Category Archives: Church

Preschool Parents Lunch & Learn // Discipline Verses Discipling

When do we start teaching children about God? What can babies understand about the Bible? How can preschool ministry be more than just babysitting?

We invited David Anderson, Children’s Ministry Strategist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention, to come and speak as part of our preschool parent/volunteer lunch and learn series. This is a great session for preschool parents as well as those who volunteer in the preschool ministry. Check it out!

5 Websites to Bookmark Today

30141_laptop_keyboardI spend a lot of time on the internet. Within the first moments of turning on my computer, you can find me on children’s ministry social networks connecting with others, on Pinterest grabbing some cool ideas, sending emails to our volunteers, or opening multiple tabs on Bible Gateway.

Looking at my bookmarks folder, I have over 80 pages saved to comeback to with a simple click. I asked around the office what are some websites my co-workers have bookmarked and, tossing a few of my own, we’ve come up with this list!

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1) Desiring God – This organization exists to help people everywhere understand and embrace this truth…God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in him. They take aim to make the glory of God and the goodness of joy the foundation and flavor of everything we do. I know many enjoy listening to Ask Pastor John, a question and answer style podcast. I enjoy their Look at the Book series, in which John Piper breaks down select Bible passages.

2) Adam4d.com – Adam Ford is a Christian, husband, and father of 3 young boys. I’m often checking back to read his “curiously Christian webcomic.” If you’re new to Adam’s work, check out his most popular comics, and if you ‘re familiar with his work then make sure you’ve also got the Babylon Bee bookmarked.

3) The Gospel Coalition – TGC encourages and educates current and next-generation Christian leaders by advocating gospel-centered principles and practices that glorify the Savior and do good to those for whom he shed his life’s blood.  I really enjoy their many, many blog posts. There is so much good content here on a wide variety of subjects. For example, click here to see a list of their posts on parenting!

4) The Bible Project – I love YouTube…but there are more than just cat videos there! The Bible Project creates videos that show the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus. They believe that the Bible is literary genius and has divine wisdom for the modern world. The link above takes you to their channel to start watching these videos, but make sure to check out their website for more information.

5) smile.amazon.com – I do a lot of shopping on Amazon, both personally and professionally, so I have made sure to bookmark Smile Amazon. By making sure I add the smile, a small portion of my purchase goes to a charity of my choosing. I’ve picked to donate to the International Mission Board.

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What sites to you have bookmarked on your browser? Let us know in the comment section below!

 

 

Unwrapping Christmas Part 2

In our last post, we started talking about the family Christmas devotional gifts we made for 2016. Let’s pick up where we left off…

Week 3- Teaching and Preaching

We started week three with a look at John 13:13, “You call Me Teacher and Lord. This is well said, for I am.” We explained how in many ways, Jesus’ teaching was unexpected. He took things that the people were familiar with and changed the way they understood it.

That’s when we challenged families to try our mystery drink. All families knew was that it should taste like something familiar, just in soda form.

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We ended up using the peanut butter and jelly flavored soda!

We asked families what it like experiencing this familiar flavor in a new, unexpected way? We explained how we see in the John 13 how Jesus did something His friends didn’t expect.

We explained the story of Jesus doing the lowly task of washing feet and how He used that moment to teach not only how to love and serve others, but to also foreshadow how He would clean His people from their sin.

We also gave families a magic tree. By adding the solution, small green crystals would grow on the cardboard making it look like a Christmas tree.

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But, it takes time for the tree to grow. When Jesus preached, He sometimes used gardening words and pictures to get the point. We used John 15:1-2 and explained that Jesus teaches that the good news doesn’t stop at forgiveness of sins. The gift of Jesus continues! God’s at work in believers’ lives, helping them act more like Jesus! Just as the tree grows, we can grow as Christians as well.

Week 4- Love

We started the fourth week talking about underserved love and 1 John 4:10.

We told families that in this world, there is a lot of pressure. You may struggle with some things. Sometimes people describe this feeling of burdens as if they are being weighed down. Inside the gift this week was special paper.

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We had families take it out, and with a pencil, write down some things that may be weighing them down. It may be a recent loss, fears, or even sin.

