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South Fellowship Church

Encountering Jesus

It’s My Turn | Luke 24:28-35

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when he encountered Jesus and was convinced of his resurrection, it not only turned the direction of his walking, it changed the trajectory of his life

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28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

 

Last week, I got all the way to work and realized I had forgotten my computer at home. While I only live two miles away from the church, the journey back and forth felt laborious. Like a waste of time – I was kicking myself. I wonder if that’s how Cleopas and his traveling companion felt. They had left Jerusalem under the guise that their once hoped for Messiah was dead. They believed that their longing for redemption would remain just that – a longing. They had returned home to get on with their life with their clothes wreaking of the stains of death and hopes dashed. They got home, only to be compelled to go back to Jerusalem.

It was in the place of despair that they encountered Jesus. However, for Cleopas, it wasn’t enough to remain in Emmaus and believe, he felt compelled to return to Jerusalem. The very hour he recognized Jesus, he picked up and walked the 7 miles back to Jerusalem. Cleopas’ journey back to Jerusalem was a turn toward resurrection hope. When he left Jerusalem earlier that same day, he walked home in sorrow and despair. However, when he encountered Jesus and was convinced of his resurrection, it not only turned the direction of his walking, it changed the trajectory of his life. His walk back to Jerusalem signified a journey back towards faith, hope, joy, and life. He was choosing to live in light of the resurrection – and he had to tell of the good news, because encountering Jesus changes everything!

The hope of resurrection compels action. It demands a turn – of our faith, hope, and life! Cleopas’ journey back to Jerusalem forces us to ask if there are any areas of our life that we have simply accepted death, pain, or loss, instead of turning to resurrection hope. We are invited to make the same turn Cleopas made. It doesn’t mean that God will raise the dead tomorrow, although Jesus’ resurrection declares that one day he will raise the dead. It means that God is still in the business of bringing beauty from ashes, joy from sadness, and hope from despair. He is still in the resurrection business and as his people we are called to walk toward resurrection hope and live resurrection empowered lives (Philippians 3:10). On Sunday, I used the phrase, “It’s my turn.” What turn do you sense God challenging you to make? It will probably mean journeying back to a place of brokenness or sadness with a renewed hope of resurrection. Take a step of faith and tell someone this week about your “turn.”[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Ryan Paulson 

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It’s My Turn | Luke 24:28-352017-04-21T05:00:52-06:00

Leaving Fullness | Luke 24:28-35

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He that eateth ever liveth, for the Bread of Life is He.  – Thomas Aquinas

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28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Here in America, the feeling of an empty distended stomach from malnutrition is pretty unusual. But, every kind of emptiness is common to the human condition. Loss and grief can make us feel empty too.  Feeling a lack of purpose, direction and relationship contribute to this emptiness.  As Thoreau said, “most men live lives of quiet desperation.”  Whatever the cause of the emptiness, the Bible often connects physical emptiness, with spiritual emptiness.

At least seven times in the New Testament Jesus breaks bread with his disciples (Matt.26:26, John 21:13, Luke 24:35, John 13:26, John 6:11, Mark 8:6, Matt 9:10). His hands, manners and practice of breaking must have become very familiar. John’s gospel establishes Jesus as the Bread of Life, associating the satisfaction of our spiritual emptiness with physical hunger.  And Jesus said to them, “I am the Bread of Life He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst”  (John 6:35). The breaking of bread in Emmaus was not a miraculous meal like that of the five loaves, nor a sacramental meal like that of the Passover celebration, but a common meal. It wasn’t until the two sat down in the evening to share a meal, to fill their empty stomachs, that their spiritual stomach digested all the stranger had told them earlier.  When the man (Jesus) broke the bread, they saw, they remembered, they were filled. The fullness of Christ’s knowledge and understanding so flooded their souls they immediately must have forgot their hunger, left the table and dashed to tell others!  He is risen! Jesus is alive!

Bread is the common staple, the common nourishment of all people.  Jesus death was for every tribe, language, people group and nation. Eating the bread offered on our behalf and partaking in Christ’s suffering when he emptied himself on the cross for our sins, brings us life and fullness, restoration and relationship with God the Father. There are two ways to deal with emptiness.  One can distract themselves and ignore their emptiness with endless business or pursue an appropriate solution.   If you feel a hunger inside or you feel empty, the truth is we’re not so much hungry for comfort food or leisure activities as we are empty of peace, purpose and wholeness.  These are the things that only Christ can satisfy as the Bread of Life. The bread Christ broken was broken for you.   Pray to be hungry for the word of God and be filled.  Intensify your appetite: pray, search the scriptures, watch his hands, follow his example with deeds of love and compassion. You see, we all have emptiness – but we need to make sure we are filled by the Eternal Bread which nourishes and satisfies.

