Easter Favorites 2013

Easter Favorites 2013

Here are some of the favorite things that made me smile, laugh, worship, sing, during this Easter season. I hope you enjoy this recap of Easter Favorites 2013. By the way, you know we never stop celebrating Easter! We can’t pack up this day like a used Easter basket filled with torn candy wrappers and plastic colored grass. Easter should cause us to come to grips with the power of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ in a way that is not abstract, but rather touches us in our deepest selves…

Until we experience this love not only intellectually and cognitively, but also in a way that invades and permeates our minds, our affections, and our actions, we are going to lack the joy and power to live the Christian life God intends for us.
– Paul Kooistra

Favorite Quote:

“We don’t really NEED anything. I mean, people “need” water and food and stuff to live, but if we die it’s ok because we just go to see God. He says we never REALLY die.” –Colsen Frank, age 6 years

Favorite Video (Listen to Matt Papa tell The Story of God)

Favorite Blog Post: Thoughts About Easter

The day had been planned. She wakes up early before the sun has brightened the sky. Her heart is broken. She is weary from grief and each time she closes her eyes, she has the mental images of Jesus being tortured and brutally crucified. There is no rest from her sorrow. Mary is approaching the tomb in the dark hours of the early morning. She sees that the large rock, sealing the tomb where Jesus is buried has been moved! The tomb is opened!

I think she reacted like I would have…with panic! Confusion! Doubt! Unbelief!…continue reading

Favorite Cartoon

BC Easter

Favorite Holy Week Devotional: Love to the Uttermost

[PDF or Free eBook] There’s nothing intrinsically holy about particular days, but for most of church history Christians have set aside eight days between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday for solemn focus (Romans 14:5–6). This string of days provides an annual interval for us to focus intently on the greatest events in human history, the acts of our Savior Jesus Christ. “Fix your gaze steadily on him,” John Piper writes of Holy Week, “as he loves you to the uttermost.”

Favorite Easter Opener

Easter Opener 2012 from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Another Favorite Cartoon (I’ll be singing this rendition to my grandchildren!)

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Favorite Passion Week Infographic: Josh Byers (Click on image to enlarge)

The-Passion-Week-Letter-Light

Favorite Song: Beautiful Rescuer by David Walker

(A good friend emailed this link to me, because she knows I refer to Jesus as “my Rescuer.”)

In Pursuit of a Gospel-Centered Community

The following is a few thoughts from my Sunday devotional: In Pursuit of a Gospel-Centered Community. Where is this community? Wherever I work, live and play. There is nothing deeper and stronger than the gospel on which to build community.

Let Love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Romans 12:9-13 ESV)

Let love be genuine: True gospel-saturated community is authentic.

Abhor what is evil: A gospel-centered community will embrace people in their brokenness while making war on sin. Don’t abhor people but abhor evil.

Love one another with brotherly affection: A Jesus-centered gospel calls us to possess a deep brotherly love as we would for our own family, this is a familial affection.

Out do one another in showing honor: Affection for the Lord leads to affection for others, resulting in out doing one another in honor. [1]

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord: Relationships go deep when arms are linked in a great cause that you are ready to lay down your lives for. Stir up zeal for God and for the cause of God and truth and life. Be passionate in your spirit. [2]

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer: When life is hard, we can either give up on hope or get it from joy. Tribulation drives the roots of joy down into hope  and fight to be constant in prayer, God acts when we pray. [3]

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality: Lavish mercy, give from your wealth, mentor others, teach a skill, open your lives and the doors of your home.

Being in pursuit of a gospel-centered community is a “forever journey.” The only way that we are able to do any of this is answered in Romans 12:1 (The Message)

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

[1] Matt Chandler, Creature of the Word, page 59    [2] John Piper:  Be Strong and Fervent in Spirit,  ❘  [3] John Piper: Happy in Hope, Patient in Pain, Constant in Prayer

Beloved: Be-Loved

The God of the universe, the same God who paints a sunset, shapes a mountain and plans the waves at the beach, has chosen to love us, not because of who we are, but because of who He is. Our role in this is to BE-LOVED.  –Ron Edmonson

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.  1 John 3:1-2 ESV

I am beloved. I am overwhelmed by this love.

Here is a song by David Crowder (Oh How He Loves) with Matt Chandler and John Piper. Be encouraged. Be-loved.

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Five Minute Friday

 

Linking up with everyone for Five Minute Fridaywhere a remarkably encouraging and loving  community gathers to write for five minutes. This week’s prompt is: BELOVED.

Three Words About Family: The Bare Facts

Linking up with everyone for Five Minute Fridaywhere a remarkably encouraging and loving  community gathers to write for five minutes. This week’s prompt is: BARE.

I’m writing about my family. I am writing about my church. Family life can be messy, especially when you know the bare facts about each other. Church life can be messy, especially when you know the bare facts about each other. I love my family no matter the bareness revealed in their mental, emotional and spiritual life. We are linked together. I hope my church will love my family no matter the bareness revealed in their mental, emotional and spiritual life. We are linked together. We are family.

Three Words About Family

We are functional. We are dysfunctional.

We experience God. We need God.

We have assurance. We have doubts.

We have peace. We are anxious.

We are content. We want more.

We do cry. We don’t cry.

We are strong. We are weak.

We don’t stop. We give up.

We are happy. We are angry.

We are praying. We don’t pray.

We are sure. We are confused.

We have hope. We are afraid.

God is near. God is far.

We are found. We are lost.

We are family. We are family.

Five Minute Friday