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Posts Tagged ‘Good Friday’

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Ecce Homo, 1871- Antonio Ciseri

Growing up, this was one of my favorite paintings. It is of Jesus Christ on trial with Pontius Pilate and it is entitled Ecce Homo or Behold the Man. Today is Good Friday and I attended a beautiful tenebrae service (Latin for ‘darkness’). The symbolism of darkness represents Jesus’ death and the hopelessness of this world. We read from Mark 14 and 15 about the hours leading up to the crucifixion. We left in silence to ponder these events and the impact of Christ’s death on us. It was a powerful service and the message was clear:

God showed His love for us in this: Christ died for us

THANKS BE TO GOD

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PALM SUNDAY

Almighty God, we are unworthy to come into your presence, because of our any sins. We do not deserve any grace or mercy from you, if you dealt with us as we deserve. We have sinned against you, O Lord, and we have offended you. And yet, O Lord, as we acknowledge our sins and offenses, so also do we acknowledge you to be a merciful God, a loving and favorable Father, to all who turn to you. And so we humbly ask you, for the sake of Christ your son, to show mercy to us, and forgive us all our offenses. By your Spirit, O God, take possession of our hearts, so that, not only the actions of our life, but also the words of our mouths, and the smallest thought of our minds, may be guided and governed by you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.

WEDNESDAY

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

MAUNDY THURSDAY

 PASSOVER SEDER MEAL

The Passover Seder is a Jewish ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It is conducted on the evenings of the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, and on the 15th by traditionally observant Jews living outside Israel. This corresponds to late March or April in the Gregorian calendar.

The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This story is in the Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible. The Seder itself is based on the Biblical verse commanding Jews to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt: “You shall tell your child on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.'” (Exodus 13:8) Traditionally, families and friends gather in the evening to read the text of the Haggadah, an ancient work derived from the Mishnah. The Haggadah contains the narrative of the Israelite exodus from Egypt, special blessings and rituals, commentaries from the Talmud, and special Passover songs.

Seder customs include drinking four cups of wine, eating matzo, partaking of symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate, and reclining in celebration of freedom. The Seder is performed in much the same way by Jews all over the world. – wikipedia

Baby Judah

GOOD FRIDAY

“JESUS WEPT”

Why John 11? For the past several seasons of Lent, I have been meditating upon this account of three siblings: Martha, Mary and Lazarus of Bethany. In particular, John 11:35 has become a central passage for me to consider in self-reflection, because an artist learns very early that creativity demands boundaries and limits to thrive. When I began on my recent journey to illuminate the Four Holy Gospels for Crossway publishing’s celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, I needed to find a thematic boundary. I was so overwhelmed with the grand scale of the project that I chose this shortest passage in the Bible—“Jesus Wept”—and that decision has led to many discoveries along the way.

“Jesus Wept” is, to me, the most profound passage in the Bible. After I gave a recent lecture on this verse at Duke University, Richard Hays commented on my reflections: “The Incarnate Word of God stood wordless at Bethany.” Indeed, Jesus’ tears make no logical sense, as he came to Bethany with the specific mission to raise Lazarus from the grave. He told the disciples his mission (and why he intentionally delayed his arrival, knowing that Lazarus lay dying) and revealed to Martha that he was and is the “Resurrection and the Life.” So why did he, upon seeing the tears of Mary, waste his time weeping, when he could have shown his power as the Son of God by wiping away every tear, telling people like her, “Ye of little faith, believe in me!”?

In my reflections, this “irrational,” emotional response from Jesus became a central means to understand the role and even the necessity of art in the midst of suffering—what I have began to call our “Ground Zero” conditions. Art, like the tears of Christ, may seem useless, ephemeral and ultimately wasteful. But even though they evaporate into our atmosphere, the extravagant tears of God dropped on the hardened, dry soils of Bethany, or onto the ashes of our Ground Zero conditions, are still present with us. Because tears are ephemeral, they can be enduring and even permanent, as with “Jesus wept.” In the same way, perhaps our art can be so as well. What seems, at first, to be an irrational response to suffering may turn out, upon deep reflection, to be the most rational response of all.   –  Makoto Fujimura

Link – The Father’s Cup: The Crucifixion Narrative


Community

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.The Crucifixion of Jesus. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The Kingof the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they

Family

took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one foreach of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,“They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did. John 19:16-24

Confession

THE FOUR HOLY GOSPELS  

Charis – Kairos (The Tears of Christ)

Luke – Prodigal God

John – In the Beginning

Mark – Water Flames

Matthew – Consider the Lilies

SATURDAY

EASTER SUNDAY

HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

I heard a man say, “The importance of the Resurrection is that it gives evidence of survival, evidence that the human personality survives death.” On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men, the difference being that in Christ’s case we were privileged to see it happening. This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought.

