Friday, April 06, 2012

Follow Jesus Into the Future (Good Friday Reflections)

Each year, Good Friday comes as a brutal dose of reality for those prone to living in the pretend world of a perfect past.

The phrase "nostalgic Christian" is an oxymoron.

In fact, believers in Jesus want to jettison the past, living with Christ in the now and looking ahead with excitement and anticipation to the perfect future ahead for all who believe in Jesus.

"Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead," the apostle Paul wrote, "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).

Good Friday reminds us of the bad old days from which Jesus Christ wants to set us free.

From the moment that Adam and Eve bit into the fruit God had warned them not to eat, the human race has been, collectively and individually, plunged into sin: alienated from God, from one another, from the creation God gave us to manage and tend.

Sin entered into the human gene pool, passed along from generation to generation.

It was to eliminate the condition of sin from us and our slavery to sin and to restore our relationship with God that Jesus, God in the flesh, came into our world. He took death, the punishment for sin that you and I deserve, onto Himself. God the Father made Jesus "to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus entered into death. Then He rose from the grave to claim new life, a perfect future for all who follow Him. 

It wasn't "bad Romans" or "bad Jews" or aberrant representatives of the human race who put Jesus on the cross. It was you, me, our parents, and our grandparents and the common human desire to "be like God," to flush God from our lives or considerations, going all the way back to Eden, that drove the nails into Jesus' flesh on the first Good Friday.

Different expressions of our sinful nature go in and out of style.

But in the morality department, we're no better or worse today than past generations were.

Good Friday shows us that.

But it also shows us that sin, the human race's ancient and ongoing alienation from God and the life only God can give, does not have to be the last word over our lives.

God has acted.

In Christ, God is reconciling Himself to all who confess their sins and entrust their lives to the rule of Jesus, the King of kings.

It's a lie to believe in some perfect past. It never existed.

But when we trust in Christ, the Savior Who died and then rose to give us life, our present is invaded by the presence, power, and love of God.

And if we remain steadfast in following Him, our future will be more perfect than we could ever imagine.

On the Sunday after Jesus' crucifixion, some of the female disciples went to anoint Jesus' dead body. But they were met by a "young man, dressed in a white robe" who told them that Jesus was not dead, but risen. "Go," he told them, "tell his disciples and Peter that [Jesus] is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you" (Mark 16:7).

Jesus has broken out of the dead past.

He's blown our nostalgic notions to bits.

He's ahead of us, making a way for us through this life and opening up eternity to us.

Don't pine for the past. Follow Jesus into the future!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

What's So "New" About Jesus' "New Commandment"?

[This was prepared to be shared with the people of Saint Matthew Lutheran Church in Logan, Ohio, along with their guests and friends, as we celebrated Maundy Thursday earlier this evening.]

The late Watchman Nee, a Christian author and leader, told the true story of a Chinese Christian who owned a rice paddy next to one owned by a communist neighbor. 

The Christian irrigated his paddy by pumping water out of a canal, using a leg-operated pump that makes users look like they’re riding bicycles. Every day, after the Christian had pumped enough water to fill his field, the neighbor would come out, remove some of the boards that kept the water in the Christian man’s field and let all the water flow down into his own field. That way, he didn’t have to pump. 

Of course, it also left the Christian man's field without the water needed to make his rice crop grow.

This went on for a number of days. Finally, the Christian prayed, “Lord, if this keeps up, I’m going to lose all my rice, maybe even my field. I’ve got a family to take care of. What can I do?”

After the man prayed in this way, the Lord put a thought in his mind. So, the next morning, he woke up well before dawn, while it was still dark, and started pumping water into the field of his neighbor. Then, he replaced the boards and pumped water into his own rice paddy. In a few weeks, both fields of rice were doing well.*

In our lesson for this evening, Jesus tells the eleven disciples who remain with Him to celebrate the Passover just before His arrest: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.”**

I used to wonder what was so new about this commandment. 

