Category Archives: Jesus

Gripping the Cross

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The hand that grips this cross
is sinful and stained,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
is holy and perfect.

The hand that grips this cross
is in need of help and rescue,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
has won the victory through his resurrection.

The hand that grips this cross
falls short of God’s glory continually,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
extends grace and mercy endlessly.

The hand that grips this cross
will one day give way to death and decay,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
has risen that the possessor of this hand may live eternally.

The hand that grips this cross
doesn’t always treat people as they ought to be treated,
but thankfully the one who died upon the cross
doesn’t treat the person of this hand as they ought to be treated.

and therefore,

The hand that grips this cross
will always cling to the promises secured therein;
thankful for Jesus, the one who died upon the cross
FOR YOU and FOR ME.

The Pastor -|—

Prayer of Anti-Laziness

Holy and awesome God,

What a privilege it is to gather together and worship You.
What a joy it is to lift up our thanks and praise to You.
What a peace-filled thing it is to rest in Your promises.
What a comfort it is to know Jesus.

For You sent Your one and only Son to do battle for us.
For You sent You one and only Son to suffer and die for us.
For You sent Your one and only Son to rise victorious for us.

Holy and awesome God,
Thank you!

Receive our worship,
hear our praise,
accept our cries,
and cradle us in Your holy arms.

But as we rest peace-filled and thankful, may we not be complacent.
May we not cheapen Your grace through selfish desires.
May we not turn our backs on those who are lost.
May we not take You for granted.

Holy and awesome God,
send Your Holy Spirit that we may know You better;
that our lives may be ones of worship and praise;
glorifying Your most holy name.

Bless us now, that we may be a blessing to others.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, we pray,

Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Beneath

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Beneath the cross of Jesus
I am humbled by your love.
It’s for sinners that you died;
through grace coming from above.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I’m convicted of my sin.
But sacrificed as the lamb;
My Savior was slain for me.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I am captured by your grace.
Undeserving as I am
but life’s given by your hand.

Beneath the cross of Jesus;
reflecting on Your mercy,
Your precious Son died for me
to heal me forever more.

The Pastor -|—

The Son of God ~ A Prayer

Holy Father,
You sent Your one and only Son,
Jesus
to bear the sins of the world for our sake.
You sent Jesus to suffer the cross and enter death
so we could have the hope of everlasting life.
Jesus, Your dear Son,
received the full cup of Your wrath
that we would be spared from it.

Oh God,
may all who hear these words be drawn to You
and make the confession that Jesus,
Your Son,
is their Lord and Savior.
May these words spoken here
convict people to run to you;
confessing their sins and thus hear forgiveness.

But we also remember those who are not here;
who are not hearing these words.
May we be sent out to preach this Gospel.
May those who don’t know Jesus
be overwhelmed by Your Spirit and thus be saved.
Oh God,
holy Father,
bless us now and forever more, as we long to bring glory to Your most holy name.
It’s in the name of Jesus I pray,

Amen.

Speaking ~ good; silence ~ bad

I am finishing the sermon for tomorrow and wanted to share this little tid bit with you before I posting the prayer I wrote for the closing of the sermon:

In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 14, Jesus is on trial before the high priest. During the trial, (false) witnesses came forward with testimony against Jesus, but with one glaring problem: Their testimony did not agree. More witnesses came forward but still could not agree. And when asked by the high priest to answer these charges, Jesus remained silent. At this point, there was nothing to convict Jesus and thus remaining silent could have meant his freedom because after all, the truth was on his side but also THE Truth was on his side, and thus silence is not an option.

So the high priest eventually chimes in to ask if Jesus was the Son of God, and Jesus breaks his silence to speak the Truth; signing his own death certificate. All Jesus had to do, to save his life, was remain silent, but he spoke the Truth to set you free.

And what about you, do you remain silent about the Truth of God; about the Gospel. Sure, it may be easier to remain silent in this world that is hell bent on discrediting Christians, but what does that silence achieve? To remain silent may secure your comfort but it may mean eternal death for someone else if they don’t hear about Jesus. Silence may be easy for you but it may come with a high cost for someone else.

