Discovering Spiritual Truths & Celebrating God's Grace in the Every Day Happenings of Life.
Last week our family was finally able to sneak away. We were able to spend 5 days down in Ocean City, MD. God blessed us with beautiful weather and the ocean water was just warm enough to be refreshing. In my opinion, there is nothing better than spending a day with your toes in the sand. Especially when that day also ends with a delicious meal and a cold margarita! I’m very grateful for the opportunity to get away--to recharge and relax and spend time with family. In our country, our rhythms of work and rest are broken. Hard work and independence are among the greatest virtues in many of our cultures. Rest is reduced to laziness. Laziness and dependence are seen as failures. We are encouraged to hustle and hurry, to keep pushing and driving until our hard work is rewarded with what we want. Yet resting is an important part of our lives. Unfortunately, we seldom do it. We live in a culture that is always on the go—running from one appointment to another. We are overcommitted and trying to squeeze things into our already saturated calendars. Even when we are at home, we seldom sit as there are rooms to be cleaned, closets to be organized, and meals to be made. However, it is essential to take time to recharge. In fact, it is a scriptural mandate from God founded in creation and decreed in creation and in the 3rd commandment. What does it say? “Remember the Sabbath day.” Literally a day of rest… but what does this mean?
This rest day served several purposes for the children of Israel back in the Old Testament. Since the fall of Adam and Eve into sin in the Garden of Eden, obtaining daily bread was toilsome; it required sweat and labor. For physical reasons a rest day was necessary. Physical rest was intended to rejuvenate all workers and the beasts of burden as well, for God said as much regarding the Sabbath (Exodus 20:10). But it wasn’t just about taking an extra long nap in the shade or giving the animals an extra heaping of feed. This day of “sabbath rest” also served as a means of setting God’s people apart from the heathen Gentiles around them. It served as a reminder that their God had sanctified them—set them apart, made them holy—just as He had set apart a holy day of rest. It was a day for thanksgiving, that God had delivered them and blessed them. This is why worship, prayer, and devotion is an essential part of “sabbath rest” also. It grounds us in our relationship with God and His providence in our lives. It is as if the Lord says, “While all your friends hit the golf course, shopping malls, fishing holes, and ballfields, you come find lasting “rest” in me. Come to me first, that you might receive blessings this world cannot give. You can go and have your fun later, but start your day with me. Receive my blessings. Stand out among your friends and family by taking time to spend with me spiritually. Give witness to who you are in me ”
Herein lies the most beautiful part of the Sabbath rest—receiving from God the good things He promises us. A couple of Sunday mornings ago, we heard the story of Mary and Martha in church. The 3rd commandment is an encouragement to listen, as Mary did, to the “one thing needful” by sitting at the feet of Jesus to hear His Word (Luke 10:38-42). When we go to the Word and worship the Lord in His house, we are reminded again of God’s care and grace that He so freely distributes; the deliverance of the past and His nonstop rescue from sin, death, and the devil. Believe me, as nice as it is to feel the sun and hear the crashing waves, we cannot find lasting strength and peace on the beach. Only in Jesus. The Sabbath rest is God’s way of saying, “I’m in charge. I’ll take care of you. Trust me.”
In today’s contemporary society, keeping the Sabbath may seem downright old-fashioned and countercultural. As Christians, we shouldn’t claim busyness, family pressures or fatigue as good excuses to forsake time spent with the Lord in prayer, devotion, and church attendance. Despite what catchy social media posts and phrases may tell you, being involved in the life of the church (the bride of Christ) does matter. Enjoying the gift of “Sabbath rest” is still relevant and mandated for us today. God built it in for a reason—we need rest after six days of work and time to turn our attention to the Lord. “Keeping it holy” means to set the day apart—different from any other day—a time to worship, refresh, rest and regroup for the week ahead. A time to invite God back into every aspect of your life and guide your future steps.
“As we keep or break the Sabbath day, we nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope by which man rises.” (Abraham Lincoln)
It took me close to 90 minutes to get to church yesterday. My drive is normally 25 minutes, not bad at all as it gives me enough time to enjoy some music or sports talk radio. This past Tuesday, however, pushed my patience and sanity to the max. As soon as my CRV hit Route 80, the traffic stopped, often to a complete standstill. Other than two police officers that drove by, seemingly in no real hurry, there were no visible reasons as to what was causing the stoppage. The traffic could not be avoided either, despite how much the fools that drove on the shoulder may have thought. Every lane crawled at a snail’s pace and every exit was congested, offering no reprieve to weary drivers.
