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John 14

21 Those who truly love me are those who obey my commands. Whoever passionately loves me will be passionately loved by my Father. And I will passionately love you in return and will manifest my life within you.”

22 Then one of the disciples named Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “Lord, why is it you will only reveal your identity to us and not to everyone?”

23 Jesus replied, “Loving me empowers you to obey my word. And my Father will love you so deeply that we will come to you and make you our dwelling place.”

In my Ash Wednesday message I invited the LIFEhouse community to try out an experiment during Lent. Let’s take Jesus at his word in John 14 and show our love to him by obeying his commandments. Each week we will look at two commandments from the Ten Commandments. We will practice those for the week. Each Sunday we will get two new commandments. I include Luther’s explanation as a helpful guide. Let’s see how we can connect with Jesus in this way.

Following Jesus-

Pastor Dana

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean? We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

The Second Commandment

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.

What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not curse, swear, use satanic arts, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks.

Living in the real world

During the season of Lent, we will gather for dinner at 6 p.m. in the Hall. Then we will move into a fascinating video study which was presented by Dr. Dallas Willard. I have picked out five teachings from the series for us to explore.

Living in the Real World: Five Key Teachings of Jesus

What is the real world? Is it the physical world we live in or is there more to it than that? If the real world is actually living in God’s Kingdom now, what does this look like? What does Jesus have in mind?

I can think of no better guide than Dallas Willard to help us explore these teachings of Jesus about the real world and how we can live them out. Through five video talks given by Dallas, we will make progress in understanding God in His Kingdom and how we can apply this to our everyday lives.

  1. Jesus and Culture: What is the real world?

  2. God and His Kingdom: Living in the real world

  3. The Beatitudes: Who is well off in the real world?

  4. Living without anger: Becoming the kind of people whom God is using to transform the real world

  5. Prayer: Hearing from God in the real world

Come and join us Thursday, February 22@6 p.m.

(Reminder: We have free childcare and free Uber rides for anyone who needs it. Just call Robyn at the Church office by the prior Wednesday (818-885-6861) to make arrangements.)

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Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 14. Yes, Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day, what a combo!

Ash Wednesday Worship with Imposition of Ashes and Holy Communion is at 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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?