Lyrical Remembering

Yesterday we gathered together to celebrate the Savior of the world who has defeated death, conquered the grave, and risen victoriously. We worshiped through singing about, meditating on, and giving thanks of such a wondrous truth. But brothers and sisters, let us not stop remembering. Let this be a time to continue to reflect upon what Christ has done for us on that cross. Let our hearts be constantly attuned to the mercy and grace that we eagerly celebrate over the course of Easter weekend. Let us be inspired and equipped by this truth to diligently easterandethicsshare the wonderful news of what Christ has done in humbling Himself to die on a cross. (Phil 2:8) And not just remaining dead, but rising again 3 days later, as the Scriptures say. (1 Cor. 15:4) Today remain grateful. Today think about those truths again, and then do so again tomorrow.

What follows this charge are lyrics that help point our hearts in such a direction. To be used not necessarily as the primary source of truth, but rather as a tool to help guide our gaze to Christ and what He has done for us while we were yet sinners. (Rom. 5:8)



“Christ is Risen”-Matt Maher

Let no one caught in sin remain, Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross, And run to him who showed great love
And bled for us, Freely you bled, for us

Christ is risen from the dead, Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake! Come and rise up from the grave!
Christ is risen from the dead, We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake! Come and rise up from the grave!

Beneath the weight of all our sin, You bow to none but heavens will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer’s crown, No burden great can hold you down
In strength you reign, Forever let your church proclaim

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!


“Jesus Paid It All”-Kristian Stanfill

I hear the Savior say, Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray, Find in Me thine all in all.

Jesus paid it all,All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.

Lord, now indeed I find, Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.

And when before the throne I stand in Him complete,
Jesus died my soul to save, my lips shall still repeat

O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead


“Nothing But the Blood of Jesus”-Robert Lowry

What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my cleansing this I see–Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
For my pardon this my plea–Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Nothing can my sin erase, Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
Naught of works, ’tis all of grace–Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

This is all my hope and peace–Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
This is all my righteousness–Nothing but the blood of Jesus!


“Forever”-Kari Jobe

The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Saviour of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon him

One final breath he gave
As heaven looked away
The son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated

Forever he is glorified, Forever he is lifted high
Forever he is risen, He is alive, He is alive!


“Because He Lives”-Bill Gaither

God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

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What’s So Good about Good Friday?

This article is written by Justin Holcomb, and can be found at this link.


 

Why do we call Good Friday “good,” when it is such a dark and bleak event commemorating a day of suffering and death for Jesus?

For Christians, Good Friday is a crucial day of the year because it celebrates what we believe to be the most momentous weekend in the history of the world. Ever since Jesus died and was raised, Christians What’s So Good about Good Friday?have proclaimed the cross and resurrection of Jesus to be the decisive turning point for all creation. Paul considered it to be “of first importance” that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day, all in accordance with what God had promised all along in the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3).

On Good Friday we remember the day Jesus willingly suffered and died by crucifixion as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins (1 John 1:10). It is followed by Easter, the glorious celebration of the day Jesus was raised from the dead, heralding his victory over sin and death and pointing ahead to a future resurrection for all who are united to him by faith (Romans 6:5).

Still, why call the day of Jesus’ death “Good Friday” instead of “Bad Friday” or something similar? Some Christian traditions do take this approach: in German, for example, the day is called Karfreitag, or “Sorrowful Friday.” In English, in fact, the origin of the term “Good” is debated: some believe it developed from an older name, “God’s Friday.” Regardless of the origin, the name Good Friday is entirely appropriate because the suffering and death of Jesus, as terrible as it was, marked the dramatic culmination of God’s plan to save his people from their sins.

In order for the good news of the gospel to have meaning for us, we first have to understand the bad news of our condition as sinful people under condemnation. The good news of deliverance only makes sense once we see how we are enslaved. Another way of saying this is that it is important to understand and distinguish between law and gospel in Scripture. We need the law first to show us how hopeless our condition is; then the gospel of Jesus’ grace comes and brings us relief and salvation.