Stuck. Frustrated. Running out of patience.
Have you been here before? On the road or in life?
We all go through periods when we feel like we are stuck in a rut. It can seem like you are stuck in traffic, going through the motions, or treading water. You do the things you need to do each day; but it doesn’t seem like you are actually getting anywhere or making much of a difference. One of the sessions that took place during the youth gathering encouraged listeners to get out of the rut. Sure, there will always be days when we are delayed, bored, or trapped. But, unlike my experience on the highway this morning, we are never outside the presence and plan of God. Such moments of “life traffic” can bring us to a place where we can either turn to unhealthy habits to pass the time away or we can dial up the God who is “in all things” to see what He might be leading us to do. During the times of life when we are stuck and lacking any sort of forward motion, God is still in charge and He still has plans and a purpose for us. No place and no one is an accident. He designed each and every one of us to be here so that we can carry out His work and reach the people around us.
When we learn to trust God’s perspective, and see the pattern of how He has dealt with His people throughout history and scripture, we know what every moment is ordained and planned. God strategically allows us to be in situations that help us trust Him more and take our next steps with Him we wouldn’t otherwise take. Some traffic patterns, contentious authority figures, long waits at the doctor’s office, or difficult seasons we’re in may be the very things that draw us closer to God. Instead of blowing a gasket and losing our cool; we allow these times to be spiritually formative. Go back to the Lord in prayer. Be uplifted by music and worship on the radio. Take an extra few moments to read a devotion. We may learn something that prepares us for something upcoming or simply grounds us in love and perspective of true faith. Though we’re in less than ideal places, God will help us grow.
“God has posted his traffic signs everywhere we look. In the universe, in Scripture, even within our own hearts. Yet we persist in disregarding his directions. But God does not give us what we deserve. He has drenched his world in grace. It has no end. It knows no limits.” (Max Lucado)
The sidewalks around our neighborhood are a mess. Throughout the neighborhood, areas of concrete are being tore up and poured again. This has been an unending process. Even though they were all newly poured within the last two years, much of them have cracked and crumbled when faced with the snow, ice, and salt of this past winter. There must have been some flaw or inconsistency in what was originally poured. Regardless of the reason, multiple days this week, our neighborhood has been flooded with workers replacing large fragments of the sidewalk. This is how it has gone for us, in a new development and in a new home. It is still a work in progress. There are still things to fix, things to improve, things to add. This is not unique to a new build. No doubt your homes have the unending, ever-present “work in progress” list of chores of and upkeep.
In the Bible, Paul writes “… And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6) Paul uplifts and encourages the young church by reminding them that they are a work in progress. Until Jesus returns or calls us home, not one of us will ever be perfect or without blemish. The conditions of this life’s more difficult seasons, will leave us cracked and crumbling at times. To put it bluntly, sometimes we are just a mess. But God promises us many things—that we are loved in spite of our flaws, forgiven for all of our mistakes, and that He is always picking up the pieces of our lives and making us to be a new creation. This is the gracious work of God towards us; that though we are sinners, He doesn’t give up on us. He sees us as a work in progress. God is constantly remaking us, tearing up the old and pouring in the new.
“I am currently under construction. God is not done with me. Thank you for your patience.”
Summer is here, and that means it’s time to break out the flip-flops, sunscreen, and charcoal. What do you enjoy most about this time of the year? Baseball games and family hikes. Afternoon drives and trips to local ice-cream places. Pool parties and trips to down to the Jersey Shore. Cold drinks, yard games, and summer BBQ’s. Summer is definitely my favorite season of the year. It provides us with ample opportunity to step outside and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation.
Not too many weeks ago, while taking the dog for a walk, we walked past a beautiful purple flower. I probably would have walked right by and not noticed it myself, but Buddy stopped in his tracks to literally smell the flower. However, this flower wasn’t growing in a pot, front flowerbed of a neighbors' home, or even in woods. It was growing up from in between the concrete sidewalk and black, cracked black-top of a neighbor’s driveway. Somehow, in the middle of that gritty high-traffic area, this flower had been able to take root, grow, and thrive in the midst of less-than-idea circumstance. In spite of the hot, steamy surroundings, this unknown purple flower (probably a glorified weed), stood out with beautiful color. I only noticed it on that one walk; it was gone the next time we went by. But it caught my attention long enough to stop our stroll and enjoy.
