes and in our churches. May we remember that if we are not seeking God, we are not wise. Pity the person who tries to live their life with minimal interference from God.

Leviticus 17

This chapter deals with the laws regarding the place of the sacrifice and laws against eating blood. I did not add any notes to my Bible in this chapter.

Isaiah 22

This chapter deals with the oracle against Jerusalem. I did not add any notes to my Bible in this chapter. But, I was stuck by the judgement that God pronounced on His holy city. It was sad to see God have to punish the city He loved so much.

Galatians 2

Gal. 2:16 - yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. - Aren't you glad that we aren't made right before Christ because of our good works? It is God who justifies, through Jesus Christ. Forgiveness, new life, hope, joy, peace, true love cannot be found apart from Jesus. He is our hope and our salvation.

Gal. 2:20 - 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. - This is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. It is always a tough verse to read, because we see in it the demands that are placed on the follower of Jesus Christ. To be a follower of Jesus requires that it is He who lives in us, and not ourselves. We die to our desires to live for His desires. And, that is the work of the Holy Spirit within us.

Mist Stories at Woodbury Community Church

How will the pages of history record the story of your life? We’re all only given one life to live. How we live that life matters. James 4:14 says, “14Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” The pages of Scripture are full of the stories of people whose lives were mist. They lived. They died. Their stories live on. Sometimes inspiring, sometimes sober, they were people like you and me. They experienced life’s highs and lows, failure and success. God is the common thread in their lives. Join us for Mist Stories: The Intersection of Faith, Life and Love.

May 3: Your Life Is A Mist - What Are You Doing With It?
May 10: Faith In The Midst Of Grief - One Mother's Unwavering Faith
May 17: “Perhaps God Will Go With Us” – The Armor Bearer and the Prince
May 24: Mist In A Fire
May 31: For Such A Time As This

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day Twenty-nine

Psalm 110, Leviticus 16, Isaiah 21, Galatians 1:11‐24

Psalm 110

Ps. 110 - This is considered a royal psalm. It tells about the special place that David's Kingdom had in the heart of God and in the life of the Children of Israel. God had a special place for David's Kingdom. David was a man after God's own heart, chosen by God to rule His people. The psalm deals with the favor that God would grant David's kingdom.

Leviticus 16

Lev. 16 - The law for the Day of Atonement is laid out in Leviticus 16. I'm blown away as I read this chapter the grave seriousness with which God required Aaron to come into His presence. I'm also stuck tonight at how God chose to use Aaron as His priest despite all of Aaron's obvious flaws, not the least of which was leading the Children of Israel into the worship of a golden calf in the desert. God is merciful, holy, and uses flawed people for His holy work. I'm glad he does.

Isaiah 21

Is. 21 - Isaiah's oracles from the Lord continue in Isaiah 21. This oracle concerns the fall of Babylon. It is a terrifying oracle describing the riders who will come in and take the land. Words like traitor and destroyer are used to help complete the picture of an empire on the brink of collapse. The oracle ends by stating that the collapse will be in the next twelve months. What terrifying words to receive.

Galatians 1:11-24

Gal 1:18-19 - Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother. - God has afforded me the unique privilege of serving alongside of some of this generation's choice servants for Jesus Christ. These are men and women that have taught me much about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. I'll be forever grateful for the love that they have shown me and the lessons learned. But, I have to admit that as I read Gal. 1:18-19, my human jealousy gets me a bit. I would have loved to have been able to be present for the 15 days that Cephas (the Apostle Peter) and Paul spent together. James, the brother of Jesus and the leader of the church at Jerusalem was there too. So, who are some of the Christians in your life that have had the biggest impact on your walk with Christ? Take some time to thank the Lord for them today.

Gal. 1:23-24 - They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me. - What a beautiful picture of how God changed Paul's life. Don't you love that we have a God of grace who loves to transform people? I wonder how many people we will meet in heaven some day with similar stories to Paul -- people that no one would have expected God's love to reach out to, but who received it and were changed by it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day Twenty-Eight

Psalm 109, Leviticus 15, Isaiah 19‐20, Galatians 1:1‐10

Psalm 109

Ps. 109:26 - Help me, O Lord my God! Save me according to your steadfast love! - David was at a difficult time in his life when he wrote this Psalm. His accusers were all around him, lying about him and seeking his destruction. When his world was falling apart, he knew that he could trust in God's steadfast love. Isn't it great to know that God will never fail us?

Leviticus 15

I added no notes to my body from this section of Scripture.

Isaiah 19-20

This is an oracle against Egypt and Cush. I added no notes to this section of Scripture.

Galatians 1:1-10

Gal. 1:6-9 - I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. - Paul was so sad that the Galatians were deserting the Gospel and falling for false doctrine. Like a good pastor/shepherd, Paul calls the Galatians on this and calls them back to the faith. He knew this wouldn't be popular, but he wasn't seeking man's approval, he was seeking God's approval.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day Twenty-seven

Psalm 108, Leviticus 14:33‐57, Isaiah 17‐18, 2 Corinthians 12:14‐13:14

Psalm 108

Ps. 108:5 - Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth! - Psalm 108 is a psalm of David, and as he does in many places, David emphasizes the glory of God. God's glory is displayed throughout the earth. It is displayed above the heavens. But, there was something in David's writing that inferred that he wanted to glorify God everywhere that he went as well. I love people like King David. Those who truly glorify God with their life are inspiring and encouraging people.

Leviticus 14:33‐57

Lev. 14:33-57 - deals with the laws for cleaning houses where cases of leprous disease have been. I did not add anything to the notes of my Bible in this section.