 

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man
and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,
and I will raise him up on the last day. 
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 
As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father,
so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 
This is the bread that came down from heaven,
not like the bread the fathers ate, and died.
Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 
Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
-John 6:53-59

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By Donna Burns 

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Leaving Fullness | Luke 24:28-352017-04-20T05:00:51-06:00

Leaving Joy | Luke 24:13-35

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The thrill of learning and the timber of Jesus’ voice makes us long for more

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Listening isn’t as easy as we think, especially in the culture surrounding and pervading us today.  There are so many things vying for our attention, from our cell phones to the cool widget the person standing in line ahead of us is focused on.  From every direction, we experience the information age.  While there really isn’t an excuse for not listening to our friends, family, and even strangers, it’s a wonder any information makes it into our memory!

But, in the time of the first Easter, it was far from the flood of information we put up with today, which should make us wonder why these two men didn’t have a grasp of the Scriptures Jesus referred to.  While they heard what was said to them, both by Jesus during their time together as well as the truth they may have learned at Synagogue, it wasn’t written on their hearts.  The words they remembered had no depth of meaning, and they failed to recognize what the Messiah truly was.  Their head knowledge hadn’t quite made the journey to their heart.

They’re able to experience delight once again as Jesus speaks to them from Moses and the prophets!  I remember in days’ past lessons taught which caused my heart to leap and burn within my chest.  The excitement I felt is what, in my imagination, these men experienced as they walked the path to Emmaus.  The dust from the trail and the heat from the sun were unregistered.  The thrill of their learning and the timber of Jesus’ voice as he taught them makes them long to continue as they arrive.  Their hearts were burning as they listened to Jesus emboss their hearts with his words.  As you listen to King of My Heart, read Psalm 119:1-8 and let the Holy Spirit knit the Words of God to your heart.

Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
who seek him with their whole heart,
who also do no wrong,
but walk in his ways!
You have commanded your precepts
to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
I will praise you with an upright heart,
when I learn your righteous rules.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me!

Psalms 119:1-8

           

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By Rich Obrecht 

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Leaving Joy | Luke 24:13-352017-04-19T05:00:19-06:00

Leaving Clarity | Luke 24:13-27

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While we don’t have Jesus to teach us the Scriptures face-to-face, we’ve been given the gift of the Holy Spirit who can help us along the way as we read God’s word

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13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

 

“You never listen to me!” A phrase we hear many times. Sure, we were looking at the person while they were talking and heard their voice, but we didn’t listen.  If asked what was just said, we’d have to fumble around with words, trying very hard to remember, all the while trying to look like we really knew what they said. But, it’s really hard to fool someone when they know we didn’t listen.  Perhaps this is what Jesus was thinking when he joined the men on their walk to Emmaus.

After Cleopas’ emotive response to Jesus’ questions about what happened in Jerusalem, Jesus responds by saying, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart.” He seems struck with frustration because these guys were part of his group of disciples. Since they were able to recount the tomb discovery fairly accurately, we can safely believe they were around Jesus during his teachings and while they walked from place to place.  They sat at his feet.  And, just like the reactions of those who know we heard but didn’t really listen, Jesus laced them with some rather harsh words.  But, perhaps unlike those we don’t listen to, he didn’t stop there.  It seems there’s a lesson for us to learn about helping those around us know and understand what we say to them.

As they continued walking to Emmaus, Jesus recounted the Scriptures once again, beginning with Moses and all the prophets, educating them about the things they witnessed in Jerusalem.  While we don’t have Jesus to teach us the Scriptures face-to-face, we’ve been given the gift of the Holy Spirit who can help us along the way as we read God’s word.  In Genesis 12:1-3, we have a stronghold of faith and one of the early pivotal messages highlighting the story that the Bible encompasses.  This passage describes God’s calling to Abram (to be renamed Abraham later) to another land, and the promises for Abram’s faith.  Read the passage, and consider just how vast and far reaching God’s promises are.

