It is Finished – Now Let Us Begin

March 30, 2015

Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19:30

If you want to know about God, where would you look? For some people the question is irrelevant because they say, “There is no God.” Others say, “God exists but cannot be known.” Others suggest, “God lives in you, so meditate and get to know yourself.”

The Christian answer is different. To know God, you need to know Jesus. The Bible says, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:18). Jesus is not a man who aspired to be God; Jesus is God born in human flesh. A disciple once said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father.” Jesus answered, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). Another disciple called Jesus “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). If you want to know God, know Jesus.

Know what about Jesus…his teachings, miracles, or acts of kindness in feeding the hungry and healing the sick? Those are good things to know, but the Bible focuses our attention elsewhere. About one-third of each of the four Gospels describes the last week of Jesus’ life. Our attention is drawn to his death on a cross. There on the cross you see the character, nature, heart and mind of God.

God died! Now we know the justice of God. He said sin must be paid for. There, on the cross, God himself paid the penalty for our sin.

God died! Now we know the love of God. Rather than punishing us, he bore the pain himself.

God died! Now we know the will of God. From eternity he planned to save the world through this sacrifice. And on that cross he accomplished his eternal purpose.

God died! Now we know the wisdom of God. “Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

God died! Now we know the power of God. He crushed Satan and freed us from the control of our evil foe. Trusting Jesus we will not perish in hell.

God died! Now we know the glory of God. Jesus brought glory to his heavenly Father by completing the work of salvation that the Father had given him to do.

Jesus died! Now we know God’s justice, love, will, wisdom, power and glory. What is the best part? We know that he didn’t stay dead. With his resurrection on Easter Sunday, his mission and our eternal salvation are confirmed!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, give me the peace and comfort that comes from the truth that you are my Savior who came from heaven to rescue me from sin, death and Satan.  Help me live by the confession that you are the Son of God who died for me. Amen.


Palm Sunday

March 29, 2015

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Midweek Lenten Service V

March 25, 2015

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Jesus! Jesus! Only Jesus!

March 23, 2015

Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.  Colossians 2:16-19

Being a Christian is all about rules, right?

Not really. God’s rules are tools, not reasons for bragging.

In the Old Testament, God gave rules to help his people learn about the coming Savior. For example, God made a rule that his people should not do any work on Saturdays.  Every Saturday they rested. This rest for their bodies kept reminding them that God would send a Savior to give rest for their consciences burdened with the guilt of sins. The Sabbath was a “shadow” of the rest Jesus would bring for the souls of all people.

God also uses rules to teach people why we need Jesus. For example, God has a rule that we should love him more than anything else in the world, including ourselves. If I could obey that rule, I would never do anything wrong because what God wants would always be more important to me than what I want. Anyone who knows me, though, knows I have done what I wanted to do, even when it meant breaking God’s rules. God’s rules show me I’ve been disobedient and I need help. God’s rules show me I need Jesus.

God is all about Jesus. Sure he has rules, but he also has a Son whom he wants us to know and trust. He sent his Son Jesus to pay the penalty we owe God for our sins.  Jesus humbled himself and was sacrificed on a cross for us. Through Jesus God gives rest for our souls, the peace of the forgiveness of sins.

Christians are all about Jesus. We’re all about his love and his forgiveness for we have been connected to Jesus by faith, and connected to one another. God helps us grow in the knowledge of our Savior’s love. God leads us by his word to humbly follow his rules out of gratefulness for the forgiveness of our sins. We don’t try to draw attention to ourselves. We live to draw attention to Jesus. Like God, we want everyone to know what Jesus has done for all of us. We want people to know that Jesus came and died to give them rest for their souls.

Christians are all about Jesus. What are you all about?

Prayer: Jesus, the message of your loving sacrifice for us, fills our hearts with peace and our souls with rest. Inspire us by the good news of the forgiveness of sins to live humbly for you and to serve our God in grateful obedience. Amen.

Fifth Sunday in Lent

March 22, 2015

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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Midweek Lenten Service IV

March 18, 2015

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You Do the Math

March 16, 2015

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.  Colossians 2:9-12

Our Savior Jesus defies math! If you are student who is struggling through Calculus, hold on a second, let me explain. Though our Savior loves math and has given us the blessing of intelligence to see order and logic in Creation, yet he defies math. He cannot be explained by it! No formula will get us to a better understanding of who he is and it certainly won’t show us what he’s done.

One of the best examples of Jesus’ being bigger and better and wiser than math comes from these words: in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. Jesus is 100% man and 100% God. That answer would be 100% wrong on your math test, but in Scripture it’s a rock solid truth. Though we cannot explain and it defies logic, Jesus is 100% man and 100% God. There’s no debate if you let Scripture speak plainly.

Just as fully true as that statement is, so true is the next: you have been given fullness in Christ. The one who is fully man and fully God, makes us to be “full” as well. He provides for our needs and wants. He gives spiritual protection and causes spiritual growth. He purchased us with his blood and freely forgives us through his death on the cross. He gives us an inseparable connection to him through baptism and thereby washes us clean from every spot and stain and wrinkle and blemish of sin. He enables us to do what we could not do before – put off the old sinful nature that once controlled us. By God’s grace, that ball-and-chain of sin is removed. We are set free and redeemed.

Through faith, we are connected with Christ in a wonderful way. We are connected to him by baptism through which our sins were drowned in the forgiving love that he showers on us. We are raised to new life in his Easter victory. Now his glorified body will be ours. His forever in heaven is our future too, all thanks to God’s love for us.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for being my Savior – true Man and true God. Thank you for your love which changes my life here on earth and gives me a sure future in glory. Amen.