Day 4 | Happy Easter!
Last Sunday I had the opportunity to speak on Jesus' arrest. I knew it was Palm Sunday, but they had already had that message so, I had to come up with something else. I kept asking God, "What direction do you want me to go with this?" He answered with a video from Igniter Media entitled, "No Other King!"
As that ran through my head I was like, "yes that's it." There is no other King.
Culture likes to tell us there are. Think about it - who's the king of rock and roll? Elvis Presley.
Who's won 200 races, the Daytona 500 seven times, is still considered the most accomplished driver in Nascar history, and nicknamed The King? Richard Petty.
Who's won 3 NBA Championships, 3x NBA Finals MVP, 4x NBA Most Valuable Player, 15x NBA All Star, 2x Mr. Basketball, and is considered one of the best basketball players of all time? If you're thinking like I am, of course it's Michael Jordan. But no, that's not who I'm talking about. His accomplishments are so many I don't have room for them all, and his nickname is LeBron "King" James.
All of these individuals are cultural kings, but there's one like no other. One who is different.
Luke 22:47-53 describes him like this. "But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. But Jesus said, "Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?"
When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, "Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!" And one of them struck at the high priest's slave, slashing off his right ear.
But Jesus said, "No more of this." And He touched the man's ear and healed him.
Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. "Am I some dangerous revolutionary," He asked, "That you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn't you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns."
Jesus stood and took the betrayl of one of his own followers, a friend who had been with him in ministry. He rebuked his disciples for slashing off an enemy's ear. Then, Jesus healed the enemy. He let darkness have it's moment, because in 3 days He would conquer death. Who does this? Only one King - Jesus!
As I watched the video they described this One King:
"He breaks the dominion of darkness and the tyranny of evil with a reign of grace and kingdom of peace. He is the King of Glory, the Son of God, Yahweh himself. He is more loving. He is more holy. He reversed the curse, and there is No Other King who could give up His life." - Igniter Media (No Other King)
As you celebrate Easter, may you realize there is No Other King!
Written by Rob Roozeboom, RISE Ministries
Day 3 | New Purpose
In the mid 19th century there was a clothing tailor named, Jacob Davis.
Jacob worked near a busy mining community during the height of the gold rush.
The miners were bringing Jacob their ripped up garments to be repaired on such a consistent basis that Jacob knew that there had to be a more durable material somewhere.
While visiting a dry goods company owned by Levi Strauss, Jacob stumbled upon a spool of material that was exclusively used for tent making. Jacob purchased this material and began to work on a concept that included rivets, pockets and a material blend that would soon be known throughout the world as denim.
The famous Levi denim jeans exist today, all because tent material was given a new purpose. That’s what East is all about! A new life in Jesus!
When we encounter Jesus and turn from our sin and commit our lives into the Fathers hands. God not only gives us a transformed mind(Romans 12:2) and new heart(Ezekiel 36:26). God also gives you and me a new purpose.
Remember when Jesus called Andrew and Simon to follow Him as they were casting their nets and fishing . Jesus said “come follow me and I will send you out to fish for people.”
God re-purposed my life:
When I(Tim Byrne) became a Christian at the age of 20 and turning Pro for skateboarding the following year. My life and skateboarding were turned upside down. My only desire was to use my skateboarding and my fame/influence to point people to Jesus.
I’m still doing this today after all these years.
I’ve shared the Gospel with over one million people. Our “Skatechurch” in Portland, OR has around 700 inner city skaters that come in the park throughout the year, and they hear the gospel too. God is faithful!!!!
The reason why the Bible is the bestselling and most circulated book in history and why we hear and come to experience God’s grace and forgiveness through Jesus.
Is simply because, God gives us new purpose and hope, and sends us out to tell others.
“God, please reveal to me this Easter those that are in my life that need to hear about you. Give me boldness and courage to share your love with them today. Thank you Jesus.
Written by Tim Byrne, Pro Skateboarder
Day 2 | Good Friday
Here we are once again coming up on the “Super Bowl” of the Christian faith. The entire reason why we do what we do is about to be celebrated this weekend. We’ll get together with extended family, friends, and our congregations to rejoice in Jesus’ resurrection. But before we get there, before we get to the mountain peak, we have to go through the valley. We have to remember the history of THIS day as well. Because without Good Friday, what happens Sunday, is meaningless.
