As we approach Easter, Pastor Nancy explores the sequence of that historic event. Today we take a look at the cross from the point of view of the thief that asked Jesus to remember him.
Our guest speaker today brings an interesting perspective. If they say you're a door, or you're a signpost, as will be discussed this session, I think everyone understands that you're not, really. These are just examples, metaphors. But what about a temple? That's real, and that has power. Power to change you. Power to change others. Your life is completely and irrevocably changed when the power of the Living God, the person of the Holy Spirit, because of Jesus Himself, has taken control of you.
When Adam was first made by God, his body was not alive. Funny... never really thought of it that way. He was in a sense dead, at least until the Spirit of God moved on and in him, "breathed" on him, and suddenly Adam had life.
Once again, practicing the rituals of a particular religion is not what gives your spirit life. Even at the group level, if it's comprised of nothing more than a collection of spiritually dead people who just attend periodic rituals we call church, you've got a dead church.
We're looking for life both on the individual and corporate level. Now you've got something.
Dwight L. Moody, while working in Chicago, was confronted by a man, an atheist, who challenged him to a debate about the reality of Jesus. He accepted, except for one condition. The man had to bring ten people whose lives had been transformed by what he believes and Moody would bring 100. The man declined. He said he couldn't.
Do we truly want our lives do be different, to have life that we never knew we could have?
It's Easter. Again. And maybe that's why. We're so used to the Easter story of Jesus rising from the dead, so common, so repetitive. And on top of that most folks these days don't believe in Him anyhow. They treat Christianity as just another "religion", just another theology of so many others.
But Here's the deal. He's real. The resurrection of a man who just happened also to be the creator of the entire universe, down to every subatomic particle. So this whole business of forgiveness really is a big deal. It's the biggest of deals, so we need to listen to the story. Yes, again, one more time.
....can't help noticing people who are full of life. God has no dead friends. This week we're talking about the Living God.
I know lot of people who truly do know quite a bit about God. But knowing God really is a different deal. I know a lot about (pick a famous person and insert) but don't know him/her, never had a conversation, and certainly Famous Person doesn't know I even exist, let alone care. But in the case of THE Famous Person, do you truly truly really really want to know Him, and know Him in a very personal way. That means having real conversation, challenging Him with what really counts inside you and then having Him actually respond. And not only responding but then DOING something in you. Beginning to make changes in you that you know didn't come or couldn't come from within yourself, mainly because you really know yourself and realize those changes couldn't have come from within you. A power and ability that somehow you truly know you didn't have.
This all begins when you realize that Elohim-Adoni-Yahweh-Jehovah Jireh (and a few more names we haven't yet discussed) made promises regarding you. Promises that He intends to keep. But promises you have very possibly not yet "called Him out on" as the expression goes.
Go ahead. Call Him out on those promises He's made regarding you. Let's keep listenting.
We've heard the salvation message in church countless times, and as simple as it is, it's always a bit perplexing how something so simple can be so difficult to convey at times.
Last week we used the Etch A Sketch as an image of handing over our lives to the Lord and allowing Him to write a brand new script and to draw an entirely new picture of the rest of our lives. Nice image. It's also backed by a little known reality. I say little known, as there is a future event that is found in only one passage of scripture, as best as I can recall. In 1st Corinthians chapter 15 Paul reminds us that Jesus, after everything in the universe is finally under His subjection, is going to turn around and literally hand over everything.... every jurisdiction, all of nature, all His authority, the whole smash to His heavenly Father. This is real. This is going to happen. It's best to get a head start and surrender yourself, your stuff, and your future to Him as soon as possible..
I think most everyone remembers that toy as a child. You either had one or know someone that did. Even as an adult if I stumbled onto one somewhere, there was always the irresistible urge to shake that thing clean and draw.
Each of us actually does have an etch a sketch, and the drawing we've made is our very own life's history as we've decided to draw it. And, as things go, life usually doesn't go as planned. Lots of rough terrain that, if we could, we'd definitely do a redraw.
The good news is that we have a God Who is waiting for us to ask Him to turn that picture upside down and give us a clean slate. But the next time, we have the opportunity to let Him do the drawing, and the picture will be quite something to see. If only we can let go and let Him. Jacob and his sons help us to learn this lesson.
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