Saturday, April 14, 2007

God's Way

To my loyal readers (all two of you), I want to apologize that I haven't written since Holy Week. I essentially took a break after Easter Sunday from my writing and preparing this blog.

Right now at Calhoun First UMC, we are talking about the future. These discussions in our Administrative Council and other committees have been going on for the past two years. We are trying to decide the best course of action for our future concerning our buildings. We are somewhat landlocked with only a couple of acres and very little parking, but we have good facilities where we are. So what is a congregation to do? Do we buy property elsewhere? Do we build where we are and pray for more parking? Do we do both?

Lately, my prayer is that whatever we do, we will do it "God's Way" and not according to human wisdom and business strategy. I think we Christians often do things our way because it is logical and makes sense instead of seeking God's Way which often times isn't the most efficient or logical. We do this in our personal lives as well as in the church.

Pray with me today that we would seek God's Way...whatever that may be in our various situations. Pray that God would give us the wisdom to recognize God's Way over our own.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Nearing the End of Lent

What a busy week it is this Holy Week. We had Lenten Lunches Monday through Wednesday at Noon. This morning, I went to two local radio stations in Calhoun - WEBS (1030 AM) and WJTH (900 AM) to talk about community Easter activities. Tonight, we will show The Passion of the Christ in the Christian Activities Center. Tomorrow, we will gather at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church for Good Friday worship. On Saturday, we will have our annual Easter Egg Hunt. And then....Easter...finally...the celebration we've been waiting for...with a Sunrise Service at 7:00 a.m. in the Chandler Cemetery and three morning worship services.

Yesterday during our Lenten Luncheon devotional, the Rev. Charles Gardner (Associate Pastor at Peachtree Road UMC in Atlanta) spoke about simplicity. I needed to hear his message during this busy season. The meals, the fasting, the prayers, the devotions, the Bible Studies, the movies, and everything associated with Lent all lead to one conclusion and one celebration - Jesus Christ gave His life on the cross for every human being and after dying, God raised Him from the dead. That's it. That's the life changing message we need not forget. Christ needs to be at the center of our hearts and lives this Easter.

I encourage you to take some time today for prayerfully listen to God. Read Scripture, turn off the noise, sit quietly, and center yourself on Christ.

May His grace and resurrection power transform each one of us!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Hope Inspired By The Resurrection

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” 1 Corinthians 15:17-20 (NRSV)

What if the resurrection was a hoax? What if God never raised Jesus from the dead? What if Jesus’ bones were buried in a grave in the Holy Land? These questions have been raised recently by a Discovery Channel documentary concerning a tomb that was discovered in Jerusalem. The tomb contained ossuaries (bone boxes) that were inscribed with the following names: Jesus son of Joseph, Mary, James the brother of Jesus, and one name that has been attributed to Mary Magdalene.

Several weeks ago when the program aired, I watched every minute of it along with the program that followed during which the creators of the documentary and other scholars debated the validity of the ossuaries. As I watched the program, I must say that my faith was not shaken in the least bit. While there are scholastic reasons which explain how the ossuaries are likely not those of the family of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, my personal experience of the living Christ and the truth of God’s Word are more than enough proof that Jesus is indeed alive.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is at the very core of our faith. The Apostle Paul explains clearly that if Jesus was never raised from the dead we are fools for wasting our time following a dead savior. If Jesus was never raised from the dead, we are still sinners doomed for Hell. If Jesus was never raised from the dead, our ancestors in the faith are also perishing in Hell. But the truth of the matter is that “Christ has been raised from the dead.” It is not for this life only that we have hope in Christ, but our eternity rests upon the power of the resurrection now at work in our lives.

The Christian message is unlike any other. We are saved by grace through faith in the living Christ. Through Jesus the living Savior, we have hope for tomorrow no matter what tomorrow brings. Through Jesus the living Savior, we will share as heirs with Christ in His eternal kingdom. Through Jesus the living Savior, the sting of death has been removed. Are you sharing this message of hope? Are you letting your neighbors know of your own experiences of the resurrected Christ?

As for those who believe that Jesus’ bones are in a grave and that the resurrection is a hoax, Paul also provides us with a clear explanation: For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18