“Holy Tuesday!” 2015 (Part I)

 

Christ and disciples

What would you do if you knew you only had four more days to live? You are in good health, but you knew that your life was going to end soon. Would you keep on doing what you normally do or would you be doing something totally different? What is on your “bucket list”? If it were me, among other things, several bottles of Dom Perignon Champagne would be involved with only close family and close friends. Jesus, on the other hand, kept on doing what He always did. He kept on doing His Father’s will, no matter what people thought of Him. Jesus kept on butting heads with religious leaders who were hypocrites and He would not give up on getting through to His clueless disciples. One would think that after about three years of constantly ministering to people and teaching by word and example, they would know who Jesus was. But, they either refused to accept who Jesus was or they were waiting for more proof. How much more proof did they need? Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him because of those who had eyes, but could not see and ears, but could not hear. But, they did not stop Jesus from doing His Father’s will.

Christ before the Sanhedrin

First, the chief priests questioned Jesus regarding where He got His authority to say and do what He said and did. Jesus, in turn, asked them what they thought about John the Baptist. They were afraid to commit to an answer, so Jesus, in turn, didn’t answer their question. Instead, Jesus told a parable about a father asking his two sons to work in the vineyard, another parable regarding a king who sends his slaves and finally his son to get what is His, and one more parable about a wedding feast. The Herodians questioned Jesus about taxes, so Jesus used a coin to answer them. The Sadducees questioned Jesus about the resurrection, which they did not believe in, and Jesus pointed out their ignorance of the Scriptures by using the Torah. The Pharisees questioned Jesus about which is the greatest commandment, and Jesus pointed out Deuteronomy 6:5. Jesus, in turn, questioned the Pharisees regarding the Scripture where David calls Him Lord (Psalm 110:1). No one could answer Him and no one had any more questions. And Jesus’ last Tuesday before His crucifixion was just getting started! (See Matthew 21:23-22:46; Mark 11:27-12:37; Luke 20:1-44.)

Jesus then condemned the Scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy, self-righteousness, in their outward show of religiosity without any sincere love for God and His people. In Matthew, Jesus called them “hypocrites” and “sons of hell” and “blind guides” “blind men” and “sons of those who murdered the prophets”. Also in Matthew, Jesus lamented over Jerusalem. (See Matthew 23:1-39; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 21:1-4.) And Jesus continues to teach in the temple.

Jesus and poor widow

Jesus pointed out a poor widow to His disciples. She put two copper coins in the temple treasury. Jesus said her gift was greater than those of the rich. Jesus, despite all the back-and-forth with the religious elite, noticed a poor widow, when everyone else would not even have noticed she existed. This was AMAZING LOVE! (See Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4.) Jesus’ day is not done yet.

When Jesus left the temple, Philip and Andrew brought Greeks who wanted to see Him. Jesus then talks about the necessity of His death, using a seed as an analogy. Jesus prayed, “Father, glorify Your Name!” God’s voice from heaven was heard, saying, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Some thought they heard thunder. Others had questions about His death and Jesus answered them: “The Son of Man must be lifted up.” Jesus talked about Himself as “Light” and told His disciples, “Put your trust in the Light while you have it, so that you may become sons of Light.” Jesus wanted His disciples to trust in Him, even while all the powers of hell were going to be unleashed in a few days and it will seem like hell is winning. (See John 12:20-36.)

Gospel of John

The Gospel according to John points to Isaiah’s prophesy being fulfilled when the Jewish religious leaders reject Jesus as Messiah (See Isaiah 53:1 and 6:10). There were those among them who did believe in Jesus, but they kept silent because they were afraid of the Pharisees and “…they loved praise from men more than praise from God.” Jesus cried out to all who were listening, “When a man believes in Me, he does not believe in Me only, but in the One Who sent Me. When he looks at Me, he sees the One Who sent Me…For I did not speak of My own accord, but the Father Who sent Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it. I know that His command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told Me to say.” (See John 12:37-50.) This account in John makes me ask myself, “How many times do I care more about what people say about me than what God says about me?”

a spirit of truth

 

May We All Spread His Light!