In the same way, Good Friday is “good” because as terrible as that day was, it had to happen for us to receive the joy of Easter. The wrath of God against sin had to be poured out on Jesus, the perfect sacrificial substitute, in order for forgiveness and salvation to be poured out to the nations. Without that awful day of suffering, sorrow, and shed blood at the cross, God could not be both “just and the justifier” of those who trust in Jesus (Romans 3:26). Paradoxically, the day that seemed to be the greatest triumph of evil was actually the deathblow in God’s gloriously good plan to redeem the world from bondage.

The cross is where we see the convergence of great suffering and God’s forgiveness. Psalms 85:10 sings of a day when “righteousness and peace” will “kiss each other.” The cross of Jesus is where that occurred, where God’s demands, his righteousness, coincided with his mercy. We receive divine forgiveness, mercy, and peace because Jesus willingly took our divine punishment, the result of God’s righteousness against sin. “For the joy set before him” (Hebrews 12:2) Jesus endured the cross on Good Friday, knowing it led to his resurrection, our salvation, and the beginning of God’s reign of righteousness and peace.

Good Friday marks the day when wrath and mercy met at the cross. That’s why Good Friday is so dark and so Good.


 

Engaging Easter

This article serves as the conclusion of an article written by Paul Deffinbaugh titled “The Significance of the Resurrection.” As we approach this weekend remember what Christ haseasterandethics accomplished and what that means for us. Let us joyfully celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour!


If our response to the resurrection of Christ is of such significance, what keeps some, who sincerely believe in His resurrection, from the salvation which His death, burial, and resurrection are promised to provide? I believe that there are several reasons why some who believe in the resurrection are not saved.

First, we fail to grasp our own true condition as it relates to the death and resurrection of Christ. Since our Lord was the innocent, sinless Son of God, His death was on our behalf, and not for His own sins. Peter put it this way:

Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. for you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls (1 Peter 2:22-25).

If Christ did not die for His sins, but for the sins of men, then we must first acknowledge that we are sinners, and that it was our sins that He bore on the cross. In a very personal way, my sins put Christ on the cross.

I should even go beyond this to say that my sinfulness would have eagerly participated in rejecting Christ and calling for His execution, just as the crowds did as recorded in the gospels. My sinfulness not only made it necessary for Christ to die–it would have willingly participated in the crucifixion of Christ. It is very easy to condemn the fickle crowds, who a few days before hailed Jesus as the King, and then cried out for Pilate to crucify Him, and to release Barrabas, a murderer, instead. Had I been there, I would have called for Christ’s crucifixion.

The greatest problem we face is not accepting the resurrection of Christ, and that fact that “He lives” today. The greatest problem we face as sinners is recognition of the fact that we are dead in our transgressions and sins, and are eternally lost apart from His death, burial, and resurrection. It is our condition of being helplessly dead in our sins which makes the resurrection of Christ such a vitally needed truth (cf. Ephesians 2:1-10).

Second, we fail to properly grasp the majesty, power, and awesome holiness of the resurrected Lord as He presently is, and as He will be when we stand before Him. Not only do we tend to minimize the seriousness of our own condition; we also fail to grasp the majesty, purity, and power of Christ’s present condition. Let me challenge you, my friend, to read the description of the resurrected Christ which the apostle John gives us in the Book of Revelation. If this does not inspire a godly fear of the coming wrath of God, nothing will.

Third, we fail to take the death and resurrection of Christ personally. There are all too many religious unbelievers who have taken the resurrection of Christ to be true academically, but they have not taken this matter personally. Allow me to give you two biblical examples of those who took the resurrection of Christ personally.

In the second chapter of the Book of Acts, we find the church being baptized by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The unusual manifestations of the Spirit caused a great crowd to gather in Jerusalem. Peter took this occasion to explain that this manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power was a partial fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. This prophecy spoke of the coming “day of the Lord” when God would judge the sins of His people. Peter then went on to show that the power of the Spirit was poured forth on these chosen ones because He had been raised from the dead, a fact to which the empty tomb and the Old Testament Scriptures testified. Peter boldly proclaimed that while they had been responsible for the death of Christ, God had purposed to save them by His death, and had also overruled their actions by raising His Son from the grave. The bottom line of Peter’s message was this:

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).

