“I thank God for all who made this Holy Week and Easter a tribute to our Lord, Jesus Christ. The thoughtfulness of using your gifts and generosity for preparation, cleaning, serving, assisting at worship, and being models of a joyful people is much appreciated. Have a blessed celebration of the Feast of the Resurrection of the Lord!”

With Joy,

Pastor Dana

Easter Breakfast setup team break

Easter Breakfast setup team break

Easter 2017 Altar

Easter 2017 Altar

Getting ready for Easter worship 2017

Getting ready for Easter worship 2017

DSC03466

He is risen!

He is risen!

Easter 2017 children's time

Easter 2017 children’s time

Easter hosts for 2017

Easter hosts for 2017

Noah Soto and Clive Gompert receive their First Communion on Maundy Thursday 2017

Noah Soto and Clive Gompert receive their First Communion on Maundy Thursday 2017

golden gate of Jerusalem

Friday April 14

 

Luke 19

But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!”

Jesus replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”

But Jesus did get through the Golden Gate and he entered to the cheers of the people. Notice it is his disciples doing the cheering. And others following him, as well. But not all are happy. The religious leaders from the Pharisees are following Jesus, too, in order to trip him up.

Jesus will have none of this. Jesus is making it clear. Either accept me an reject me as the one sent by God to rule forever. He gives one more prophecy concerning the rocky path is taking into city and beyond.

Jesus replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”

This fulfills still another prophecy of what Habakkuk predicted would happen to those who oppose God.

Habakkuk 2

You have plotted the ruin of many peoples, 

shaming your own house and forfeiting your life. 

The stones of the wall will cry out, 

and the beams of the woodwork will echo it. 

The Messiah is vindicated. Even the stones know who he is.

Thus begins Holy Week.

The one who comes in the name of the LORD is confident.
Jesus…
He doesn’t sway from his mission.
He doesn’t try to compromise on what God calls him to do.
Accept him or reject him.
On his terms.
The Messiah is at the gate…

Who will follow?

ME

Today is Good Friday. What does this day mean to you?

He-Qui-triumphal-entry

Zechariah 9:9

Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! 

Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! 

See, your king comes to you, 

righteous and having salvation, 

gentle and riding on a donkey, 

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The towns of Bethany and Bethpage are located by the Mount of Olives.

Before Jesus enters into Jerusalem, another prophecy is fulfilled. The Messiah will come riding in on a donkey.

Luke 19:30-34

“Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. 

And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?”

And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.” 

See how that matches the words of Zechariah? What is also amazing is this donkey ride bookends the life of Jesus.

You see, the last time we hear of Jesus riding to Jerusalem on a donkey is in his mother’s womb. Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus ready to enter the world came past Jerusalem on their way to Bethlehem just outside of town. So, we have a donkey ride at the beginning of his life and now there will be another at the end.

The disciples know the significance of what is taking place. They know the significance of spreading garments before royalty.

Luke 19

So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on. As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. 

Here is another prophecy fulfilled.

2 Kings 9

Jehu said, “Here is what he told me: ‘This is what the LORD says: I anoint you king over Israel.’ ” They hurried and took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, “Jehu is king!” 

ME

Spreading garments and red carpets…Similar?

Keynote

Psalm 118

This is the day that the Lord has made;

    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Save us, we pray, O Lord!

    O Lord, we pray, give us success!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Jericho is 850 feet below sea level. It is not only the oldest city in the world, it is the lowest city. To travel from Jericho to Jerusalem is 18 miles straight up hill. And Jerusalem is at 3000 ft. above sea level. So, it is almost a 4000 foot gain in altitude!

What do you do when you travel in such harsh and desolate conditions? The same as you might have done if you took any long car riding vacations when you were a kid.

You sing songs to pass the time.

Going up the mountain road, Jesus and all the other travelers who were going to Jerusalem for the Passover  would be singing. Especially songs from the book of psalms. Like Psalm 118.

Save us, we pray, O Lord!

    O Lord, we pray, give us success!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!

Sound familiar? We will be hearing these same words soon.

So, Jesus goes up to Jerusalem, his disciples are following him, and so are others who are coming for the Passover festival. His entourage gets even bigger as he leaves Jericho for the last leg of his journey. Jesus even heals two blind men on the way and they follow him, too!

When they all arrive at Jerusalem, the desolate countryside instantly turns into a bustling city. Jesus would get to the top of the mountain overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. Then he would head to the Mount of Olives.

ME

What songs from your childhood do you remember?

Jericho

Luke 18

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.”

When we look at the original Palm Sunday, we realize Jesus has already indicated to his disciples how they ought to look at what is happening carefully. Like a master playwright, the whole scene is blocked out. It is about prophecies from the Bible.

The last stop for Jesus and his disciples before they get to Jerusalem is in Jericho.

Jericho is the most ancient city in the world, where people have  been living in this oasis in the middles of a desert continuously since 9000 B.C.

Jericho is the last water hole for people traveling to Jerusalem. The last vegetation you see is palm trees. So many palm trees that Jericho is called the city of Palms. How appropriate considering what will happen soon.