There is beauty in the world right around us, and sometimes we don’t even realize it. Walking down the street there are signs of God’s creation growing at our feet. Whether we are in the city or the country, the suburbs or the farm, God’s creation envelopes us every day. The heart of summer is a wonderful time to experience the Creator. We feel the summer sun, the heat, and remember how God created “the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night.” We see and smell the deep green vegetation around us and enjoy the produce of planted vegetable or fruit gardens. Indeed, God has provided all we need. We see deer scampering in the fields, encounter fox or groundhogs in backyards, and hear the twitter of birds; we feel ourselves surrounded by all creatures great and small. We feel the cool water of the pool, the lake, the hose, or the stream and know that God has washed us in living waters. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1f) Step outside this summer. Breathe in the fresh air. Appreciate what is around you. This is the handiwork of the Creator. All of creation testifies, “God did this!”
“When I look at God’s beautiful creation, I am reminded that since He is powerful enough to do that, then I can trust Him with my life as well.”
Now that the selections have been made, the All-Star baseball season has begun. 12 of our best 10 year-old players are ready to represent our town in local and regional tournaments. Another great group of kids with an inspiring love for the sport and natural talent and baseball intuition that makes me jealous. They are ready to take the field and play in games that matter. But wait just a second! Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Before they are allowed to play, there are all kinds of red tape to cross. As a coach, I have to collect all sorts of “official” documentation for each player—original birth certificates and proof of residency, just to name a few. They need more “official” documents than there are weeks in the month-long season. Fortunately, the powers-that-be stop just shy of hair samples and blood draws…for now! After all documents are collected, in addition to another fee (of course), they are taken to an authorized Little League representative so they can validate and affirm each kid’s participation in the All-Star season. It’s ridiculous. All they want to do is play and all we want to do is coach! But rules are rules, and these are the requirements. Plus such rules are in place to ensure a level playing field and the integrity of youth sports and Little League sportsmanship and competition. So, in spite the incredible nuisance of it all, we do what we are told.
A couple of weeks ago, we reflected on how God is gracious to us all. In spite of our imperfections and flaws, we are “all stars” in the kingdom of God simply by His grace, not by our effort or credentials. Can you imagine if our salvation came with strings attached? With papers to fill out and forms to file? This is the way it is in many other religions of our day. You may not have to show a utility bill from 4 months ago or present an original birth certificate, but make no mistake your eternal well-being is completely dependent on making sure you have all your affairs in order. Did you do enough? Did you please the right people? Did you pay enough dues? The metaphorical forms of your life’s work better be filled out and accurate; they better have the t’s crossed and i's dotted. What added stressed and uncertainty these works-righteous religions present.
Praise God that we have a God who has fulfilled all the necessary requirements on our behalf. Leave your pens and papers at home. If your tempted to look at your own credentials, tell the Devil to take his paperwork and shove it. Jesus has it all taken care of. His cross covers the entry fee. In baptism, we have the seal of God’s Holy Spirit. This is our proof and declaration that we belong to God and His church. By His grace and mercy, our names are written in the Book of Life. They are signed into everlasting certainty with the very blood of Jesus. Clothed with the righteous robes of Jesus, we are ceaselessly spared from His wrath and judgement; we will enter our eternal rest in His eternal city to worship Him. (Rev. 3:5, 13:8, 17:8, 22:19) It is a beautiful, refreshing thing to know we are in God’s hands.
He has removed the red tape, He has taken care of it all!
“The grace of forgiveness, because God Himself has paid the price, is a Christian distinctive and stands splendidly against our hate-filled, unforgiving world. God’s forgiveness gives us a fresh start.” (Ravi Zacharias)
Heartbroken. Disgusted. Angry.
My heart hurts. My mind is heavy. My thoughts are strewn.
I don’t know what to say.
We all feel the same emotions in the wake of another horrific tragedy.
There are more layers to this than a large onion...
This is a gun issue. But it is not solely a gun issue.
This is a hate and bullying issue. But it is not solely about those things.
This is a mental health issue. But it is not solely a mental health issue.
This is a family systems issue. But it is not solely a matter of fatherless homes or the collapse of the traditional, Biblical family structure.
This may even be a legislation problem. It may be a control issue.
But it is not exclusively that; and spare me the argument that only one side is to blame.