 

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred
and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you
and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse,
and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
– Genesis 12:1-3

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By Rich Obrecht 

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Leaving Clarity | Luke 24:13-272017-04-18T05:00:13-06:00

Cheering/Jeering | Isaiah 55:9

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IMPASSIONED people want to make their feelings crystal clear

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Read Isaiah 55:9

During Jesus’ three years of ministry, there were many people watching with a myriad of opinions and perspectives about who he was, what he did, and why he came. Rumors began to spread throughout the land, but this should be no surprise. When influential or celebrity figures come unto the public scene in society, we’re bombarded with opinions and perspectives on the news, on the radio, and on social media. Some people cheer in support. Some people jeer in opposition. And many impassioned people want to make their feelings crystal clear.

The same thing happens when Jesus shows up amongst the crowds near Jericho. This particular day, Jesus encounters two outcasts of society – the blind beggar and the tax collector. After stopping to respond to the dirty, smelly beggar and restoring his eyesight, Jesus stops to respond to the high-and-mighty, cheater of a tax collector and sits down to eat with him. Both encounters startle the onlookers – some with eyes twinkling in amazement, some with furrowed brow. Our hearts respond like the crowds in this story more often than we realize. We cheer when Jesus heals our wounds and we celebrate the times when Jesus opens our eyes to the truth.

But, we also sometimes jeer when Jesus is surprisingly alive and near to those in poverty or in the upper echelons of society. If not because of socio-economic status, we also jeer at the times when Jesus is more gracious than we think he should be or more forgiving than we want him to be. In these times, we’ll need to surrender our opinions and perspectives to the One whose “ways [are] higher than our ways and [whose] thoughts [are higher] than our thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).

Reflection and Response

What are you passionate about? When was the last time you became overwhelmed with enthusiasm for another person’s spiritual growth? Think about someone in your circle you could encourage with a note, a phone call or a celebration of their transformation.

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By Yvonne Biel 

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Cheering/Jeering | Isaiah 55:92017-04-17T10:30:36-06:00

Leaving Jerusalem | Luke 24:13-27

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Do you believe God’s plan might include pain, sorrow, or death, to perhaps bring something new to life?

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13 That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. 21 But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

 

Imagine journeying toward the big city anticipating a week of festivities with beautiful parades, music in the streets, delicious foods, seeing old friends and distant relatives. Then, when you arrive, the air is buzzing with excitement. Everywhere you turn, Jewish families are gathering to celebrate Passover together. But this year is like no other. Rumor has it there’s a king in town. Opinions and emotions are running at an all-time high. The hot topic of conversation around every meal and the muffled whispers around the streets revolve around one man – a man called Jesus.

As far as you can tell, this Jesus carries a weight of authority, a purity of spirit, an uncommon presence of glory. Being near him and hearing his stories feels like a bubble of heaven on earth. With every miraculous story you hear, hope presses further in on the walls of your heart. Could this really be him? The long-awaited Messiah here to save. Yet, by the week’s end, your hope completely deflates as Jesus is proclaimed dead on the cross. Your heart feels like a shriveled up balloon. Disappointed. Discouraged. Defeated. Now that the festivities are over, what else are you to do? With your back toward Jerusalem, you decide to return to your everyday life. But, instead of fullness and gratitude for an amazing week in Jerusalem, confusion and grief settles in, and hope has all but disappeared.

Perhaps, you can relate if you’ve ever gotten your hopes up for something only to have them come crashing down. If you’ve ever hoped God would come through with a mighty force to set things right only to feel crushed because he didn’t move in the way you wanted him to. After such an event, what do you do? How do you respond? Do you walk away from the situation, the prayer, or the challenge discouraged, defeated, and ready to settle for a sad state of life, or do you keep on believing that God’s ways are higher and his ways are good? Do you believe he has a plan and his plan might include the pain, it might include the sorrow, it might include the death, to perhaps bring something new to life? These are the questions facing the young disciples as they left Jerusalem that day and they are the questions facing us every time we experience loss or disappointment. Take a few moments to reflect on a time when your hope was tested or you found yourself away from hope and life. Express in writing how you felt during that time but also what developed within you as a result.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Yvonne Biel 

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Leaving Jerusalem | Luke 24:13-272017-04-17T05:00:25-06:00

