Recently, I found out that April is Donate Life Month. This causes us all to remember once again that millions of people are donors and also look at and communicate with the millions of popele that are still alive today because of donors and the sacrifices they gave. Perhaps you know of someone who was a donor or perhaps you have been the recipient of a donor's sacrifice. We are grateful for that sacrifice and grateful that you are here with us today.
What greater thing can we donate then the human body? It may seem strange at first to think of someone else using your eyes, heart, and other body parts. But in the end, it is a continuation, not of your life, but a continuation of your organs to continue someone else's life. Part of you is carried on in someone else when you become a donor. What an amazing thought?
In the month of April, we also get to celebrate and remember the life of someone else, someone who is far greater than any human being. We get to celebrate the life of Jesus Christ as it flows through each of us because of his death on the cross. Jesus, however, did not just donate his body and blood. He didn't just sign a piece of paper that said that when he died, his organs would go to someone else. No, instead, he willingly gave of himself for us. He knew from the very beginning of his life that he would have to suffer and die on the cross. And in his death, he gave us life.
Again, what an amazing thought! What great love and sacrifice was shown on Good Friday as he willingly gave up his spirit and died for each of us. As Christians, we now carry a part of him with us as we continue. We have the opportunity to share part of that love with others. What a great responsibility!
The reaction some have when understanding that a complete stranger donated parts of their body to them is sometimes overwhelming for the recipient. All seem to have tremendous gratitude for what they have been given, an opportunity on behalf of someone else to continue to live their life. How much more as Christians should we have gratitude for the one who gave us life and gave us continuous eternal life?
I pray that not only during this month as we remember donors and recipients, but all throughout the year, we remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for all of us. Without him we would be dead, just like the recipients of organ donors would be. With him, we have the opportunity for new life. It's a life that can be rich, abundant, and overwhelming when you realize the great gift we have all been given. May we openly express our gratitude to the one who has given us new life and may we share our stories of salvation in him with others.
The Wheeled Worshipper
For the month of May, and into June we are going to be looking in our morning messages at the book of Revelation. We are going to be studying the first five chapters which include the letters, or messages really, to the seven churches, the view of the throne, the scroll and the lamb. We will return in the future for many of the other chapters, but for our first series it is good for us to get reacquainted with this book that holds so much mystery and yet so much majesty.
An item of note to notice that nearly everyone forgets about this book, there is no 's' on the end. It isn't Revelations, it is Revelation. The singular vision in multiple pieces given to John the Apostle. Second, the book is heaven's view of events on earth. Not reverse. So often we try to frame everything in Revelation as this historical event points to this verse and so on. No. Heaven's view is what we have to keep in mind.
Third, it is very good for us to remember that Revelation is a book of cycles. This is ahrd for us to grasp because in the West we think of everything very linear. Today, tomorrow, and onward. But the eastern mind, the one given to John doesn't work that way. The eastern mind thinks in circles or a better word is cycles.
This is what we see over and over in Revelation. The same stories are told from multiple heavenly perspectives. This is evident in the reading of the whole book which the first chapters barely touch, but this is a good time to be reminded of the pattern of through in the book of Revelation.
Lastly, we need to always have in mind of the purpose for this book being written. Revelation was written to remind us again, that the chosen, perfect, sacrificed, risen and ascended lamb, who is Jesus Christ, is presently sitting on his throne in Glory advancing the kindgom of heaven forward until it touches the earth again.
In order that, we would be gathered as his people in soul and body to dwell with him in the new heavens and the new earth. We have to be ready for this coming day every day. These are the points Revelation holds before us, to remind again and again, that God is still at work bringing his glory.
Glory that he has already purchased with his blood according to Revelation 1:5 which reads, "he loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father - to him by glory and power forever and ever!"
This is the purpose of our study; to be mindful of the fact that our freedom in Christ came at a great cost. It came with the shedding of blood. We have to remember blood and sacrifice is the whole of our faith; faith in Jesus Christ; the greatest willing warrior who ever lived, died, rose, and is coming again. You and I are already freed by the blood of the lamb! Praise God!
1. Take 15 minutes to examine your heart level for God's love, is it overflowing or not?
2. Invite yourself to be available for people.
3. Pray for someone you have never prayed for before.
4. Sit down and do devotions at mealtime every night this week.
5. Make yourself available to participate here.
He Accepts & Adopts us into His family!
He seeks what is Best and Beautiful for us.
He Created you to Cherish you!
He Dearly loves you.
He is your greatest Encourager!
He Forgives, and Frees you from sin!
He Gets what you are going through!
He Helps and Holds you in His Hands!
He Intercedes for you!
He is Just!
He Knows! everything about you!
He Loves to Love you!
You Matter to him!
He wants to Nurture you!
He has Opened heaven for you!
He Pursues you!
He alone has Qualified you for heaven!
He Rescues you!
He Strengthens, Shields & Sees you!
He wants to Transform you!
He Upholds and Understands you!
He Values you!
His love brings Worship from you!
His heart eXplodes love for you!
He has made YOU holy!
He is Zealous for your heart!
This year during the week leading up to Easter, often deemed "Holy Week", we are adding a Maundy Thursday service to celebrate the Lord's Supper together. But given this is a relatively new service for our body here, it seemed helpful to explain in this article the reason for the addition to the service schedule. As for generations Good Friday has been the only day, other than Easter, we have celebrated in the CRC.
But Maundy Thursday actually has its own significance prior to the cross that is good for us to celebrate separately for two primary reasons. First, because this is how it happened in the Bible. Jesus gave the supper to his disciples on Thursday. Which leads to the second point, that the cross is a Friday event. It is the death event. A completion of what is shown first with celebration, and commemoration with Jesus followers prior to his death. So that they saw him dying they would understand the reason why, and so would we.
Thus we look forward to celebrating both events on their respective days this year. A little additional background on this day. Maundy comes from the Latin meaning command. It is ascribed to this Thursday in the year because as Jesus was handing out the bread and the wine to his disciples he says, "a new command, I give to you love one another as I have loved you." A love that is willing to sacrifice oneself for another. This is what Jesus has done for all who believe in him.
Throughout his life, Jesus showed that he was the suffering servant. The one who was willing to bear all the guilt and pain of sin for all the elect that we would be brought in. This is the life he lived right through his final night before the cross, even stooping down to wash his disciple's feet as they argued who was the greatest among them.
No, we aren't planning a foot washing ceremony during our service. Not that it couldn't be done, but it is not a necessity, it is not a sacrament, as the Supper has been given to us to be. The foot washing points to the servant nature of the command to love one another. Love one another enough to serve them, even down to the grimy jobs of the era that we live in.
Servanthood and sacrifice is what Jesus wanted his disciples to see and understand. And that is also what we have to see and understand as we come to the Lord's supper onevery occasion, but especially on Maundy Thursday. Jesus came as God's willing servant to die on the cross. But before he died, he gave this supper. His supper. That we would do it in remembrance of Him.
So come on Maundy Thursday and taste the Lord's Supper of sacrifice again. And return on Good Friday to remember and celebrate the cross. It's good for us all to take a bit more time and remember that in the breaking of bread and the giving of the wine, Jesus already knew what was going to occur, and on Friday, he brought it to fulfillment for you and for me. Jesus the servant of all, took the time, you and I should take the time too!