The Color Of Love (A Valentine’s Day Blog)

“Roses are red… Violets are blue…”

We’ve heard it time and time again. People even customize their own ending to that rhyme. But why are Valentine’s Day’s colors red, blue, pink, etc.? I don’t think there’s a clear-cut answer.

What is clear is that today is about love. Maybe you’re thinking “romantic movie love”. But as believers, we have God’s unconditional love selflessly given to us by the blood of Jesus… The blood that makes even the foulest clean, the blood that makes us white as snow.

It’s ironic though because red, as an emotional color, has a different impact outside of the blood of Jesus (or even Valentine’s Day). A red light, red flag, red bullfighter cape, code red… It’s often associated with stopping, or alarming news, or even danger.

But with today also being Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season, let’s consider Jesus’ death and resurrection leading up to Easter Sunday.

Imagine the day that Jesus bled and died on the cross for us. To spectators, it was alarming and even seemed like the end of the line. But to much of the world’s surprise, that red blood would be fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah and cleansed us, making us white as snow! That very “red” led us to a new life in the Lord, resurrected with Christ! Praise God!

So yes, today will be filled with much chocolate and red roses, nice dinners and surprises. But during the next 40 days of Lent, we invite you to also pray and prepare for the Easter season, thinking about the significance and impact in your life by what Jesus has done. He deserves it all!

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”Isaiah 1:18

Reflection Song: Nothing But The Blood

Lent, Week 1: An Early 40 Days (Prepare Yourself)

Yes, I looked it up. There won’t be an earlier Ash Wednesday for 19 years (February 7, 2035), or Easter for that matter. And it’s an interesting thing, that we expect Easter during this time but aren’t always exactly sure when it’ll come. So, for many of us, I’m sure this Lenten season really crept up on you!

And it’s around this time that many of us scramble for things to give up… late-night snacking, sweets, watching TV/movies, etc. Or the opposite, you find ways to supplement your daily spiritual life by reading more of the bible, attending an extra worship service or early morning prayer, etc.

But how are you really preparing for Easter?

Every Ash Wednesday we go through this routine of giving something up, maybe even going to church, and wearing a cross of ash on our foreheads. But all of these things are just actions, motions, and gestures if underneath them all there is no purpose.

Take Easter, for instance. The days leading up to Jesus dying on the cross, His actions weren’t meaningless. He prepared and He was ready. Luke 9:51 even says that Jesus RESOLUTELY set out for Jerusalem! If we’re to prepare ourselves for Easter as well, we need to be determined, have the right intentions, and get ready for the cross.

We hope that whatever it is you choose to do (or not do), you do so with purpose and do so with resolve! Do it intentionally and prayerfully for the journey ahead.

What do you intend on doing in these 40 days? Stick with it!

Reflection Song: Because Of Your Love

Lent – Prepare: Yourself (Week 1) | Others (Week 2) | Discipline (Week 3) | Your Heart (Week 4) | The Cross (Week 5) | Resurrection (Week 6) | The Way (Week 7)

Post-Easter Self-Control (Fruit Of The Spirit)

It’s the day after Easter and you’ve probably broken fast. Maybe you took that first sip of soda in weeks, or you finally got to checkout with your online cart full of things, or (like myself) you were able to dust off your Wii U and play it again. What’s different now, post-Easter?

Galatians 5:22-23 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is made up of nine attributes: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The point of these attributes is to contrast acts that are not of the Spirit – things like idolatry, hatred, drunkenness, selfish ambition, etc. And if you’ve been following us since the beginning of Lent, you would have noticed that each week touched upon a different attribute.

Today as we consider self-control on this day after Easter, think about how Jesus has changed everything for us. The old has gone and the new is here! As easy as it may be to jump back into old habits that we gave up for 40 days, we should think about the good that God intends for us because as Galatians 5:1 says, we are free… a liberty that includes a freedom from sin.

Thanks to the Holy Spirit, we should have better discernment of good from bad – a self-control that will continue to help us be free. And though what we fasted may not be a clear-cut good vs. bad, I’d imagine that the things we gave up were put on hold for 40 days because we felt the effects of constantly being exposed to them. But even if you didn’t fast something, I’m sure a certain image comes to mind when you think of this topic.