Isaiah 17‐18

Is. 17:1b - Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city and will become a heap of ruins. - What awful words! Think about being a resident of Damascus and hearing this oracle delivered to you. The city of Damascus had so enraged God that destruction was their ultimate end.

Is. 17:10-11 - For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger,11 though you make them grow on the day that you plant them, and make them blossom in the morning that you sow, yet the harvest will flee away in a day of grief and incurable pain. - It's too easy to forget the good things that God has done for us. What is it about human beings that makes us want to be so self-reliant, and to take credit for the things that God deserves credit for?

Is. 18 - is an oracle concerning Cush. I added no notes to my Bible in this section.

2 Corinthians 12:14‐13:14

2 Cor. 12:20-21 - For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. 21 I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced.- Paul's pastor's heart is shown in this passage. His concern for the Corinthian believers and the Corinthian church is so evident in these words. He is sickened by some of the things that he hears are going on in the church.

2 Cor. 13:5 - Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! - Paul warns those who are living lives that don't glorify God that they should examine themselves to see if they are truly Christians. Paul's advice is good for all of us. It's important to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. When our lives look no different than the world around us, when we run to the same things that the world runs to, and when we don't run to God, then we need to ask the tough questions.

2 Cor. 13:12 - Greet one another with a holy kiss. - When I was in high school, this was my life's verse. Okay, just kidding. But, the Eastern European church still practices this. I'll never forget my first time speaking in Russia and being kissed by all of the believers in the church. While it seemed strange to me as a western Christian, it was really a beautiful picture of the love that the Russian believers had for one another.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day Twenty-six

Psalm 107, Leviticus 14:1‐32, Isaiah 15‐16, 2 Corinthians 10:13‐12:13

Psalm 107

Ps. 107:2 - Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble - Psalm 107:2 really sums up what this psalm is all about. This is a psalm of celebration for the multitude of times that God had saved his people from their distress. We too should be quick to give God the credit for His marvelous works in our lives.

Leviticus 14:1-32

Lev. 14:1-32 - deals with the laws for cleansing lepers. Whereas chapter 13 dealt with what do do when a person has leprosy. It must have been a wonderful thing to be cleansed from this afflicting disease.

Isaiah 15-16

Is. 15-16 - This is the third oracle that Isaiah shares, and it concerns Moab. The oracle begins with the sudden destruction of Moab. It is so severe that even God mourns for them. The lesson to learn from Moab is that pride placed in anything but God is misplaced. God is the only one Who has a right to be proud. The people of Moab needed Him, and their rejection of Him would lead to their humility, three years after this oracle was given.

2 Corinthians 10:13-12:13

2 Cor. 10:17 - “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” - This is a great reminder in light of the passage we just read in Is. 15-16.

2 Cor. 11:16-33 - This is one of the most mind-blowing sections in all of Scripture. It is a direct rebuke to the false Gospel of prosperity theology that is taught in so many churches. Following God meant that Paul endured incredible hardship. From shipwrecks to stonings, to beatings, to hunger and thirst, to exposure to the cold, lies and so much more, Paul endured so much for God. But, to Paul, it was worth it! It is a joy to suffer with Christ. Never let anyone ever tell you different.

2 Cor. 12:9-10 - But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - I love these verses. Paul has just finished talking about his vision of heaven, and then talks about his weaknesses. He can boast in his weakness because the power of Christ shows through him when he is weak. I love when God works shows His power in my weakness.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day Twenty-five

Psalm 106, Leviticus 13, Isaiah 13‐14, 2 Cor 10:1‐12

Psalm 106

Ps. 106:6 - Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.- I appreciate the fact that the writer of Psalm 106 confesses the sin of his people, not just the ancestors of his people. Psalm 106 is a historical look at the grievous sins of the Children of Israel. Throughout the history of the great nation, there had been sin. Over and over again the Israelites turned from the God of Israel to pagan gods. And, over and over again God forgave them. When we have sinned, we need to confess it. We need to own up to the fact that we have sinned. And, we need to turn from that sin and to God. Don't blame others for the sin in your life. Humanity has been doing that from the beginning (see Adam blaming Eve for his sin in Genesis 3) and it's not very original.

Ps. 106:20 - They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.- In the long litany of sins that the psalmist writes regarding the Israelites relationship to God, this one stuck out to me. It seems crazy to me that a group of people would exchange the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass. How stupid can you be? And yet, so many of us do the same thing today. We trade the glory of God for our own pleasures that cannot now, or ever, compare to God's glory. Don't be like the Children of Israel! Worship God, and God only. Nothing else is worth it.

Leviticus 13

Lev. 13 - This chapter concerns itself with the laws about leprosy. Leprosy was a terrible and all too common disease in the ancient near east world. It's sad to read how difficult life was for those who struggled with the disease.

Isaiah 13-14

Is. 13:11 - I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. - The proud Babylonian people had ignored God. They tried to make a mockery of the Jewish religion. But, God warns Babylon that judgment is coming.

Is. 14:12-20 - There is a major parallel shown here between the fall of the King of Babylon and the fall from heaven of Lucifer.

2 Corinthians 10:1-12

2 Cor. 10:1-12

2 Cor. 10:5-6 - We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. - There is something so beautiful about Paul's defense of his ministry in this section of Scripture. I love that Paul and his partners in ministry were taking every thought captive., so that they might obey Christ. This is never easy but always worth it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day Twenty-four

Psalm 105, Leviticus 12, Isaiah 11‐12, 2 Corinthians 8‐9

Psalm 105

Ps. 105:1 - Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;make known his deeds among the peoples! - What has God done for you? Tough question? Well that all depends upon your perspective. If you think it's tough because you can't think of what He's done, you are probably not looking hard enough. In reality, it's a tough question because to say what God has done for us would take us forever to answer. God has blessed us in more ways than we can imagine. And, He wants us to make His deeds known among our friends, family, strangers, everyone! God wants us to tell others about Him. When prayer is answered we should rejoice -- and tell others about it! When we are blessed with health or material things or family or friends, we should rejoice -- and tell others about it! God is worth making known among the peoples. This entire Psalm is a song dedicated to the faithfulness of God. Included are some of Israel's greatest triumphs, which came directly because of the intervention of God.

