Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Glorious Power of the Resurrection by Michael Craven

There is no other issue, no other thought more demanding of our attention than that of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. On these facts—and most especially the resurrection—rest the whole Christian faith, mission, and message.
The apostle Paul wrote that if Jesus was not raised from the dead then our “faith is in vain” (1 Cor. 15:14), in fact “futile” (v. 17), and we are without hope in both life and death. Without the resurrection, there would be no hope of deliverance from our fallen state. Humanity would remain forever alienated from God. People could never find true peace with themselves or others; we would be left to stumble through this life bound by our fears and insecurities. Society and nature—all of creation—would remain under the power of injustice, evil, greed, envy, and decay.

Thankfully we who know Christ can proclaim with confidence that “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!” However, the resurrection is not just a personal matter but also the redemptive act of God that touches the whole world! The apostle Paul wrote:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:18–23, NIV 2011).
Paul reminds us that Christ’s resurrection witnesses to us that if we place our trust in him, we, too, will experience resurrection power in our own lives—resurrection from death in every form, including our own sin and the sins of others such as betrayals and broken relationships. But Jesus’ resurrection is not for us alone. It is as Paul so clearly states, a resurrection of all creation, including the corrupted ideologies, institutions, structures, and systems within society that oppress and hinder God’s whole creation from being what it and we were designed to be.

Because of the resurrection, we are more than conquerors at any work to which God may call us, because the risen Christ is in the business of redeeming all of the created order!

You and I, as those empowered by the redeeming power of Christ who is alive and reigns at the right hand of the Father do not bring forth the kingdom of God. This is the work of Christ alone, whose reign will only be fully realized by God’s final intervention in human history. But we are Christ’s body—servants of Almighty God—who are called to be a sign and foretaste of his kingdom, peacemakers bringing shalom to every relationship and to every sphere of life and creation!

If we commit ourselves to work for shalom—seeking first his kingdom—driven by God’s vision for people and the world, we will transform dark places with the light of Christ and the world will see evidence that Christ is alive! That is the Great Commission to which we have been called. Easter reminds us of the great privilege we have been given as we surrender our lives to follow the resurrected Jesus into his world, seeking its transformation into God’s shalomcommunity.

I pray you take time to stop and reflect throughout this week—be reminded of your first love and his kingdom, which you are to seek first as you press into this world bearing witness to the glorious power of the resurrection!
© 2011 by S. Michael Craven Permission granted for non-commercial use.
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EASTER: Part One by Pastor Phil Schaefer (4/20/2011)

I bumped into a fellow pastor and old friend, Bill Yarborough, yesterday. Bill and I have known each other for nearly 20 years, first as a missionary in Mexico and later through his moving to St. Louis. Bill asked me, "Are you preparing for Easter? It's only the single most significant event in the history of all creation." And being my friend, he added, "Don't blow it."  

I was in fact preparing for Easter, and as I thought about the possibility of 'blowing it' I thought, the only way one could blow Easter is by treating it like any other day. I could blow it by being so consumed with my work week that I don't have time to think about Easter. I could blow it by treating this weekend like it was any other weekend - run errands, attend soccer games, mow the lawn, go to church, take a nap on Sunday...whatever your routine is.

So, here is the purpose of this e-mail: don't let Easter pass you by. Don't let this world so consume your mind and energy and time that you don't have time to think about what Easter is all about. Don't just leave it to the guys who put together the Sunday service to give you an Easter buzz. Don't just take Easter as another thing on your 'to do' list and check it off. Busy-ness, distractions, lack of energy, and not feeling spiritual are this world's means to get our attention off Easter and on to the things of this life. Don't go there!

Make some time. Carve out an hour (or half-hour) today, Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Read, re-read and meditate on the death and resurrection of our Savior, Lord, and God. Even if you find your mind unsettled as you make some time, I promise that you will get a benefit and that the Holy Spirit will honor and use your few hours of prayer and meditation.

On the night that He was betrayed Jesus prayed while his disciples slept - too full from their meal, too unaware of the significance of that moment. The single most significant event in all of creation history and they slept. They slept because they did not know. I confess, I've been busy and distracted these days. I have been trying to get things together for Easter, for company, for home improvements, for lawn care. But more important than my schedule, I am asking myself if I am willing to spend time with the Lord, to commune and meditate on Christianity's most significant message: "He is risen just as he said."  

We are gathering for prayer and worship and reflection and communion on Friday evening from 7:00-9:00. That is an excellent time to be with the Lord. That time will be good for your soul. There will be child care for those who need it. But don't just do that one thing. Make an hour today and tomorrow. Trade babysitting with a friend. Sit in your car during your lunch hour and pray and read. Write down your thoughts - whatever they may be. Those thoughts may seem relevant or completely irrelevant, but God can take the least thing and bring it to life.

Don't let Easter pass you by. 

Soli Deo Gloria
(to God alone be glory)
Pastor Phil

Christian Fellowship Church
4600 Christian Fellowship Road
Columbia, MO 65203

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lyme Disease/Fear Disease

"Lyme disease mimics." Celeste B. O'Neill.

