Lenten Reflection: Christ-Centered Life

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Scripture Reading:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. Continue reading

An Open Letter to the Other Side of the Aisle: a meditation on John 4

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“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. (John 4:19-22)

Dear Hymn-Singer on the Other Side of the Aisle, Continue reading

Christ Jesus: A Work of Art!

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Moved by the Spirit, Simeon went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God… 
Coming up at that very moment, Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. ~ Luke 2

We often hear about the shepherds and the wise men that came to worship Jesus following his birth. Yet there are two other characters who show up after the birth of Christ that we might not hear as much about. (Read Luke 2:22-40) Continue reading

The Easter Drama Unfolds: a Meditation on John 20

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As you read, imagine the scene below as part of a larger drama unfolding. Think of the setting (Ancient Israel; very early in the morning at sunrise; Springtime, chill still in the air), the plot (Mary finds tomb empty; brings Peter and John to investigate; they find it as she reported; the body of Jesus is missing), the characters (Mary Magdalene, angels, Jesus) and the dialogue (try to hear it as you read).

Mary was standing outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she stooped and looked in. She saw two white-robed angels, one sitting at the head and the other at the foot of the place where the body of Jesus had bMary by tombeen lying.
“Dear woman, why are you crying?” they asked.
“Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have put him.”
She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him.
“Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener she said, “Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”
“Mary!” Jesus said.
She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” which means “Teacher”.
John 20:11-16, NLT

Now, let’s understand the implications of this drama:
Jesus appeared first to a woman. In a world, time and culture dominated by men, a woman. Not Peter, the Rock upon which the future church would be built. Not John, the disciple Jesus loved. But Mary Magdalene, a woman he had healed, rescuing her from a slew of demons that had held her hostage until Jesus touched her and set her free.

Continue reading