Here we have it in a nutshell. They were guilty of rejecting and crucifying Christ. By the resurrection of Christ, God had overruled their actions, and had proven His Son to be both Messiah (the sin-bearer promised in the Old Testament) and Lord, the one who would come in judgment, as Joel had prophesied. Taking this personally, many in that crowd confessed their sins and professed faith in Christ as their Savior (cf. Acts 2:37-41).

Saul, later known as Paul, also had a personal encounter with the resurrected Christ, as recorded several times in the Book of Acts (cf. chapters 9, 22, & 26). When Saul was intercepted by Christ on his way to Damascus, he acknowledged Christ as Lord, and he came to see the ugliness of his own sins, even though they were religious and outwardly commendable in the sight of men (cf. Philippians chapter 3). It was when Saul saw his own sinfulness and Christ’s majesty and power that he was converted.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant events in history. I pray that you, like those in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) and like Saul (Acts 9), will come to recognize the seriousness of your sinful condition, the holiness and awesome majesty of God, and will come to trust in Him as your Savior and Lord. I urge you to trust in Him, in His death, burial, and resurrection, not only in an intellectual and academic way, but in a very personal way, as God’s only provision for your salvation.


To read the full article, follow this link.

Rejoicing Through Tears

“O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Cor. 15:55-58

Thank you to all who have prayed for the Gous family this week.  Yesterday morning was the memorial service and funeral.  Its hard to put into words what it was like.  A 18 year old boy full of life is gone and everyone there today felt that.  Our church usually holds 200+ people on a Sunday.  Wade said that the finally lost count of cars at 250 and we estimate there were well over 400 people who attended.  People were standing anywhere you could find a spot.

Jesse’s brother Julio and his dad Mark gave eulogies.  It was heartbreaking to listen to them.  There love for Jesse was so strong.  Mark said “Jesse has finished his race, and he finished strong”.  If you were here you would have heard the words of an earthly father rejoicing that his son was now with his Heavenly Father.  “Thank you for borrowing Jesse to us for 18 precious years”.  A very real reminder of what the role of being a parent is.  Everything about the service spoke of our good Father in heaven.  God was so glorified through the words and actions of the family, and those serving and the message.

Jesse’s impact in people’s lives was so evident in all who were there.  Jesse died last Saturday in a car accident. There were 3 other boys in the car with him.  Two of those boys also passed away last weekend.  The third boy, Cornè walked away with minor injuries.  He was at the service.  By God’s grace he came to know Christ as his Savior yesterday!!!  I tear up every time I imagining this picture of when Cornè gets to heaven for him to see Jesse again, as a brother.

The sting of death feels so strong.  For Mark and Valentia to have to bury their son is devastating.  But because of the death and resurrection of Christ He overcame death and has conquered it.  If not for that there would be no hope today.  But because of it there can be rejoicing in the midst of tears, lots of tears.

A very sobering way to lead us into Good Friday and Easter.  We pray that your hearts are also getting ready.  Thank you for praying for the Gous family and the weekend.  We continue to pray for them as the reality of life hits in the weeks to come.

Love,

Tara McComas

Remember Saint Patrick

Remember Saint Patrick

Saint Paddy’s Day is for the pagans.

You might say it that way, and then carefully wash your Christian hands of all the carousing and empty revelry that makes all things Irish into an excuse for a godless spring party. But you might say the same thing, and mean it not as a call to circle the wagons, but to charge the hill.

Deep beneath much of what the day has become is the inspiring mission of Patrick pioneering the gospel among an unreached people, despite the frowning face of the church establishment. Saint Patrick’s Day, in its truest meaning, is not about avoiding the lost, but bringing them good news. It turns out Saint Paddy’s Day really is for the pagans.