Jesus died and rose again so that in this Christian life we can oppose the things that go against this new life given to us. So we just wanted to encourage you, brothers & sisters, to persevere with the self-control gifted to you so that you can overcome and live for the glory of the Lord. The Holy Spirit is at work within us, so let’s make the most of this post-Easter season… It’s a new day!

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin… – Romans 6:6

For more on the fruit of the Holy Spirit / posts for Lent:

Reflection Song: Only You

Lent, Week 1: Dirty Foreheads (An Ash Wednesday Blog)

“…for dust you are and to dust you will return.” – Genesis 3:9

…a verse that we often hear on this day to remind us that we came from dust and will return to dust. Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, and the day where we mark our foreheads with the ashes from burnt palms from last year’s Palm Sunday. It also marks the beginning of the 40 days of fasting many of us tackle each year – from junk food, to shopping, to the internet, to games… we usually fast something to imitate Jesus in the desert.

And though Ash Wednesday isn’t specifically mentioned in the Bible, we follow this tradition to reflect and prepare for Easter. You may or may not be attending a church service for it but as you think about the countless number of dirty foreheads going around the world today, consider the significance and meaning of it. In the shape of a cross, some may leave it on for a moment, and some may even leave it on all day as a public profession of faith.

And soon (about 40 days), we’ll contemplate the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for us. Let today be a reminder of that as you see the foreheads around you. We were once dirty but made clean because of Jesus, continually being made more like Him. And during this Lenten journey we will post weekly thoughts like last year so that we can prepare the way of the Lord together for Easter.

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” – Isaiah 1:18

Reflection Song: Nothing But The Blood


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

It Is Finished

“Tetelestai!”, shouted Louie Giglio at Passion 2015, as he began to illustrate just what that word means: the single Greek word that covers three in English… “It is finished”. It is only mentioned twice in the New Testament, and both are in John 19 when Jesus paid it all and died for us on the cross. But what exactly is finished?

The system – everything we knew before, the religious system – is finished. Sin – the very sin that makes us dead, but no longer has power over us – is finished. Shame – and all that’s tagged along with it such as guilt, condemnation, pity… – is finished. And self – you & me, the small picture… because Jesus was selfless and sacrificed Himself for you & me – is finished.

But the beautiful thing about Louie’s talk is that he talked about what’s next: When Jesus said, “It is finished” that’s when it began for us. “It” may be finished, but it’s also a brand new start. With Jesus’ last breath, came our first – His last words are our first. We didn’t know life until He gave it to us – our life begins where His ended. Tetelestai.

John 10:10 says that Jesus came so that we would have life to the fullest. We are already in the second month of 2015. It feels like just yesterday we were talking about the New Year. What needs to finish in your life so that you can begin anew? In fact, in just 2 weeks it will be Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent as we prepare for Easter. So today, we invite you to reflect upon your life as the big picture and consider the things that are done & finished, in Jesus’ Name, so that you would have life to the full. It’s not about you or me. Let’s make it about Jesus Christ.

Reflection Song: Here I Stand

Lent, Week 1: Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of the Lenten season. For the next 40 days of Lent, we reflect upon one of the most significant days of our faith… Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. With ashes made from the previous Palm Sunday, we mark a cross on our foreheads and have a repentant attitude, remembering that we came from dust and will return to dust.

This year, Pope Francis has chosen for his Lenten message a theme of “He became poor, so that by His poverty we might become rich”, which comes from 2 Corinthians 8:9.

So often we might give something up for Lent thinking it’ll also be good for us to do so (sweets, TV, games, etc.) but it’s very easy to forget that Christ died for totally unselfish reasons. It wasn’t just for your sins. It wasn’t just for my sins. It was for the sin of the world! (John 1:29) And though Lent was originally observed in the fourth century as a time of examination and denial of oneself, we may find ourselves treating it more like a countdown to Easter (“only x more days until I can eat/do _____ again!”).

In the coming weeks, we hope to reflect with you so that, whether or not you’re fasting something, we can prepare the way of the Lord together – not only giving things up, but also laying our lives down in surrender as we contemplate the price Jesus paid on the cross, that we might become rich in Him and have life to the fullest. Let’s set the tone for this season.

What are you giving up for Lent?

Reflection Song: Prepare The Way


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