Thursday, April 9, 2009


Well, here we are....Easter week! This is one of those seasons that we as believers rejoice to participate in, because the entire reason for our existence as Christians is spoken about, debated, embraced and many times, rejected but it still gives us wonderful opportunities to simply repeat the grand story of God's love and redemption. Just think: God soooo loved the world that He gave us His precious and wonderful Son. 
With this in mind, we must remember that Easter is about Him: what He has done, what He is doing, and what He is about to do. It is not about us: it is not about our needs, our wants, our wishes, visions, or even our heartaches but is all about Him. How He loved us, how He reached out to us, how He gave His Son for us, and how He is willing to forgive and even save us. We are the objects of His affection, but they are His affections and are given to us simply because He desires to have them for us! Amazing, isn't it that God would even pay a moments thought to such as we. 
I think the psalmist says it well when he writes When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? (Ps 8:3-4) Great question, isn't it? What is man that You should even spend a moment of Your time thinking about us? But He does, and O how grateful I am to Him for doing so. No only does He think of us, but He has acted on our behalf that He might rescue us from an eternity without Him. He gave us His Son, to rescue us from our own mad and destructive ways, and for this we must all stand humbled and thankful.
While in Israel, we once again had such a blessed opportunity of seeing the locations of so many of the stories that we have read in our bibles, and have been influenced by. When asked which site is my favorite, the absolute top of the list is the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. Regardless of whether it is the actual site of Jesus' burial, the fact is there is just something about being in that garden, seeing an open and empty tomb, and celebrating communion with your church family. How I wish everybody who calls on the name of Jesus could experience such a trip. Obviously, it is so personally enriching that I have decided to return to Israel every year that the Lord allows me to and this next year, I am hoping to take a group from the ages of 18-35. 
Some may wonder why I would want to take people to Israel who fall into that age category. The fact is, that age group means much to me for many reasons, not the least being that they represent the future of the church in America. Not just CCCV, but the whole future of what God is doing in our beloved nation until Jesus returns. It is a critical age group, a group that has so many challenges before them: unprecedented challenges that my generation did not have to face.
Take for example marriage, and its definition. Because so many come from broken homes, marriage has no special meaning to the vast majority. For them, whether they marry or not really doesn't matter. Living together, trial marriages, and a host of other alternatives are presented as all having pretty much the same value. Even kids raised in Christian homes have seen such carnality in their homes that they do not really see marriage as preferable. For many, "love" is more important than "right", so for them if two same sex individuals love one another then why should they be denied the right to be in a miserable marriage? Listen, when Jolie and Pitt are looked at as role models, and when Madonna is looked at as being a humanitarian and a good example of a loving mother, you have some major disconnection here! When well known "christian" people are caught in homosexual affairs, or divorce their wives, or are caught with prostitutes, the church which was intended to shine brightly in the darkness loses its luster (no pun intended, but hey, that was pretty good!) and as a result, the name of God is blasphemed amongst unbelievers. 
With that said, I desire to invest more time in the lives of this specific age group, hence we will be having the Song of Solomon series starting very soon. It will last for 9 weeks, and what is keeping me from announcing its start date is simply the fact that my calendar is full at the moment. I leave on the 23rd of this month for two days to participate in a pastor's/leaders conference in Wisconsin, then in May do a couples retreat in Northern Cal, our men's retreat, and our annual men's conference which leaves little time/energy to do the Monday study. Still, I am looking for the start date and will have it settled by next week! Why? Because Marie and I greatly desire to be with our young adults, and the sacrifice is more than worth it!
Well, time to sign off! Good Friday services tomorrow will be a real blessing, and I am looking so forward to being here! Easter Sunday is going to be electric....God is going to move mightily. The wave is coming in, and it is huge so invite all of your friends and family to come to church, catch the wave and enjoy the ride! 
It's all about Him! He is risen, He is risen indeed!

1 comment:

:corinne: said...

Welcome back Pastor. I heard you all had a wonderful time. Yes I do have to say that the Garden tomb was one of my faves when traveling to Israel. Brings on a whole meaning to a "Garden tomb"...actually seeing it in whole was amazing. Happy Easter!