Lenten Reflection: Rooted in Love

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Scripture Reading:

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Eph 5:1-2

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Eph 3:14-19

Reflections:

Yesterday’s message (delivered by my ATS friend George Johnson) was brimming to the rim! And powerful! Of course, any time you preach about the love of God it’s kind of hard not to be. And there is so much “good stuff” in this passage. So let me hit just a few of the highlights for me: Continue reading

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise #2, Palms Down

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Extended, Palms Down – Blessing

Leviticus 9:22-23 – Then Aaron lifted his hands toward the people and blessed them. And having sacrificed the sin offering, the burnt offering and the fellowship offering, he stepped down. Moses and Aaron then went into the Tent of Meeting. When they came out, they blessed the people; and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people.

As God gives to us, we give to others—we extend our hands to give to and to bless others. As Moses and Aaron blessed the people, the glory of the Lord appeared—as we bless others, we reveal the glory of God through the generosity of our actions. We are the hands and feet of Christ.

Luke 24: 50-53 – When Jesus had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his Sacred Hearthands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

As the resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven, where he was seated at the right hand of the Father to rule and reign over heaven and earth, he extended hands of blessings to his followers to bless them. This blessing brought them great joy—joy that kept them continually in the presence of God. Continue reading

7 :: “Today you will be with me…”

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“7” Last Statements of Jesus
Spoken from the Cross: Week 2

“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Luke 23:43

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Matt Durbin (c) 2010

Breath

Jesus, why are you

up here

with me,             why

is our blood

mixing                with dirt,

why do our lungs

heave out                as if

we have

the same spirit

in us

begging          to be            set free?

Why do we          keep

breathing,

                                            each inhalation,

                                                                                 a gasp.

All           I want             to do

is breathe out

a final                time. Continue reading

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

EMBODIED :: Postures of Prayer & Praise #1, Hands Raised

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Postures of Prayer & Praise are
“outer representations of an inner reality”

Exploring: Hands Raised in Praise, Prayer & Petition

I Kings 8:22-23 – Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said: “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.”

Solomon is 1st giving words of praise to God; 2nd witnessing in front of everyone; and 3rd remembering God’s covenant of love.

I Timothy 2:8 – Therefore I want people everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

Here we find hands raised in prayer, and note that it is to be without anger or dispute in your heart. Continue reading

“7” :: “Father, forgive them…”

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“7” Last Statements of Jesus
Spoken from the Cross: Week 1

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

MattDurbin1

Matt Durbin (c) 2014

 

The People Stood Watching

Come, see a man who told me everything

I ever did. A man who healed my eyes,

fed me bread he multiplied, poured my cup

of wine, washed my feet, called me out

onto the sea, cursed the unfruitful tree,

received my kiss on his way out of Gethsemane.

Come see a man who raised me from death,

beckoned for me from my tomb, knew me

in my mother’s womb. See him, how he saved me?

Let him save himself, if he is the chosen

one, the Son of God, of Man, a Nazarene.

Come draw lots with me—which piece

of clothing do you need?

~ Sarah M. Wells (C) 2010 Continue reading

Moving Creatively Through Lent

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Yesterday I posted information on a new series called EMBODIED that starts this Friday, February 16th and goes through Good Friday. Embodied is a 7 week-long exploration of postures of praise & prayer to help us move mindfully through the Lenten season. I will be posting one posture each week (on Friday) to take us through the season of Lent.

In addition, to further help us move through Lent creatively, I will also be posting from the previously featured  “7” Virtual Art-Walk series each week on Wednesdays throughout Lent, as well as reflections from our church’s Lenten sermon series on Monday of each week. The 7 Virtual Art-Walk includes the artwork of Matt Durbin, the poetry of Sarah Wells, and music that all focus on the last 7 words of Christ spoken from the cross. And our church (5 Stones Community Church) will be working with passages throughout Ephesians to help us prayerfully remember and reflect on Jesus during this season. Continue reading