 

The Lyd

Lydia

“Holy Monday!” 2015

I have updated “Holy Monday!” originally was written in 2014. The same truths are just as important in 2015.

lydslookonlife

fig tree

What is happening with Jesus? You know – the meek and mild Jesus Who wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41)? What happened to the humble Jesus Who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, instead of a king’s white stallion? Wasn’t Jesus pleased with all the fanfare of the large enthusiastic crowd happily waving palm branches and throwing their cloaks down in front of His path, as a make-shift welcome carpet, and singing “Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:1-10, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:12-19)? Everything was going so well one minute, and the next minute Jesus is in the temple tossing tables and money and doves are flying all over the place. In the midst of this chaos, Jesus still makes time to heal people and talk to the religious leaders (Matthew 21:12-14, Luke 19:45-48). As if this wasn’t enough excitement, the very…

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Second Annual Free “Palm Reading” This Sunday

a. Hosanna

[Since my 2014 wordpress yearly review told me that my blog post, Free “Palm Reading” This Sunday was the most popular, I decided to make it an annual event.]

Have you ever noticed how we all hear what we want to hear, see what we want to see and believe what we want to believe? We all do this to a certain extent. The baseball game is stopped by a rain delay but, despite the weather forecast and the torrential rain we see on TV and out our window, we believe the rain is going to stop at any minute. We are watching a football game and our team is penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. We scream at the TV [at least some of us do] because we don’t believe our player did anything wrong, while the fans of the opposing team believe the ref made the correct call. Or we’re watching a basketball game and some of us are shouting , “Where’s the fowl!? This is ridiculous!” I won’t even go into what happens while I’m watching a hockey game.

a palm reading

Another example [not sports related] of how people want so desperately to hear, see and believe what they want to is when they go to “fortune tellers” who use Tarot cards, crystal balls and “palm readings”. They want to learn about their future. The “fortune teller” almost always gives a positive reading and suggestions on ways the person may influence his/her future to be even better. Just by looking at the name “fortune teller”, “fortune” has two sets of synonyms: 1. “chance, accident, coincidence, serendipity, destiny, fortuity, providence, happenstance” and 2. “wealth, riches, substance, property, assets, means, possessions, treasure, estate”. With these synonyms in mind, it is more than likely that the “fortune” teller/palm reader will predict a person’s future to be productive and prosperous. After all, s/he wants the person to come back. Having a productive and prosperous life is what we all want to hear. We want to believe in the predictions of good fortune. But, can we trust Tarot cards, crystal balls and palm readings to guide our future? I don’t believe so. This kind of wishful thinking is what “Click and Clack”, on their radio show, “Car Talk” call “thinking unencumbered by the thought process.”

a donkey with Jesus

In Jesus‘ “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem recorded in Matthew 21:1-9, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:28-48 and John 12:12-19, we read about the people in the crowd, as well as Jesus’ disciples who see and hear the same event, but believe in totally different ways about what is happening right before their eyes. Before entering Jerusalem, Jesus tells His disciples to go into the village and get a donkey. Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” [Zechariah 9:9]. The crowd wave palm branches and shout, “Hosanna” [Salvation] to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna [Salvation] in the highest.”

children on palm sunday

Out of all the people present at that first Palm Sunday, the children are the ones who really understood what was going on. Their “Hosannas” are the loudest. When the chief priests and teachers of the law hear the children shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David” they tell Jesus to make the children stop. But Jesus answers them: “Have you not read, ‘From the lips of children and infants You have ordained praise?’” [See Psalm 8:2]. This reminds me of another time Jesus talks about children: “He called a little child and had him stand among them [disciples]. And He said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of God” [Matthew 18:2-4]. The children at the first Palm Sunday have childlike faith which enables them to see Jesus for who He really is: the One bringing salvation.

chief priests and teachers of the law

The chief priests and teachers of the law are anything but humble when they see how the crowd reacts to Jesus. Because of all the attention Jesus is getting they wanted to kill Him, “Yet they could not find any way to do it, because the people hung on His words” [Luke 19:48]. Because of their jealousy and feeling of desperation because their power and control over the people is slipping away, they miss what really is happening. They should know what Zechariah 9:9 means. They read it often enough. They should recognize Jesus as their long awaited Messiah, but they are only interested in protecting their high social and religious status. They see Jesus as a threat to the life they are accustomed to.