The Gospel to the Irish

The March 17 feast day (first declared in the early 17th century) remembers Patrick as the one who led the fifth-century Christian mission to Ireland. Unlike Britain, the Emerald Isle lay beyond the bounds of the Roman Empire. The Irish were considered uncivilized barbarians, and many thought their illiteracy and volatile emotions put them outside the reach of the gospel.

But Patrick knew better. In a strange and beautiful providence, he had spent six years among them as a captive, learned their language, and developed a heart for them. Like Joseph sold into slavery to one day save Egypt and his brothers, God sent Patrick into slavery to ready Ireland for a coming salvation.

The Surprising Turn

Patrick was born in the late fourth century — many speculate around 385 — in what is now northeast England. He was born among the Celtic “Britons,” to a Romanized family of Christians. His father was a deacon, and his grandfather a priest. But his parents’ faith didn’t find a place in his heart in his rearing. In his youth, according to George Hunter, “he lived toward the wild side” (The Celtic Way of Evangelism, 13).

But God soon arrested him with severe mercy. Kidnapped at age sixteen by Irish raiders, he was taken back to the island, where he served as a slave for six years under a tribal chief, who was also a druid. While in bondage in Ireland, God unshackled his mind and opened his eyes to the gospel of his childhood.

“God sent Patrick into slavery to ready Ireland for a coming salvation.”

And so, as a captive, “he came to understand the Irish Celtic people, and their language and culture, with a kind of intuitive profundity that is usually possible only, as in Patrick’s case, from the ‘underside’” (14). When he eventually escaped from slavery in his early twenties, he was a changed man, now a Christian from the heart. He studied for vocational ministry, and led a parish in Britain for nearly twenty years.

Reclaiming Retirement

That could have been the end of the story. But at age 48 — “already past a man’s life expectancy in the fifth century” (15) — Patrick had a dream, which proved to be his own Macedonian Call (Acts 16:9). An Irish accent pled, “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.”

Having known the language and the customs from his captivity, and having long strategized about how the gospel might come to the Irish, he now answered the call to return to the place of his pain with the message of joy. The slave returned to his captors with good news of true freedom.

Back in Saint Patrick’s Day

But this would be no ordinary mission. The Irish Celtics were “barbarians.” They may have had a few Christians among them, but as a people, they were unreached, with no thriving church or gospel movement.

“Patrick, the former slave, returned to his Irish captors with good news of true freedom.”

Patrick would take a different and controversial approach to the prevailing missionary efforts of the fifth-century church. Instead of essentially Romanizing the people, by seeking to “civilize” them with respect to Roman customs, he wanted to see the gospel penetrate to the bottom of the Irish culture and produce an indigenous movement. He didn’t mean to colonize them, but truly evangelize them.

Understanding the People

Hunter tells the story in the first chapter of his book on Celtic evangelism.

The fact that Patrick understood the people and their language, their issues, and their ways, serves as the most strategically significant single insight that was to drive the wider expansion of Celtic Christianity, and stands as perhaps our greatest single learning from this movement. There is no shortcut to understanding the people. When you understand the people, you will often know what to say and do, and how. When the people know that the Christians understand them, they infer that maybe the High God understands them too. (19–20)

Patrick knew the Irish well enough to engage them as they were, and build authentic gospel bridges into their society. He wanted to see the gospel grow in Irish soil, rather than pave it over with a Roman road.

Ministering with a Team

Essential to Patrick’s strategy was that he not fly solo. Just as Jesus sent out his disciples together (Luke 10:1), and Paul and Barnabas went out together (Acts 13:3), so Patrick assembled a close-knit team that would tackle the work together, in the same location, speaking the gospel and making disciples, before moving on together to the next tribe. It was, what Hunter calls, a “group approach to apostolic ministry.”

We have no detailed record of Patrick’s ministry teams and strategies, but according to Hunter, “from a handful of ancient sources, we can piece together [an] outline of a typical approach, which undoubtedly varied from one time and setting to another.”