So let's consider more deeply the 'why' that leads to such horrific acts. We cannot band aid the disease; we need to treat it head-on. Thus we need to call it what it is. At its core, this is a spiritual issue. A morality problem. It is a condition of the human heart—this is a sin issue. Sadly, evil will not go away until Jesus returns. Take away the guns and the evil will persist. It will just find different means to enact it. It is not enough to simply limit or remove items that provide this nature of destruction with ways to destroy. This could only have surface results, a mere managing of sinful outbursts. Rather, the root of the problem is much, much deeper, and it needs to be dug out. It is only through the perpetual death of the sinful nature – returning to Baptism in repentance and faith, that there is any hope for reasonable peace, love, and service amongst mankind. And so, as the debate over guns and regulations continues in our society, steadfast churches armed with God’s Word will continue to point out the problem of the sinful heart – the root of all sin. And the Church will continue to call all people to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus, our Lord. "Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity." (Hosea 14:1)
How can we reunite people with the Lord? A friend of mine put it this way, this is a love your neighbor problem. Hurting people are hurting people. Right now, there are families hurting in ways we cannot comprehend. But truth be told, I am as guilty as anyone of not reaching out with care to my neighbor. I want to blame someone, but first I need to look in the mirror and admit that I have not loved others as I could. Instead of presuming myself to be the one with all the answers who has it all figured out, I will make a change. Look out for those that are alienated. Find the people on the fringes. Reach out to those that seem to be quietly hurting. I will show respect and dignity to everyone, whether I agree with them or not. Love without exceptions. If enough of us do the same, we will see real change. People like you and me, by the Holy Spirit’s strength to show Jesus’ love and forgiveness, can solve problems like this. In this aftermath, there is certainly nothing wrong with “thoughts and prayers” for these families. But it must not end there. Let God empower you to be the change!
I know that in this church we have people, passionately and outspokenly, on both sides of the political spectrum. This why we avoid politics in the church. “Stick to the scriptures pastor!” After all, no matter the issue, no matter what is said, you are bound to piss someone off. But the most powerful weapon we have against hatred is not more hatred. It is not blame, bitterness, and further division. Dr. Martin Luther King once said: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." Our most faithful response is love—a love that reaches across aisles, backyards, and cubicles. A Jesus-type love that knows no boundaries. A love that joins hands with the broken hearted at their most vulnerable. Love that joins hands without fear, with people who we seemingly have nothing in common with… other than the fact that we share this world, this life, this brokenness together in our own unique ways.
We will disagree on all kinds of topics; but I hope we can all come together in acknowledging the brokenness of the world, the problem of sin. This world needs hope; it needs love. God’s Word speaks to our society, but not about legislation. It goes much further by showing that the human condition is so lost, so evil that only a radical confrontation of the sinful heart is sufficient. Unless we let our divine physician take a scalpel to the sin-scarred nature of our lives, nothing will ever change. The symptoms will continue to rear their ugly heads. So, we return to the heart of the Gospel, and let God’s grace carve the sinful nature out of us. We bow before Christ-crucified. In other words, healing is always and only found in Jesus.
I hope that nothing in this post was hurtful or offensive. Hopefully, it was coherent enough to give some insight as to where I’m at personally and pastorally in the aftermath of another avoidable tragedy. Like yours, my heart is a mess and my mind is scrambled with talking points. I invite genuine, concerned conversations and reflections, though not a combative debate. I can't make sense out of this, and neither can you. I can't offer words that will heal the heartbroken or sustain the suffering, and neither can you. I can't promise that anything we do will guarantee this doesn't happen again, and neither can you. But I can hug my children tighter, sleep a little closer to my wife, and intentionally refuse to overlook each of those ordinary, taken-for-granted moments that all feel different and more special this morning. All those little things that you just appreciate a little more on a day like this. And so can you.
Please take time to hug your kids, your nieces and nephews, your grandkids. Ask them how they are doing. Listen to them. Take time to talk to your neighbors, coworkers. Sit down with your employees, your classmates, your students. Let those you love, know you love them!
“The Lord heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)
“The last enemy that will be abolished is death.” (1 Cor. 15:6)
So we pray… come quickly, Lord Jesus!
(My thoughts are infused by many reflections and inspirations that I read over the past 24 hours. In many cases, I've directly quoted from many online articles and authors, far more articulate and well-spoken than me. Truth be told, I simply did not recall where different thoughts came from as I compiled. My apologies. I'll do better next time.)
As part of my Little League coaching responsibilities, I have to select All-Stars from each opposing team. Over the past two days I have gotten several emails with team rosters and instructions on how to rate and rank each player. Soon we will have a coach’s meeting where we will officially vote on this summer’s All-Star team. The goal is to pick the cream of the crop—the most skilled and most committed players so that we can field a competitive team that will travel around and play the all-star teams of neighboring townships. Some rankings will be simple; other decisions will be more difficult. But even at the young ages of 9 and 10, these kids will be put under the microscope by a handful of coaches as we search for the best.