We explained how Jesus loves them so much and how He wants them to let go of their burdens and give them to Him. When the instructions were followed, the paper shot into the air and floated  as it burned. All those fears, worries, sin…all gone. We connected this to the gospel and explained how Jesus can forgive us and wants to give us comfort even when life gets tough!

We then connected the facts that if God loves us, we should love others and had families read 1 John 4:7-8.

The other gift was a Top Blaster!

slspito-02These wind-up tops shoot out the spinning part with a light on top. It bounced off walls and other barriers and brought the light everywhere it went. The Bible reminds us that Christians are to be a light (Matthew 5:14). We need to show God’s love to others so everyone can see how great our God is!

We had a blast preparing all these gifts for the families. We hope that these little doodads will remind our children of the lessons they learned during this Christmas season!

 

Light Before Christmas

Last year, I challenged our church family to put on a Christmas play with only a single hour-long rehearsal. Songs, props, stage directions…everything would shared only an hour before we got up on stage. You can see the results by clicking here.

Not only did they do a fantastic job last year…we did it again! A new play, new props, new songs…same deal…only one hour to prep. Below is the video from the event! Enjoy!

Never Too Late or Too Soon

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22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Romans 8:22-23

I was in line at the grocery store just the other day when I noticed the front cover of LIFE magazine. The cover pictured 6 deceased celebrities that I immediately recognized as world-famous musical artists.   This recent issue of LIFE magazine is entitled The 27-Club: Rock Icons Who Died Too Young. The cover and content of the magazine features 6 musical artists who all died at the age of 27, hence the name 27-Club. These musicians were quite fas-l225mous and known throughout the world for their music; particularly for their contributions to jazz, blues, and rock-and-roll. The 27 club includes musical superstars Brian Jones (1969), Jimi Hendrix (1970), Janis Joplin (1970), Jim Morrison (1971), Kurt Cobain (1994), and Amy Winehouse (2011).

I understand that some of these names may not be familiar to some of you, while others of you are quite familiar with the person and their music. I only had a moment to read the cover while at the register, but since I recognized the names of these celebrities and because I’ve heard about the “27-Club” before, I was immediately intrigued. So I decided to get a copy of the magazine at a later time. As I’ve read the articles and short biographic sketches of the lives of these complex and talented men and women, it has struck me at just how much influence a single person can have on literally millions of other people, and yet in the scope of time and history, each person’s life is so fleeting and fragile (James 4:14).

What I have found most intriguing about this magazine issue is how much these musical icons are praised and exalted for their contributions to the music industry while their personal lives were so incredibly heartbreaking. Their sudden and what some would consider “early” death have led to their lives being dubbed with the “tragic” label since they were unable to have long and productive careers of making music. What is most common among all 6 members of the 27-Club is their struggles with drug and alcohol addiction and many broken and destructive relationships. It makes you wonder how it is that all the praise and fame that comes with celebrity also brings with it despair and unceasing temptations to satisfy the flesh. There is no doubt that these artists truly lived out the stereotype of a rock-and-roll icon, and in each case, it ended their lives earlier than most people can accept. Their dreams of being a serious and respected musical artist, along with the adoration of millions of fans was the real drug they lived for, and it captivated their minds and souls, to the point that they could not find satisfaction in all of their achievements. So they turned to external things to cope with the deep groaning in their souls for significance and peace.

This issue of LIFE magazine also leads me to ask a deeper question. “Who gets to decide how soon is too soon for someone to pass away”? This has always been an interesting thought to me. Who gets to decide when it is time for a person to leave this world and why does age matter? Do we label a person’s early departure from this life as a tragedy because of their worldly achievements? What if these famous celebrities would have been relatively unknown musicians playing in dirty bars and half-empty night clubs instead of in massive arenas or on national television shows? Would we view their deaths in the same way?

I realize that these questions can make us uncomfortable, but considering the difference between how the world and the Word of God view life and its value differently, as well as death and its timing, it is especially important for us to know what we believe. Our purpose and direction in this life are particularly tied to where we find our identity and hope. We are all groaning deeply within our souls in some way for redemption (Romans 8:22-23), but for those who are of faith in Jesus, our groaning has a glorious end, and the timing of it cannot come soon enough (Romans 8:18).