Psalm 105:4 - Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! - Here lies some of the greatest wisdom in the Bible. There is nothing better than seeking the presence of the Lord. Why is it that we run from His presence so often? Want real lasting joy? Seek Him! Want peace? Seek Him! Want love? Seek Him! May we be seekers of God! There is a common Christmas slogan that says, "Wise men still seek Him." It's true. Seek Him!

Leviticus 12

Lev. 12 - Leviticus 12 is part of the Levitical law concerning cleanness and uncleanness. This chapter dealt with the purification of a woman after childbirth.

Isaiah 11-12

Is. 11-12 - These two chapters from Isaiah are two of the most beautiful prophecies of Messiah in all of Scripture. Chapter eleven describes what the Messiah will be like, and the blessing that He will bring. Chapter twelve describes the joy that the people will respond with after Messiah comes. We, who know that Jesus is the Messiah, have been blessed to see the difference that Jesus makes in our lives, our families, our community and our world.

2 Corinthians 8-9

2 Cor. 8:18 - With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. - There is a bit of mystery about who this famous preacher is that is mentioned in 2 Cor. 8:18. I love this verse for several reasons. Number one, it affirms that even in the early church, there was need for gifted communicators to travel from church to church, city to city, to tell others about Christ. I think of this preacher as being an early Billy Graham, D.L. Moody type evangelist. Second, I like it that even though he was famous at the time, we have no idea who he is today. There will come a day when people may forget who Graham and Moody were, but they will not forget Jesus. What was important was not that this man was famous and gifted preacher, but that Jesus was Who he preached. May those of us who have the privilege of teaching, never get in the way of the message. Jesus is worth making known to the world, not us.

I also like it because the man could not have accomplished what he did apart from Titus. We know the name of the servant but not the preacher. How cool is that? Praise God for the Titus like people that support pastors, missionaries and evangelists so that the Gospel may be spread around. We know that the church at Corinth was involved in the supporting Paul and probably this man too. Their financial support made the spread of the Gospel possible.

2 Cor. 9:7 - Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. - Paul was asking the Corinthian church to give an offering for the church in Jerusalem. There was a huge need in the Jerusalem church, and Paul knew that the gift from Corinth would be a blessing and an encouragement to those in Jerusalem. I love how Paul asked for money and the attitude with which he wanted the people of Corinth to give. Giving is a privilege to those who are followers of Christ. Our gifts to God should be a part of our worship to Him. We should lovingly give back to God a portion of what He has blessed us with. Paul gives a very tender argument for this. I love that he ends his chapter with these words in verse 15: Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! In other words, the gift that the Corinthians can give is a reflection of the inexpressible gift that God has given to us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Day Twenty-three

Psalm 104, Leviticus 11, Isaiah 9:8‐10:34, 2 Corinthians 6:11‐7:16

Psalm 104

Ps. 104:33 - I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. - It's one thing to say the words of Psalm 104:33, it's another thing to live those words. Wouldn't it be great if you could be the type of person that lived out the words of Psalm 104:33? I'd love to be someone who would sing praises to God no matter the situation that I found myself in. Unfortunately too many times I let the discouragements of a day or a week get in the way of my praise to God. It's easy to be a person who lets circumstances determine my attitude. But, that is as far from being a Spirit filled believer as I can be. If I allow the Spirit to control my life, my life's circumstances are not what get to dictate my attitude. It's instead my life's aim -- to please God. So, here's to trying afresh to sing praise to God no matter the circumstances.

Leviticus 11

Lev. 11:44a - 44 For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. - I love this verse! Tucked towards the end of the Levitical law concerning clean and unclean animals is God's admonition to us to be holy because He is holy. God has called us to be a set apart people, a peculiar people, aliens and strangers in this world. Throughout the pages of Scripture, from Old Testament to New Testament is seen the heartbeat of God for His people. We can be holy if we will allow God's Spirit to rule our lives.

Isaiah 9:8-10:34

Is. 10:33-34 - Behold, the Lord God of hosts will lop the boughs with terrifying power; the great in height will be hewn down, and the lofty will be brought low. 34 He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an axe, and Lebanon will fall by the Majestic One. - In this part of Isaiah's prophecy he shares the word of the Lord concerning the arrogant nations. There is judgement coming to those nations who don't fear God. While it may look like they are prospering now, God warns of the impending punishment. The Assyrian army was cut down, and God did bring this punishment to a proud and arrogant nation that had mocked Him and His people.

2 Corinthians 6:11-7:16

2 Cor. 6:14 - 14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? - God is passionate that the closest relationships that Christians should have are with other Christians. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't have non-Christian friends that are close, but our closest friendship should be with like-minded believers. Why? Because, we become like those we spend time with. If Christ is the most important part of our lives, we should be able to share Him with others. We ought to be in close relationships with people who are going to encourage us in our faith. We should be business partners with people who share our values, whose sense of right and wrong comes from God, not from their gut. Our life partners, our spouses, those we date, etc. should be Christians who share our values.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day Twenty-two

Psalm 103, Leviticus 10, Isaiah 9:1‐7, 2 Corinthians 5:11‐6:10

Psalm 103

Ps. 103:1 - Bless the Lord, O my soul,and all that is within me, bless his holy name! - David begins this psalm with words that reflect what the rest of the psalm will look like. David clearly wants to speak about the wonderful God that he loves in Psalm 103. This psalm is a psalm of blessing to God. When David speaks of blessing the Lord with all that is within him, I believe that he means it. He wanted his life to be a life that praised God.

