Showing posts from April, 2014

Worship Helps for Easter 3

Worship Theme: Hope Restored. The certain hope of eternal life with God is founded on the sacrificial death and victorious resurrection of Christ. God had promised this ancient hope in the Garden at the dawn of time. God had carried this ancient hope in his Word through the ages. How did the disciples fail to anticipate the resurrection? How did the teachers and people of Israel fail to see the Messiah God had promised and delivered? They let their wants and cultural expectations color their view of Scripture, and hope was lost. But God restored this ancient hope by raising Jesus from the dead and pointing his people back to his promises.
Old Testament:Acts 24:10-21 When the governor motioned for him to speak, Paul replied: "I know that for a number of years you have been a judge over this nation; so I gladly make my defense. 11 You can easily verify that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship. 12 My accusers did not find me arguing with anyone at the templ…

Endurance of the Cross

Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. At one point early in Julius Caesar’s political career, feelings ran so high against him that he thought it best to leave Rome. He sailed for the Aegean island of Rhodes, but en route the ship was attacked by pirates and Caesar was captured. The pirates demanded a ransom of 12,000 gold pieces, and Caesar’s staff was sent away to arrange the payment. Caesar spent almost 40 days with his captors, jokingly telling the pirates on several occasions that he would someday capture and crucify them to a man. The kidnappers were greatly amused, but when the ransom was paid and Caesar was freed, the first thing he did was gather a fleet and pursue the pirates. They were captured and crucified ... to a man! This was the Romans’ attitude toward crucifixion. It was to be reserved for the worst of cr…

Peace at the cross

Colossians 1:19-20 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Ashes on a sackcloth banner. Nail pins on the lapel. Refusing to sing Alleluias. Stripping of the altar. There is a note of sobriety and somberness about the Lenten season. And that is as it should be. The liturgical silences and the somber worship of Lent serve to underscore the profound tragedy of our sin and the awesome penalty that sin exacted: the very death of God! But the somberness of this season is tinged in victory. For the cross is not merely an emblem of suffering and shame, but the image of victory and triumph. The cross is not actually an emblem of defeat, but the sign of conquest. The cross, in of itself, to be sure, wasn’t much. In fact, it wasn’t worth anything. And crucifixion victims were a dime a dozen to the Roman soldiers. Life was chea…

Maundy Thursday worship tonight at 6:30 pm

Today begins the Triduum – “three holy days” connected into a single service. These three days mark the climax of the Christian Year – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. Together they form a unit. Therefore at the end of our worship this evening, there is no blessing or postlude. The service will continue tomorrow at 1:00 pm with the Good Friday Service of the Cross and at 6:30 pm with the Good Friday Tenebrae Service (Service of Darkness). The Triduum concludes with the Easter Vigil at 8:00 pm on Saturday as we host a vigil waiting for Christ to rise from His grave.
Tonight’s worship is at 6:30 pm as we consider the Peace we find at Jesus’ cross. Tomorrow we behold Jesus’ Endurance at the cross. All so that we can rejoice in Jesus’ Triumph at the cross on Easter morning.

Worship Helps for Easter Sunday

Christ Is Risen!  He Is Risen Indeed! The Resurrection of Our Lord After forty days of repentance and prayer, the Church bursts forth in jubilant praise at the Resurrection of our Lord. The alleluias and glorias which were muted for Lent ring out again as the Bride of Christ welcomes her Bridegroom back from the dead. Easter is the pinnacle of the Church Year, the oldest festival and season celebrated by the worshipping Church. For a full week-of-weeks (49 days) the Church celebrates the resurrection of Christ on the Sundays of Easter which culminate on the 50th day, Pentecost.
Worship Theme: Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Sinners should fear God. Sinners ought to die for their wickedness. The grave should be the place of ultimate defeat for mankind. Yet on this day, the Second Adam did all that the first had left undone. Bearing our guilt and suffering our verdict, the Son of Man died, but three days later he rose in glory. As a result, fear is gone, mankind is redeemed, and Chri…

The Resurrection

As we focus on Christ’s triumph over the grave, I can’t imagine a better work of art to write about this Easter than the triumphant image of “The Resurrection,” by Ron DiCianni.
Ron began his work in commercial illustration. He quickly became recognized as one of the nation’s most talented illustrators. Ron’s client list was soon dominated by prominent companies like Eli Lilly and McDonald’s. He was chosen as the 1980 Official Olympic illustrator and is considered one of the most successful illustrators of his generation.
Ron has also created the artwork for book covers for some of the most-renowned Christian authors of our time – Max Lucado, Frank Peretti, and others. His most famous work is called “Spiritual Warfare” and has sold tens of millions of prints globally.
Ron considers himself “a Christian cleverly disguised as an artist.” His self-stated mission is to “Reclaim the Arts for Christ.” He was commissioned by the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, TX to create a mural after exper…

The humility of the cross

Philippians 2:8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!
In the center of the crowd gathered on Golgotha’s hill, two burly Roman soldiers hold Jesus’ arms to the rough wooden beam. Another holds His legs. The beams are being reused and so they are already stained with dried blood. Now those beams are being stained with new, fresh blood. Every time Jesus moves, more blood pours from His open wounds. His back is screaming with pain after it has been shredded by the brutal scourging that took place only a few hours earlier. A Roman centurion approaches with a hammer and nails. The nails are about eight inches long, thick, with large flat heads, and specially made for this purpose. Like the crosses, they have been reused many times. The hammer blows are hard and efficient. The nail rips straight through Jesus’ hand and embeds itself deep in the wood. Compounding the agony of the injury, the nail sever the median nerve t…