Life and death are God’s prerogative, and he doesn’t often share what he knows with us about the timing of our departure from this world. While this may cause uneasiness in some of us, the reality is that this is NOT bad news for those who know Jesus. There is never a time in the life of a believer in which death comes too soon, nor are the conditions of our passing greater than the glory we behold once we’ve left behind these broken bodies for eternally completed ones (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

In fact, we are to live in this life in in such a way that points others to the reality of the next life for which we long for so deeply. Sadly, the members of the 27-Club lived for the praise of man, pointing others to themselves and looking for happiness that was only shifting sand beneath their unstable feet.

Romans 8:11 gives us this promise: 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. This promise alone should stir in us a deeper love for God and a more serious commitment to make the most the time we have, for the days are short and the mist of our lives will soon pass. Praise be to God that our short time in this life can be of tremendous impact if we would look to him first and always.

I agree that it is sad that those musical artists died so young, just as I would for any young man or woman. It is hard to accept the loss of a life so young. My sadness is not only in that they are now gone, but that their lives ended in such despair and destruction. Their groaning for redemption led them to self-deception and sorrow. One of the 27-Club members Janis Joplin once said “Don’t ever compromise. You are all you’ve got.” But that is simply not true. Praise be to God that I am not all I’ve got! If all I have is me, then I am without hope. My groaning for redemption is incomplete and will never be content in this life if I only look within myself to be satisfied. The best news is that Jesus Christ meets us where we are and fulfills the longings of our souls, to the degree that our perspective in this life and the next is eternally hopeful and filled with joy! Jesus is all I have, and Jesus is more than enough.

5 Things Your Preteen Can Understand About the Bible

bible-983104_960_720Last month, the Barna Group reviled the results of their 2016 Teen State of the Bible research. If you have a few extra moments, I’d recommend reading over the full results. There are many positive responses that can encourage us, but here are a few that may renew our resolve to help kids understand the Bible.

  • Half of teens say the Bible contains factual/historical errors.
  • About 1 in 3 teens say the Bible contains everything a person needs to know to live a meaningful life.
  • Only 47 percent of teens say the Bible is a source of hope.

That’s a simplified look at the minds of teens when it comes to the Bible. Now, let’s look at what a preteen mind can comprehend about the Bible. (These come from Lifeway’s Levels of Biblical Learning, something that our leaders are being equipped with as they reach our kids.)

  • The truths in the Bible are without error and will last forever.
  • The Bible is God’s message about Himself and God’s plan for salvation.
  • The Bible is the only inspired, written Word of God.
  • The Bible teaches that salvation through Jesus is God’s gift of forgiveness.
  • The Bible teaches how to live a Christian life by following Jesus.

Parents, help your preteens understand these concepts. Make Bible reading a special time in your home!

SUMMER CAMP 2016 RECAP FOR ADULTS (PART 2)

Note: This is the second in a five part series on devotionals for adults from CentriKid camps. See part one for more information.

STATION 2:  Peace Through God’s Word

Where do you find “the truth?” Do you find truth in what your peers say about you, with what you read on social media, or possibly even your own thoughts? Each day, we are faced with hundreds of statements and beliefs all claiming to be the truth.

With so many different distractors clawing for your attention, the truth could be difficult to discern. As a follower of Christ and child of God, you must always seek to find peace in the unchanging Word of God.  It is vital that we set apart time to read, meditate on, and internalize God’s Word to learn more about what He wants to teach us in order to find the truth each day.

Read the following passages:

Psalm 119:105, Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4, Hebrews 4:12, Psalm 119:162

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Let us imagine that the pictures of soil above are symbols of a life full of the Word of God, and a life absent of the truth of God’s Word.  Some pictures show us what it is like our lives when we set our focus in finding truth in infallible Word of God. The pictures with dry sand is like our lives when we allow the things of this world to fill our lives with stress, filth, and lies.

James 1:21 says, “Therefore, ridding yourselves of all moral filth and evil, humbly receive the implanted word, which is able to save you.”

Imagine a seed. Ask yourself in which soil you desire to have your life rooted. Do you want your life to be planted in the enriching life-giving soil of being rooted in God’s Word, or in dry, barren soil absent of the ultimate truth of God?  Which picture represents where you’re at and where you want to be?