 

“Patrick wanted to see the gospel grow in Irish soil, rather than pave it over with a Roman road.”

 

Patrick’s teams would have about a dozen members. They would approach a tribe’s leadership and seek conversion, or at least their clearance, and set up camp nearby. The team “would meet the people, engage them in conversation and in ministry, and look for people who appeared receptive” (21). In due course, “One band member or another would probably join with each responsive person to reach out to relatives and friends” (22).

They would minister weeks and months among them, eventually pursuing baptisms and the founding of a church. They would leave behind a team member or two to provide leadership for the fledgling church and move, with a convert or two, to the next tribe. With such an approach, the church which grew up among the people would be “astonishingly indigenous” (22).

Priority Time with Pagans

While Patrick’s pioneering approach is increasingly celebrated today — and is a model, in some respects, of the kind of mission needed in our increasingly post-Christian society — most of his contemporaries weren’t impressed. “The British leaders were offended and angered that Patrick was spending priority time with ‘pagans,’ ‘sinners,’ and ‘barbarians’” (24).

But Patrick knew such an approach had good precedent. The one who saved him while a nominal Christian and an Irish captive was once called a “friend of tax collectors and sinners,” and said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). The stakes were high, but he knew it was worth the risk.

Something Worth Remembering

Instead of acquiescing to the religious establishment, Patrick took the gospel to the uncouth, and ventured all for the unreached Irish. Instead of coasting toward a cushy retirement, he gave nearly three decades to the nation-transforming evangelization of Ireland. Patrick truly was for the pagans.

According to tradition, Patrick died March 17. Many think the year was 461, but we don’t know for certain. While today’s trite celebrations may leave much to be forgotten, for those who love Jesus and the advance of his gospel, Patrick has left us some remarkable things to remember. And to learn from.


David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor for desiringGod.org, pastor at Cities Church in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, and adjunct professor for Bethlehem College & Seminary. He is author ofHabits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines.

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St. Patrick’s Biography


Synopsis

Born somewhere in Britain arguably in the late 4th century A.D., the man who would come to be known as St. Patrick was captured by pirates as a child and brought to Ireland. During his enslavement, he was called to Christianity and escaped his captors after six years. He returned to Ireland as a missionary, and in his teachings combined Irish pagan beliefs with Christian sacrament, devising the Celtic cross. He is annually honored internationally on March 17.

Early Life

The man who would come to be known as St. Patrick, apostle of Ireland, was born in Britain circa 386. Much of his life is unknown to contemporary historians and can’t be verified, though some sources have listed his birth name as st pattyMaewyn Succat, with the name Patrick later taken on during his future religious journeys or ordainment.

His father, Calphurnius, was a deacon from a Roman family of high social standing. Patrick’s mother, Conchessa, was a close relative of the great patron St. Martin of Tours. Patrick’s grandfather, Pontius, was also a member of the clergy. Surprisingly, Patrick himself was not raised with a strong emphasis on religion. Education was not particularly stressed during his childhood either. Later in life, this would become a source of embarrassment for the spiritual icon, who in the early 440s would write in his Confessio, “I blush and fear exceedingly to reveal my lack of education.”

Enslaved as a Teen

When Patrick was 16 years old, he was captured by Irish pirates. They brought him to Ireland where he was sold into slavery in Dalriada. There his job was to tend sheep. Patrick’s master, Milchu, was a high priest of Druidism, a Pagan sect that held major religious influence over the country at the time.

Patrick came to view his enslavement as God’s test of his faith. During his six years of captivity, he became deeply devoted to Christianity through constant prayer. In a vision, he saw the children of pagan Ireland reaching out their hands to him and grew increasingly determined to convert the Irish to Christianity.

Becomes a Bishop

Circa 408, the idea of escaping enslavement came to Patrick in a dream, in which a voice promised him he would find his way home to Britain. Eager to see the dream materialize, Patrick convinced some sailors to let him board their ship. After three days of sailing, he and the crew abandoned the vessel in France and wandered, lost, for 28 days—covering 200 miles of territory in the process, with Patrick ultimately becoming reunited with his family.

