Easter

8 Ways Holy Week Shapes Our Lives

8 Ways Holy Week Shapes Our Lives

How is your life shaped by Easter week? I mean other than the obligatory 3 pounds that is about to be added to your waistline courtesy of honey baked ham, deviled eggs, and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups (if you’re going to put on the weight, it might as well be good… not Peeps or generic jelly beans!)?

It has often been noted that the final week of Jesus’ life takes up a disproportionate amount of the gospel narratives. Approximately a third of the gospel accounts are devoted to the final week of Jesus’ life:

·        8 of 28 chapters in Matthew

·        6 of 16 chapters in Mark

·        5 of 24 chapters in Luke

·        9 of 21 chapters in John

Of the 52 weeks of our year, Holy Week is highlighted and underlined. On this week the other 51 weeks of our year hang, on this week, the other 51 are shaped.

How does the Holy Week shape our lives?

Farewell to our Easter Lily

Farewell to our Easter Lily

Maundy Thursday, 4pm

“Angel, give me a call ASAP. We need to talk.”

Not a text you want to receive from your DCS case worker.

We called immediately.

“We’ve decided to move Lilly to a home closer to her half-sister.”

We hadn’t been notified that was even a possibility.

“Can we pick her up tonight?”

We talked the case worker out of that idea and into waiting until Monday.

We hung up the phone and sat in silence, shocked.

Jesus took the unleavened bread that Passover night and he gave it to his disciples, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”[i]

Our bond with Lilly had come so naturally. She had only been with us three and a half months, but we were a mutual admiration society. After a couple of weeks of trauma-induced non-responsive behavior, she opened up. It wasn’t long before her squeals and belly laughs filled our home. We kissed her, squeezed her, and sung and prayed over her.

We dreamed of the possibility of adopting Lilly. We didn’t know if that would be possible, but we knew that the case would be a long one. We would get to enjoy her for at least another year.

Who Crucified Jesus?

Who Crucified Jesus?

Nearly 2,000 years ago today Jesus hung on the cross. Why was he there? Who put him there? 

Brian Najapfour considered that this week on his blog and I think it is a perfect reflection this Good Friday. 

May our hearts reflect on the greatest sacrifice ever offered and marvel today in brokenness and humility and joy. 

A blessed Good Friday to you, friend,

John

Who Crucified Jesus? The Romans? The Jews? You and I? Or His Father? 

So, who really killed Jesus?

Breaking the Power of Shame

Breaking the Power of Shame

I was eleven years old and our Little League season had just come to an end. At my insistence, my parents dropped me off at the mall with my teammates to hang out. Not long after the parents had left, my friends hatched a plan: they wanted to go to see the hit new movie Die Hard 2. A knot formed in my stomach as the plan was hatched. Die Hard was rated R. I’m not sure I had seen a PG-13 movie. I told them that we couldn’t see it because we were too young. My friends scoffed: “I go to rated R movies all the time! They never stop me.” I shrunk back. We paid and walked in.

I felt sick through the whole movie and afterward. When my parents picked me up and asked what we did, I doubled down with a lie, “we just hung out.” I felt sicker.

Even after asking for forgiveness, the cloud over my heart remained. Guilt was gone. Shame remained.

Shame has power.

Shame is one of the most destructive forces on this earth. Shame is destructive because it attacks our spiritual and emotional life.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.      The Rescue Begins: The story of Easter begins long before Jesus arrives on the scene. I love The Gospel Project’s videos.

2.      Learning Styles are Bunk: Joy Pullman on the research that has debunked "learning styles" and why continuing to use this framework is counterproductive.

3.      Is My Desire Sour? Melissa Kruger gives us helpful questions to help analyze whether our desires are godly or not. The last question, "What is my desire while I wait?" might be the most important.

4.      Rules Without Reasons: Mike Leake: "If I’m being honest, there are some things in the Scriptures that I simply do not get. Some positions which I believe are biblical still make me a bit uneasy. At times, I simply do not understand why God set these things up the way that He did. But I’m asked to obey them nonetheless."

5.      The Science of Creating High-Performing Companies: Paul Zak is a neuroeconomist. Yup. I guess that's a thing. This is an interesting podcast where he talks about the impact of trust on an organization.