Something perfectly new in the history of the Universe had happened. Christ had defeated death. The door which had always been locked had for the very first time been forced open. This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost- survival. On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion, Christ had had to assure them that He was not a ghost. The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection as something totally different and new.

The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the universe. Something new had appeared in the universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into “ghost” and “corpse”. A new mode of being has arisen. That is the story. What are we going to make of it?

– C.S. Lewis, “What are we to make of Jesus Christ?”

Sing it, o death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory?
O church, come stand in the light
Our God is not dead, He’s alive, He’s alive

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.  

Hebrews 6:19-20 ESV

Adonai  Elohim   The stone has been lifted from the grave

CELEBRATION

A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.

Proverbs 17:17  NLT

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

MONDAY REFLECTION

NAMES OF GOD

A faithful God who does no wrong

A forgiving God

A fortress of salvation

A glorious crown

A jealous and avenging God

A Master in heaven

A refuge for his people

A refuge for the needy in his distress

A refuge for the oppressed

A refuge for the poor

A sanctuary

A shade from the heat

A shelter from the storm

A source of strength

A stronghold in times of trouble

An ever present help in trouble

Architect and builder

Builder of everything

Commander of the Lord’s army

Creator of heaven and earth

Defender of widows

Eternal King

Father

Father of compassion

Father of our spirits

Father of the heavenly lights

Father to the fatherless

God

God Almighty (El Sabaoth)

God Almighty (El Shaddai)

God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

God Most High

God my Maker

God my Rock

God my Savior

God my stronghold

God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

God of all comfort

God of glory

God of gods

God of grace

God of hope

God of love and peace

God of peace

God of retribution

God of the living

God of the spirits of all mankind

God of truth

God our Father

God our strength

God over all the kingdoms of the earth

God the Father

God who avenges me

God who gives endurance and encouragement

God who relents from sending calamity

Great and awesome God

Great and powerful God

Great, mighty and awesome God

He who blots out your transgressions

He who comforts you

He who forms the hearts of all

He who raised Christ from the dead

He who reveals his thoughts to man

Helper of the fatherless

Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine

Him who is able to keep you from falling

Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead

Holy Father

Holy One

Holy One among you

I AM

I AM WHO I AM

Jealous

Judge of all the earth

King of glory

King of heaven

Living and true God

Lord (Adonai)

Lord Almighty

Lord God Almighty

Lord is peace

Lord (Jehovah)

Lord most high

Lord my banner

Lord my rock

Lord of all the earth

Lord of heaven and earth

Lord of Kings

Lord our God

Lord our Maker

Lord our shield

Lord who heals you

Lord who is there

Lord who makes you holy

Lord who strikes the blow

Lord will provide

Love

Maker of all things

Maker of heaven and earth

Most High

My advocate

My comforter in sorrow

My confidence

My help

My helper

My hiding place

My hope

My light

My mighty rock

My refuge in the day of disaster

My refuge in times of trouble

My song

My strong deliverer

My support

One to be feared

Only wise God

Our dwelling place

Our judge

Our lawgiver

Our leader

Our Mighty One

Our redeemer

Our refuge and strength

Righteous Father

Righteous judge

Rock of our salvation

Shepherd

Sovereign Lord

The Almighty

The compassionate and gracious God

The eternal God

The consuming fire

The everlasting God

The exalted God

The faithful God

The gardener (husbandman)

The glorious Father

The glory of Israel

The God who saves me

The God who sees me

The great King above all gods

The just and mighty one

The living father

The majestic glory

The majesty in heaven

The one who sustains me

The only God

The potter

The rock in whom I take refuge

The spring of living water

The strength of my heart

The true God

You who hear prayer

You who judge righteously and test the heart and mind

You who keep your covenant of love with your servants

You who love the people

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I love how God created us to be creative human beings. I love it when Christians use their creativity for the Kingdom. I was down at the First Friday artwalk at New City Studio looking at art and being inspired by some creative artists. Makoto Fujimura is an artist in New York that will be coming to New City church on Good Friday next year (which also happens to be the same night as the First Friday artwalk here in Phoenix). His work on the Four Holy Gospels has really inspired me. Check out this video about his work and how God is using him in the art world.

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HE IS RISEN!!!
Good Friday

Worship service in the Student center

Cornerstone hosted a Good Friday worship service. They held it at noon in the student center. What an amazing sight to see many come out on their lunch breaks to give thanks to the Father. Thanks to Ryan and Brain for putting this together.

Later that evening, we attended a Friday night service at Redemption church. It was a beautiful outdoor setting at the Gilbert campus. It was awesome to see 3000+ come out to worship under the stars and give thanks to God for giving His son to die on the cross for us. Pastor Justin spoke on how much God loves us to do this for us. I love the illustration he gave about God even giving His son despite those that reject and turn away from Him.

