Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A prayer...

Colossians 1:15-20
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."

I was praying through this passage this morning, having entered prayer feeling particularly disconnected and dishoveled. So many needs, so many concerns, it was hard to know where to begin. Then this passage broke over me like the dawn. In the midst of reminders of my humanity, frailty, and finitude the glory and supremacy of Christ has a way of clearing the clouds and reorienting me to "the big picture". It's all about Jesus - his supremacy, his preeminence, his glory.

There is a lot here, but just a couple of notes:

"in him all things hold together." This is true on an atomic as well as galactic level. Jesus holds planets and planeria, stars and starfish together. But also, something really amazing, he holds me together! When I feel like my world is coming apart and I am unraveling, Jesus is the one who holds me together. And sometimes he simply holds me. So I pray, "Jesus, in the midst of times of chaos and confusion, hold me together! Hold onto me - don't let me go! You promised you would, and so I rest in that promise!"

"...that in everything he might be preeminent." The bottom line to all life's pursuits is the supremacy of Christ. The fuel for all that we do is the supremacy of Christ. The end toward which all our prayers are ultimately directed is the supremacy of Christ. And if this is end to which the Lord is directing all of human and cosmic history - what confidence does this give my prayers! And so I pray, "Jesus, be preeminent in my work, get all the glory in your church, be supreme in my marriage, captivate my children with your glory, open the eyes of my lost friends to your supremacy! Lord, let nothing thwart this awesome goal in my life and in the lives of those around me!"

I would highly commend praying though this passage yourself. And when you do, remember to pray for me...

The well wisher of your soul's happiness,
Pastor Tom

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

making contact...

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus calls us to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world,” serving as both a preservative and a lighthouse to the world. But consider this: salt and light have no effect without first making contact with something.

From "Unfashionable: Making a Difference in the World by Being Different" (Tullian Tchividjian)

Friday, April 2, 2010

good friday...

 1 Who believes what we've heard and seen? Who would have thought God's saving power would look like this?

 2-6The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
   a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
   nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
   a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
   We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
   our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
   that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
   that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
   Through his bruises we get healed.
We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost.
   We've all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong,
   on him, on him.

 7-9He was beaten, he was tortured,
   but he didn't say a word.
Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
   and like a sheep being sheared,
   he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
   and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
   beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
   threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he'd never hurt a soul
   or said one word that wasn't true.

 10Still, it's what God had in mind all along,
   to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
   so that he'd see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
   And God's plan will deeply prosper through him.

 11-12Out of that terrible travail of soul,
   he'll see that it's worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant,
   will make many "righteous ones,"
   as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I'll reward him extravagantly—
   the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch,
   because he embraced the company of the lowest.
He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many,
   he took up the cause of all the black sheep. (Isaiah 53, The Message)

Thursday, April 1, 2010