Week 2 of Advent

Does anyone else feel like Christmas snuck up on us this year? It’s already Week 2 of Advent and there’s something about this time that makes it feel like the “calm before the storm”. Parents are still figuring out where to buy their children’s presents, bigger sales are about to take place, holiday traffic hasn’t really hit yet, etc. It just feels rather peaceful… for now.

But this kind of peace isn’t what we’re singing about when we say, “peace on earth, good will to men”. The peace that God supplies through His son Jesus Christ is so much greater: Jesus came to the earth to save us from sin and death once and for all! That’s a peace that can’t be matched because we have this peace now and forevermore.

Do you feel that peace in your life today?

It’s like that popular bumper sticker: No Christ, No Peace. Know Christ. Know Peace! As we continue this second week of Advent, be encouraged that the birth of Jesus on Christmas is also our peace. He isn’t called the Prince of Peace for nothing! Trust in Him and remember that nothing can separate us from the peace He gives, not even death!

Reflection Song: You Are Greater


Week 1 of Advent

In this time of year where you see Thanksgiving products coming off the shelves and Christmas products overwhelming your favorite stores, we sometimes lose sight of what’s really going on around us. This year, Advent began in November, which makes it difficult to imagine that Christmas is around the corner (though we waited until it was sure enough December for this post).

In this first week of Advent, how are you preparing for Christmas? That could mean a lot of things… who you are buying presents for, what you are planning for Christmas Eve/Day, etc. But as we wait expectantly for the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, how are you preparing yourself?

John the Baptist reminds the people of Judea in Matthew 3 that we need to prepare straight paths for the Lord. Consider the things that are in the way in your life today and how we can prepare a way for the Lord to come. One of my favorite Christmas songs is O Holy Night, which has such a poetic line:

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease

How ironic that Jesus came so humbly to the earth, yet He is a King. As we continue with Week 1 of Advent, let’s prepare the way for Him as He breaks us free from the chains & distractions that may cause us to stray. Let’s look to Christ this Christmas season!

Reflection Song: Prepare The Way

What Am I Worth?

What do you base your self-worth on? We look around and see competitions on television, whether it’s for singing, unique talents, funny videos, or even “beauty”. We see online posts and determine their merit based on the number of shares or likes… And this culture of ratings affects us.

When we start to come up with unrealistic expectations for ourselves, we start to feel disappointed and unworthy. Perhaps you feel that way right now because your week wasn’t what you expected or things just didn’t pan out the way you had hoped today. But instead of hanging onto the disappointments and things that bring you down, consider those in your life that lift you up & encourage you; consider the moments that bring you joy, the things that actually make you feel valuable. Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Don’t get hung up on the value of material things and how they can affect your worth. With Black Friday just a week away, we look so far in advance all of the deals and promotions going on… how to get the best bang for your buck – for great discounts you’d stand on line for hours. You see this kind of desire and may feel like you’re not “worth it”, but God will tell you otherwise.

The Lord your God is with you,the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

Whether it’s something someone said to you, or the way you feel about yourself after a long hard day at school/work, know that you are loved by our almighty God in heaven! See yourself the way that the Father sees you. It may be hard at first, but be encouraged that the amount God loves you far outnumbers any racing negative thoughts you may have. “How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17).

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, start by looking to your family, your friends, those that are close to you… they love you too! You’re probably thinking of a few people right now. And, of course, don’t forget to look to God! You were bought with a price, you are worth it – God showed His great love for us with the sacrifice made on the cross with His son Jesus Christ, our Lord & Savior. So in this Thanksgiving season let’s be grateful, giving thanks and praise to God our Father who has redefined our worth. It’s because of Him we have life and everything within it, so going forward let’s continue to give Him our lives and everything we have, showing Him that He is worthy of it all!

Reflection Song: Unending Praise

Happy Easter!

After a Saturday of being still following Good Friday, we rejoice and celebrate today over an empty tomb! Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!

Our story didn’t end with the cross… Jesus is alive and we are alive in Him! We can’t think of a better 100th post on our website here. Wherever you are today, we hope you are able to worship the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Here are some lyrics to our Easter song “He Has Overcome”.

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)

Reflection Song: He Has Overcome

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 (Palm Sunday) | Good Friday | Easter

“I Don’t Know Him!” (A Good Friday Blog)

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…” – Genesis 1:31

You might call it Holy Friday or Easter Friday but Good Friday is good, just as God sees creation in Genesis. The betrayal… the suffering… all the things leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion aren’t by themselves “good”. But God’s purpose for it all was good.

Every year the Lenten season is a long journey but it all comes down to this weekend as Lent comes to an end, and as Holy Week reminds us of the selfless sacrifice of Jesus Christ… for Good Friday is the day we look to the cross – that tree where Jesus bore our sins in His own body and died for us. This is the demonstration of God’s love for us all (Romans 5:8).

Do we know that to be true? Do you believe that Christ died for you?

I’m reminded of the story of Peter denying Jesus in Luke 22:54-62. Peter is asked three times if he knew Jesus, but denies it… “I don’t know him”, he replies. As you can imagine, this could be due to fear or weakness in that moment. But what if Peter denied Him because, like the crowds on Palm Sunday, he expected a conquering Messiah? A heroic king?