Hanging on His Word | Psalm 1

[vc_row height=”small” el_class=”dailyBody” css=”.vc_custom_1465516518912{margin-top: -25px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/4″][us_image image=”30928″ size=”tnail-1×1″][ultimate_heading main_heading_color=”#5fc8d7″ sub_heading_color=”#5fc8d7″ alignment=”left” main_heading_font_family=”font_family:Allerta|font_call:Allerta” main_heading_style=”font-style:italic;” main_heading_font_size=”desktop:16px;” sub_heading_style=”font-style:italic;,font-weight:bold;” sub_heading_font_size=”desktop:16px;” main_heading_line_height=”desktop:15px;” sub_heading_line_height=”desktop:22px;” margin_design_tab_text=””]We WAIT – “hanging onto his WORDS” just like all those who have gone before us[/ultimate_heading][us_separator height=”20px” size=”custom”][us_sharing providers=”email,facebook,twitter,gplus”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

Read Psalm 1

Imagine waking up the day after a major crisis. The sounds of life fall silent and your heart feels heavy – as if gravity is pulling extra hard. Only days prior, your heart was full of hope for the future, having confidence in words of truth, words of life, and words of hope. But today, it’s as if all that comes crashing down. What happens on those days when your heart is heavy and you’re at a loss for words? What happens when one day feels like the longest journey you’ve ever taken or a never-ending route of despair? What happens when your expectations are shattered and your hopes end in disappointment?

The same weighty emotions would have been stirred up within Jesus’ disciples the morning after the gruesome execution. Jesus was gone. Only days prior, Jesus arrived in Jerusalem and their hearts filled with wonder and anticipation. Theirs months overflowed with praise and blessing. Although religious leaders were out to kill Jesus, Jesus remained alive because his followers “hung on his words” (Luke 19:48). Perhaps the religious leaders were afraid of the crowds but more likely they feared the power behind Jesus’ supremely simple yet revolutionary words.

But that day, the disciples realized Jesus was gone. What some didn’t realize was that there was still something to cling onto. They’ve always had his words. We, too, have Jesus’ words. We may not be able to live and follow Jesus in a tangible way like first his disciples. We may not be able to see him face-to-face or sit down with him over coffee, but that was never his intention. Jesus came to do the will of his Father in heaven. He came to die in our place. He came to set us free. Now, in the same way, we cling to his words by faith. And, we wait. We wait – like the disciples on Holy Saturday, for the completed promise of resurrection. We wait – on the good days and the bad days, the ones filled with joy and laughter as well as the ones filled with sorrow and mourning. We wait – “hanging onto his words” just like all those who have gone before us.

Reflection and Response

Imagine what it would have been like to be a disciple the day after the crucifixion. How would you feel? What would you be telling your soul?

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By Yvonne Biel 

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Hanging on His Word | Psalm 12017-04-15T05:00:30-06:00

Cleansing the Temple | Hebrews 9:12

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JESUS marched into the High Temple, stood in our place, defeated our Enemy, and purchased our freedom!

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Read Hebrews 9:12

Jesus walked into the temple. It was a place he had been many times before. As a child, he was found by his parents, sitting at the feet of the Rabbis. It was a place Jesus often found comfort and communion with his Father. However, the corruption in the temple had reached an ultimate high – so much so Jesus referred it as a “den of robbers.” When he entered the temple this time, he did so with a different mission. Instead of coming into the temple to pray or learn, he came to cleanse it! In leading up to his crucifixion, Jesus was redeeming the sacred space that had been designed for people to worship God. He was taking back ground what had been stolen by the Enemy – he was confronting coercion and bringing freedom.

This temple scene foreshadowed the redemption he would purchase on the cross. The week before his death he cleared the temple, but on the cross he would clear away the guilt of humanity. When Jesus cleanses the earthly temple, he braids a whip a forcefully removes the wrong (Matthew 21:12). When he enters the heavenly temple to cleanse our sin, he does so by the shedding of his own blood. Hebrews 9:12 clearly states, “[Jesus] entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” The cleansing Jesus provides through his blood is not temporary – it’s eternal and complete. The sin that had once separated humanity from God is now forever destroyed and completely eliminated.

