Palm Sunday presents us with an enigma. When riding throughJerusalemover 2,000 years ago, Christ was majestic, radiant but yet humble. We’re told the whole city was stirred. We’re told the large crowd spread cloaks and others waved tree branches while shouting “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
But this day presents us with one of the great paradoxes of Christ’s life. His donkey ride that day represented triumph. Then five days later He ended up on a Cross. How could this be? The best man whoever lived ended up mutilated and disgraced?
After the parade, some people went home, prepared supper and put their children to bed. Nothing to get excited about. All in a days excitement. Right? Wrong. Around the supper table many probably talked about how foolish Jesus was to think that He could crashJerusalem. Maybe others pitied Him. Others, “He had His nerve.” But one thing was for sure. All who attended that day were faced with a verdict: “Who is this person?” “What’s He about?” Little did those people, who were a part of the city, realize that Christ was a King and demanding a verdict. He was asking for a whole-hearted loyalty.
Much like in 2014, many today are unimpressed – the debate goes on – faith or unbelief? Some can even profess but not possess. “Who is this Christ anyway?”
He is riding today down your street, your avenue or your boulevard, in your city looking for loyalists. Are you going to rejoice at His coming and then crucify Him later with your forgetfulness, your disobedience, your unbelief? He’s riding again today looking right at you in your direction. “Don’t just stand there,” He pleads, “Do something.” He wants some action on your part to show your commitment to the new and abundant life He offers you.
The writer of the book of Hebrews puts it this way: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”
He comes asking you for a verdict – it’s an unavoidable choice!
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
It felt like I had a target on my back. I was being tempted, (to get very angry), beyond what seemed bearable. I had left the peace and tranquility of our cute little town of Bigfork and entered the “Zone.” I am sure you know the place; Wal-Mart, Costco, Target, Home Depot, Sportsman.
It seemed to be the perfect storm of personal offenses that day. I was forced off the road by an aggressive, non-blinky, lane changer. Some how I narrowly escaped a pedestrian vs. motor vehicle body-bender as I strolled through the parking lot. I believe I may have even been out maneuvered and cut off, only to see the last pepperoni stick sampler disappear before my eyes. (Some offenses are far more serious than others). The hits just kept on coming.
I am not always successful, but in these challenging situations, I try to error on the side of grace. I attempt to trick my mind into believing that somehow the offender “deserves” my grace. Maybe they were born yesterday. Yes, I know, it is sad that graciousness does not come naturally. With practice I hope that my default emotion and reaction is grace and forgiveness for the small offenses that materialize in my day. I am sure that I unintentionally offend others on a regular basis and I sure hope to be extended grace.
When you venture out, especially into the “Zone,” have patience locked and loaded. Some days you may need to give them all six chambers.
Ecclesiastes 7:9 “Do not let yourself be quickly provoked,
for anger resides in the lap of fools.”
Retreats. We’ve just come through two weekends of Tres Dias – men last weekend and women, this one. A group of us had the honor of taking twenty-three Jr. High students on a winter camp “retreat” last February. It’s got me thinking…why do we have to go on a “retreat” to spend more than a few minutes with God?
During our Jr. High weekend, we asked the students to leave their technology at home - I pods, pads, laptops, phones…the works. Once at the camp, we told the kids that we wanted this weekend to be personal, and to make that happen we needed to communicate with each other. We then asked them, if they had brought their tech, to please bring it forward, and we would return it Monday morning. They did. And not one of them asked to have it back during the weekend. They were hungry for community, and they found it with each other. Kids talked with each other, with the adult leaders, and with God. As the weekend went on, the communication became richer, more personal, and walls came down. They didn’t have the distraction of devices, of having to jet off for extra-curricular events…we even spared them any chores, although a bunch of them pitched in to help the kitchen clean up. And during their time at the camp, they engaged in deep fellowship, in worship, and in lots of one-on-one with God.
Our lives are so full – of work, family, chores, kids’ programs, sporting events, Bible studies, tending to health needs (especially THIS winter)…and the list goes on. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “have tos” and neglect the “need tos.” God, as our heavenly Father, longs for that deep fellowship, that worship, and one-on-one time with Him. And we need it. How different would our lives be if we “retreat-ed” daily with Him. No distractions, turning off the television or computer for a spell, saying “No” to a few things, so that we can say, “Yes!” to Him. I think I’ll give it a try. Won’t you join me?