Pray and ask God to give you the desire and opportunity to daily read His Word, meditate on His Word, and internalize His Word.

Unfailing

There are many strange, odd, and weird occurrences in the world, some of which we as human beings will go to great lengths to accomplish ourselves.  I remember as a 12 year old at Eunice Jr. High school going with my friends to the school library during my lunch break to read. Now, before you begin to applaud my studious and noble academic pursuits, let me make a confession: We went to the library to read the Guinness Book of World Records. That is much less commendable, isn’t it? Yes it is true; we used the extra time of our lunch break to look up the strangest, weirdest, and most disgusting world records we could find. And we found a bunch.

I revisited my childhood recently by searching the Guinness World Records website to find some of the strangest and most ridiculous world records to date. Here are a few notable selections:

  • Ram Singh Chauhan’s mustache is the longest in the world, at 14 feet, officially measured in Rome, Italy, on March 4, 2010.
  • Charlotte Lee (USA) holds the world record for the largest collection of rubber ducks, numbering 5,631, as of April 10, 2011, while Ann Atkin of West Putford, England has a four-acre “Gnome Reserve”, where she has curated a collection of 2,042 garden gnomes and pixies, as of March 2011.
  • The number of most apples crushed with the bicep in one minute is 8, achieved by Linsey Lindberg of Texas.
  • In 2008, Kevin Shelley set the record for most toilet seats broken by one’s head in one minute by shattering 46 in Cologne, Germany.

These records are no doubt astonishing and undoubtedly strange (Toilet seats? Really?) Meanwhile, the rest of us are hobbling along each day just trying to eat healthier, or not to oversleep, or not fall into a hole (hey that could be a new category, “the most consecutive days NOT falling into a hole”).

Obviously these record holders are people who found something that they are “good” at, and they’ve made it a life-passion to the point that they are known as the best or the greatest or the most accomplished individual who can do something that few others can, or desire, to do. And they will be remembered as such. But they did not achieve these strange records without many failed attempts. In fact, if we took the whole of their lives in seeking to achieve such peculiar records, we would see much more failure than success. So if you thought that you had nothing in common with Ashrita Furman (USA), who holds the records for the fastest mile hopping on a pogo stick whilst juggling three balls (23 min 28sec), think again! How many times do you think Ashrita failed before achieving the record? I hopped on a pogo stick once; it didn’t go well. And I’ve also tried juggling, which was a disaster. To do such amazing things takes a lot of hard work and overcoming many failures along the way, which leads us to the point of this article. (You are probably asking “how in the world will he draw out a spiritual message from this apparent nonsense?”)

We are as followers of Christ still struggling with constant failures. Every day is filled with activity, busy-ness, work, play, family, and friends. All along the way we have inner thoughts and struggles which lead us to sin, on top of the many personal interactions we experience each day. And sometimes, perhaps many times, we fail in our attempts to live “Christianly” in those encounters. While we are not out to set any world records for “most Christian man or woman”, we know that we are also called to live our lives in such a way that others see Christ in us and glorify God as a result (Matthew 5:13-16). So what do we do when we fail? We do the same thing that world record holders do: get up, fix your eyes again on the goal, which is Christ, and take another step toward knowing him.

Your failure as a Christ follower does NOT define you, rather the unconditional grace of God and his steadfast love for you are what identify you now (1 Peter 2:9-10). I don’t consider any of the failures of my life (which are too many to count) the defining aspect of my life. Nor do I consider any achievements or noteworthy accomplishments the identifying mark of my life (Philippians 3:3-7). I cannot care about what I’ve accomplished, I must find my hope, joy, and identity in what Christ Jesus has accomplished for me (2 Corinthians 5:21). The most important fact which others much know about me is NOT what great or strange things I’ve done, but what God has worked in me through the person of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:29). Like the Apostle Paul, I must consider all things as “rubbish” (all the successes and failures of life) compared with what I have in knowing and being  known by Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:8).

So all of my failures at honoring Christ supremely and my constant shortcomings in obedience to His Word will not be my defining mark, neither will those days of soaring faith and Christ-honoring righteousness. But what DOES and WILL define me as a person is the saving and life-changing grace of God in Christ Jesus my Lord (1 Corinthians 15:10). I do not foresee a day when I will hold any world records for anything, but I will be no less recognized and known by God, and that is all the recognition I desire.