Ps. 103:8 - The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. - David had experienced this type of love from God. God had been merciful to David on multiple occasions. This verse doesn't give us liberty to live however we want, because God does get angry with sin. There are consequences that come from our sin. David had felt those too.

Ps. 103:11-13 - For as high as the heavens are above the earth,so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. 13 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. - I believe that this is one of the most beautiful passages in all of Scripture concerning the love of our Lord. The description of God's love here is one of a vast and a deep love. It is a tender love. It is a forgiving love.

Ps. 103:15-18 - 15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more. 17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, 18 to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. - David puts the length of a man's day in proper perspective. Our days are like the grass, that flourishes for awhile and then is gone. It is vital that we live our days to honor God. We should seek to know Him and make Him known to the next generation.

Leviticus 10

Lev. 10 - This is a sad chapter because it records for us what happened when Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu decided not to follow God's regulations regarding offerings to the Lord. They offered a strange fire before God and God literally consumed them with fire from heaven. From the very beginning of the priesthood God wanted to show that His regulations were to be taken seriously. These men were to be holy men, set apart by God for His service. Aaron must have been stunned, for this was on the very day that His sacrifice was accepted. This is after the people had been blown away by God accepting the sacrifice with fire from heaven. What a difference a few hours would make for Aaron. Later in the day his next two sons also fail to follow God's regulations and they receive a tongue lashing from Moses. May we be serious in our worship of God!

Isaiah 9:1-7

Is. 9:6-7 - For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. - Isaiah gave his people the wonderful message that there was hope coming. And, hope would come in the form of the Messiah. I love Isaiah's names for Messiah in verses 6-7. Handel was so moved by Isaiah's words that he penned one of the most beautiful pieces of music in history. What is your favorite title given for Messiah in these verses?

2 Corinthians 5:11-6:10

2 Cor. 5:14-15 - For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. - So why do you live? Is it for your glory or His? Throughout today's readings we have been exposed to the fact that our lives are to be about Him. He wants us to be involved in the ministry of reconciliation. We are to help bring those who know nothing of God to the foot of the cross. What a privilege!

2 Cor. 5:20-21 - 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.- We have a new President of the United States. Still in his first 100 days of office, President Obama has been busy with many appointments. Among the appointees are those who will serve as Ambassadors from the United States to foreign countries. These men and women have an important job. It is crucial that they act in the best interest of the United States, but also that they represent us well. We too should act in the best interest of God and make Him look good wherever we go.

2 Cor. 6:2b - Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. - I will often times refer to this verse when I am sharing the Gospel with others. Last night I watched the late Easter service from Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington. I loved listening to their pastor, Mark Driscoll, as he challenged people to convert to Christianity. He said, "Some of you are like . . . What? Are you trying to convert me? Yes! I am trying to convert you! There is nothing better than being a Christian . . ." He is right. There is nothing better. This world pales in comparison. Today is the day. Now is the day of salvation. Have you committed your life to Christ? If you'd like more information on how to do that e-mail me at, or call 1-800-NEED-HIM.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day Twenty-one

Psalm 102, Leviticus 9, Isaiah 7‐8, 2 Corinthians 4:1‐5:10

Psalm 102

Ps. 102:3, 11, 23, 26-27- 3 For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace.11 My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass.23 He has broken my strength in midcourse;he has shortened my days.26 They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,27 but you are the same, and your years have no end. - Psalm 102 is a prayer from a person that is afflicted. The man is upset at God. He feels like God has hidden his face from him. And then, he comes to grips with the eternality of God and the fact that each of our lives are but a blip on the screen of eternity. What is your life about? Is it about His story or yours. A few year's back I read Louie Giglio's book I Am Not, but I know I AM. It's a great book that puts our place on the world's stage in it's proper perspective. As we have celebrated Easter today, let us not forget that all of history is about His story. Let's find a way to make less of us and more of Jesus. Remember, our days are but a mist. Only what is done for Christ will last.

Leviticus 9

Lev. 9:22-24 - 22 Then Aaron lifted up his hands toward the people and blessed them, and he came down from offering the sin offering and the burnt offering and the peace offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tent of meeting, and when they came out they blessed the people, and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people. 24 And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the pieces of fat on the altar, and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.- The title of this chapter in my Bible says in a very understated way, The Lord Accepts Aaron's Offering. Aaron and his sons had just been ordained as the priests of Israel. And now, Aaron was bringing the first sin offering before the Lord on behalf of the people. To say that the Lord accepted the offering is an understatement! Aaron followed the procedures that God had set forth earlier in the book of Leviticus. And when he and Moses went into the tent of meeting, God showed up. He sent fire from Heaven and literally consumed the offering with fire. God showed up! And, God forgave. God's acceptance of the sin offering was the Old Testament symbol that He had forgiven the sins of the people. What a picture. As God consumed the offering, it existed no more. The offering was gone, and God remembered their sins no more! God had forgiven. And, He wants to do the same for you. 1 John 1:9 tells us that when we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will forgive you, if you'll ask. Let this Easter Sunday be the day of fresh start for you and God!