A free man once again, Patrick went to Auxerre, France where he studied and entered the priesthood under the guidance of the missionary St. Germain. As time passed, Patrick never lost sight of his vision to convert Ireland to Christianity. Circa 431, Pope St. Celestine I consecrated St. Patrick Bishop of the Irish, and sent him to Ireland to spread “The Good News,” or gospel, to nonbelievers while also providing support to the small community of Christians already living there.

Missionary Work

Upon his arrival in Ireland, Patrick was initially met with resistance, but managed to spread Christian teachings far and wide, along with other missionaries, through preaching, writing and performing countless baptisms. Recognizing the history of spiritual practices already in place, nature-oriented pagan rituals were also incorporated into church practices. Patrick is renowned for coming up with the Celtic cross, which combined a native sun-worshiping ideology with that of the Christian cross.

Throughout his missionary work, Patrick supported church officials, created councils, founded monasteries and organized Ireland into dioceses.

Death and Legacy: St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick died circa 461 in Saul, Ireland and is said to have been buried in in the nearby town of Downpatrick, County Down. Though he was never formally canonized as a pope, Patrick is on the list of saints and was declared a Saint in Heaven by many Catholic churches. St. Patrick was also venerated in the Orthodox Catholic Church, and his writings, noted for their humble voice, can be seen in works like the autobiographical Confessio and Letter to Coroticus.

The Episcopal Church annually honors St. Patrick with the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 (which some cite as the date of his death), which falls during the Christian season of Lent. For more than 1,000 years, the Irish have observed St. Patrick’s Day as a religious holiday. Traditionally, on St. Patrick’s Day, families would attend church in the morning and embark on other rituals later—including eating a traditional meal of cabbage and Irish bacon. The holiday has notably expanded into the secular world as well, representing a robust international celebration of Irish culture and heritage.


 

This article is found at the following source: 

http://www.biography.com/people/st-patrick-9434729#missionary-work

 


 

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Let us Examine…

As we approach the table this Sunday, the Sunday prior to the one where we most prominently celebrate the Risen Savior on the day of Easter, let us prepare and reflect upon why we come to the table. This article is helpful to understand its significance, and the attitudes and hearts we are to have as we come into God’s presence. 

What is the significance of the Lord’s Supper?


Celebrating the Lord’s Supper is deeply significant and full of meaning. First held when Jesus kept the Passover feast with His disciples on the evening before He was betrayed, the Lord’s Supper, or Christian Communion, looks back to the death of our Lord and ahead to His victory over death at the Resurrection, as well as His coming again to earth at the end of the age.

Among the yearly feasts commanded by God to the Jewish nation, the Passover was the most important. This feast was a time of remembering the freeing of the Jews from their slavery in Egypt, brought about by a terrible plague sent from God on the Egyptians. Following nine other plagues God sent his death angel to kill all the firstborn of the Egyptians. PassoverThe firstborn of the Jews (Israelites) were saved because Moses (through God) instructed them to kill a lamb for the Passover and sprinkle its blood on the doorposts of their houses. Then death “passed over” the houses that had the blood (Exodus 12). To keep this miraculous and historical event always in their memories, the Jews were commanded by God to celebrate the Passover every year.

The Passover celebration that Jesus kept with His disciples is referred to as the Last Supper. The apostle Paul describes it like this: “the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). All four Gospel writers also give us the details of this all-important event (Matthew 26:26-30; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:7-22; John 13:21-30). After they had finished eating, Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn and made their way to the Garden of Gethsemane, where His disloyal disciple Judas was waiting to betray Him into the hands of His enemies (Matthew 26:30). On the following day Jesus underwent trials and suffering, after which He was crucified.

Not found in the gospels, but emphasized by the Apostle Paul, is a warning about eating the Communion elements (bread and wine) in an unworthy manner. “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guiltyLords-Supper.jpg concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). Some examples of eating and drinking unworthily are lack of appreciation for the depth of suffering Jesus endured to save us, or being unwilling to confess sins, or to look upon the Lord’s Supper as only a rite or ritual. In order not to eat unworthily, Paul tells us to examine ourselves prior to coming to the table.