And so what if you can’t spin the most hula hoops simultaneously around your body (200) or hold your breath under water while suspended upside down longer than any other person (4min 29sec), you are noticed and loved much, much more. Take heart saints of God, for your heavenly Father holds your life close to his heart, and Jesus your Savior reigns as your great Redeemer King, and the Holy Spirit indwells your spirit and life, compelling you and molding you to look more like Jesus every day (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). God knows you, loves you, and He calls you his own. That is all the reason you need to get up and follow him each day. So let us be confessing, repentant lovers of Christ Jesus and by the power of God we will grow in our knowledge of Him. I will continue to pray for you each day, that Christ would be your great pursuit and his glory will be your greatest joy!

 

 

 

Sneak Peak at Masterpiece Kids 2016

Summer is right around the corner and it’s time to get hyped for MK16! I wanted to share with you a little of what we’ve been working on, what to expect, and how you can sign up to join us! Check out this FAQ!

What is Masterpiece Kids?

The most awesome thing ever.

Okay…can you tell me more?

Masterpiece Kids is our summer arts camp for kids who have completed kindergarten through the sixth grade. This will be our 5th year hosting the camp! We help kids understand different art techniques and styles with really cool projects. And we don’t stop at the canvas…we make, mold, sing, sign…we even used mops to slosh paint on a giant canvas one year.

Sounds messy…

That’s not a question, but I’ll respond anyhow. Creating a masterpiece can be messy at times! That’s why everyone gets their own t-shirt to wear over their clothes as a smock.  Kids get to take them home after camp, so they usually try to get their friends to sign them on the last day of camp. I got the kids to sign mine…see?

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What’s this year’s theme?

Around the World! We’ll be exploring different cultures and art that can be found in God’s great big world! We’ll be talking about missions and hearing from people that serve in different countries. It’s a world tour without leaving Baton Rouge!

How will the art and theme connect to the Bible?

Glad you asked!

Our theme verse is Ephesians 2:10. We’re God’s masterpiece and He has a plan for our lives. We’ll be looking at God’s plan of salivation and how Christians are called to love and serve others. Check it out!

Day 1 God’s Plan for John (Luke 1:5–20, 30–45,57–66; Matthew 3:1–3)

The Point: God created me for His plan. I am created for a reason.

Daily Verse: Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

 

Day 2  Matthew Needed a Savior (Matthew 9:9–13)

The Point: God sent Jesus to save me from my sins. I am in need of a Savior.

Daily Verse: John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live”


Day 3
Jesus Showed Love (John 11:1–45)

The Point: God shows His love in mighty ways. I am loved by God.

Daily Verse: Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

 

Day 4 Lydia Used Her Gifts (Acts 16:11–15)

The Point: God wants me to serve Him. I am gifted with a purpose.

Daily Verse: 1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”

 

Day 5 Philip Spoke to the Ethiopian (Acts 8:26–40)

The Point: God is with me all the time. I am always on mission.

Daily Verse: Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

 

Each day we’ll visit a new part of the world and new art style. For example, on Day 1 we talk about how God formed us and knows us from the inside out…so we’ll be visiting the land down under, Australia, for some X-Ray art.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of our music will also include different languages as well!

What else is new this year?

We’ll be supersizing our art classes so we spend more time on our projects. With that, we’ll also be bumping up the start and end times. We’ll dismiss at 12:15, but we’re providing a lunch for kids from 12:15 to 12:45. Parents can pick their kids up and do lunch on their own, or come at 12:45 and pick up their kids fully fed!

Sounds awesome!

I told you so.

How can I sign up my kids to come? How can I volunteer?

Just click on this link: fbcbr.com/masterpiece-kids

Why do something like this?

We see a need in our city for arts education. Combine that with our mission to serve and spread the good news of Jesus, and this is a perfect fit for us.

I’ll leave you with this video (staring the father of our very own Sarah Hunt!). Although we don’t call it VBS, we’re still committed to reaching out to our community’s kids and sharing Jesus with area families.

