Matthew 28:1-7 (NASB)
Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. 2 And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. 3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. 4 The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.”
He is risen!
Those three words changed everything!
We celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior once a year, but that’s not enough! Those words should be celebrated in how we live our lives every day. How we live and interact with others should reflect this one event! People should look at us and ask, “Why are you the way you are?” And what should our response be? We should boldly say, “Jesus has changed my life!” The fact is this, our sins were nailed to the cross with Jesus! He has forgiven us and wants us to live like we are forgiven!
What does it look like to live like we are forgiven? Will life always be full of sunshine and roses? Will all my problems and struggles totally go away? NO! But we will have a different perspective. A perspective that looks to the risen Lord first and then allows Him help put our struggles in their place.
He is risen!
As we look at the events of Jesus’ final days on earth, His final meal with His disciples, His arrest, His beating, His trial and ultimately His death on the cross we see what His true character is! That character is love.
Up from the grave He arose! For you and for me! We must reflect that fact in how we live!
I’m choosing to reflect the joy of Jesus’ resurrection!
Will you join me?
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow… Mike
Is your life comfortable? If you have made the choice to follow Jesus, did your life change in anyway? Has it cost you anything to follow Jesus? Or has it been pretty easy? Have you thought about this much? I think about it all the time.
With these thoughts in mind, I want you read about a man who really wanted to see Jesus. He was willing to do whatever it took to see Him. You will probably remember the story as you dig into it.
Luke 19:1-10: He entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. 3 Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature. 4 So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. 5 When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, “Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. 7 When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Have you ever been like Zaccheus? Totally committed to getting to Jesus no matter what. Has your life changed since you became a Christian? Or are you a lot like those who grumbled at Jesus being the guest at a sinner’s house? I love that Jesus wasn’t concerned about the grumblers. He went where He was needed most. He loves us where we are at, but He makes it clear to us just like He did with Zaccheus, we cannot keep living in our old way of life. We must move forward.
It’s a lot to think about and process, but we must address it! Know that being a Christian is costly. We are called to be counter cultural as Christians. It will get uncomfortable but it’s so worth it!
One of my favorite songs came up on my play list the other day. I want to share the lyrics with you.
Casual Christian by Degarmo & Key
It's more than a wish, more than a daydream
It's more than just a passing whim
Yes, I've said this all before,
A thousand times or more,
I don't want to waste my life
In chains of sin
I don't wanna be, I don't wanna be
A casual Christian
I don't wanna live, I don't wanna live
A lukewarm life
Cause I wanna light up the night
With an everlasting light
I don't wanna live a casual Christian life
This life is filled with strong distractions
One pulls from the left, one from the right
I've already made up my mind, I'm gonna leave this world behind
I'm gonna make my life a living sacrifice
Are you willing to make your life a living sacrifice? Don’t let the distractions pull you away from God! Don’t live a lukewarm life.
I will echo D&K’s words. I don’t want to live a casual Christian life! I have already made up my mind, I’m going to live my life for Jesus and leave the sins and desires of this world behind. Will you join me???
Faithfully following Jesus,
P.S. Here is a link to a quick message from Francis Chan that is well worth your time to watch: https://youtu.be/oSw7-Vbm3bU
Are You Serious?
That’s probably what most of America asked on Tuesday night, September 29th as we watch the Presidential Debate Debacle (which is what I call it now). Are you serious? These two men can’t even have a civilized discussion. Was I surprised…NO! Was I disappointed…YES! Now that I got that out of my system let’s move on.
Are you serious? This question has been uttered by many as we’ve worked through the last eight months of this virus. I don’t know where you stand with it, but it is real. But fear cannot become the norm! It must not control us! We need to be wise and respect each other as we navigate through this. We must care enough for each other that we will try to protect the most vulnerable. Ok, enough about this let’s move on.
