Praying With Jesus: Good Friday

Today is one of the most important days of the year. It is Good Friday the day Jesus died on the cross. I am always asked by the kids in chapel why is this day called good, when the most terrible thing happened? Here is the answer.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

I remember a story told by St Jerome who was an early translator of the Bible. As told by him he went to Jerusalem and Bethlehem for a time of study and prayer and one night he had a dream. In this dream Jesus appeared to him and Jerome gave him everything he had. Jesus did not want those things. Then Jerome gave him all of his money. Jesus did not want that. What would you like? Jerome asked. Jesus replied, “Your sins.”

The day is called ‘good” because we find that Jesus takes our sins upon himself so that we might have the righteousness of God. In ways we do not always understand Jesus became our sin so that we might know the amazing love and grace of God.

Thank you for this day Jesus. For all that you did for me I am amazed by the magnitude of your grace. This day truly is good.

Pastor Dave


God Promises His Grace Is Sufficient

2corinthians12_9“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

Have you done great things?  Do you have the perfect family?  Have you successfully avoided sin?  Have you had all your health troubles eliminated?  Have you always done your best and found great success in your job?

No?  Me either.

Yet, God promises,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Just before today’s verse, Paul tells an interesting story.  First, he starts by not so subtly saying that he had been shown visions  and may have even been taken to heaven (kind of like John did in Revelation) and had heard amazing things he can’t even talk about.  Wow!  Paul’s pretty awesome right?  He’s a kinda super-Christian or something.

903164566_0c60f3b8b9_zBut then Paul continues saying that God had given him “a thorn was given [him] in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass [him].”  Paul says he asked…no pleaded with God three times to take it away and God said, “No.”  Man, for God to give Paul a thorn in the flesh like that and refuse to take it away…Paul must be some pathetic, loser-Christian or something.

The point is, Paul isn’t a super-Christian or a loser-Christian.  Paul has been called a child of God by the grace of God and that is enough.  In fact, as Christians, we are all called children of God by the grace of God.  No super-Christians or loser-Christians here.  Sometimes God calls us to things we might regard as amazing and sometimes he calls us to things that others would yawn at.  But neither is better than the other.  We are all solely called by the grace of God, not our own works.  In fact, it is in our weakness that God is glorified because instead of pointing to ourselves, we can only point to Christ.  It’s humbling at times and it’s reassuring all the time.

So, next time you look at your life and think, I wish I was more of a super-Christian like so-n-so or next time God doesn’t remove the thorn you’ve begged Him to remove, remember God’s promise.  His grace is sufficient for you.

Dear Jesus,

Sometimes life doesn’t go the way I want.  There are struggles and there are times I wish I doing more amazing things in Your name.  Thank you that it isn’t about whether I do great things, it’s about Your grace.  And thank You that I know when life has struggles I can still rest in knowing that Your grace is sufficient then, too.


God’s Promises – A New Heart

8437228526_25c7c65cc4_zMoreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
-Ezekiel 36:26

When criminals who have been in prison for a long time are released, they often have difficulty adjusting to their new life and re-integrating into society.  Some ex-prisoners are released with just a few dollars and the clothes on their backs with no family to help them out.  The chances of someone in this situation committing a crime and returning to prison are very high.

However, some people have started working with ex-prisoners to help them get job training, secure a place to live, and share the love of Jesus with them.  Giving them the skills they need and a new purpose for life can have a huge impact of whether they will return to prison.

4346024348_dda6963301_oWe all start life as sinners in need of a savior.  The Bible describes us as spiritually dead and having hearts of stone.  God could have just offered a means of forgiveness and left it at that, but He didn’t.  He went bigger than that…much bigger!

Through faith in Jesus Christ, God not only promises forgiveness, but He promises to give us a new (living) spirit.  He promises to remove our old heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh, one that is living and compassionate.  God doesn’t just forgive us, He changes our life…He gives us life!!

Thanks be to God!

Dear Jesus,

Thank you for forgiving me of my sins and thank you for also giving me a new, living spirit…Your Spirit, and making me alive in You.  Help me to live with my new heart of flesh, seeking You and having compassion on others.


Whatever You Ask in My Name…Seriously?

561977302_0745b8af75_o“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
-John 14:13-14

I love giving things to my daughter.  I like giving her toys and making her favorite foods.  However, I also know that I need to limit these things for her own sake, so she doesn’t become spoiled or have health issues.  If I offered her pizza and ice cream every day 3 meals a day, she’d probably be OK with that (Hey, I’d like to join her in that), but I don’t do that because I know it isn’t really showing her love.

God loves giving us things, too; but are there limits there as well? [Read more…]

Not My Will, But Thine Be Done – Sermon Follow Up

7019989985_b8afc3f6d2_z“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
-Luke 22:42

This past Sunday at the North Campus we started a sermon series on The Abundant Life (John 10:10).  In the series we’ll be looking at what the abundant life is that Jesus offers and how that abundant life is lived out in practical ways.  We started by looking at prayer.

One element of the abundant life we have in Christ is that we can now “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

What an amazing thing that we can approach the throne of the God of the universe!!

We talked about what prayer is as well as when and how to pray.  Today, I’d like to look at the purpose and attitude of our prayers. [Read more…]

Freed to Serve – Sermon Follow-Up

romans7_6But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
—Romans 7:6

This last Sunday we finished up our sermon series, Invited, as we talked about how we are invited to be free.  God has freed us from the bondage of sin, both the guilt of sin and the power of sin.  The Son has set us free and if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed! [Read more…]

Don’t Judge Me! – Sermon Follow-Up

matthew7_3-5“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
-Matthew 7:1-5

“Don’t judge me!” has become a common phrase in our society.  When someone does something that considered inappropriate or just plain wrong and sinful, but they want to keep doing it, they just pull out this verse and declare that no one should judge their actions.

That’s not what this passage is really about, though. [Read more…]

Be Strong and Courageous – Old Testament Tuesday

joshua1_9“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
-Joshua 1:9

I do love baseball. I love the history and the stories. I remember hearing about Hank Aaron coming to back against the Yankees in the World Series. Yogi berra was the catcher for the Yankees and he talked endlessly and started criticizing Hank Aaron for holding his bat wrong and not with the trademark up. On the next pitch Aaron hit a homerun and after rounding the bases told Yogi, “I did not come up to the plate to read.” Hank Aaron knew his purpose. [Read more…]

Happy Father’s Day

541837982_aa6055c8f1_z“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. “
-Exodus 20:12

This year on Fathers day my thoughts have turned to my father out in Arizona. He is awaiting back surgery but is waiting for his blood pressure and overall health to be a bit more stable before the surgery happens. It is hard seeing your parent’s age and this is the fist time I can remember being actually worried about my father. [Read more…]

Take Refuge in Christ – Old Testament Tuesday

psalm5_11“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”
—Psalm 5:11

Life is full of difficulties.  It may be financial struggles, marriage trouble, the loss of a loved one, or trying to come to grips with a horrific event like this past Sunday.  When the world comes crashing down around you, where do you turn?  To whom do you run? [Read more…]