Whereas the proceeding and following quotes were posted by Celeste on Facebook to address an actual disease, I thought it as interesting, maybe more so, that many of us have gone through a similar, more common, experience of torment, a mental/spiritual equivalent of Lyme disease's mental/physical. Fear. Fear disease mimics. 
"And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." 2 Corinthians 11:14,15 
"What revelations there will be in the day of judgment, when all impostors shall be unmasked, and when all hypocrites and deceivers shall be seen in their true colors! And how desirable is it that there should be such a day to disclose all beings in their true character, and forever to remove imposture and delusion from the universe!" Barnes' Notes on the Bible. 
Lyme Disease/Fear Disease

Isaiah 41:10; Romans 15:33; 16:20; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Hebrews 13:20, 21.

It's a pretender. It sends signals to the brain convincing it that it is this disease and that disease. It runs in a cycle that suffocates the brain causing the body to lose functions at various times. It sneaks in and destroys the cells that are needed to provide oxygen to the brain. 

The brain is the central nervous system of the body, without all the nerves working together in harmony the way that God intended, it sends out confusion to the different organs.

It mocks the victims, it ridicules them and at times locks them down mimicing paralysis to prevent the victims from being able to move. It mimics the deaf and mute symptoms, it fills the eyesight with a slow moving cloud of darkness and it does not stop there. It renders it's victims completely helpless, robbing them of their jobs, their family, their friends, their lives, eventually killing the entire body and destroying all hope of any kind of healing. 

It stops right here!, right now! in the Name of Jesus. Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it ABUNDANTLY". St. John 10:10. 

Celeste B. O'Neill
"Don't be deceived, mislead and lead astray, dear brothers and sisters. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:16, 17 
"For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you (as having received and accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior) have received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, Abba, Father." Romans 8:15
 "For God has not given us the spirit of fear;but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7  

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Trip Lee - Yours To Own, featuring Jimmy Needham

Trip Lee ft Jimmy Needham "Yours To Own" Lyrics:

Verse 1:
Sometimes I sit and reflect on the life I'm leadin
It's goin so fast it is like I'm speedin
Sometimes I wake up and it's like I'm dreamin
Already 22? 16 was last weekend
Been a crazy year, dad died I'm grievin
Man I really miss him, I wish he was still breathin
Two days later got a wife I'm cleavin
Couple weddin pics caught your boy straight cheezin
Now tell me how I'm 'pposed to fight, can your boy stay firm?
In this life when the joys and the pains take turns
You're at work in our world where some things they burn
You're not honoured when your boy can't learn
How I must respond to Your works and the cards that You deal me
Aware of my frailty I'm beggin You to help me
How can I be a steward actin' healthy
I know Your grace won't fail me

All of my life is Yours to own, You orchestrate it all along
And if my life is a cup come fill it up, so the whole world can see what You've done
All of my life is Yours to own, You orchestrate it all along
And if my life is a cup come fill it up, so the whole world can see what You've done

Verse 2:
You placed me in the city that I'm in for a reason
Sent folks in my life that was friends for a season
Some exposed my flaws and my sin it wasn't pleasin
And others fell from the faith n was leavin
If I respond wrong I'm dishonorin' Your grace
And I'm kind of just a product of my mind and not the faith
But You are my Father the refiner full of grace
And You're the designer of my time and in my place
I could take the easy route and follow all the trends
Of my brothers and my sisters, pastors and my friends
It probably wouldn't lead to a disaster in the end
But I can't be followin the path You givin them
Yup, you made me me, with my own set of gifts
So I won't settle for less You bless You never miss miss
I'll be steward who You made me, steward where You place me
And I pray that You use me like crazy

All of my life is Yours to own, You orchestrate it all along
And if my life is a cup come fill it up, so the whole world can see what You've done
All of my life is Yours to own, You orchestrate it all along
And if my life is a cup come fill it up, so the whole world can see what You've done

Verse 3:
You send the sun and the rain on Your servant, Lord
Lord, when You send them my way, I be respondin the right way
You move and orchestrate the things in my life for good
I wanna use em in a way that shows em how Your grace acts
You been consistent every minute like I knew You would
I'm so in love with Your truths, I wanna trust You and move
I feel my confidence is high, Your providence for You I'm good good good
I've got no worries at all since I heard that You call

All of my life is Yours to own (It's Yours to own Lord), You orchestrate it all along (all along)
And if my life is a cup come fill it up, so the whole world can see what You've done (yea)
All of my life is Yours to own (it's all Yours), You orchestrate it all along (it's all Yours)
And if my life is a cup come fill it up, so the whole world can see what You've done
All of my life is Yours to own, You orchestrate it all along
And if my life is a cup come fill it up, so the whole world can see what You've done
All of my life is Yours to own, You orchestrate it all along
And if my life is a cup come fill it up, so the whole world can see what You've done

So the whole world, so the whole world, so the whole world can see what You've done
So the whole world, so the whole world, so the whole world can see what You've done


Trip Lee - Apathy