My daughter’s softball team is a unique bunch this year. The age range of girls are barely 8 all the way up to 11½. That’s a big gap in size and maturity. The gap in terms of their interest in the game is even more expansive. On a team of 14 girls, less than half of them actually want to play the game. Midway through their last game, the girls were asked who wanted to go back into the field to play. About three of them volunteered, several of them said ‘no.’ They were completely content to sit in the dugout. They had no interest in softball. Granted many of them are still young, but for now, they view softball games and practices as nothing more than a chance to socialize. They were signed up by their parents. They just want to draw silly pictures on the dry-erase lineup board and do cartwheels in the grass behind the dugout. Who needs to play defense when they can chase their younger siblings around? The only perk of playing in the field is being able to dig a hole in the infield dirt. And I haven’t even mentioned the distracted chaos that ensued when one of the mother’s brought their puppy near the team dugout. Nevertheless, they’re still on the team. They still wear the jersey. Their names are still on the roster.
I think we can make a connection with the life of a Christian. It is probably an easier connection to make in conversation than in written form, but let’s give it a try. In our baptism, we put on the uniform. By His grace, we are part of God’s team. Our names are written on the lineup card (the book of life). We are part of His church. But truth be told, many of us would rather not play. Many people would rather just stay in the dugout and off the proverbial field. Socialize. Act silly. Goof around. Not show up. Do whatever else they want. Many people are on the team, nominally, but have little to no interest of practicing for the sake of the team. God expects more from us than this. Check it out here. “Take up your cross and follow me,” Jesus says on multiple occasions. He calls us to prioritize being a part of His team over anything, and anyone, else. He wants us to be on the field and in ready position. Ready to play, ready for action. Just as no ball gets passed an engaged shortstop, no witness opportunity gets past a participating disciple. We are on our toes and ready for any chance we have to speak of the hope and strength we have in Jesus.
Here is another way to look at it. Now is a good time to be a fan of baseball in the area. Both of the two New York teams are playing lights-out baseball (#LGM!). They’ve been winning a ton of games and it is easy to get excited about it. It’s even more fun to talk about it with fellow fans. Sports talk radio is flooded with people who want to talk about their favorite local team right now. We are all like that. When we are really excited about something, we like to talk about it. When we find a new show we love, we urge others to binge it. If we have discovered a new favorite place to eat, we tell others to check it out. If we find a good deal on something, we share it with others. Then why is it, that when it comes to something as exciting as Jesus, do we shut up? Shouldn’t something that has changed our lives, something that affects how we live our lives everyday, be something we share with others? It is a sad reality when we talk about our favorite baseball team winning with everyone we know, but when it comes to sharing our faith, we tell no one. After all, we have something way more exciting than a winning team, we have a winning God. We have a God who loves us, and gave everything so that we could experience life eternal with Him.
What do you say church? Are you ready to get in the game? As His church, He wants us to be on the go—teaching, baptizing, discipling. To be sure, God is the coach. He is always the One in charge. And we know that ultimately, in Jesus, we will win the game. We will be victorious. But in the meantime, He expects the members of His team to be doing whatever we can for the sake of saving others. So—swipe on some eye black and put on your glove, it’s time to get out there. It is time to take the field, to be winsome for the sake of the church and growth of His Kingdom!
“I am able to keep everything in perspective, because I know that following Christ is the most important thing in life.” (Mariano Rivera, Yankee HOF pitcher)
I love the Gospel reading for this coming Sunday. It is from John 21:1-14, a great post-Easter account. It is the first reference to a game of “Go Fish” and also the likely origins of a Midwest, Friday night fish fry. Since I will not be preaching on it this weekend, I thought I would share a few thoughts now…
A resurrected Jesus reveals Himself again to His disciples. This is the third time. He finds them unsuccessfully fishing. Of course, this is somewhat ironic itself as it is exactly how Jesus had found them three years prior. But this time is different. They have three years of history together. Countless conversations. Travel stories. Shared experiences. There is a deeper relationship between Jesus and His followers now than there was before. There is a deeper level of love and trust on display.