Healed

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near” says the LORD, “and I will heal him.” – Isaiah 57:18-19

I have a friend who is a doctor, and he is a good one too. In fact, if he lived anywhere near Baton Rouge he would be my doctor. Several years ago, he was in medical school while I was in seminary, and we visited often.  He told me about the many different “rotations” that he had to go through as a medical student, which is a process the med schools use to expand each students’ knowledge of the many different areas and concentrations of medicine. My friend had just finished his emergency medicine rotation, and he was sharing with me some of the more “interesting” stories of the ER patients. Some of them were just awful and tragic, while others were humorous. (For the record, ER doctors see a wide variety of people and hear many “tales” of how those patients ended up in the emergency room.)

My friend, being the pragmatist that he’s always been, said to me “You know that when you become a doctor, you take the Hippocratic Oath to do everything within your ability to help a patient in need, regardless of how they came to need that care. But to be honest with you Oren, sometimes I don’t “want” to help them. They did something really stupid (jumping off the roof) or careless (drunk driving) or ignorant (frying a frozen turkey) and their suffering is their own fault. I will help them, but sometimes it’s really hard.” I think we can all relate to that sentiment in some ways, can’t we?

Just to remind you all how God does have a sense of humor, my friend wanted to be a family doctor, but is now head of an entire Emergency room staff. But to the point of his comment to me about not wanting to help people who have done so much to cause themselves harm, I think we can all understand that feeling. It falls under the “get what you deserve” kind of thinking, where people should have to suffer the consequences of their actions. We have all at times seen “that news story”, when a murderer on a rampage is shot and wounded by law enforcement and emergency doctors are expected to do everything in their power to keep him alive. We say to ourselves “This shouldn’t be! He should have to die for all of his murderous ways. He deserves death, he deserves punishment, and he deserves to suffer for his foolishness and carelessness.” I know I’ve thought that way many times before, as have most of us. But. . .

When it comes to our own lives and our redemption as broken people, we must recognize one very important reality: We are the foolish, careless, reckless madman in our relationship to God.  Our “ways” have been outright rebellious, and any punishment is well deserved. As Isaiah writes in 57:18, the Lord has seen the ways of the rebellious man, and yet he will heal him. The people of God (Israel) had become idolatrous and disobedient, yet God promised to lead and restore comfort to those who have suffered shame, guilt, and overwhelming burden of sin. God has seen your ways and my ways, all the way down to the depths of our hearts, and he says “come to me and I will heal you! Trust me and I will give you peace. I will not turn you away because of your past mistakes and sinful actions. Look to me and be forgiven and healed.” God mercifully promises to change our words from hate to love and from disdain to glorious praises (Psalm 40:3). God promises and gives abundant and fulfilling peace in Christ Jesus (John 14:27, 16:33). God heals the brokenness of our hearts, and of our world (Isaiah 53:5). Hallelujah! Almighty God has seen our wicked ways and yet is gracious, patient, and merciful and does not ignore us in our state of death and suffering (1 Timothy 1:15-16)! He intends to heal us and make us whole. As one songwriter puts it ‘Lord you know the hearts of man and yet you let him live.” Why does God treat us with such grace when we deserve none of it?

God’s intent to graciously redeem his people is for the purpose of making us true worshipers (John 4:23-24). Our worship of God flows from hearts that have been mended by his grace, and lives that have been healed by his mercy, and souls that have been satisfied by his love, and minds that have understood true peace.  Whoever you are, far or near, God extends comfort and peace through Jesus Christ to you, just as you are.  The cross on which Jesus hung is the revelation of love and mercy from God to us, as Jesus endured the shame and punishment of our sins so that we might live in freedom and peace.

In a few short weeks, our FBC family, along with countless other Christian churches will commemorate and celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is a glorious and beautiful revelation of God’s plan to bring peace to his people. As we journey toward the cross this Easter season, I challenge you to take time to consider your own ways, which have been neglectful and prideful and self-serving, and look to Jesus to restore your soul. Your salvation is secured forever in Christ, and your joy is an everlasting one (John 16:22). Will you join with Christian believers near and far this Easter season as we joyfully celebrate the death of Christ that gives us healing and His resurrected life that gives us peace?