a white stallion

Many people in the crowd may have been expecting Jesus to forcefully take over the Roman occupation and become their King. At least Judas Iscariot wants a forceful takeover. “Why in the world is Jesus riding a donkey and not a white stallion – the war horse of a conquering king? What kind of king rides a donkey?” Judas and others like him may be thinking. During biblical times, in the Middle East, kings rode horses to war. Kings rode donkeys when they came in peace. King Solomon rode a donkey in I Kings 1:33. Other kings riding donkeys are found in Judges 5:10; 10:4; 12:14 and II Samuel 16:2. Jesus rides a donkey into Jerusalem as the King who would be “righteous, and having salvation, gentle” [See Zechariah 9:8-10]. Jesus is the King who brings peace, not war [See “Why would a king ride a donkey instead of a warhorse” gotQuestions.org]. This was the angels’ announcement to the shepherds when Jesus was born: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests” [Luke 2:14]. Jesus has come to die on the cross for the sins of all who would believe and follow Him and bring peace between God and mankind. That is His first mission. That is the reason for His Incarnation. His Second Coming is when Jesus will “judge the quick and the dead” [from The Apostles’ Creed]. For people, like Judas Iscariot, who want a “quick fix” from Jesus and want Him to be their conquering hero, Jesus is a disappointment to them. That’s why their shouts of “Hosanna” one Sunday, turns into “Crucify Him!” only five days later [Mark 15:13; Luke 23:21; John 19:15].

disciples and Jesus to Jerusalem

What about Jesus’ disciples? Did they have a clue of what’s going on during the first Palm Sunday? Jesus talks to His disciples about His death several times and that it would take place in Jerusalem [Matthew 16:21-28; 17:22-23; Mark 8:31-33; 9:30-32; Luke 9:22-27] In the Gospel According to John, chapters 13 to 17, Jesus also mentions His “going away” several times to prepare His disciples for His departure [See “Jesus Predicts His Death” WIKIPEDIA]. In Mark 9:31b-32, Jesus clearly states what is going to happen to Him, but his disciples are clueless:

“‘The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men, They will kill Him, and after three days He will rise.’ But they did not understand what He meant and were afraid to ask Him about it.”

In Matthew 20:18-19, Jesus makes it even clearer for His disciples:

“We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will turn Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!”

What are the disciples thinking when they finally enter Jerusalem with the crown waving palms, laying cloaks in Jesus’ path and shouting all kinds of accolades? “We must have heard wrong. It was late and we were tired and must have misunderstood Jesus.” Before we are too hard on the disciples, how many times are we clueless about what Jesus is doing in our lives? Even though the disciples dodn’t understand everything about Jesus and what He was saying or doing, they continue to follow Him, except one [Judas Iscariot].

disciple Peter

Two disciples in particular have been given a bum rap: Peter, among many other “foot-in-mouth” statements, for denying Jesus three times [See Mark 14:66-72], and Thomas, for saying, “Let us also go that we may die with Him [See John 11:16] and “Unless I see His nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe it” [See John 20:25].

Even though Peter denies knowing Jesus three times, he is the only disciple who follows Jesus on the darkest of all nights. He might have run away, but he does come back to see what is going to happen to his dear Friend. Unlike Judas who hangs himself for forsaking Jesus [See Matthew 27:5], Peter weeps bitterly, repents and Jesus restores him and he becomes one of the greatest leaders in the 1st Century Church [See Matthew 26:75; Luke 22:60-62 and John 21:15-19].

doubting thomas

Thomas is thought of, by many Christians, as the “Eeyore” of the group of Jesus’ disciples; always looking at the dark side of life. I used to think that way about Thomas, but now I think differently. Perhaps Thomas is the only disciple who understood Jesus when He talked about His death. If this is the case, Thomas shows great courage in following Jesus into Jerusalem. He is also known as the “Doubting Thomas” for his lack of faith, fearing to have his heart broken again. Even so, Thomas still stays connected with the other disciples. Thomas is the first disciple who recognizes Jesus as “My Lord and my God!” [See John 20:28].