Isaiah 7-8

Is. 7:14 - 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. -Isaiah 6-12 speaks of God's plans for th future of His people. He has a remnant that will be faithful to Him no matter what. In Is. 7:14 we read about the coming of Messiah. God promises that Immanuel will come and that He will be born of a virgin. This is not just a young woman, it means a literal virgin. The ESV Study Bible has some terrific notes on this prophetic passage. It would be worth your time to read them.

2 Corinthians 4:1‐5:10

2 Cor. 4:1-5:10 - Paul longs for heaven as he writes in this passage. He writes about the troubles that this world brings, but then says that they are nothing compared to what lies ahead of us in heaven. He reminds the Corinthian believers of how important it is to walk by faith and not by sight.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Day Twenty

Psalm 101, Leviticus 8, Isaiah 6, 2 Corinthians 2:12‐3:18

Psalm 101

Ps. 101:2-4 - I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; 3 I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. 4 A perverse heart shall be far from me; I will know nothing of evil. - King David was the writer of this Psalm. It is one of only two psalms in Book 4 of the Psalms that is attributed to David. And, there is much that we can learn about God's desires for His people here. David, as King, was to set an example for the people to follow. He writes of his desire to live a life of integrity. You can see the passion for holiness with which David sought to live. Did he always achieve that? No! He had some spectacular failures. But, in his failure, David recognized the error of his way and truly repented to his God. If the Children of Israel had learned anything over the course of their history you would think that it would be that they should not turn their backs upon God. As the men and women sang along with David's psalm, they too were saying that they desired to live blameless lives. They were promising to live with integrity of heart before the Lord. They were affirming that they would guard their eyes, the portal to our brains and all sorts of sin.

I love how David ends verse four. He says, "I will know nothing of evil." A few months ago I sat in on a service at Wooddale Church, where Leith Anderson, the Senior Pastor of Wooddale was preaching on Romans 16. When he came to Romans 16:19, which says, "For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil," Leith said something I don't think I'll ever forget. It's okay to be naive about the things of this world. We don't need to know about every celebrity's affairs or to be in the know about every movie. It's okay to naive. Why? Because innocence of evil is something worth striving for!

Leviticus 8

Lev. 8 - It was several years ago that I went through my ordination process with the Evangelical Free Church of America. It was quite a process that took almost four years from beginning to end. At the end of the process a service of ordination was held. Leviticus 8 records the first ordination service; the ordination of Aaron and his sons as priests unto God for the Children of Israel. It's an interesting chapter, as Moses does just what God had commanded him to do in earlier chapters. I would have loved to have been there to witness this event in person. There was a great deal of care that went into each detail. The color would have been magnificent. I'm blown away at just how special Aaron's call was, and the regal clothing that was prepared for he and his sons. I can't help but think that maybe we've become too casual in the way we approach God after reading this chapter.

Isaiah 6

Is. 6 - Isaiah's vision of the Lord in his sixth chapter is one of the most vivid pictures that we have of the throne room of heaven in all of the Bible. It is both a beautiful and a terrifying place. Beautiful because it is where God and His angels dwell. Terrifying because it is where God and His angels dwell. For a human being to come before the throne of God would cause us to see our utter depravity. As Isaiah experiences his vision he sees angels whose sole function is to worship God. He sees the Lord, seated on His throne. He's blown away by the sheer size of the train of the robe that God wears. And, he sees his own depravity. "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" is the reply of Isaiah. And then God takes his guilt away.

It's then that Isaiah is presented with an assignment from God. He accepts and then finds out just how terrible the judgement will be for his people. God will harden the hearts of the people to Isaiah's message and only a few will respond. Less than ten percent will be spared. But, God has a remnant that will be faithful to Him. I wonder if I would have accepted such a tough assignment. Sometimes I wonder if that's what all of our assignments look like as we minister in this culture. So many are turning away from God. I wonder if those of us who are trying to remain faithful to the true God of Scripture are going to face Isaiah like challenges in the days and years ahead.

2 Corinthians 2:12‐3:18

2 Cor. 3:4-6 - 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. - Where does your sufficiency lie? If it is in anything or anyone but Christ, it lies in the wrong place. The power that came through the Apostle Paul came because of Christ, and Christ alone. May it be for His glory and through His power that we live our lives. Paul was unlike the religious leaders of previous generations because his power came not through ritual but relationship.

2 Cor. 3:16-18 - 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. - Paul had experienced the power of the Spirit of God working through him. He was a minister of the New Covenant. No longer bound to ritual, Paul experienced freedom in his preaching. He became all things to all men so that in all ways he could reach people for the Gospel. He relished that he did not have to be timid in his relationship with God as he felt Moses had been. He was a willing spokesperson for the Lord.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Day Nineteen

Psalm 100, Leviticus 6:8‐7:38, Isaiah 5, 2 Corinthians 1:12‐2:11

Psalm 100

Ps. 100:5 - For the Lord is good;his steadfast love endures forever,and his faithfulness to all generations.- Psalm 100 was the first chapter of the Bible that I memorized. I was in Kindergarten at the time, and the student of Ms. Beatrice Killup. She had been the kindergarten teacher at the Wheaton Christian Grammar School for years. It was her tradition to teach her kids Psalm 100 in the form of a song. I still remember that song!

As I read through verse five tonight I smiled. It reminded me of the importance of passing the faith down from one generation to the next. Tonight, on this Good Friday, I'm grateful for Ms. Killup. And, I'm grateful for our God whose love endures forever and faithfulness is shown to all generations.

Thank you, Jesus for the cross! Your death paved the way for our salvation. I love You!