After all, as every Lutheran Catechism student knows, the ten commandments, given by God to the world through Moses about 1500 years before Jesus’ birth, can be divided into two tables. The first table, composed of the first three commandments, says that we are to love God. The second table, made up of the fourth through tenth commandments, tell us to love others. 

And, as we’ve remembered in our confession of sin at the beginnings of our Sunday services during Lent, Jesus once summarized the two tables in what we know as the Great Commandment. It’s in Matthew 22:37-40, where Jesus says: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

And before Jesus gave the “new commandment” He gives in our lesson for this evening, He already had expanded the boundaries of who among our neighbors He expected all human beings to love. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the hero of Jesus’ story is the member of an ethnic group His people hated.

And early in His ministry, during what we call the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had said, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you...”

It’s always been God’s will and command that we love. So, what’s so new about the commandment He gave on the night when He was arrested? 

The answer to that question comes in what Jesus says in its entirety. “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another,” Jesus says and then adds, “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

We are to love others as Jesus loved the disciples gathered with Him on that first Maundy Thursday. He did the work of a slave, washing the grimy feet of His disciples, even the feet of Judas, the man He knew was going to betray Him in a short while, sending Jesus to an undeserved and violent death.

We’re to love others as Jesus loved those who prayed that God the Father would forgive those who shouted for His death, who spat on and punched Him, who plaited a crown of thorns for His head and mocked Him, who cheered and jeered as cold, hard nails were pounded into His flesh.

We’re to love others as Jesus loved and had compassion for Peter, forgiving Peter after Peter had denied even knowing Jesus three different times at the very moment when Jesus could have used a friend.

To love as Jesus loves is to sacrifice oneself to the nth degree. It doesn’t mean being a doormat: Jesus, you’ll remember, wasn’t shy about confronting people about their sins, sins that threatened to put up a wall between God’s grace and the people who wallowed in their sin. He threw the moneychangers from the temple. He called Peter a “Satan” who was trying to keep God’s will from being done. He expressed frustration with the disciples when they argued who of them was the greatest, when they failed to feed crowds who were hungry, and when they claimed to be powerless to pray for anxious parents with demon-possessed children. But even these signs of anger and frustration on Jesus' part were the expressions of the Savior Who had come to call us all out of slavery to sin into the freedom of new life with God!
Jesus didn’t spare any sacrifice, including the giving of His very life, to do the loving thing, the thing that was best for us. 

That’s the kind of love Jesus commands of us. I truly blush in shame and repentance when I remember that Jesus doesn’t suggest that we love others as He has loved us. He commands us to love, not as a condition for being saved from sin and death, but as an expression of faith, joy, and gratitude over the fact that Jesus has already saved those who are baptized and believe in Him from sin and death. 

If you and I will love as Jesus has loved us, Jesus says, “everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

This is why I so love the story of the Chinese Christian rice farmer. He could have had an angry confrontation with his neighbor and maybe there would be times when the loving thing would demand such confrontation. But before he acted out of his justifiable anger, the man prayed. Then, as he prayed, God seemed to tell him not to exercise his righteous indignation, but to try something different: to serve and love and sacrifice at an outrageous level. 

“You’ve been loved and, because of Jesus, you are with Me always,” God seemed to tell the man. “You have eternity as your certain possession. Not everyone has the freedom from sin and death you possess as My child. Only those who know Jesus as you know Jesus have that. So, have compassion on those enslaved by sin and death. Dare to love as My Son loved you on the cross and see what, if anything, happens.”

When you and I, under the guidance of the living Lord we intimately know and have come to believe in through prayer, the reading and study of Scripture, public worship, and receiving the Sacraments, dare to love others as Jesus has loved us, strange things happen. 

Watchman Nee says that after the Chinese Christian farmer spent weeks waking up before the crack of dawn, giving the free gift of his labor and love to an atheist neighbor who hated and stole from him, the neighbor came to faith in Christ.