But really, if you truly know the Truth of God through Jesus Christ, how does one keep silent. Speak, for the truth has already set you free. Let’s pray…

All honor, glory and worship be unto You,
oh God,
for the awesome gift of life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
All thanksgiving be to You
for giving us Your Holy Spirit to sustain us.
All praise be to You,
Holy God,
for receiving redeemed sinners into Your presence through Jesus.
May we be so bold to speak and abhor silence when it comes to the Good News of Jesus.
May proclaiming Your grace and love be as natural to us as breathing,
as we look forward to that day when we begin worshiping You
forever and ever
in Your glorious kingdom.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

A Spiritual Kick in the Pants

Pursuing Christ is not an occasional hobby to receive some spiritual high but rather a way of life because he loves you.

The above quote is something I wrote and posted on my Twitter feed (Feisty Pastor, @EricSpeakingUp). I wrote it because of personal experience; using spiritual practices to feel good and/or (believe it or not) to ensure that things will go my way. I would engage in spiritual practices; diving into scripture, writing, reading theology books, praying and meditation, to find this closeness with God and thus feel this sense of peace. And I would continue this for awhile until something would happen or I would slowly fall out of “practice”. And after going through a low time or feeling nervous about something coming up, I would start all over again.

Basically, using God as a drug to deal with life.

The weird thing is, deep down inside, I knew something wasn’t right but yet I kept at it because God was (and is) always faithful. God gave me this sense of peace when I would pursue Christ. And of course God knew what I was doing but yet God continued to love me and bless me with this peace. Part of me wishes that God would not have done that because I definitely did not deserve it.

I am not sure what happened but some spiritual kick in the pants woke me up to the reality of what I was doing. Maybe it was God’s love that kicked me. Maybe this peace that surpasses all understanding overwhelmed me to the point of conviction. I am not sure, but whatever it was I saw the error of my ways. But more importantly, I saw what I was missing.

An intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus.

The fact of the matter is, pursuing Christ is NOT a hobby. A hobby is something we do to take a break from life. It’s also something that does not consume one’s life (at least it shouldn’t). A hobby is only a part-time commitment. One of my hobbies is reading, but I only do that in my free time. Jesus being a hobby means that Jesus is not really part of your life. It means that you control the terms of the relationship. It means you are in charge. And this flies in the face of what it means for Jesus to be your Lord. A lord is in charge, not the subject.

But also, it flies in the face of what it means for Jesus to be your Savior. Jesus has saved me from my sins through dying on the cross. Through faith, Jesus has saved me from eternal condemnation. Through faith, Jesus gives a comfort that gives me strength no matter what this world throws at me. And therefore, why wouldn’t anyone want to get to know this Savior better and be close to him ALL the time?

Knowing this and receiving this should move “pursuing Jesus” from hobby status to a way of life, and not to get a spiritual high to get through your day, but rather to get to know this Lord and Savior better and better. Pursuing Jesus, then, is something that is every bit natural as breathing is natural.

If pursing Jesus is only a part time activity or hobby in your life, then you don’t know Jesus; you don’t understand what he did FOR YOU. Pursue Jesus ALL the time because he loves you and has died and risen FOR YOU. Pursue Jesus not for some spiritual high but because you want a relationship with him. Pursue Jesus FULL TIME.

Pursue Jesus and live with eternal joy as you look forward to living with Him on high.

The Pastor -|—

Grace and Mercy ~ A Prayer

Father God,

Your grace and mercy is something that doesn’t make sense.
I mean, sinners, us, receiving mercy and forgiveness.
Sinners receiving chance after chance to change our ways and be obedient.
Sinners who constantly turn on You.
Sinners who would much rather be their own god
or acquiesce to weak worldly gods.

To reflect on such depravity sends chills up and down my spine.
But it is because of such depravity
that Jesus comes.
It is because of such darkness within
that Jesus is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
It is because of such self-glorification
that Jesus dies and rises,
FOR US.

Oh God,
may Your Spirit continue to shine the light of Truth in our hearts
that we may always run to You.
And once in Your arms
may all worship and thanksgiving be given to You
for Your incredible grace and mercy.
Oh God, there is no god like You
and therefore You are worthy of all praise.
All glory be unto You, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord,

Amen.

The Pastor -|—