Today is the start of the 2009 baseball season. In my opinion, opening day should be a national holiday. I love baseball. If you’re like me, you probably love this classic bit by Abbott and Costello. Enjoy.
The April/May 2009 edition of the Woodbury Community Church newsletter is available here. God is doing some pretty incredible things at WCC and we’d love you to be a part of it. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (651) 739-1427 if you have any questions about what is happening or how you can become involved at Woodbury Community Church.
Here are a few dates to be aware of:
April 9 – Maundy Thursday/Passover Seder Dinner (6:30-8:00 PM) at WCC, 2975 Pioneer Drive, Woodbury, MN.
April 12 – Easter Sunday Services – 7:30 AM, 9:00 AM, 10:30 AM (With Easter Brunch at 8:30 and 10:00).
April 18 – Women of Freedom Spring Conference – 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM (WCC,$10/pp)
April 26 – Minnesota Teen Challenge Choir at WCC – 9:00 and 10:30 AM
On Thursday night, at 6:30 PM we’ll be having a Passover Seder dinner. It’s led by a couple in our church who live in Israel. The event is open to the public and cost $5 per person with a maximum of $25 per family. If you are interested in coming you can just show up, but we’d love to know ahead of time if you plan on being there so that we make sure we have enough food. You can e-mail the church office at email@example.com to let us know that you are coming. If you are unfamiliar with the Seder dinner, it is a celebration of the Lord’s protection and provision for His people. You can read more about the history of Seder dinner’s here.
Sunday is Easter Sunday! Easter Sunday is my favorite day of the year. When I was a four-year-old boy, it was on Easter that I asked Jesus to be my Savior. My life has never been the same. People sometimes question me on that, but it’s true. Even as a
child, Jesus made radical changes in my life. The focus of my life began to change from being all about me to being all about Him. If it were not for Easter, our faith
would be in vain. There would be no reason to come to church. Easter changed everything! We believe that the resurrection of Jesus Christ actually happened. Jesus
Christ is alive today, and His life changes lives! Join us on Easter morning as we celebrate Jesus with beautiful music, a powerful sermon, Easter brunch, and more. We have three services on Easter, an early service at 7:30, mid-morning at 9:00 and late morning at 10:30. Bruch will be served at 8:30 and 10:00. Easter is a great day
to invite friends,family members, coworkers, or neighbors who don’t normally come to church to join you. Please be praying about who you will invite, and then, take the risk! Invite someone to come with you to church on Easter morning. Easter might just change their life like it did mine!
Psalm 96, Leviticus 2, Esther 9‐10, 1 Corinthians 14
Ps. 96:1-4 – Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! 2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. 3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! 4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. – I grew up in a Christian home, have attended church my entire life, and went to a Christian elementary school, Christian college and Christian seminary. So, I’ve heard and read these verses dozens of times in my life. But, I’ve never really meditated upon them. When we take the time to meditate upon these verses, God reveals some remarkable truths. For instance, how great it is to sing to the Lord a new song! There are new things that we can learn about God, or new ways to respond to God each and every day. People I talk with often times complain about their Christian life becoming stagnant. When we seek God, when we dilligently try to learn more about Him, when we take time to be with God, He reveals more about Himself.
Notice too, that the psamist instructs the entire earth to sing to the Lord. Will the entire earth do this? No! But, it sure would be an incredible thing to see. While we won’t all worship God here, even those who believe that God is a myth, or dead, or indifferent, or someone else, will one day bow before the One True God. One day the entire earth will worship Him.
A third thing I notice here is that God desires for us to tell about his salvation from day to day. Have you told someone about God’s salvation today? Sometimes we think of salvation as being our conversion experience. And, that is an important thing to share. But, God has also intervened countless times in our lives. The past couple of days I’ve shared with some close friends about a financial challenge that we are facing. While doing that I shared about the way that God has been faithful in meeting our needs in the past. He literally has saved us time and time again in the midst of financial storms. I fully believe He will do that for us again. God is our salvation in so many ways. But, NONE as important as the salvation of our souls. A few weeks ago we showed a video at church of Penn Teller, the Atheist Vegas magician. He told of a Christian who shared Christ with him in a very loving and sincere way. Teller was touched. HE then said, “How much do you have to hate someone to believe that there is only one way to God and then not tell others what that way is?” It’s a thought provoking question. And, it’s a convicting one. We should tell of His salvation every day.
My younger brother used to love to make up quotes. In high school and college he filled his rooms with quotes that he created. It was kind of funny. But, I’ll never forget one of his quotes. He wrote down, “There has never been a time when I’ve told others about Christ that I’ve regretted it. But, there have been many times that I have kept my mouth shut that I regret.”