In a way, that shouldn’t surprise us. After Jesus’ outrageous act of love on the cross, He rose again from the grave and now offers to all who turn from sin and believe in Him new and everlasting life. And since the risen Jesus is still alive and living within all who trust in Him, we can expect surprising things when we seek God’s help in loving others as Jesus loves us.

May we all dare to obey Jesus’ new commandment. May we all learn to love others as Jesus has loved us!

*The true story told by Watchman Nee is recounted in this book.

**It's from these words that the designation of this day as Maundy Thursday comes. The word maundy comes the English language from Latin by way of Old French. The word mandatum in Latin and mandé in Old French, both mean commandment. In Latin, the words of Jesus at the beginning of John 13:34, are: "Mandātum novum dō vōbīs" (literally, "A commandment new to you I give"). Why Latin? That was the language used for Mass in the Roman Catholic tradition in which Maundy Thursday arose on the church calendar. It was also the language of the Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible used during Mass.

One Thing at a Time

The power (and relief) of focus.

162 Reasons to Be Excited About Start of Baseball Season


But I have one more to add: The Reds have a great chance of ending the season as World Series champions!

"Tweeting" the Easter Story

This is a great video! If you're on Twitter, you'll especially appreciate it. But even if you're not, take a look.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

He is the Champion, My Friend! (And You Need Him!)

Satan loves nothing better than for people to think he doesn't exist.

Don't make that mistake!

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you're engaged in spiritual warfare. And you are the spoils of war that the devil wants to take and you are the great prize God wants to save for His kingdom.

The closer you are to Christ, the more the devil wants to take you and the more temptations to sin--whether the renunciation of faith, treating others lovelessly, adultery, despair, idolatry, bearing false witness, taking God's Name in vain, or others--he will push your way.

If you aren't a follower of Jesus, you will remain blissfully ignorant of the war going on for you. That, sadly, will indicate both that the devil is confident that he has you in his pocket and that you have either never heard of the new life Jesus gives to those who repent and believe in Him--shame on the Church and on Christians, if that's the case--or that you have never opened yourself to the saving help that God provides to all who trust in Jesus.

Because we are, by nature, "in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves," as we Lutherans often say in our confessions (cf., Psalm 51:5 and Romans 5:12), we are incapable of resisting temptations to sin with our own strength of will or character.

We can't choose to believe in Christ. We can only choose to surrender and let God create both faith in Christ within us and the power to resist temptation and live as the free children of God we were meant to be.

We need to rely entirely on Christ.

In this connection, I find the second verse of Martin Luther's hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, especially comforting and empowering:

"No strength of ours can match his [the devil's] might!
"We would be lost, rejected.
"But now a champion comes to fight [Jesus],
"Whom God Himself elected.
"You ask Who this may be?
"The Lord of hosts [God's angelic armies] is He!
"Christ Jesus, mighty Lord,
"God's only Son adored.
"He holds the field victorious!"

In 1 Corinthians 10:13, you can read: "No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing He will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it." I have learned the truth of this Biblical promise. Whenever I have truly wanted to resist temptation, I've been able to call on my "champion," Christ, and resist.*

Don't be fooled. Satan does exist. So does the temptation created by Satan, the world, and our sinful selves.

But Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is alive today and stands ready to fight for and empower any who are humble enough to rely on Him to give them forgiveness, life, and the power to resist temptation and keep on trusting in Him.

Jesus is the champion who has come to fight for you. Let Him.

[For more on this subject, see here.]

*Conversely, there have been times when I have conveniently ignored God's will in order to commit the sins I've wanted to commit. In such instances, I have thought that I was exercising my free will, when in fact, I was making the only kinds of choices we can make when we spurn the freedom from sin and death God only provides for those who cling to Christ: bad ones.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Only a Living Christ is Worth Following

I love this article by retired Lutheran missionary Donald L. Raun here.

The implications for the North American context are clear. Today we have Lutheran and mainline pastors and theologians who deny truths like Jesus' virgin birth and His resurrection.

Without these truths and the new life that come from trusting in the living Christ they proclaim, we Christians are "of all people, most to be pitied" and, when your beliefs and teachings are no different from what the rest of the rest of the world subscribes to, there is simply no reason for a person to become a Christian.