We know now that Jesus wasn’t a conquering Messiah but a suffering Messiah… He conquered not the government, but sin and death… He rode into Jerusalem not with an army, but on a colt. Perhaps today you have your own misunderstandings of who Jesus is. Or maybe you’ve taken for granted all that He’s done for you, brushing Lent to the side this year and forgetting the cost that was paid for your life. But remember the purpose for it all, a good purpose, that makes this grim day a Good Friday: God sent His one and only Son to the world, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

If you are feeling a little lost lately and are trying to focus on Christ today, remember that He is the way to the Father. Jesus told Philip, “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.”

How do you see Jesus? Today we recognize the Savior that Jesus is and the sacrifice He made through the Father’s love for us. May the cross remind us of the death that was necessary in order for us to have new life. Draw closer to Him today, know who He is, and know that it is a Good Friday.

Reflection Song: Here I Stand

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 (Palm Sunday) | Good Friday | Easter

Lent, Week 6: Palm Sunday (Holy Week)

Today we look at Palm Sunday (or Passion Sunday), which kicks off Holy Week leading up to Jesus’ death. Who would have thought that the day Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem would be the same week of His betrayal and death on the cross? In Matthew 21:1-11, we see that the passage is titled “Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King”. Imagine you were there for that Palm Sunday, you hear there’s a Messiah among you, He’s a King, He’s the Lord of lords… The crowds are laying down their cloaks, waving these branches, saying hosanna in the highest! “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Many times throughout the Bible (Isaiah 40:3, Mark 1:3, Mark 3:3) it says “prepare the way”, which may remind us of what we read above when the crowds were laying down their cloaks and laying down branches. The crowds were preparing the way for Jesus, even on a colt! They didn’t know what He would do next, but they knew they had to make way.

So where does that leave us? I don’t think any of us are expecting to go outside right now and lay down our North Face or Burberry jackets on the ground. So how do we prepare the way? The Bible says to prepare the way of the Lord and make His paths straight. We should note that it’s not that the Lord doesn’t like winding or curved roads but we ought to clear the way of all obstructions or hindrances that could keep Him from doing His will in our lives.

If you have things you’ve given up for Lent, or things that are holding you back, it’s time to do some spring cleaning. Have you noticed that refraining from these things makes a better way for Jesus to come? Jesus gave everything up for us in order for our crimson sins to be washed as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). His triumphant entry into Jerusalem is so that we can have a victory in our salvation from the cross and resurrection of our living Lord & Savior. Make worthy to God all of your praise this Holy Week, this Easter season, and with these lives that we have in Him.

Ultimately, instead of being on a throne as King, Jesus humbly took His place on the cross for our sins. So let’s prepare the way, knowing what’s to come this coming Holy Week: our Lord Jesus Christ suffering for us, exemplifying a love that’s humble & beyond how we can love. This, in fact, is the definition of the word “passion“… as in “The Passion Of The Christ”. The love Jesus showed on the cross spans farther than we can imagine. So we begin Holy Week with the palms and end with the cross…

Reflection Song: Prepare The Way

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 (Palm Sunday) | Good Friday | Easter

Lent, Week 5: Humility

We started the Lenten Season this year by admitting the things that distract us from God, giving them up because we remember that Christ died for unselfish reasons: Jesus humbled Himself and even died a humiliating death for us on the cross (Philippians 2:5-8). So we make Lent a time to practice humility as a way to follow after Jesus… not humiliating yourself but humbling yourself, recognizing what has been done not by yourself but with God.

As we shared in Week 1, Pope Francis chose a Lenten message theme of “He became poor, so that by His poverty we might become rich”. That means nothing else gives us more fulfillment than Him. Do you still cling onto the things you’ve given up? Maybe you’ve even slipped up once or twice. But as we give up these distractions, we’re doing so knowing that self-satisfaction is out the door.

We can’t do it on our own!

Following Jesus is not an easy task. But our own prideful attempts, desires, and solutions won’t cut it – Matthew 23:12 says, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” In context, Jesus warns His disciples and the crowds to be careful of hypocrisy and of what you do. We aren’t to build our own selves up but rather remember that there is one God who’s here for us and deserves all the acknowledgement & praise.

Let’s continue to make way for the Lord, fix our heart attitude before Him, and be humbled beneath His mighty hand. This week we want to encourage you as you drop the things that are keeping you from seeking God humbly and whole-heartedly because our humility will make room for Him to guide us… C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Are you using this time for extra time in prayer and deep reflection towards Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection?

Reflection Song: Only You

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 (Palm Sunday) | Good Friday | Easter

Lent, Week 4: Hope

We are already halfway to Easter! I don’t know about you, but this Lenten Season has truly been a blessing. The more time that I spend with the Lord, the more I realize that our life, hope, and trust should be in Christ. It may be difficult for you right now but don’t sweat it! Put your hope in God!

Colossians 1:27 says: “To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Our hope, our purpose is found in Christ, the One who has saved us. But so often we don’t place all our hope in Christ – we say that we trust in the Lord, yet we hype up and boast in others.

What brings you true satisfaction?

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17). You see, no matter how much we think the things of this world bring us joy, the riches we find in God are far greater. The joy He gives us is everlasting. Our hope of glory gives us confidence and perseverance. It’s a hope that is certain and true.

So do not lose heart! You may be going through tough times as you’ve given things up for Lent. Trials and temptations may come your way. But press on and endure, persevering in tribulation, and continue to devote your life to the Lord (Romans 12:12). Continue to remember that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and nothing else can compare to the benefits of knowing Him & being in an intimate relationship with Him!

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

Reflection Song: Christ Is

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