Goodness (A Good Friday Blog)

Why is it called Good Friday if Jesus suffered and was crucified?

“Good” in this sense can also mean “Holy”, which is why you may also hear it as “Holy Friday”. And goodness in Greek, agathosune, can be defined as an uprightness of heart and life (for the benefit of others). So when we think of today and all that happens, we see that Jesus lived a life and died a death that shows this kind of holiness in action.

We could not have Easter without Good Friday (because death is needed before resurrection) and, likewise, we could not have Good Friday without Easter (because His story doesn’t end with tragedy). So when we take a step back and look at this day as a whole, we see the significance and necessity – that Jesus, with the love of God, was sent to the earth in order to take our sins to the cross, suffer, and die. We could take James 1:17 quite literally when it says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” Jesus Christ was the perfect gift and the perfect sign of love.

All the way to His death, Jesus was humble and obedient. He exemplified this holiness, this goodness, this agathosune, for all to see. He was selfless. And as we prepare ourselves to be the same, especially today, we look to the cross where Jesus died for our sins. In fact, 1 John 2:2 says that as the atoning sacrifice for our sins, Jesus died for the sins of the whole world!

So even though Easter Sunday (Resurrection Sunday) is right around the corner, let’s pause for a moment today to contemplate the cross. Jesus, the perfecter of faith, endured the cross and scorned its shame (Hebrews 12:2). It’s a suffering and death we deserve but He bears it all for us, even descending into hell before raising up from the dead.

What an amazing sacrifice made for us today! It always amazes me when I think about the meaningfulness and symbolism of this day. And even though it would be easy to see today in terms of tragedy, suffering, death, and all-around horribleness, we know that leading up to Resurrection Sunday it really is a Good Friday.

Reflection Song: Here I Stand


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Lent, Week 5: Love

We’re not talking about a worldly love but a Godly love – a love from the Father as we are of the Father, not of the world. Yet we often find ourselves loving things more than we should: food, shopping, games, March Madness… But Jesus says in 1 John 2:15-17:

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Instead, just as God loves us we too ought to love Him and others with a Godly love. In fact, God is love and He says that we should love one another: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35) But love is tough, isn’t it? We always revert to love the things we once did and hate the things we’ve always known hating. But because of Jesus Christ and the love He showed on the cross, we can put that behind us and strive to be more like Him who died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).

The old has gone away and the new has come. We no longer live because we have been crucified with Christ and He now lives in us only because of the love & faithfulness of God the Father and His one and only Son (Galatians 2:20). This changes everything! So while we continue to pave the way, keep at it! It may be tough and it won’t be easy but while earthly love is convenient and will be effortless to slip back into, it is not the true love that God set aside for us.

This week, remember that God is love and that He is with you so that you don’t have to love on your own as it’s portrayed in fairy tales, books, or movies. The love we give and show the world, as we become better disciples, is of the Father. It’s the kind of love that fills us even when other love fails us. God loves us & cares for us and as we draw closer to Holy Week, remember the massive love that will be displayed for us because He so loved the world.

Reflection Song: Because Of Your Love


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

Perfect Love (A Valentine’s Day Blog)

The other day at our church small group, a few of us were talking about the unfortunate lack of communication these days and how that’s impacted our signs of affection. It’s gotten to the point where we aren’t sure what “I like you” means anymore because some feel the need to differentiate “I like you” with “I like like you”! That’s some real emphasis there!

With Valentine’s Day so imminent, those who have a date may be getting ready for whatever’s planned – but those who don’t may be wondering “does he/she like like me?”, much like the classic “he loves me / he loves me not” flower petal plucking…

But I think it’s great that Valentine’s Day lands on a Saturday this year because the following day is Sunday, the day we gather together to worship the One who truly loves us. And in case you aren’t sure how much God loves you, let’s take a look at the very famous verse, John 3:16:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

You see, God showed His love for us on the cross with His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. There’s no doubt about it after reading that verse that it’s because of God’s perfect love. And in case you need that extra emphasis or clarification, take a closer look: “For God so loved the world…” – that’s like saying, “For God loved loved the world”! That’s quite some love! It’s the same perfect love that casts out fear and insecurity (1 John 4:18)… the perfect love that helps heal & cure… perfect love that we are made aware of and get to experience every day.

So whether you’ve got plans or you’ve got plans to stay at home, God so loves you… in fact, God is love and His perfect love is unconditional, unmatched, and unmeasurable.

Reflection Song: One Thing Remains

True Love (A Valentine’s Day Blog)

Maybe you’ve seen a movie like 2010’s Valentine’s Day or some other rom-com where they try to answer the age-old question “What is love?”, or you’ve been to one too many weddings where they quote 1 Corinthians 13, or you’ve been able to celebrate Valentine’s Day with somebody special over the years.

But perhaps on this Valentine’s Day, I can offer a different perspective: Valentine’s Day is about true love. Can you believe that just 300 years ago, Valentine’s Day flowers, chocolates, and cards never even crossed our minds?

The story goes that Saint Valentine was a Christian priest and physician in early Rome, during a time where it was very anti-Christian and anti-marriage. Yet, he constantly did good deeds, cared for the sick & the poor, and secretly performed Christian weddings. Right before the Roman Empire beheaded Valentine for his Christian faith, he fell in love with a woman and gave her a final note signed, “Your Valentine”.

Now where in that story did you see true love? The origin of Valentine’s Day cards? Or how Valentine knew the value of his faith and love for Jesus Christ that he would take it to the very end?

When we think of true love, we may think of romance… but real, true love is unconditional, like the true love shown to us by Jesus Christ – the perfect sign of God’s love on the cross. This true love is what inspired and drove Valentine to do what he did. He risked persecution, punishment, and even death to take a stand for his Christian faith. Jesus was his shameless plug.

So this Valentine’s Day, have fun with the candy and flowers but don’t just fall for the commercialism and Hallmark holiday of February 14 – Valentine’s Day is more than that. Consider true love and show true love to those you care about: your friends, family, husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, and even strangers. How can you show more of the true love of Jesus?

Reflection Song: Here Today