1 Peter 2:22-24 says, “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.
Jesus himself declared “It is finished” in the moment he died. His body was laid in a tomb. Stone rolled shut to seal his fate. Death. Cold. Darkness. This is what the followers of Jesus experienced on this “Good” Friday. What’s worse is not only the fact that this happened to our savior but it happened BECAUSE of US. OUR sin. OUR poor wickedness. OUR rebellion made this weekend absolutely essential if we could ever hope to be reconciled with our creator. Thank God this is not where the story ends! This day ends. So will the next and so will the one after that. And then, OUR JESUS COMES ALIVE ONCE AGAIN!
I love the song “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us” and recently found a version by the husband and wife duo Out of the Dust. I love his reasoning why they chose to play this song in the beginning of the video. I hope you enjoy it on this Good Friday and can find some time to reflect on how deep God’s love really is for us.
Written by Lee Stover, RISE Ministries
Day 1 | Maundy Thursday
Matthew 4:1-2: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” For those of us who have read this Scripture before, we know the rest of the story. The Devil tries to tempt Jesus into following him, Jesus rebuffs him with the words of Deuteronomy followed by commanding Satan to depart from Him, and angels then attend to Christ. It is really a fascinating and amazing testimony of the power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But why bring it up now that Easter is almost upon us? Why now at the end of the Lenten season? Shouldn't we be talking about the Resurrection?
Well, in a way, we are. For those of us who grew up in the Church, and even some of us who haven’t, we are familiar with the the season of Lent. The time of year where, for 40 days, Christians all over the world prepare themselves for Easter through prayer, fasting, and repentance of their sin, which we do to celebrate the coming of Christ who gives us purity through His sacrifice. Already, we should have some idea of why we are looking at Jesus in the desert, for there is a direct parallel: Jesus spent 40 days fasting and rebuking the Devil; we have just spent 40 days fasting and repenting of our sin. As you can see, the number “40” plays a significant part in the Lenten Season.
But then, I suppose we are left with another question. Why 40 days specifically? Well, the answer to this question is quite fascinating. As I mentioned above, Jesus uses the words of Scripture, specifically Deuteronomy, to rebuff the Devil’s temptations. This is not by chance but by choice. In a way only God can do, Jesus is making an intentional connection with not only the words of Deuteronomy, but also the actions of those in the Old Testament. In other words, Jesus spending 40 days in the desert is significant as he is commemorating the actions of God’s chosen people in the Old Testament.
For example, how long did the Israelites spend wandering the desert? 40 years. “That’s fine”, you may think to yourself, “But that’s just a coincidence”. Well, allow me to point out other fascinating facts. If we were to read Genesis 7:4, we see that during the time of Noah, it would rain for 40 days and 40 nights. The purpose of which was to purify the earth of sin, which also just so happens to be the purpose of Jesus. The parallels between Jesus and the Old Testament should be starting to intrigue you right now.
But wait, there’s more. As it says in Deuteronomy 9:18, we see that Moses fasts for 40 days and nights, in order to appease the Lord after Israel’s sin. In Exodus 24:18, Moses spent 40 days and nights in the presence of the Lord. In Jonah 3:4, we see that Jonah tells the people of Nineveh that they would be overthrown in 40 days, unless they repent of their sin against the Lord.
And at this point you may be asking, “This is all fascinating, but what’s the purpose of knowing this?” Well, all of these examples have something in common. In all of them, the number 40 is associated with temptation, sin, fasting, repentance, and purification, which if you recall is the exact purpose of Lent itself! In other words, in a fascinating way that only God can ordain, Lent is not just a time of remembrance and preparation. Lent is a literal connection through all of time to our Christian forbearers. Lent is a season where we realize that though we sin, God will be and has always been faithful to us! So I hope that, as we celebrate Christ's death and resurrection, lent was not just a “law” to be observed, but Lent has been a time where we see God’s plan unfolding from generation to generation. I pray that the actions we have taken this season, repentence, fasting, self-reflection, would not end with the celebration of Easter, but would carry on throughout the year as a testament to Christ's Sacrifice for us.
Written by Pastor Jesse Lee Walhof, Living Water Community Church - Sheldon