earthly treasure

Who is Jesus to you? What do you see in Him? What do you believe about Him? Would you rather believe what you want to believe, thinking life should always be a “bowl of cherries”? Would you rather rely on fortune tellers who tell you only what you want to hear? Would you rather not deal with Jesus and “be unencumbered by the thought process”? Are you disappointed in Jesus because He is not doing what you want Him to do? Do you see Jesus as a threat to the lifestyle you have grown accustomed to? Or do you have a childlike faith and when you see Jesus you see what your Loving Heavenly Father is like? A childlike faith is when you don’t have all the answers, but that’s okay because your “Abba Father” does [See Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6]. Do you feel so guilty that you think God will never forgive you or have you tasted God’s goodness, forgiveness and grace through His One and Only Son Who died to set you free from guilt and shame and the tyranny of sin [See Romans 6:18]. Do you know that Jesus loves you unconditionally regardless where you are in your journey of faith? Do you see Jesus as I do: “my Lord and my God!”? I pray that you do.

casting crowns 1Christ's Power Sprit

May the Peace of Jesus the King Fill Our Hearts with God’s Love!

The LydGod is LOVE

Lydia

“Slow Me Down, Lord”

My Good Side

Dear Blog Followers,

Some of you may have noticed that I have not written a new post for awhile and are wondering where I am and what am I doing. I want to assure all three of you that I am still here and, like most of you, I am eagerly waiting for Spring to arrive. While I have been waiting, I have been doing extremely intensive writing about a very dark time in my life and how the Lord got me to the other side, “out of darkness and into His marvelous light” [See I Peter 2:9] once more. I plan to share these writings sometime soon after Resurrection Sunday.

tulips

In the meantime, I need to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Spring to come, in His perfect timing. I also need to wait until He tells me it’s time to share my story with all of you. Until then, my prayer is the following poem by Wilferd A. Peterson:

flowers and mts

SLOW ME DOWN, LORD

Ease the pounding of my heart by the

quieting of my mind.

Steady my hurried pace with a vision of

the eternal reach of time.

Give me, amid the convusion of the day, the

calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of my nerves and

muscles with the soothing music of the

singing streams that live in my memory.

Help me to know the magical, restoring

power of sleep.

Teach me the art of of taking minute

vacations – of slowing down to look at a

flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to

read a few lines of a good book.

Slow me down, Lord, and inspire me to

send my roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring

values that I may grow toward the stars

of my greater destiny.

This poem is very appropriate for me to read and ponder during this Lenten Season when believers in Christ take time to reflect on what He was done for us, repent and receive God’s forgiveness, rejoice in joy of our salvation, and look forward to His return when He will make all things new!

bridge of flowers back2

Yes, Spring is coming soon!

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

“Be patient, therefore, brothers [and sisters], until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for his precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand” [James 5:7-8].

Peace Be With You All!

Lydia

[I am officially a “tuber”! Go to YouTube and look for Lydia’s Testimony 2015.]

A Testimony of God’s Grace (Part I)

CC Testimony 2

The following is a testimony I presented at my church on March 1, 2015. My friend Betsy read the script while I pulled things out of my “bag of tricks”. Since I don’t have to worry about time constraints, this is the “un-cut” version of “my story”.

Good morning everyone! “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” [Psalm 118:24]. Amen? Amen! My name is Lydia. As you can plainly see, I am in a wheelchair and I have a physical disability. I was born with a neurological condition called cerebral palsy which usually is caused during the birth process, when there is a lack of oxygen going to the baby’s brain, resulting in brain damage. The extent of the disability depends on what areas of the brain are damaged. In my case, the parts of my brain that were damaged were the areas that control the right side of the body – My right side is much weaker than my left side [I am not able to use my right hand to do very much]. And the part of the brain that controls speech was also damaged, resulting in slurred speech. That is why Betsy Wassmann is reading my testimony to you. Thanks Betsy. Just to let you know, the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body, and the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. So, medically speaking, I am in my RIGHT MIND, as are all “south paws” [The jury is still out on the “Spaceman” Bill Lee.]. I just wanted to throw that out there.

[Putting on my various sports caps]

CC Testimony 6 caps

Many of you know me as more than a woman in a wheelchair whose speech is difficult to understand. You know that I am a RED SOX fan, a PATRIOTS fan, a BRUINS fan, a CELTICS fan, and an Oregon DUCKS fan [my youngest sister Sophie lives in Eugene, Oregon and is a DUCKS fan, so I want to support her team]. Many of you know that I have a quick wit and a quirky sense

[My rubber chicken is dressed in a vest and bow tie. My apologies for the blur.]

