Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Deacon Update

In the early weeks of the early church there arose some conflict between the Hellenists and the Hebrews. The Hellenist widows were not receiving their daily distribution of food.  The Apostles knew that their responsibility was in studying and teaching Scripture and refereeing the feeding of widows would be a distraction of that priority.  They asked the Hellenists to pick seven men from among themselves to help with the duty of serving the widows.  These seven Hellenists were “men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom.” (Acts 6:3).  The Apostles laid hands on them and prayed.

It appears that this is the beginning of the office that will become known as deacon.  Deacon means servant but do not miss the bigger role that these men played within the church.  They were men of high character and integrity.  In fact, one of the men, Stephen, was a great preacher and worker of signs.  He was arrested and became the first martyr.  Their role ultimately was in serving the church and protecting the unity of the church. They made it possible for the Apostles to spend their time in God’s Word

We have been in the process of electing new deacons for our church.  This has been an exciting and encouraging journey getting to interview the men nominated.  Five of these men were presented to the church at our last Quarterly Ministry Celebration and were approved to begin the training process.  We are still in the process of interviews and may have more to present to the church in the coming weeks.  These men play an important role in helping the pastor serve those in need within our church as well as protect the unity among our people. The five deacons approved by the church are Ryan Bennett, D’Wayne Conner, Steven Davis, Daryl Thomas and Steve Warehime. They will join the deacons over the next six months and then be presented to the church for ordination.  Please pray for these men as they transition into this new role.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Joy in the Morning

As the Sun began to rise on the day following the longest Sabbath of their life, it was time for Jesus’ followers to go and prepare the body for burial.  Because of the Sabbath very little had been done when Jesus died.  He had been wrapped and laid in a tomb with 75 pounds of spices by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea not far from Golgotha where he was crucified.  None of the others had time to be part of the burial because of the Sabbath that began at sundown.  As some of the women walked to the tomb bringing their own spices for Jesus, they wondered who would help them roll the stone out of the way so they could perform their act of love to the one they gave up all to follow.  The disciples obviously were not in a hurry to see what was left of their Rabi.  It had a been a tough three days and they had scattered in fear.  

When they came to the tomb, they found that the tomb was empty.  Assuming that Jesus’ body had been stolen she ran and found Peter and John and told them what she had seen.  They ran to the tomb and John arrived first.  He waits for Peter who walks into the tomb first. What he sees appears to just be a side note in the Scriptures yet so profound.  He sees the linen cloths lying where Jesus had been and the head covering folded and lying to the side.  Peter believed what Mary had told him and they left.  But it must have been confusing as to why the cloths were left.

People who move a dead body do not unwrap it first. They definitely do not take care about how the linens were laid.  How clear it must have become when Jesus appeared to them that evening in the upper room.  What they saw was how the linen cloths are laid when someone is raised from the dead. It all makes sense when you can see the whole picture.

There are a lot of things God does that are not understood until more is revealed.  Then those details God has left behind become reassurance of his working all along in our life.  It seems to be the end, yet the excitement was soon to begin.  God is working around you to accomplish his plan. Embrace it and trust him through it. It ends with life and life more abundant.  There may be pain for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Jesus’ Example

Jesus told his disciples that he did not come to be served but to serve.  That is a fascinating statement to me.  He was God.  He sacrificed so much to become man for the purpose of dying on the cross for our mistakes. He performed many miracles and taught the multitudes amazing truth concerning the Kingdom of God.  Yet, he did not set around lazily and expect everyone to cater to his every need.  Serving others was his natural way of relating to the people around him.

The disciples were products of their culture and they had humbly left behind careers and family to make Jesus their Rabi.  Because of this they were never comfortable with Jesus humbling himself in such a way. As they entered into the Upper Room to prepare to take the Passover Meal Jesus wrapped a towel around his waste and washed their feet.  They were not comfortable at first but gave in to Jesus’ insistence.

With such a beautiful expression of submission and a life long example of sacrifice that ended with the greatest sacrifice on the cross, how could we not be people who serve others.  Paul tells us in Philippians 2 to have the same attitude as Christ who humbled himself to the point of death.  Let us not be guilty of using those around us to make our lives easier.  Let us sacrifice our own rights and comforts in order to serve them in the name of Jesus.  We bear his name.  Let us follow his example.

God Provides

God provides in many different ways. I have been reading Ezra as part of my daily devotional time.     Ezra leads the people of Israel out o...