So what does life look like beyond Easter? When the busy week comes upon us, do we stray and forget about the cross? How do we live our life for Christ day in and day out so we don’t have to constantly live for high moments in order to correct our paths when we drift?

All church Friday night worship service at Redemption Gilbert campus

For Easter, Christin and I served at Cornerstone Saturday night. We met up with our mothers and attended service later that night. Cornerstone had this “Egg your City” theme in which they used eggs to help promote the Easter service. The cool thing is that they also challenged those that attended to “Change the World”. They asked if we would donate $15 to help clothe and feed a child in India. Cornerstone has a strategic partnership with Harvest India and there is a huge need to feed these orphan kids. The goal was to feed 2500 children. Between the 6 services, people stepped up and sponsored over 4300 children ($63,000). Praise God!

I loved how Pastor Linn tied in the feeding of the hungry with an Easter message. What we believe in is a big deal. Deep down our hearts are hungry for something and we look to the wrong things to fill us. The majority people in India are Hindu. In Hinduism, they believe in karma and this idea that we get reincarnated into something better in the next life if we live out our lives well. Well.. we need something more to satisfy our hunger because the result from us filling it with worldly stuff (accomplishments, relationships, etc) produces bad fruit like worry, anger and pride. These things will build a wall that will separate us from God. We need to make contact with God and let Him fill our hunger and deepest needs. Christ is the bread of life and if we believe, we will never go hungry or thirsty.

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval. John 6:2-27

Earth Day

Good Friday was also Earth Day. I saw it as a day to celebrate God’s creation and how we need to take care of it as inhabitants of this Earth.

Lent – Week 6

Final week of lent. I have really enjoyed using the resources of World Vision ACT:S as I participated in lent this year. The information they provided really got me in tune to the world and the need out there. God has really made my heart ache for those in poverty and how I can be used to be a voice for those that don’t have one. Please pray and consider how you can be an advocate and be a part of creating a modern-day book of Acts of living.

This is Romeo. He is one of many growing number of street kids that are roaming around Albania. His family left him and he was forced to live life on his own around the age of 12. He is often ignored by those passing by as he has to beg and steal in order to eat and live. There have been many times I have felt forgotten or left out. In fact, I have done this to God – forgotten about Him. Yet, God never leaves me and is always there. This gives me hope that we are never forgotten and that He will use us.

A great example is the shepherds in Luke 2: 8-11. Shepherds were forgotten people in their society back in biblical times. Yet God used them to spread the news to them of Jesus’ birth. How awesome is it that a great host of angels appeared to them that Christmas morning to proclaim the birth of Christ. God then used their excitement to spread the news to others. God will use anyone for His purposes.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 (NIV).  

Jesus came to this broken world to be one of us. Because of what He has done for us, we have the opportunity to partner with Him and be a light to those that know Him. Imagine if instead of ignoring a street child like Romeo that we give him food and shelter. What a way to impact someone who needs to see and know the love of Jesus. God has called us to be missional and to seek justice for His people. I want that for my life, to see the world the way Jesus did and to love on others the same way He has loved me.

May we bless the world with comfort. Comfort when a child is suffering and no parent can help, so that we may become the arms of a God who heals. Amen

May we bless the world with peace. Peace for the persecuted and those who struggle to provide, so that we may become the feet of a God who brings good news. Amen

May we bless the world with love. Love for the ones who only encounter the demons in others, so that we may become the heart of a God who feels every human affliction. Amen

May we bless the world with wisdom. Wisdom to pass wisdom, so that we may become the mind of a God whose dreams become reality with the breath of a word. Amen

And the blessing of God, who provides comfort, peace, love and wisdom, be upon us and all that we love and pray for this day, and forever more. Amen

Today marked the end of my 40 day only drinking water as a beverage campaign for Blood:Water Mission. This year it was a lot easier for me to give up my morning coffee. I either really don’t need it or God is really working in me. But this lent season was very impactful for me as it came at a time that God is refining and restoring me to be who He wants me to be. I am grateful for the prayers and support from everyone while using this time to learn more about myself and drawing closer to God. God is working!

Pumping a water well after dedicating it in India - a huge blessing for me!

The work that is being done in Uganda and others parts of the world have really been inspiring to me to learn more about water. I have always had a heart for these water wells and how they can provide clean water for an entire village for very little money. God has really taught me a lot through Blood:Water mission about how much water we waste here in America and how we take it for granted. From not drinking coffee and tea for 40 days, I saved $105 and I will be donating that money to help fund water projects in Uganda. Please read this inspiring story of how God is working in Uganda here.

Oh coffee. How I missed you..

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