CC Testimony 4 Chicken

of humor. I also love to eat gourmet food, such as chicken with dressing, and I appreciate fine wine which will complement my gourmet meal. Because I have “Champagne Taste“, but am on a “Beer Budget“, I have learned how to make inexpensive food taste delicious and am still working on finding inexpensive wine that tastes better than its price. Practice; it takes practice. How many of you read my blog, “Lyd’s Look on Life”? For those of you who know me as a “Christian Woman Blog Writer”, you know that my blog posts sometimes tend to be just a tiny little bit LONG. I think they are long because my blog has become my “VOICE”. It’s where I can share my thoughts and ideas and also what God is teaching me without my speech being a hindrance. Thank you to Melanie Lamere for helping me to get my blog started. Above all these things you know about me, I want to be known, first and foremost, as a “WORSHIPPER OF God”, just as my Name Plaque says – a worshipper of God who loves Jesus and His Word [the Bible].. My Name Plaque has Psalm 29:2 written on it: “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” My heart’s desire is to be like the Lydia found in Acts 16:13-16, 40:

Acts of the Holy Spirit“And on the Sabbath day we [Paul and his companions] went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to women who had come together. One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a WORSHIPER OF GOD. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.’ And she prevailed upon [convinced] us. [After Paul and his friends spent time in prison for preaching the Gospel, they were released and]…they went out of prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers [and sisters, no doubt], they encouraged them and departed.”

[My Mom and Dad and me at my high school graduation]

High School Graduation

Just as the Lydia in Acts 16, the Lord “opened my heart” to the Gospel and I became a “worshiper of God” right here at College Church, when I was eighteen years old – just about 10 years ago. Okay, would you believe about forty years ago? After so many years, I am still learning what it means to be a woman of prayer. Some things take a lifetime. All of us need to develop an attitude of prayer. College Church became my home and the people of College Church became my family. People like Jackie and Browny and their family, the Marions and their family, the Websters, and so many others accepted me into the family of God at College Church. I became a member of College Church in 1975 [I think] and I was baptized in the lake at the D.A.R. in April [back in the day when baptisms were not performed only during the summer months, in an inflated pool – not that there‘s anything wrong with that“]. In the years that followed, I attended Holyoke Community College, American International College and Springfield College. During my college years, I always was able to come home to College Church on most weekends.

Lydia at HTAfter my College days were over in 1981, I was a housemate with Pam Hiser before College Church “found me faithful to the Lord” and sent me out as an indigenous missionary, to work at a Residential Christian School for children and adults with disabilities in Carmel, N.Y. During my time in N.Y., Mark and Holly Dowling lived close by in Bethel, Connecticut. Because all the staff lived at the school, it was such a blessing to be able to get away on the weekends to the Dowling’s home. After being away for six years, I came back home to College Church and my family in Christ “found me faithful” to serve them as one of their deacons. I did have to promise that I would not help in serving Communion. Things would get pretty messy if I did. Instead, I became the moderator, who told therest of the deacons how to “JUST DO YOUR JOB” [Patriots‘ motto]. I was part of the “Lean Keen Deacon Machine” along with Ruth Lacey [and Bob], Shirley Pierson, Steve Kowalski, Rick Light Jr., Rich Winnick, Jack Finn and a few others. It was such a blessing to be able to get to know these men and women of God, while having the honor and privilege of working alongside them, as we served our family of God at College Church. During my six years as deacon, I also got to know Fran Fern and Rick and Pat Light because I spent a lot of time at the church office doing deacon stuff. In fact, when a mother and her little boy came to the office for something, the little boy asked his mom, “Does Lydia live here?” During a time on Search Committee to find an Associate Pastor, I got to know Wendy Dunphy, Dave Neal and Bill Porter. I also attended Bible studies at Don Anderson’s house [and attended Don and Carol’s wedding] and Dan and Pam Dissinger’s house. I also have hosted and led Bible studies at my house. As I look out into the congregation, I see so many dear friends; friends I met while serving on church committees or studying the Bible together. I consider all of you as family. As a family, we love each other, accept each other and belong to each other because we belong to our Heavenly Father.