Leviticus 6:8-7:38

Lev. 6:8-7:38 - Leviticus 1:1-6:7 dealt with the different offerings that the children of Israel were to bring to God. This section deals with the way that the priests were to handle the offerings. God gives instructions in the handling of the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering and the peace offering. As I read this passage tonight, on Good Friday, I was again humbled at the fact that Jesus death did away with the old system and gave us access to the throne room of Heaven. He is our High Priest and we no longer need anyone but Him to go to the Father on our behalf. Thank you, Jesus for a fresh relationship with God.

Isaiah 5

Is. 5:20 - Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! - Isaiah 5 is the last chapter to the introduction of the book of Isaiah. The sin of the nation of Israel is exhibit one in God's pronouncement of judgment against the land. Perhaps Is. 5:20 as well as any other summarizes what has gone wrong in Israel. Evil has been called good. It happens in our culture too. A woman's right to choose has been called good, even though a child's life is taken. Affairs are called good so long as they make someone happy. Pornography is celebrated even though it destroys marriages and families. We could go on and on. May we recognize the toll that calling evil good takes on a society, and may we be in tune with God enough to recognize the difference between evil and good!

2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11

2 Cor. 2:5-11 - 5 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. 6 For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11 so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. - Paul was a determined man. He knew that He had been called to serve God in a very special way, and his passion for that call often times put him at odds with other people. That's one of the reasons that 2 Cor. 2:5-11 is so special. Here Paul takes a tender turn while considering a brother in Christ who needed forgiveness from the Corinthian church. Whatever this man had done had caused pain to the Body of Believers in Corinth, and despite that, Paul wants the church to forgive. By this point in Paul's ministry I believe that he recognized the grace of God upon His own life in such a way that He needed to extend it to others.

A Poem For Good Friday

A Poem For Good Friday

Hoisted upon Calvary's tree
To rectify the sin in me
Jesus looked upon the crowd
Announcing in a voice so loud

"Father forgive them for they know not what they do"
Beautiful words spoken to Gentile and Jew
Callously gambling for a piece of His clothing
The soldiers oblivious man's redemption He was buying

"Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"
Crowd spoken mockery on Golgotha's sod
Criminals, on either side of the Lamb
Both facing life's final exam

"Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
Criminal's jeering words in the form of a cuss.
"Jesus remember me when You come into Your Kingdom!"
Contrasting words, heart changing, unable to stay mum.

The lips of our Lord move a second time
Responding to the one convicted of crime
Looking straight at the man, knowing all of his vice
"Today you will be with me in paradise."

That's when His gaze came upon those He loved,
Some women, a disciple and the mother beloved.
"Dear woman, here is your son," pronounced He to Mary.
"Here is your mother," to John, while so wearied.

And then in the middle of that solemn day
Darkness hovered, black sky, not just gray
He who was holy became sin, no facade
And for the first time God was separated from God

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Was the awful cry that came from that tree.
The only thing in all the world capable of dividing the Trinity
Was the sin of every man, every woman, every boy, every girl, yes even you and me.

Later knowing that all was completed
That sin and Satan would soon be defeated
Jesus, all divine, showed His humanity
"I am thirsty," He said, displaying no vanity.

When He received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished."
His time had come, His work was accomplished.
"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."
With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

At that moment the world reacted
But most of humanity was too distracted
To notice the veil in the temple torn in two
From top to bottom what should we construe?

That Jesus' death on the cross paved the way
For us to have access to God when we pray
The earth shook and the rocks split
On the day God was hit and we offered spit.

The bodies of some dead were raised to life that day
Holy people appeared in Jerusalem to convey
That Jesus is God, He is the way, Centurion and squad
Declared, "Surely He was the Son of God!"

No bones were broken
Prophecy spoken
Declared body piercing
Blood and water producing

As evening approached so did two powerful men
Perhaps they were remembering when
Jesus had spoken and challenged their thinking
Waiting to live for Him until the world was sinking

They took His body, wrapped it in a shroud
Just as Pontius Pilate had allowed
To the tomb He was taken
Christ had been forsaken.

Forsaken by man and forsaken by God
So great was the cost on the road that He trod
But great is the victory He won on Golgotha
A victory summed up in the word Marantha

The Lord is coming soon is the word's special meaning
Three days later, He arose and sin took a beating
He will come again soon to take those who are His
Truer words never spoken, it's the truth, that it is

Will you be like humanity's generations?
Too busy, distracted, for His interventions?
Don't miss Calvary's message of Christ's great love
Offered to all of us who are undeserving of.

- Brian Schulenburg
April 9, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Day Eighteen

Psalm 99, Leviticus 5:14‐6:7, Isaiah 3‐4, 2 Corinthians 1:1‐11

Psalm 99

Ps. 99:8 - O Lord our God, you answered them; you were a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. -Tucked away towards the end of this beautiful Psalm describing the greatness and holiness of God is this verse. It comes immediately after the psalmist writing about Moses, Aaron and Samuel, priests who interceded on behalf of the people with God. God answered their intercession. He forgave them. And, when needed, God punished them. Why? Because when we sin and God punishes our sin, it causes us to strive to live more holy lives. There is a joy that comes from walking in fellowship with God. He allowed His children to sometimes suffer chastisement for sin so that they might draw closer to Him.

Leviticus 5:14‐6:7

Lev. 5:17 - 17 “If anyone sins, doing any of the things that by the Lord's commandments ought not to be done, though he did not know it, then realizes his guilt, he shall bear his iniquity. - I don't know about you, but I dream of the day when I will no longer sin. Sometimes when we sin, we are not aware of the fact that we have done something wrong. Maybe we are aware of it, but choose to ignore it. We know it's not right to hold a grudge, but we feel so justified in doing so. Or, we think who will this really hurt? Often times when we sin like this we are ignoring the voice of the Holy Spirit in our life. But, the Holy Spirit won't stop His work of conviction in us. Like Old Testament saints, when we become aware of the fact that we have sinned, we should go to our priest -- Jesus, and confess the sin. I can think of many times in my life where I have asked Christ to forgive me of something that I did long ago. It is important to look at sin the way that Christ looks at sin. It is ugly. It put Him on the cross. But, with His strength at work within us, we can have victory over any sin that comes our way. Not that we will reach sinless perfection on earth, but that we have the power, through His Holy Spirit to walk away from sin and ask for forgiveness. Our God is the God of fresh starts. He loves to forgive and loves to give His children victory over sin!