Are you serious? This must have been what the disciples were thinking when Jesus said, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me (John 16:16).” What?? Are you serious?? Where are you going? They had lots of questions. The world had not really jumped on board with Jesus’ message and honestly the world was kind of fighting it. To say it nicely the religious leaders were not on board with Jesus being the son of God. And now Jesus is talking about leaving.
ARE YOU SERIOUS? You are going to leave us now? What are we going to do?
Listen to what Jesus went on to say in John 16:31-33:
31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Jesus said you will be scattered, and you will have trouble! But He didn’t leave it at that. He made it perfectly clear how to handle that trouble!
So here it is! Jesus’ words to His disciples in their time of crisis is the same for us today in our crisis, pandemic, riots, struggles or lets just call it an overall mess!
Let me repeat those words of encouragement that Jesus left:
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Don’t miss it! Don’t let the question, “Are you serious?” be where you stop! Get past it!
Jesus told His disciples to have peace in Him. He told them to take heart. Why did He say those things.?
Because He has overcome the world!! Jesus overcame the world back then. And He has overcome anything and everything we will ever face. Do you believe it?
We can be overcomers as well. Not on our own, not by our own power but by taking Jesus to heart. Believing His words and grabbing hold of His peace and genuinely believing that He has overcome the world!
This is not what I had written for my meandering this week, but I felt led to share it! Be encouraged in the midst of this chaotic world we live in and know that God’s got this!
We’re in this together! Don’t let the divisiveness of this world pull you down and suck you in! ~ Mike
It’s a Tuesday morning and I’m sitting in my office thinking. Thinking can be dangerous you know! Come on, you know what I mean. My mind can wander to so many different places and with all that’s happened in 2020 it has taken me on a whirlwind of a ride already this morning. From last Sunday’s sermon, to a family that is hurting at the loss of a loved one, to wondering how the teachers and students are doing. I even pondered briefly what football was going to be like this Fall for our High Schools all the way through college to the NFL. What will fantasy football look like this year? Know this, it’s a dangerous thing to ask me what I’m thinking.
But one thing kept coming to the forefront of my thoughts. Do you want to know what it was…??? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway :^) FRIENDS!! That is what’s on my mind. Aren’t friends great (that’s more a statement than a question)!? What would we do with out them? Friends help us when we are down and celebrate with us during the joys of life. Man, I love the friends God has put in my life!
I have been blessed through the years to have great friends. And at this moment I have a couple friends going through cancer, another one going through depression, another one fighting addictions and yet another one who is searching for what’s best for his family. As you read this you can identify can’t you! You have friends who are hurting, searching, and depressed. We’re all in the same boat. Life is hard, life is tuff and life downright stinks sometimes. BUT, life is also fun, exciting, challenging and just outright good! Friends make life better no matter what is happening!
There is a song by Geoff Moore & The Distance called “Life Together.” It’s a great song and I would encourage all of you to listen to it (you can find it on YouTube, Pandora, Spotify etc.). Here is part of the lyrics:
It's life together
Together we live, together we walk
Together we stand, divided we fall
When you are weak, I will be strong
When I fall back, won't you pull me along?
This is life together, I'll stick with you through any kind of weather
Life together, it's meant to be forever and ever
In honor of the one who paid the price
His gift of love that gives us life
Together, I'll stick with you through any kind of weather
Life together, it's meant to be forever and ever
Let me put it this way, life is better together. I learned this when I was a kid playing “Cowboys and Indians” or football with those from my neighborhood. If life was good then, think how much better it is for us as adults. We’re stronger together! If you fall, I’ll pick you up. If I stumble you will be there to hold me up!
When we live life together this way, we will truly honor Jesus! He gave His life for us! He sticks with us through all kinds of weather.
Are you up for it?
Let’s do life together.
Do you ever get frustrated? I sure do!
You know what I’m talking about, you are trying to open a document but it won’t open and no matter what you do the computer just makes that annoying noise when it won’t budge. You have worked all day and you get home to find your house in the same mess you left it in. You have tried over and over to get the faucet to stop leaking and it just won’t stop! Come on admit it, you’ve been there just like me. Life can be difficult and challenging. But no matter what you do nothing works.