In both stories – the temple and the cross – Jesus is performing a cleansing act. In the temple, he is confronting systemic evil and manipulation, and on the cross he’s addressing the deeper issue that stands behind every evil and injustice – sin. In the temple cleaning, Jesus defeats the powers robbing people of their money. On the cross, Jesus defeats the Enemy who came to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). Both cleanings position people to receive the life from God he intends for them to live in. It can be hard to trust that we’ve been completely cleansed, but that’s what Jesus sacrifice on this Good Friday accomplished. By his death and resurrection, he marched into the High Temple, stood in our place, defeated our Enemy, and purchased our freedom!

Reflection and Response

Jesus cleansed the temple because guilt needed to be wiped away. Jesus went to the cross because sin needed to be atoned for. As you look at your life, what guilt do you need cleansed? What sin do you need to turn from? Use this space to confess your sin before God.

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By Ryan Paulson 

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Cleansing the Temple | Hebrews 9:122017-04-14T05:00:34-06:00

Weeping for Jerusalem

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Jesus wept for LOST dreams while also holding a NEW dream inside

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Read Matthew 23:37-39

Some parents may understand the reason for Jesus’ weeping. When first you hold your newborn baby, your heart fills with how precious they are your sight and in the sight of God. You can’t help but begin to wonder what your child will become when they grow up. The dreams begin. Then, sometimes, the child you held in your arms so many years ago, begins to make life decisions that lead down dark paths. Parents’ hearts fill with hardship and pain as the dreams they once held slip away. Grief sets in and the weeping comes.

As Jesus looks around, his dream for Jerusalem and his call for the Israelites had been lost. They had left their first love and moved to the periphery of worship and obedience. Everything done was external, for everyone to see, with little change being consummated within their souls. Much like Amos 5:21-24, their feasts, sacrifices, and offerings, seemed to be a means of worshiping God, but they were empty, void of relationship with God. Instead, religious activity became worthless and Jesus knew justice would rolled down on them like a flood.

There were many times God redeemed the Israelites back to himself after they cried out for forgiveness and deliverance from their lack of obedience. God’s heart was for the people of Israel, but their heart ultimately wasn’t for God. Now, as Jesus stands looking out toward Jerusalem, this chapter of God’s overall plan was closing and another was about to begin. The church, the Body of Christ, was soon to burst upon Earth. Jesus wept for lost dreams while holding a new dream inside. Although the people of Israel may have walked down a dark path and away from God’s intended plan, Jesus’ dreams didn’t stop for them, just like parents’ dreams don’t stop for their children either.

Reflection and Response

Take a few minutes to reflect on dreams you’ve lost. How does it feel to let go of something you were hoping for? Let yourself imagine what Jesus might have felt like to walk into Jerusalem and have to let go of his dreams for his children, his nation, and his city.

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By Rich Obrecht 

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Weeping for Jerusalem2017-04-13T05:00:56-06:00

Silencing the Rebuke | Psalm 19

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The entire UNIVERSE sees the glory of Jesus and is WILLING to worship

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Read Psalm 19

There seems to be only one group of people Jesus struggles with during his ministry. Here again, we see that group, the Pharisees, rebuking Jesus for letting people worship him. It’s easy to dismiss these religious leaders as ignorant but if we’re honest, we might’ve been one of them in their situation. It was their responsibility to protect the religious beliefs of the Israelites. They saw what happened to Israel when they didn’t obey God and they felt it was their duty to keep people on track. Now, here comes a man named Jesus letting people worship him. Although, the Pharisees were waiting for the Messiah, this guy didn’t fit their expectations.

All they do is point out how wrong it was for Jesus to allow the people to worship him. They were trying to prevent idolatry. The only problem was, Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus was God and he absolutely deserved the praise. Jesus tells them “the rocks would cry out” if the people didn’t worship him. Jesus was not only the king of the Jews, he was a cosmic king worthy of praise from every sector of the universe. Jesus was the God spoken about in Psalm 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.” The entire universe sees the glory of Jesus and is willing to worship when these religious leaders completely missed.

Throughout scripture we find stories of creation declaring the glory of God while people miss his glory. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to let my pride or missed expectations blind me from this incredible person of Jesus. May I never be so religious that I can’t see God. Let us be humble enough to declare what the heavens and earth declare every day, that JESUS IS LORD.

Reflection and Response

Listen to “All Creatures of Our God and King” by All Sons and Daughters and use this space to reflect on how nature sings Jesus’ praise.

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By Aaron Bjorklund 

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Silencing the Rebuke | Psalm 192017-04-12T05:00:44-06:00
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