Paul also reminds us that there is a time limit on this ceremony. He says, “. . . you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). From that first Lord’s Supper in the upper room until He returns to earth, we are to repeatedly memorialize His death by means of the humble symbols of bread and wine, rather than by stately memorials of marble or gold.

Fittingly, Jesus broke the bread before He gave it to the disciples. This brokenness of the bread foreshadowed the brokenness of His body due to His flogging and cruel nailing to the cross. King David, in Psalm 22, and the prophet Isaiah (chapter 53) had both prophesied of the great physical and mental suffering that He would endure. And the poured-out wine which Jesus and His friends drank that night was a fitting symbol of the blood that would be shed the following day. As the Jews were to choose a perfect lamb for the Passover meal (and their means of redemption) so Jesus, the perfect Son of God—”the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” as John the Baptist called Him (John 1:29)—became the means of sinners’ redemption. In doing so, He fulfilled many Old Testament prophecies, including Genesis 3:15. And since this was to be a feast of remembrance, it was to be carried out into future generations.

Finally, Jesus speaks of a New Covenant (Luke 22:20). The sacrifice of a lamb, required by the Old Covenant, was terminated, having fulfilled its purpose (Hebrews 8:8-13.) The one-time sacrifice of Christ, God’s Passover Lamb, established a New Covenant.This new covenant, in which we receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life through Christ’s shed blood and broken body, is celebrated as we remember Him in the Lord’s Supper.

Lords-Supper2


Source: http://www.compellingtruth.org/Lords-Supper.html

 

Special Prayer Request: McComas’

 

pic1 McComas PRWe would ask you to pray for Mark, Valentia and Julio Gous. On Saturday they lost their son and brother Jesse in a car accident.  Jesse was 18 years old and in his first year of college. The Gous family have been members at Mountain View since the beginning. I remember teaching the boys in Sunday school when they were the same ages as Finnegan and Aislinn. They are a very special part of the church family. When one member of the family grieves we all do. As a church family we are grieving the loss.

We do not grieve for Jesse. Jesse knew Jesus as his Savior and he is with his heavenly father. But his presence here is missed.  Please pray for the family as they move through a very difficult week in all the decisions that must be made. The memorial service will be on Saturday. Yesterday at church we were reminded that “God is a good Father”–Period. Mark and Valentia’s faith is strong. Pray that they would keep coming back to God as He is their comfort in this time. Pray for the staff here at Mountain View that we would be a source of comfort, encouragement and love not just in these couple of days but in the months to come.

Thank you very much!

Tara

 

St. Patrick’s Prayer

Yesterday in our service we joined together as a congregation to read the breastplate prayer of St. Patrick. Let us continue to remember the words we read and the truth that is conveyed in this prayer, especially as we move toward this Thursday, March 17th. Here are the words we read yesterday:

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
*
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet ‘well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Referencing God’s Judgments

The following article is written by Bob Kauflin. It deals with where the truth and topic of God’s just judgment is located in songs we sing and in how we worship. In light of the Romans Series we have been going through, especially the last couple of weeks, this article adds a more clarity on why we worship God and how we choose to sing about him. One quote in particular stands out:

The predominant theme of our gatherings is not simply that God judges wickedness, but that he rejoices in righteousness. And that his righteousness has been most clearly demonstrated in the Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dying for our sins and rising from the dead. Because Christ was made to be sin for us, we are now clothed in the righteousness of God and are no longer under his wrath. Definitely cause for great rejoicing!


Songs that Reference God’s Judgments

In a recent post, I suggested that we generally shy away from singing songs about God’s judgments, but that judgment is a theme found in many Psalms and Scriptural songs. I promised that I’d follow up with a post that suggested some songs we can sing that reference God’s judgments and help us think about them in a way that honors God, encourages a passion for holiness, and strengthens our confidence in the gospel. So one month later, here we are. (If you didn’t read my previous post, please read it to get the context.)