Non-Christian Christianity is not only oxymoronic, it denies those who fall under its influence of the unique hope that comes from the living Jesus Christ. Only a living Christ is worth following!

This Sunday, We'll Sing, "Alleluia!" and "Hallelujah!": What Are We Saying?

This coming Sunday--Easter--churches throughout much of the world will sing out, "Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!"

But what does Alleluia mean?

Alleluia is the Latin transliteration of what was originally a Hebrew word, Hallelujah.

Hallelujah literally means Praise Yah. It lifts up praise to Yahweh, or I AM, the Name by which God revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14).

To be able to speak God’s Name is a privilege, a special gift that should be kept holy (set apart), the name never used superfluously.

It's to guard the specialness of His Name that God gives the second commandment:

“You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless those who take His Name in vain"  (Exodus 20:7).

Because of the holiness of God’s Name, the ancient Jews were hesitant to use both syllables of the name by which God revealed Himself to Moses, lest they accidentally speak the Name in a vain (worthless) manner. So, instead of Halelu Yahweh, they sang, Hallelu Yah. (Some of my Jewish friends display this same reticence about misusing God's Name, when, in their correspondence with me, they refer to God as, "G--d.")

Jesus identified Himself as Yahweh in the flesh when He told His fellow Jews: “Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58).

The Name of Jesus is as holy as all the other names by which the Bible records that God has revealed Himself.

The second Bible lesson read in many churches last week, Philippians 2:5-11, tells us that, through Jesus’ faithful pursuit of the servant’s path and the cross, God the Father, “highly exalted [Jesus] and gave Him the Name that is above every name, so that at the Name of Jesus, every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

In Martin Luther’s Small Catechism explanation of the second commandment, he says: “We should fear and love God so that we do not use His Name superstitiously or to curse, swear, lie, or deceive, but call upon Him in every time of need, and worship Him with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.”

Easter is the greatest world event since the creation of the universe! Through it, God conquers sin and death for all who repent (turn from their sins) and believe in (surrender their lives to) Jesus. If anything God has done is worthy of offering prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, it’s Easter!


Sunday, April 01, 2012

Welcome the King!

[This was shared during worship with the people of Saint Matthew Lutheran Church in Logan, Ohio, earlier today.]

Mark 11:1-11 
(Palm Sunday)

Some of you may remember the song, The New Kid in Town. Though the melody is somber, its opening lyrics seem filled with the promise of a new hero who will make everyone happy. It starts:

There’s talk on the streets it sounds so familiar
Great expectations, everybody’s watching you
People you meet all seem to know you
Even your old friends treat you like your something new.

But this picture of popularity and happy anticipation gets interrupted in the first iteration of the chorus, when we hear:

Johnny Come Lately, the new kid in town
Everybody loves you, so don’t let them down.

Those words sound like a warning to me, as if people are saying: “We’re all behind you, as long as you please us and do what we expect of you, when we expect it, and how we expect it.”

The song has it right. People can be fickle. One day, they’re for you. The next, they’re shouting, “Crucify!”

That’s especially true when they feel that the “Johnny Come Lately” they hailed on Sunday has “let them down” later in the same week.

In many ways, this is the story of Palm Sunday.

Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem. Everybody was happy. Everyone was His friend. Everyone wanted Him to be the Messiah King, to take the throne of ancient King David.

Yet, amid the Palm Sunday celebrating was an atmosphere of implied violence, of threatened rejection. The actions and the words with which the crowds welcomed Jesus were fraught with ambiguity.

Like the happy first verse of the Eagles song, the words of the crowd seemed to speak of belief in Jesus as their King.

But the word they used, “Hosanna,” meaning “Save us,” is one of those phrases that can cut two ways.

On the one hand, it can be a statement of faith and surrender: “Only You can save, Lord. We need You!”

But it can also carry a threat: “We’re putting our hopes in you. So, be the king we want you to be...or else!”