ME

What is your favorite part of the desert?

Friday- You Can’t Make This Stuff Up 

Mark 14:71-72

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.

Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.

So there you have it. One lie, two lies, three lies. And then let’s throw a curse in there, too.

What’s fascinating with all that is going on with Peter is how the actions of Jesus and Peter are a case of opposites. Think about it.

Praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks God to take the cup of suffering away from him three times. But he will do what God wills.

Peter denies the man he calls, “Messiah,” three times.

Peter strikes out in violent attack. Jesus doesn’t raise a finger. Peter blurts out, “I don’t know the man!” Jesus remains silent.

Suddenly Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Three times…”

How does Mark know what flashed through Peter’s mind? Well, Peter is one of Mark’s key sources for his Gospel. Peter knows what flashes through his own mind. And Peter has indeed brought a curse down on himself. It’s not just lying. He is betraying his best friend.

This is the worst thing you can do. Turn your back on your best friend. Humiliating.

That’s what makes this all the more powerful. We are reading the beginning foundational history of the whole Christian movement, the Gospel of Mark. Peter, one of the key sources of the Gospel is also one of the key founders himself. Peter makes sure that every generation afterward gets to read about him at his absolute worst.

What leader wants to put his failure in the “Articles of Incorporation” to be read and read forever?

Betraying the one who means everything to him.

Having his arrogance and bluster be stamped out by his fear.

Peter is as bad Judas.

And that’s just what Jesus doesn’t need.

You see, just like Peter, Jesus is tired, Jesus is stressed out, and Jesus is all alone.

So, Judas betrays him.

The rest of his followers desert him. And now, the only one left, his best friend, the one whom Jesus has invested in more than any other, “Denied.”

Why does Peter allow these words to be written? Who casts themselves in such a horrible light?

Someone who knows something about forgiveness.

This isn’t the end of the story

But you will have to wait until next Sunday to find out how this story ends.

Me

Why did those who wrote the Bible, especially those telling their own story, show so many key leaders messing up all the time, including themselves? What other sacred books do that? Trick question…

LIFEhouse God Time-Thursday- Lies: Our Antidote for Fear

Mark 14:68-70 

But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed.

When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” But Peter denied it again.

A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.”

The people in the courtyard are probably all from Jerusalem. These are the high society folks. Galilee, however, is considered Hicksville. To be from Galilee is what you would call back woods.  They dress differently than the Judeans. Galilean’s speak with an accent. Galileans probably think the people of Jerusalem speak with an accent, but that’s not the point. The point is, if Peter would only have kept quiet in the first place, accent or not.

But, that’s not Peter.

He acts impulsively.

He drops his fishing net and jumps in the water to follow Jesus.

He jumps in the water again later. Well, not in the water, but he walks on the water for a bit, just like his master.

And of course, his latest impulse action is to slice of a guy’s ear. But, Peter also speaks impulsively.

Or at least that is what Jesus thinks. More than once, Jesus has had to tell Peter, “You don’t know what you are talking about.”

And now, how ironic for Peter to be using those same words with the servant girl and the crowd.

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”

O, O, here we go.

The trouble with lying is, once you lie, you keep on lying. Lying is the language of fear.

And one of the greatest fears is getting caught. We learn that from day one.

You don’’t want to get in trouble? Just lie. That will do the trick. And if the first time it doesn’t work, lie some more. Young children are expert liars.

Parents correct their lying tendencies. but it doesn’t always get better.

For many children, when they grow into adults the lying doesn’t stop. Just pay attention to the news on any given day. The fear of getting caught. Lies, lies, and more lies.

For impetuous Peter, there is going to be a reckoning. He starts denying he knows Jesus and a rooster crows. It doesn’t matter. Once the lies start, Peter blows right by the prophesy.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” even though they are talking about his best friend.

Me

The next time you have the urge to lie, think about why you need to lie. What is a better way?

Tuesday- A Recipe for Disaster- LIFEhouse God Time

Mark 14:53-54

They took Jesus to the high priest’s home where the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law had gathered. Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and went right into the high priest’s courtyard. There he sat with the guards, warming himself by the fire.

Can you imagine what it was like for Peter at this very moment? His adrenaline is off the charts. He has just attacked a whole group of bodyguards and cut off a guy’s ear.

But, Jesus isn’t pleased by this and he tells Peter to put away his sword. Then Jesus is led away to the house of Caiaphas. Earlier, it says in the Gospel of Mark that all the disciples ran away when Jesus is arrested. Well, not necessarily. Peter sticks around with his best friend, or at least follows him to the high priest’s house.

Peter is filled with stress. He is tired. It’s early morning and he has been up for about 24 hours. He is there all alone, his master and friend nearby but Peter can’t do anything about it.

These are all recipes for Peter to make a big error in judgment. The times when we get into trouble the most are when we are stressed out, tired, and lonely.

When we are tired, stressed, lonely and I will add hungry, we do well to be very careful. We are super vulnerable to doing something or saying something we are going to regret. Peter will soon find this out.

Me

One of the best things you can do when you are stressed out and tired is take a walk…Take a walk.