As I was preparing for this blog, I wanted to look up Scripture in my dad’s Bible. My dad passed away many years ago and has left a legacy of notes in the margin of his Bible, in red felt tip marker. Remembering the famous quote “Life is what happens in the margins,” I thought this would be a great opportunity to see what my earthly father had to say about the love of my Heavenly Father.
After preaching on Sunday, I laid my dad’s Bible down on the stage by the podium, and at the end of the service I prayed with a number of people and forgot to retrieve it. So, on Wednesday I went to go grab it, but it was gone. I had a panic attack and my mind ran wild. Where was the Bible? Did someone grab it by mistake? I asked around and no one had any idea where it was. After doing a complete once-over throughout the church, I asked Vonnie for help… she and I looked again as panic and anxiety started to rise up in me.
Vonnie said, “Did you check the sound room, because I can see someone putting it in there?” Looking through the window of the sound room on my way there, I didn’t see any evidence of a black leather Bible, so my heart was sinking. I opened the door, and there - tucked away under a coat - was my dad’s Bible.
A wave of emotion and thanksgiving came over me. But I was still beating myself up for losing it. How could I be so reckless? I thought… that Bible is priceless to me! It has my father’s written words in it… And then the lights came on in my spirit. I knelt down on the stage, broken inside, as I clutched my father’s Bible, bawling my eyes out. In “that moment”… the moment that I valued my earthly father’s words so much that panic set in… the Father said, “This is the heart of love that I want you to have for my written words too, son.”
So my encouragement to you today is this: Read the words of your Heavenly Father as if they were the last words ever written to you. Also… get a Bible and a red tip market and leave a legacy for your family and friends in the margins. Better yet… live your life in the margins and be a red tip marker for the world.
For all of you who are caught up in this “rat race” called life…
For all of you who are pushing for more, more, more…
For all of you who are living on the ragged edge...
There’s a better way!
We are well into this new year of 2014. There is a message that rings loud and clear for these times. I have been in the fields of counseling and pastoring for over 50 years – both in the secular and church settings. I am really not a doomsdayer, just spouting off to hear myself pontificate. But I’ve noticed a growing pessimism that pervades our land. Just in the past three months, nine New York City bankers have committed suicide. What’s going on? Did they know something we don’t? Is It a fear for the future…prompted by a possible Great Depression where it will take a basket full of dollar bills to buy a quart of milk, or is it a possible Cyber war which will effect the whole nation, or is it the fear of a possible EMP, (Electro Magnetic Pulse), attack which will suddenly transform us back to the 18th century where there’s no electricity?
We all live in an environment where success is measured by money, where “he who has the most toys” wins. Anxiety, pressure, ulcers, stress and chronic fatigue are ruining the day. Sales of prescription medications are at an all-time high…the emptiness, disillusionment, loneliness, disappointments, the injustices of it all...that’s what drug abuse is all about – a means to escape.
Perhaps as never before, people are searching for meaning, for something – anything – to bring security, peace… anything to bring solace.
The ancient writer Solomon describes our times with these fitting words: “An anxious heart weighs a man down.” He also has a positive up-to-date message recorded in Proverbs 3: 5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; And lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight” (NIV).
The Psalmist adds his words: “I will say of the Lord: He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust” (91:2).
If you are one who sees no way out or are “dogged” with pessimism, put your hope in the Lord. Jesus puts it this way: “I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” There is a better way! He says we can transcend what’s going on around us.
|Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014||CrossRoads Church|
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Hal and Pauline Retirement Potluck More Info...
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NO Jr. Hi Youth Group More Info...
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|Saturday, May 17, 2014|
Iron Sharpens Iron Men's Conference More Info...
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Indoor/Outdoor Clean-up Day at the Church More Info...
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|Monday, Jul 7, 2014 - Friday, Jul 11, 2014||CrossRoads Church|
Vacation Bible School
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Rwanda Yard Sale Fundraiser More Info...
|Friday, Aug 15, 2014 - Sunday, Aug 17, 2014||Bib Sky Bible Camp|
Family Camp More Info...
|Saturday, Sep 6, 2014||CrossRoads Church|
Men's Event “Can’t Find You; Can’t Save You” More Info...
|Thursday, Sep 18, 2014||CrossRoads Church|
Quest for Authentic Manhood 2 More Info...
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Psalms 112:1 "Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!"
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