body of Christ

I believe everyone has the need to belong and to be accepted and loved. Everyone wants to be known for who they really are; not only by what is seen on the outside, but also by what is unseen on the inside. Look at the people around you. How do you see them? As human beings, we all have our own prejudices and misconceptions, our own likes and dislikes and we do judge people with our own “measuring stick”. But, how does God see the people in this room and the people on the streets of Northampton? I believe I Samuel 16:7 gives us a glimpse at how God sees everyone: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees NOT as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” Yes, I know the Bible also says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” [Jeremiah 17:9]. But the Bible also says, “And I [God] will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My rules and obey them. And they shall be My people, and I will be their God” [Ezekiel 11:19-20]. I believe God is talking about us, as well as Israel’s Remnant.

christ's anointed with expensive perfume

As Christians God sees us through the blood of Christ. We are holy [set apart] because of Christ’s finished work on the cross. As the hymn goes, “Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe”. Because of Jesus we are able to “worship the Lord in the beauty of [His] holiness”. Worship has little to do with individual preferences – what kind of songs we sing or how we celebrate Communion or whether we lift up our hands or not. Some people cannot physically lift up their hands. Does that mean their worship is not as worthy as those who are able-bodied? Certainly not. Worshiping God has everything to do with our hearts giving to God His worth. A few months ago, Gary Davis led us in Communion and the very next time Bob Goss led us in Communion; two very different styles. Bob focused on the Supreme Sacrifice of Christ dying on the cross for our sins. Gary focused of Christ’s Second Coming and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Last time I checked, these two different ways of celebrating the Lord’s Supper are talked about in Scripture. I Corinthians 11:26-27 says, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord‘s death until He comes. Whoever, therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord”. Revelation 19:6-10 talks about the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb”: “‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give Him the glory. The marriage of the Lamb has come, and His Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure’ – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints” [vv. 6b-8]. There is more than one way to celebrate Communion, as long as we make our hearts ready and everything is done “decently and in order“ [I Corinthians 14:40], with the focus on Christ and not on ourselves. We should prepare our hearts to receive Communion before we come to church. I believe the Lord wants to teach us, before He gives us a Senior Pastor, to appreciate our differences, as well as what we have in common – namely Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Romans 14 says this:

Christian heelping another

“Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother [or sister]…For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual up building” [vv. 13, 17-19].

What about the people outside of this House of Faith? James 2 teaches about the “Sin of Partiality”. I want to share verses 8 and 13: “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well…For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Sometimes, we forget to show mercy. Instead, we judge. But, most of the time, if not all of the time, we judge wrongly because we do not know everything. God knows everything and that’s why He is the only One Who can judge justly.

CC Testimony 7 Mercy

When we pray for our neighbors, we need to pray for their salvation. When we see our neighbors doing what grieves the Lord or when they gives us a hard time about our faith, we need to have the heart of Christ. While Jesus was dying on the cross, He looked at those who nailed Him to the cross and said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” [Luke 23:34]. Jesus was known for His love for the untouchable, the disenfranchised, the poor and needy. .Jesus was known as a “Friend of Sinners”. Let us pray to have the heart of Christ – a heart full of compassion mercy and grace.

[I’m holding an old red Tupperware cup with a handle.]

CC Testimony 3 cup

There is one more thing I want to show you. Does everyone know about the RED SOLO CUP, the plastic red cups used at parties? This is my RED COMMUNION CUP. I ask the elder who is serving Communion to pour the grape juice in this cup because I can’t hold those small little cups. This cup is not for solo use, but for Communion use, as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper as a community of believers at College Church. So, the next time we celebrate the Lord‘s Supper, let us prepare our hearts beforehand to receive the bread and the cup and, as the song by Toby Keith says, “LET’S HAVE A PARTY!” I say, “TO THE KING!”

casting crowns 2

(Please ask the Worship Song Leaders to sing, “Jesus, Friend of Sinners” by Casting Crowns; written by Mark Hall and Matthew West.)

I’m told women can’t preach. But, they can share LONG testimonies.

The Peace of the Lord be with you all!

becket pics4

“Don’t poke the Bear”

Lydia