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Sunday, March 31, 2013

He is Risen! - Happy Easter!


The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you."




Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Thoughts for Good Friday - Jesus Loving Barabbas

Something to steer your mind in the right direction on this Good Friday.




JC

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Story: Chapter 11 - David's Heart

One Saturday afternoon when I was in middle school, I came home from a youth group trip to an empty house.  I didn't think much of it... I knew how to get in... so I did.  Nobody was at home so I went about my normal "I'm home by myself" routine.  After about 15 minutes, a knock came at the front door.  It was my youth pastor, who had just dropped me off, and a friend of our family.  (This was in the day before cell phones and instant communication.)

He told me that my Grandpa had died of a heart attack that morning while we were away.

While we were gone all day... my family had been dealing with this tragedy and I didn't even know it.  See, my Grandpa had had some trouble with his heart... he had high cholesterol and ate foods he shouldn't and smoked a pipe and eventually it caught up with him.  That's part of the reason why I began to run over 3 years ago... I know that family history is there and I want to avoid it.

There are times when I wish I could take my heart out of my chest and check it over.  You know... make sure that it's okay.  Clean out the corners like I clean out my son's humidifier.  Unfortunately, I can't just pop it out... I would die.

Spiritually, there are times when I wish I could pop out my heart and have a look at it too.

This week in the Story, we read about David's heart.  And we get an opportunity to see his heart from God's perspective.  Did David have sin?  Absolutely... next week we'll read about the greatest of his sin with Bathsheba.  Were there things David wished were different about his heart?  Sure.  Was David's heart messed up in some areas?  It must have been to do what he did.

But yet... what does God say David's heart?  Look again: "But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7.   A little bit later in Acts we read more about what God looks for: 22 After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22

See... I know my sin (as Scripture says... it's always before me) and I know my dark places.  And I know God knows those places too.  I'm sure David knew his places as well as God did.  Yet God still called him a man after His own heart.  Does he see my heart that way too?  

JC



Wednesday, March 06, 2013

The Story: Week 9 - Ruth is Redeemed

The first house that Jackie and I ever purchased was a foreclosure.  If you aren't familiar with a foreclosure, be thankful.  Basically, the previous owners couldn't afford it any longer and so the bank took it back.

When we purchased it, it was in rough shape.  The picture to the right is the living room.  The floors were warped and buckled where the bank hadn't shut of the water and a leak had ruined them.  Pipes had burst in the upstairs bathroom and had ruined the floors in the living room, two closets (one in the living room and one downstairs) and a lot of wall space.  Additionally, the walls in the living room needed repaired and the drywall was separating.  If this wasn't enough, tile floor in the dining room was ruined... the appliances in the kitchen were gone... and the previous owners had even taken the furnace with them when they left.

To make a long story short: The house was unlivable.  It was worthless.  It was trash.

But we bought it anyway.  After 60+ days of work... new plumbing... new carpet throughout the whole house... new walls... new paint... new tile in the kitchen and dining room... new appliances... and a new furnace and A LOT of help from friends.  We moved in.  And we lived there for nearly 2 years.

Before: The house was worthless.
After: The house was our home.
Before: The house had no value.
After: The house was our most prized possession.

I couldn't help but think of our house as I was reading about Ruth this week in the Story.  Here was a woman who was worthless to her society.  Her husband was dead.  She was past the age of being valuable as a wife.  She had no children and no job and no house and no possessions and no future.  Nothing at all.  Worthless.

But God didn't leave her there.  See our God is in the reclamation business.  God is used to taking something that's worthless and making it valuable again.  God does that with our lives everyday.  He comes in and cleans out the sin and brokenness and replaces it with his holiness and his fullness.

God did that for Ruth.
He took her from worthless to worthy.

In fact, without Ruth... We would have had no Jesus.  Jesus came from the line of David... David's father was Jesse... Jesse's father was Obed... Obed's father was Boaz and his mother was Ruth.

The picture to your left is the same living room as above... After it was redeemed.  When we are back in North Aurora, we drive by our old house. People live there.  People call it home.  Because it was redeemed.

You might think, "God can't do anything with me.  I'm so broken and messed up."  But realize: That's actually God's specialty.

JC