Tag Archives: Sunday Morning

Resurrection Sunday


Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, “They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

Peter and the other disciple started out for the tomb. They were both running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he didn’t go in. Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. Then they went home.

Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and 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 been lying. “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her.

“Because they have taken away my Lord,” she replied, “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?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “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 is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

“Don’t cling to me,” Jesus said, “for I haven’t yet ascended to the Father. But go find my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene found the disciples and told them, “I have seen the Lord!” Then she gave them his message.

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.

(John 20)


Be Prepared


Looking back over the weekend, I realize that the theme of “be prepared” came up a few times. Ironically, it even came up when I went to the movies on Saturday. I went with a  couple of girls to see The Lion King in 3D. Really fun and totally nostalgic. I forgot how much I enjoy that movie. I had also forgotten the song that Scar sings about “be prepared.” Sure he’s the bad guy and all, but he has a point. We don’t always know what is coming next and it’s important to be prepared.

So that brings me to Sunday morning children’s church. We got to read and study one of my favorite passages of scripture: Ephesians 6:10-20. I have always loved reading about the armor of God in this passage. I think it is because it is such a tangible picture of something very spiritual. But the overall message I get from reading this passage is: be prepared. We don’t know what is going to happen next in our life. But we do know life will be full of challenges that try to pull us away from what God calls us to. So the point is be prepared. “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” (6:11).

God does not leave us to figure out how to survive our life’s battles on our own. No, God provides the armor we need to go into those battles. But it will do us no good if we do not prepare. We ended up talking about that last night in our small group.

There are so many voices for us to listen too. So many choices we could make. Being prepared for them takes being as close to Jesus as we can and using what he gives us to be prepared.

So are you prepared today? Have you spent time praying for God’s armor and listening to God? Being prepared does not happen over night- it takes some time and diligence. But it is worth it!


Worshiping Together


There is something incredibly significant about gathering all together to worship God. We miss out when we choose to not be part of a gathered community that worships God together and here is why I think that:

We need to know we are not alone. God did not intend for any of us to walk life alone. We need to know that there are others around us taking each day as it comes and choosing to follow Jesus. We need to see and hear one another praise God.

We need to hear from others what God is doing. If I was left on my own to remember and find how God is working in this world, I know I would not always find Him. There are many days I forget to look or my life is so clouded by life, that I cannot see what God is doing. That is when I need to hear from others what they see and believe God is doing.

You need to hear from what why I choose to praise God. As much as I rely on those around me, I also need to realize that they rely on me. There will be times when I will be excited about what God is doing and you may be fogged in by life. That is when I have a responsibility to you.

Those reasons feed into why we are beginning to purposefully include our children in our worship services at Ontario Nazarene. Psalm 145:3-4 says, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” The reasons I gave above for worshiping together are not confined to one generation. They are true across generations.

It is important that our children learn to worship God by being with and among us. It’s important for them to learn they are not alone; that God is doing great things around them; and that they are vital to the community’s experience of worship. This is a big shift in our Sunday experience, but it is on purpose. We believe it is a key part in discipling our children towards Jesus.


Band-Aids


Yesterday I was able to participate in our entire worship time. It doesn’t always happen. Often I am still checking in with Sunday School teachers and greeting families as they arrive when the worship time begins. Or sometimes I cover for a teacher who is out that day. All of which is good and part of my job- and I love my job! Yesterday though, everyone had their places covered and so I went into worship service. It was great!

I have to admit something though- often when I sit in a time of worship, my mind is more focused on the next project than on the sermon or the congregational worship. But yesterday I did pretty good at paying attention and there was something in the sermon that keeps coming to my mind.

The sermon was from Ephesians 2:1-10. Our pastor’s wife was the one opening the word for us yesterday and the word was powerful. The part that has (ironically, you’ll see in a moment) stuck with me is based from verse 5. She talked about those words “alive together with Christ.” Her word picture was about superglue. I kept thinking about the kids in the Band-Aid commercials singing, “I am stuck on Band-Aid brand, ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me!” The point was this: When I believe in the grace that God gives me, I am then stuck-glued-attached to Jesus. Everything now is about being with Jesus. It’s in the words “together with.” The words are strategic- they mean something significant. But the real question is, do I believe that? Do I really believe that God, out of God’s great love, has made me alive together with Christ?

I believe I have to ask myself that sometimes. Because when I do start really thinking about it. Then I realize that things which seem overwhelming to me are really not that big of a deal. When I feel down about who I am or what my life is like, if I remember that I am actually “alive together with Christ,” then my life is exciting! It is amazing how my perspective, behaviors, and thoughts change when I remember that I have been made alive with Christ. Life become less about me and my desires and more about Jesus and His desires. It really becomes about living together with Christ- and it’s an incredibly awesome adventure!


Witness


1John 1:1-10

Sunday I was in one of the kid’s classes and we were talking about being a witness. The discussion came up as we looked at Jesus’ last words on earth in Acts 1:8, when he charged his disciples to be his witnesses. Then I looked up today’s passage and saw what John was doing- he was being a witness. He opens up his letter by basically writing, “I know Jesus because I saw him, talked with him, lived with him. I know he is true! And this is what his truth is…”

What do you see in this passage? What is John telling us about God? What does John testify to? What does he tell us about us?

Now think about this: how do you be a witness for Jesus? Have you decided to live in the light? What difference does living in Jesus make in your life?


EASTER!


We made it! It’s Easter!

Mark 16

The Resurrection

 1When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back— it was very large. 5And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed ina white robe, andthey were alarmed. 6And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

So what have you learned during this season of Lent? What was significant to you during Holy Week? Did your practice during Lent help enhance your celebration of Easter? I hope so! What will do from here? What practice or habit are you going to continue beyond Easter that will help your relationship with Jesus? It’s great to focus on his death and resurrection, but it was all for a greater purpose- to transform our lives. So how has this Lent and Easter season helped to transform your life?


Palm Sunday


Matthew 21:1-11

Here it is. Holy Week. Are you ready?

The season of Lent has led us here, to this point. Everything has been (hopefully) preparing us to enter into this week. We all knew it was coming. Jesus knew it was coming. What do you think he was thinking as he road into Jerusalem on that particular Sunday? What kind of preparation do you think he went through before reaching this point?