Isaiah 3-4

Is. 3-4 - The tone of these chapters is one of absolute destruction. There is judgment on the way for Judah and Jerusalem. Their abandonment of God has left them to face God's judgment. Isaiah uses a lot of contrasting pictures in this chapter. Perfume smells putrid. Boys become oppressive rulers. Destruction rules the day. In 4:1 the death of most of Judah and Jerusalem's men is foretold with these words: And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.”

It's sad how quickly the Children of Israel deserted the God who had blessed them so much. Their departure from following the Lord should serve as a sober reminder to all followers of Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:1-11

2 Cor. 1:3-4 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

Imagine being so persecuted for your faith that you thought that your day of death had arrived. That is what Paul had been through. The Corinthian church knew it. As he begins his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul let's them know that God has been good. He was comforted by God at his worst moments. When he thought that he was going to die, the God who raises from the dead, allowed him to triumph. That's our God! Paul was comforting the Corinthian believers with the comfort that he had received from God. If God was able to rescue him, then God could rescue them. When we go through tough times and God helps us through, we have a reason to speak hope to others.

Film and Theology at Mars Hill

Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington is one of America's most innovative churches. One of the things that I love about Mars Hill is that they understand the culture in which they minister, and that they have created culturally acceptable avenues with which to share the Gospel. One way that they do this is through their Film and Theology nights which happen once a month. If you have never seen their web site or listened to a film and theology program, check out this link. I think you'll enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Day Seventeen

Psalm 98, Leviticus 4:1‐5:13, Isaiah 2, 1 Corinthians 16

Psalm 98

Ps. 98:1a - Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! - There are several times in the Psalms that you see the instruction to sing to the Lord a new song. I like that God wants us to create new songs for Him. In other words, He doesn't want our spiritual lives to stagnate. We ought to be trying our best to learn new things about God every day. That isn't going to happen if we don't spend time praying, reading, and living in fellowship with other believers.

Have you ever heard a travelling speaker use the same stories over and over when they come to preach? Maybe it's because I was a youth pastor for so many years, but I remember hearing guys speak and wondering if God had done anything in their lives in the past 20 years! I heard the same stories year in and year out. When we are intimately connected to God, we grow, and growth brings about a new song. Let your life be a living symphony for Him.

Leviticus 4:1-5:13

Lev. 4:1-5:13 - We've already read about a number of the offerings that the Children of Israel were instructed to give to God. Now we come upon the laws for sin offerings. It's interesting to note the classifications of people. God clearly had laws for all of his people. There are implicit instructions given for how an offering to atone for sin should look. This chapter is an important reminder for New Testament believers that sin has consequences. God has called us to live holy lives.

Isaiah 2

Is. 2:5 - O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.-Isaiah was right in the middle of prophesying God's message to the nation when he called the nation to immediate repentance. Can you relate to Isaiah? I can. Whether it's my own stubbornness or the stubbornness of someone else, far too many of us have experienced the pull away from God. Don't go! Stay faithful. Instead, replace the desire to run away with the desire to walk in the light of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 16

1 Cor. 16 - The apostle Paul ends his first letter to the Corinthian believers with instructions on how to collect offerings for the saints gathered across the ancient near east world. He also tells them that he hopes to see them on his future travels. Paul's letter closes with personal greetings. I love that the Bible includes these greetings. We get a glimpse into Paul, the man. We get an even deeper understanding of the church, their bond to Paul, and how they grow spiritually.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Day Sixteen

Psalm 97, Leviticus 3, Isaiah 1, 1 Corinthians 15

Psalm 97

Ps. 97:6-7 - The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all the peoples see his glory. 7 All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods! - Psalm 97 is a song of rejoicing in the power and majesty of our God. The psalmist uses images of creation to demonstrate the power of God. I love how he mocks the powerless idols that people worship in place of the Creator God. Do you want to worship the Creator of coastlands and clouds or darkness and fire of lightning and the earth of mountains of the universe, or do you want to worship items made by man? How sad that many of us are freaking out because the god of money had died. Like those who worshipped idols in the past, we have made our own gods that we depend upon and worship. Those gods are false. They will never be God. May we recognize the power and majesty of God, this day and forevermore.

Leviticus 3

Lev. 3 - Leviticus 3 gives us the guidelines and procedures for the peace offering. This was an offering that was given as a reminder and symbol of the covenant relationship that God had with His chosen people. The person making the offering was to offer an animal without blemish before the Lord (vs. 1 and vs. 6). I think one of the reasons God asked for an animal without blemish was because He is without blemish. God's relationship with the people was perfect on His part. We need to remember that God is holy. There is no sin in him. We should strive to live holy lives too. We will never be sinless this side of heaven, but we can strive to live holy lives.

Isaiah 1

Is. 1:4 - Ah, sinful nation,a people laden with iniquity,offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord,they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged.- Isaiah begins his book with a vision that he received from the Lord. Here he proclaims the guilt of the people of Israel. This chosen people had forsaken their God. And, God would punish them for their straying from His precepts. I'm especially struck by the words "they are utterly estranged." Have you ever been in an estranged relationship with someone? It's no fun. Now, imagine being the chosen people of God and suddenly finding yourself estranged from Him. Your sins have brought punishment. How sad to be estranged from God!