Jesus comes again to them and says, “Children, do you have any fish?” Jesus calls them children. This is the first and only time in the gospel that Jesus addresses them this way. With a word, He captures not their childishness but His deep affection for them. He speaks to them tenderly as a loving parent, to a resilient child. The Lord of all creation lives and has come yet again to care for them. But this is not the only reason He comes to them now. It is likely that the disciples did not fully understand or appreciate the magnitude and implications of the resurrection. It is hard to fault them for that. But it also appears that in the immediate days following Jesus triumphant return from the grave, the disciples had gone back home to the rigors and routine of “normal” life. They went back home, back to work. Jesus shows up, but not just to feed them. He comes to let them know that they will not remain in their homes. They will not stay in their familiar, comfortable bubbles.
As followers of Jesus, they are about to be pushed out of their homes and into the world of people lost and hurting—a ripe harvest field to be sure! The impressive catch of fish is just a foreshadowing of the lives they will catch for Jesus. They will go out in mission to the ends of the earth. But they will be loved, and they will be led... by Jesus. He knows how to navigate this strange world. The One who died for them, now lives, and cares for them as He awakens them to His call. The days after Easter are strange. We are slowly returning to our patterns of Church life and family life after the festivities of Easter. Yet, we need to be careful we do not become too comfortable with the comforts of home. For what Easter has taught us is how this world is changed. Jesus has risen from the dead and rules over all things. He not only saves us from sin but leads us in life from the comforts of home to the call of His Kingdom. There, at the end of our strength, is the beginning of His grace. Jesus has risen to bring you, His child, into His mission in His Kingdom. Happy fishing my friends!
Reference Article that inspired thoughts and provided many of the words.
You’ve probably heard this old Benjamin Franklin quote before: “There are only two certainties in life—taxes and death.” How true that is!
Hopefully, you were able to get all your taxes taken care of by last Fridays’ deadline. No doubt you are now anxiously awaiting your bountiful refund check from our beloved national treasury. We’ve all seen the H&R Block commercials suggesting that we can “get our billions back!” Needless to say, I’m still looking for mine from the first time I saw that commercial. 😊 For many people, tax season is stressful and burdensome. Not at all for me. During the months of January and February, I gathered up all my necessary documents and financial information so that I could send it off to my tax guy. It is so nice to have someone else take care of it. There are nuances of self-employment and clergy allowance that I don’t pretend to understand. Every year, laws and requirements change a bit. It is an immense relief to not have to worry about any of it. No headaches crunching numbers. No anxiety trying to reconcile the final amounts. No need for me to invest in the newest TurboTax software. It is a wonderful, burden-free feeling to put the papers in the mail and then not have to fuss about it. No stress at all. My tax guy will work through the mess, comb over the details, and make sure all my files are in order. He’ll make sure the government gets its due. He’ll make sure I don’t land in jail or get flagged by the IRS. To be sure, I do have to pay for the services of my tax guy. But it is worth it. It is a tolerable investment to have a capable, reliable guy take care of things that I can’t adequately do myself.
Can you sense where I’m going with this? Today, as we stand in the afterglow of Easter. The energy and excitement of Easter Sunday has dissipated a bit as we quickly had to get back into a normal work week routine. Our “He is risen indeed!” choruses have faded somewhat as we find ourselves in between Sundays. Now we gear up for the home stretch of the school year, spring planting, and other outdoor activities. We start thinking about summer vacations, fishing trips, and full days at home with the kids or grandkids. Yet we dare not so easily close the book on Easter; Easter is supposed to have a lasting impact. The joy and celebration, the good news and victory of Easter still rings loud in our worship and in our lives. Like taxes, we are all forced to face the reality of death. We’ve dealt with it personally and we see it constantly on the news. Easter reminds us that death does not win, because we have “a guy” that takes care of it for us!
That’s the Easter message—because Jesus conquers death, so do we! No need to worry. No further work or effort needed from us. We don’t even have to pay for His services. Our guy, our Lord Jesus, makes sure all our spiritual affairs are in order—free of charge! He has covered the bill Himself, written in His own blood. We no longer need to fret over what may happen to us; Jesus assures us that He is always with us. He offers us a hope that can stare death in the eye and proclaim, “Oh death where is your sting!” Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:57) Throughout our time upon this earth, we have “a guy” who takes care of us. 1 Peter 5:6-7 says, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Thank you, Jesus, for taking care of us.
We know that the inevitable and guaranteed certainties of life are already dealt with.
My tax guy has my taxes done.
My death & sin guy has the rest under control.
Time to relax and enjoy the spring weather.
He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
“A dead Christ I must do everything for; a living Christ does everything for me.” (Andrew Murray)
Pastor Steve Vera