And, that leads the the fourth thing I learn from this passage. Not only are we to tell of Christ’s salvation, but we are to declare his glory among the nations and his marvelous works among of peoples. A friend that I have in ministry recently told me about the students that he works with. There are some who are so calloused in their walk with Christ. They have grown up in the church, but just don’t care about God. I’m firmly convinced that one of the reasons they care so seemingly little about God is because they aren’t looking for where God is at work and trying to join God in that work. When we join God in His work, our lives change. People are transformed. We are transformed! Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church begins every day by praying, “Lord, I know you are going to do something great in the world today. Please let me be a part of it.” That’s what happens when we get involved in declaring God’s glory among the nations.
The fourth lesson I get from these verses is that God is to be worshipped, praised and feared above all gods. He should be our consuming passion. May we make Him known to all peoples!
Ps. 96:8 – Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! – You’d think it would be easy — God deserves glory. God deserves the credit. God deserves the praise. Yet, so many times I believe that I’m guilty of taking God for granted. Instead of thanking Him for answered prayer, I’m quick to ask for the next thing on my list. Instead of recognizing that there is no one better to take my problems to, I talk to a dozen people and then go to God. Instead of listening to the Word of God, I listen to the wisdom of human superstars. God is the Only Wise God. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is wise, and the Author of Life. The Bible has over 1,000 names for God. Why? Because when we ascribe to the Lord, the glory due his name, we run out of room on the page. We run out of accolades. He is The Most High God, and he deserves our glory. I like that the psalmist encourages us to bring an offering into His courts. Why? Because our worship of God would involve sacrifice. King David once said, “I will not offer anything that cost me nothing.” God deserves our time, talents, testimony and treasure.
Lev. 2 – Leviticus chapter two gives us the laws for the grain offerings. Again I’m struck by the detail that went into the instructions for how offerings should be prepared. The grain offering was an offering that was meant as a pleasing aroma to the Lord and accompanied prayer requests to the Lord.
Est. 9:1b – on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them. – I love the way that this verse is written. The writer of Esther, writing through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes sure that we all get the point that it was on the very day when the enemies of the Jews had planned for their destruction that the opposite happened. God is a powerful God with a great sense of humor. I think God delighted in the fact that those who sought to destroy His children were not only thwarted but got a dose of poetic justice.
Est. 9:4 – For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces, for the man Mordecai grew more and more powerful. – Don’t you love it when the good guy wins? I do! If ever there was an underdog, it was Mordecai. Just days before God used him to deliver the Jews, Mordecai was dressed in sackcloth and ashes, outside, yes that’s right, outside, the gates of the palace. He was the ultimate outsider. The insiders wanted him dead! And, God wanted to use him. Mordecai was a willing vessel in the hands of our Powerful God. And, God loves to use humble instruments to display His marvelous works. What might God be calling you to do for Him? It’s probably not saving an entire race from Genocide. But, wouldn’t that be AWESOME! There are those in the world today that face terrible atrocities. Would you be willing to be a spokesperson for them? One place these atrocities are taking place is the Congo. I wrote about it in my November 24, 2008 blog entry. Check out this video to see how you can be a modern day Mordecai!
Es. 10:3 – For Mordecai the Jew was second in rank to King Ahasuerus, and he was great among the Jews and popular with the multitude of his brothers, for he sought the welfare of his people and spoke peace to all his people. – Want to know one of the characteristics that makes someone great? It’s when they seek the welfare of other people. It’s when they become reconcilers. It’s when they are people of peace. I love that Mordecai’s care for others is pointed out in this verse. What are some ways that you are presently seeking the welfare of others? If there is no way, find something that you involve yourself that will help lift others up.
1 Corinthians 14
1 Cor. 14 – The gifts of prophecy and tongues were causing quite a stir in the Corinthian church. In this chapter, the Apostle Paul admits to speaking in tongues, but then says, in verses 18-19 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. – Why would Paul say this? Because tongues were being abused at Corinth. Chaos was ruling the day in public worship at Corinth. Paul wanted the church to have some guidelines for corporate worship, and he laid them down here.
The principle that is most important in 1 Corinthians 14 is this: Our spiritual gifts should be used to build up the church. The purpose of our spiritual gifts is to advance God’s kingdom. When our gifts have an opportunity to build up ourselves or build up others, we should always default to building up others. Look how many times Paul uses the term “build up” in chapter 14:
4: build up himself . . . builds up the church.
5 so that the church may be built up
12 building up the church
17 but the other person is not being built up
26 let all things be done for building up
So, Christian, do you know your spiritual gift? If you need help there are some spiritual gift inventories available at my church web site in the sermon resource section at www.wccmn.org. If you know your gift, ask yourself how well you are doing in using it to build up the church. If that’s not happening it’s time to take a severe look at why God gave you your gift and start using it for the building up of others.
1 Cor. 14:33 – For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.- How do you picture God? Ask a dozen people that question and you may just get a dozen different answers. We probably all have some false concepts about what God is truly like. But, verses like this one give us glimpses into the character of God. God is not a god of confusion but the God of peace. If you’re praying and not getting peace, take time to pray longer, for as we spend time with Him, His will becomes more clear to us.