As we prepare for Good Friday and Easter worship services, I urge you to read in one sitting, an entire passion week series of events from the Gospels. I recommend Matthew 26-28, Mark 11-16 or Luke 22-24, or if you are really ambitious John 12-21.
These chapters contain beautiful stories of Jesus last days with his disciples and describe a tragic series of events that lead to his crucifixion. Of course, the last word is resurrection!
On Good Friday (19th), we will walk together in worship through the significant events of Jesus passion with various readings, traditional songs, abbreviated teachings, and participation in communion. On Easter (21st) we will celebrate with Christians around the globe the resurrection of Jesus. Our text for Sunday comes from John 14:5-14. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” What does Jesus mean? He also says, “It is the Father living in me who is doing his work.” And further, “you will do even greater things than these?” Jesus is teaching his disciples what it will be like when he leaves them. And it has much to do with his resurrection life and power that will soon be at work in them.
I’m looking forward to seeing you this weekend. Go ahead, take on the challenge – read through, in one sitting, Jesus passion through the eyes of the disciples before Good Friday worship. See you soon.
This Sunday we begin a 10 week series on the 10 commandments: The Law of Life in 10 Commands. Growing up in the church it was a regular weekly practice to read the 10 commandments. Hearing them with this regularity can tend to lead you to recite them without thinking and give you the impression that God is all about what you can’t do.
Since the early days of my church experience with the 10 commandments, I have done a 180 on how to view the commands. The Law of God is life. I now see the 10 commandments in light of Psalm 19’s reflection on God’s law: radiant, trustworthy, perfect, right, and pure – sweeter than honey, more precious than gold… for ‘in them your servant is warned and in keeping them there is great reward.’
The commandments of God lead to life. I now see God’s law as creational norms spelled out for us. God’s laws reflect the true reality of truths built into the fabric of creation that lead us in God’s ways of flourishing.
Each week we will address a different command and unpack its understanding in terms of each commands scope. The ten commands actually cover every area of life in terms of its scope. Think of it like an archery target. The bullseye of the command is the central driving emphasis of the target. The surrounding rings on the target are different areas of the central commands scope. I’m really looking forward to this series. This series will lead us deep into our 2019 Lenten season – great preparation for Passion Week.
Reminder: Sunday there is a Super Bowl party invitation for all to the Huffaker home late afternoon and evening. Bring yourself and some food. Also, Thursday Feb 7th 7:00pm its Pub Theology night at the Brewing Market Espresso Vino on the topic of Civil Religion.
Its almost Labor Day! No way! Time flies. This holiday is always an interesting one to me: “a celebration of working people… dedicated to the social and economic achievements that workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.” It appears that a great way to celebrate the achievements of working people is to take a day off!
This has an echo of Biblical quality. “In six days God created… and on the seventh, he rested…” God may have celebrated his achievements by taking a day off. Actually, God never ‘sleeps’ but is continually upholding the universe.
I have heard the phrase ‘labor of love’ used many times by people in conversation. For example, “This project was a ‘labor of love.'” It speaks a truth about love – sometimes it can be labor.
How do you understand the nature of love? Is it labor? Or is it joy? Is it duty? Or is it delight? When God loves is it duty or delight? When God calls us to love him and to love others is it duty or delight?
We will explore this on Sunday together for our Labor Day worship and message. Read Psalm 63:1-8. Does love sound like something that is born our of duty or delight? Read Hebrews 12:1-3. When Jesus loved us so much that he gave his life for us, did he love out of duty or delight? Read Micah 6:8. Does God call to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God a call to duty or delight?
Lets talk it over Sunday,
Get ready – September 10th is our fall kickoff. It begins with a pancake breakfast followed by outdoor worship and Profession of Faith by Jonathon Lawson.
There is an interesting ‘inclusio’ in our text for Sunday. Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes, ending with ‘blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God and blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of God.”
At the end of chapter 5, the climax of the beatitudes comes to a crescendo with Jesus words, “…love your enemies and pray for those who who persecute you, that your may be children of your Father in heaven.”
This teaching of Jesus to ‘love our enemies’ can be looked at as the ‘cherry on top’ or as the ‘valley floor’. Its hard to know which because it embodies the core Gospel message while at the same time issuing the most challenging of Jesus teachings.
Why am I to love my foe? Jesus gives us clues… he ends this passage with saying, “Be perfect therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.” In other words, love as God loves. He supports this by saying that ‘God sends rain and sunshine on all people.’
How are we to love our foes? Well… first of all – its tough. We can’t do it – only with God living in and through us is it possible. Some things we can do… take a good look at ourselves, realize that hate distorts the hater, discover something good about our foe, begin to turn down the heat on our hate (a journey), and never stop diving the depths of discerning and understanding and embodying the love of God.
Instead of justifying our hate, its time for change, to cut the cords of hate. See you Sunday,
Sunday we wrap up our three part series on Kingdom of God Community: Grace, Truth, and LOVE. Our culture tells us all kinds of things about love… what it is… what it should be… how to find it… when to fall for it… and there are all kinds of counterfeits… infatuations… distortions… hard to know what is TRUE love.
1 Corinthians 13 and 1 John 4:7-21 are masterpieces on the topic of love. I invite you to read these passages as you prepare for Sunday worship. The love that is expressed and expounded by Paul and John comes from the Greek word Agape. The simple expression of agape is selfless. And John says in 1 John, God is agape. And then goes on to say that we are called by God to imitate God in the ways of agape. Fundamentally, the call of God is this: “because God is agape to us, we are to be agape to one another.”
1 Corinthians 13 describes what agape looks like… In light of the teaching of Paul and John in these passages, we could put our name in place of the word love (agape) each time it is used in verses 4-7. Try that on… put your name in place of the word love, “Mark is patient, Mark is kind… Mark does not envy… etc.”
Now there is a challenge. God is calling us to be a community of grace, truth, and LOVE. Let’s engage it!
Following our 9:30am Sunday morning worship, we will be meeting with our Care Groups. We welcome everyone to stay and attend these smaller gatherings as our elder/deacon teams meet with you for fellowship and conversation. We are interested in updating you on happenings within Crestview Church and interested in your feedback.