Let me tell you at the get go, I’m just like you. I don’t always have great days. I don’t have all the answers and I definitely have a lot of questions when it comes to trying to understand things. So, with that being said we are all in this great adventure we call life together.
This year has definitely been, how can I put this? Frustrating. But as the months continue to go by, I have surprisingly found peace. Not on my own mind you! I just finally listened to what I’ve known for years.
To truly be at peace, I have to be willing to let go of circumstances and lay them at the feet of Jesus.
One of my favorite singers is Glenn Kaiser (formerly of Resurrection Band). He wrote a song that has helped bring me a focus more than I would have ever imagined. Normally I like my music loud and upbeat but this song really hit home with me and I listen to it often if I begin to lose focus.
Glenn has real life experience and was once an addict. He wrote this song specifically with a slow tempo and from the heart. Here are the lyrics of his song At the Feet of Jesus:
I lay all I am at the feet of Jesus, counting the cost
I lay all I am at the feet of Jesus, trusting His cross
I lay all I am at the feet of Jesus, faith in His love
I lay all I am at the feet of Jesus, enthroned above
Lay it down, lay it all down, give it up, give it all up
Lay it all...down, I lay all I’ve done at the feet of Jesus, trusting His grace
I lay all my walk at the feet of Jesus, to finish the race
And I lay my faith at the feet of Jesus, trusting His choice
What I think I know at the feet of Jesus, I’m seeking His voice
I lay it down, I lay it all down, I give it up, I give it all up
I lay me down; I lay me all down...Before my Lord and Savior Jesus
I have learned the hard way that may way is not always the best way. Life experience has really opened my eyes to the importance of giving all I have to Jesus and lay it at His feet to lead me through whatever it is that I’m facing. Will you join me in trusting in His grace?
That’s my challenge to you as we travel this great adventure, called life together! Lay it all at the feet of Jesus. It’s so worth it!
P.S. Look up Glenn Kaiser’s song At the Feet of Jesus on YouTube. You will be glad you did!
That's really what my writings will be dedicated to, my meanderings. The wanderings of my mind if you will! The things that bounce around and keep me wondering, questioning and at times leave me at a loss! These meanderings have gifted me with the loss of sleep, many unanswered questions, pain and even joy! But ultimately my meanderings bring me closer to God! How is that possible you ask? Well, let me put it this way...God has made it very evident to me that in this life He's given me to live I will not always have answers, and even when I do have an answer it may not be what I wanted or prayed for. This is when the pain or frustration settles in. But let me make it clear, I don't stay bogged down by those frustrations or pain (Okay, maybe I do sometimes, but God has blessed me with an amazing wife and great friends to help me along the way, they don't have all the answers either but they are just there for me). Sometimes I just need a push to get back into the conversation with God or to finally let go and leave it with Him!
So after that long explanation of what this column is about I hope it will encourage you and stretch you as you go through life and ultimately bring you closer to God!
Here is part of the passage I shared on Sunday. Listen to what Paul wrote in Romans 12:9-13:
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Yep, that's the reason I want to share my thoughts with you. That's what God wants us to do.
Here is why I'm willing to give you a glimpse inside my head:
I want to love sincerely!
I hate what is evil and want to cling to what is good.
I never want to lack in zeal or spiritual fervor when it comes to serving the Lord!
I truly desire to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.
I'm sharing this with the hopes that you will want the same! Are you willing? Will you join me? It is so worth it!
And I hope you will come back and read these meanderings for encouragement and assurance that you are not alone in this journey of following Jesus as He leads us to the throne of God!
I have decided to start writing some of the things that meander around in my mind. So, if and when you choose to read these meanderings know that some are just that, meanderings. But sometimes it may be stuff that I’ve thought about in great depth. With that being said I pray these thoughts will inspire and encourage you on this great adventure called life!
Primghar Church of Christ