Before listing the songs, it’s important to mention a few things. First, God is the Judge, not us. We’re concerned about his fame and vindication, not ours. That means we don’t sing about God’s judgments with self-righteousness or callousness. Second, God judging evil is part of the Bible’s story line to redeem a people for his glory. As one commenter said, “God’s judgment is simply the ‘negative’ side of our great heartcry, ‘Let your kingdom come!’” Finally, the predominant theme of our gatherings is not simply that God judges wickedness, but that he rejoices in righteousness. And that his righteousness has been most clearly demonstrated in the Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dying for our sins and rising from the dead. Because Christ was made to be sin for us, we are now clothed in the righteousness of God and are no longer under his wrath. Definitely cause for great rejoicing!

With that being said, here are some suggestions, modern and hymns.

Day of Judgment, Day of Wonders (John Newton)
(Probably one of the best comprehensive hymns on the day of judgment.)
At His call the dead awaken,
Rise to life from earth and sea;
All the powers of nature shaken
By His look, prepares to flee.
Careless sinner, what will then become of thee?

Almighty (Paul Baloche, from Glorious)
You will judge the nations,
You’ll reward Your servants,
Both the great and small
.

Lord of All (Kristian Stanfill, from Attention)
We will respond with joy in our song
Your enemies rise, Your enemies fall
Your fire consumes them all

The Greatest of All (Pat Sczebel, from Psalms)
Now I’ll never know Your judgment
You ransomed and saved my soul

God Shall Arise (Mark Altrogge, from Psalms)
God shall arise, and his foes be scattered
God shall arise, oh, sing his praise

Warrior (Sojourn Music, from Over the Grave)
Your hand shall find out every foe
And as a fiery furnace glows
With raging heat and living coals
They will feel your wrath upon their souls

Jesus is Lord (Keith Getty & Stuart Townend)
“Jesus is Lord!”-a shout of joy, a cry of anguish,
As He returns, and ev’ry knee bows low.
Then ev’ry eye and ev’ry heart will see His glory,
The Judge of all will take His children home.

Psalm 73 (Kevin Twit)
Surely, they’re cast down
As those on slippery ground
As dreams fade when we wake, so they become
Completely swept away

Sing to the King (Billy Foote)
We’ll join in singing with all the redeemed
Cause Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King

By Thy Mercy (Indelible Grace, Words by James Cummins, Music by Greg Thompson)
In the solemn hour of dying,
In the awful judgment day,
May our souls, on thee relying,
Find thee still our Rock and Stay.

Bring on the Day (Garage Hymnal from Bring on the Day)
Fire rages, heavens vanish, all else is stripped away
His justice like the ocean consumes our broken land

God, Be Merciful (Christopher Miner)
Broken, humbled to the dust
By Thy wrath and judgment just,
Let my contrite heart rejoice,
And in gladness hear Thy voice

Great Day of the Lord (Andy Melvin from The Human Engine Waits)
When You’ll ride in victory
And darkness reigns no more
At the coming of our King
On the great day of The Lord

How Sweet and Aweful (Isaac Watts)
Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.

The Lord Is (Ross King, from To Make God Famous, Vol. 2)
Listen, wicked ones, all who stand opposed to him
You will soon be done, He will surely come again

Adore and Tremble (Daniel Renstrom, from Adore and Tremble)
(Drawn from Psalm 2)

For Our God Spared Not the Angels (Abe and Liza Philip)
When they sinned and fell astray
Bound for hell and chains of darkness
To their doom on Judgment Day

And here are a few great lyrics, although I think they could use some new music:

O Lord, Thou Judge (Psalter 1912)
O Lord, Thou Judge of all the earth,
To Whom all vengeance doth belong,
Arise and show Thy glory forth,
Requite the proud, condemn the wrong.

To Thee, O God, We Render Thanks (Ps. 75)
Great God, What Do I See and Hear?