The Palm Sunday crowd, itching for war and conquest and personal vindication, must have scratched their heads at what Jesus did that Palm Sunday evening.

Instead of giving people their marching orders, Jesus did something strange. At the end of our gospel lesson, Mark tells us:

...Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So, when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Mark 11:11)

This is a strangely anticlimactic ending to a day in which Jesus' fellow Jews had proclaimed Him their King. It would be like inaugurating a president in this country--the oath administered, the crowd cheering, the Marine Band playing, Hail to the Chief--and then seeing the new president simply sit down. No speech-making. No marching orders. No crowing.

Jesus showed no interest in being a king who would lead the people in battle to rid themselves of the Romans.

The crowds and Jesus’ own followers must have been further mystified by what Jesus did the next day.

Mark 11:15-19 says that Jesus went back to the temple and still didn’t take up arms against the enemies of His homeland.

Instead, for the second time in His ministry, He turned on His fellow Judeans, throwing the money changers out of the temple. After being hailed as King, Jesus didn’t go after the Romans. He indicted His own people--the people of God--for turning the worship of God into an occasion for doing business! He was telling them that their real enemies weren't Roman soldiers, but the sin that drove them to worship money and worldly comforts and family and nation instead of the one true God of the universe!

On Palm Sunday, the crowds welcomed Jesus because they thought Jesus had come to do their will.

By Thursday of that week, what they came to realize was that He had really come to do the Father’s will. He had come, as He had already told them, “to serve, not to be served and to give His life as a ransom for many,” to bring the possibility of new and everlasting life with God to all who dared to surrender their lives to Him.

And so, like the crowds in The New Kid in Town, disappointed by the Messiah they thought they could keep in their hip pockets, the Jerusalem crowd turned on Jesus.

On Thursday night, just four days after His triumphant entry into the city, Jesus was arrested and the next day, the same crowd that had laid down their clothes and branches to welcome Him like a military hero cried for His blood.

They cried too that the Roman governor would release a terrorist named Barabbas. The crowds may have thought that, unlike Jesus, Barabbas had the stomach to fight the war against the Romans they wanted.

Truth is, they wanted a leader who would follow them, not a leader like Jesus, Who took His direction from God the Father.

And it's precisely here that we're hit with the questions that Palm Sunday forces us all to confront:

Will we be like the crowds or will we learn to be true followers of Jesus?

Will we follow our own selfish impulses and the habits of a dying world?

Or will we follow Jesus through tough times--even through death--so that we can receive what Jesus, because of His faithfulness to the will of God the Father, received on Easter Sunday: never-ending resurrection life with God?

And how exactly do we make this choice?

Above all, we must realize that faith in Jesus is not our achievement.

You and I are incapable of choosing to trust anyone or anything except ourselves.

We human beings are not born with free wills.

Left to our own devices, we will always choose the same selfish and self-destructive path the Palm Sunday crowd chose.

But that doesn’t mean that we’re without hope! Turn to 1 Corinthians 12:3. There, we read that “no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”

Listen: Faith in Jesus, the capacity to believe in Him and surrender to Him despite what the crowd is saying, is a gift.

And how do we get the gift of faith? Turn to Romans 10:10. It says: “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Notice that faith does not come by our decision. It doesn't come by our effort. Faith comes when we receive God's Word, when we let it invade our consciousness, get past our self-justifications, and speak to us.

God’s Word is the most powerful force in the universe!

The Word of God has the power to comfort us when we grieve, assure us of God’s presence with us through every moment we live, and give us the certainty that Jesus “is the resurrection and the life” and that all who believe in Him, even if they die, will live and that whoever believes in Him will live forever. Jesus is “the way and the truth and the life.” Faith comes only to those who dare to listen to the Gospel word about Jesus.

The Palm Sunday crowd would have done well to follow the example of Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. One day, you remember, Jesus was in the home of these three siblings, teaching.

Martha was busy hustling around. She made sure that everyone's glasses were full of drink and their plates were replenished with hors d'oeuvres. She served dinner. She cleaned up messes and saw that everyone was comfortable.