Is. 1:7-9 - Your country lies desolate;your cities are burned with fire;in your very presence foreigners devour your land; it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners. 8 And the daughter of Zion is left like a booth in a vineyard, like a lodge in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. 9 If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah. - This is a picture of a nation that had disobeyed God coming under extreme judgment. What a sad picture. A country desolate. Cities burned with fire. There are a lot of parallels to the prophecies about the end times. But, God has saved a remnant of people who are faithful to Him.

Is. 1:10-20 - I'm so glad that Isaiah's first chapter doesn't end after the first nine verses. There is hope. Isaiah gives us God's prescription for the nation in verses 16-19 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,17 learn to do good; seek justice,correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. 18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

It's beautiful to read about the grace of God, isn't it? Though our sins are as scarlet they shall be as white as snow! I love that picture. There is something beautiful about being pure. When is th last time you felt spiritually pure? Has it been awhile? Confess your sin. Ask for God's forgiveness. He promises us that if we confess our sins that He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). He will do it for nations when God's people repent. May we, who are children of God lead the way when it comes to confession. And, may our passions be to do good, seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless and plead the widow's case.

1 Corinthians 15

1 Cor. 15:3-11 - For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. - Paul wanted to make sure that the main thing remained the main thing at the church in Corinth. He emphasizes that the Gospel is of utmost importance. And, how appropriate that we get to read this passage on Holy Week. As we think about Easter, and recognize that Easter changed everything, we see just how awesome the resurrection of Christ was. Jesus rose from the dead. The apostle saw him, over 500 men saw him after he was resurrected, even Paul saw him. Jesus' resurrection had changed Paul forever. It can change you too!

1 Cor. 15:14 - 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.- Again, how awesome to read this during Easter week. If it were not for the resurrection there would be no reason to worship Christ. But, if Christ truly raised, and there is so much evidence for His resurrection, then there are demands that His resurrection makes upon us.

This teaching from Paul came to dispute the claim of some in the church at Corinth who had adopted the belief of the Sadducees that there was no resurrection of the dead.

1 Cor. 15:33 - Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” - Somebody once said that the greatest difference between you today and five years from now are the people you meet, the places you go and the books you read. When I was a youth pastor, I used that quote a lot. It's sad how many lives are changed forever because of the company that they keep. Who we hang out with matters. Be careful about the friends that you choose. They will rub off on you. At the same time, don't abandon your mission field. There is a fine line between loving people into the Kingdom and being drug down. Be careful, but don't forget to be a missionary every day too.

1 Cor. 15:51-58 - Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. - What an encouraging way to end 1 Corinthians 15. There are great things in store for those who are followers of Jesus Christ. When we go through trials in this world, it is good to remember the hope that we have for eternity. Death's sting, for the Christian, is swallowed up in hope and victory.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Who's On First?

Today is the start of the 2009 baseball season. In my opinion, opening day should be a national holiday. I love baseball. If you're like me, you probably love this classic bit by Abbott and Costello. Enjoy.

Woodbury Community Church April/May Newsletter

The April/May 2009 edition of the Woodbury Community Church newsletter is available here. God is doing some pretty incredible things at WCC and we'd love you to be a part of it. Please e-mail me at or call me at (651) 739-1427 if you have any questions about what is happening or how you can become involved at Woodbury Community Church.

Here are a few dates to be aware of:

April 9 - Maundy Thursday/Passover Seder Dinner (6:30-8:00 PM) at WCC, 2975 Pioneer Drive, Woodbury, MN.
April 12 - Easter Sunday Services - 7:30 AM, 9:00 AM, 10:30 AM (With Easter Brunch at 8:30 and 10:00).
April 18 - Women of Freedom Spring Conference - 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM (WCC,$10/pp)
April 26 - Minnesota Teen Challenge Choir at WCC - 9:00 and 10:30 AM

Holy Week at Woodbury Community Church

I love Holy Week. This is the week in which we remember Christ's death, burial and resurrection. This week is a special one in the life of the church that I have the privilege of serving as pastor.

On Thursday night, at 6:30 PM we'll be having a Passover Seder dinner. It's led by a couple in our church who live in Israel. The event is open to the public and cost $5 per person with a maximum of $25 per family. If you are interested in coming you can just show up, but we'd love to know ahead of time if you plan on being there so that we make sure we have enough food. You can e-mail the church office at to let us know that you are coming. If you are unfamiliar with the Seder dinner, it is a celebration of the Lord's protection and provision for His people. You can read more about the history of Seder dinner's here.

Sunday is Easter Sunday! Easter Sunday is my favorite day of the year. When I was a four-year-old boy, it was on Easter that I asked Jesus to be my Savior. My life has never been the same. People sometimes question me on that, but it’s true. Even as a
child, Jesus made radical changes in my life. The focus of my life began to change from being all about me to being all about Him. If it were not for Easter, our faith
would be in vain. There would be no reason to come to church. Easter changed everything! We believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ actually happened. Jesus
Christ is alive today, and His life changes lives! Join us on Easter morning as we celebrate Jesus with beautiful music, a powerful sermon, Easter brunch, and more. We have three services on Easter, an early service at 7:30, mid-morning at 9:00 and late morning at 10:30. Bruch will be served at 8:30 and 10:00. Easter is a great day
to invite friends,family members, coworkers, or neighbors who don’t normally come to church to join you. Please be praying about who you will invite, and then, take the risk! Invite someone to come with you to church on Easter morning. Easter might just change their life like it did mine!