Mary, meanwhile, sat listening to Jesus.

Martha became enraged.  Luke 11:40 says: “Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached [Jesus] and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?...Tell her to help me.”

Martha thought she was a good person, just like the Palm Sunday crowd. “I’m a good person, a nice person” they must have thought. “I even belong the First Jerusalem Church of Nice! I do lots of good stuff! I deserve a break! I deserve a better life, some comfort, some perks for what a nice person I am!”

Jesus’ reply to Martha, in verses Luke 11:41-42, is stunning: “ are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from you.”

All the things that the Palm Sunday crowd wanted could be taken from them: freedom from foreign conquerors, lower taxes, more possessions and financial security.

Jesus was offering them “the one thing” they needed: Himself. (He offers us the same thing.)

If, instead of celebrating on that first Palm Sunday, the crowd had listened to Jesus, allowing His Word to work faith in them, they would have had much more than anything they were shouting or striving for.

They would have received the gift of faith and a life with God that never ends.

And that is an incredible gift!

A man I know spent many years warming a pew at the church he attended, but never believed. Then, after a member of his family became gravely ill, he realized that all his attempts to control his life and his world were futile. A crack in his personal armor finally allowed the word about Jesus, the King Who saves helpless people from sin and death and gives eternity to those who believe in Him, got through.

God gives faith to all who truly hear the good news that God took on human flesh, voluntarily took the death sentence for sin you and I deserve, and then find, miraculously, God’s Holy Spirit has made it possible for us to say, “I believe. I believe in Jesus more than I believe in money, or good grades, or lottery winnings, or Ohio State basketball, or upholding or dismantling national health care, or my family, or America. None of these things has ultimate importance. When we peer into the mystery of eternity and the mysteries of each day, I believe that Jesus is all I need, the only One Who can see me through!”

Gary, a friend of mine, recently wrote about getting word from the family of a friend that the friend was in the last stages of dying.

Gary’s friend had always been a hard-charging businessman who resisted the notion of surrendering to Christ. He had no time to listen to the Word, the good news of new life for all who repent and believe in Jesus. There were too many deals to be struck, too much riding on his executive judgment.

Still, Gary and he had remained friends through the years. Now, called to his friend’s death bed, Gary prayed that finally, his friend would listen to the Word of God and surrender to and trust in Jesus. Gary didn’t want his friend to face an eternity separated from God. Jesus says that God so loved this world that He gave His Son Jesus so that everyone who believes in Him won’t perish, but have life with God forever.

When Gary got to his friend’s hospital room, he found him not only suffering, but deeply disturbed. Maybe now this friend, who Gary loved like a brother, would finally listen to the Word about Jesus and God would impart the gift of faith to him.

“How are you?” Gary asked. “Oh,” the friend said, “I’m really depressed. All my stocks tanked yesterday.”

Only a few heartbeats from eternity, Gary’s friend still kept his heart, just like the hearts of the Palm Sunday crowd, closed to Christ, the only King Who can save us to live as we were meant to live, forever!

If anyone listening to my voice on the radio today has heard the message that Jesus died and rose to give everlasting life to all who repent and believe in Him, then I urge you to surrender to Jesus.

Let Him give you the gift of faith.

Let Him be your King.

And if anyone who already believes has unfinished business with Jesus--and we all do--some part of your life you’ve been keeping to yourself and out of Jesus’ hands, some part of you that doubts Jesus’ love for you--I urge you now: Surrender to Jesus.

Daily repent and daily let Jesus give you new life.

Let God’s Word, recorded in the Bible, dwell richly within you.

Gladly receive the Word of forgiveness and new life He gives to believers who taste the bread and the wine of Holy Communion.

Welcome Jesus as the King of your life “while it is still called 'today.'” You will never regret it...and if you will endure in trusting in Jesus alone, I guarantee that you will spend eternity joyfully celebrating what God’s Word did in you when you opened your heart, mind, and will and truly listened to Jesus. Amen