Saturday, April 3, 2010

Holy Uprising - Sat Apr 3

The Greatest Treasure

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it." Matthew 13:45-46

I often look across the room at my wife when she is not looking and am reminded of this verse. She is such a great blessing in my life. She is the greatest object of my love on this earth, and yet, so often, I realize that I have let my job, or my hobbies, or just life in general, take the freshness away from that revelation. Lord!!!! Revive me daily and remind me of the treasure you have placed in my life!!! Refocus my pearl merchant’s heart and inspire me to daily sell all that I have that I might retain this great treasure for just one more day!!!!

So too with THE greatest treasure in my life. Jesus. So often, I let work, family, friends, hobbies, or plain old sin throw a wet blanket on the love that I have for my Savior. Why?

It is so easy to give God the leftovers in my life. Why? Lord, God, Savior, revive my heart!!! Let the immensity of the treasure that is YOU take my breath away. Jesus, please just sit right here, I am off to sell it all so that I can come back and have you!!!!

And then I am brought to my knees in a mixture of joy and sorrow as I realize "Wait, that is exactly what He did to purchase me.” I am the pearl. Jesus sold it all, because I am the pearl of great price.

Did you know that you are that pearl too? My price, your price, they were all so high. He found us though and loved us so much that He willingly, passionately gave it all!

That's what we celebrate this week! Jesus didn't just die, he died FOR YOU! And now He lives FOR YOU!!

Shout it out! Shout out 'Thanks!' and 'Praise God!' It's true, you're that valuable!

"The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus!" Romans 6:10-11

Friday, April 2, 2010

Holy Uprising - Fri Apr 2


11 Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him.

Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

12 But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. 13 “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. 14 But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.

15 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. Some manuscripts read Jesus Barabbas; also in 27:17.

"> 17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)

19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”

20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?”

The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”

22 Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

They shouted back, “Crucify him!”

23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”

But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”

24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”

25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!” Greek “His blood be on us and on our children.”


26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

27 Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters Or into the Praetorium.

"> and called out the entire regiment. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

The Crucifixion

32 Along the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, Cyrene was a city in northern Africa.

"> and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. 33 And they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). 34 The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.

35 After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. Greek by casting lots. A few late manuscripts add This fulfilled the word of the prophet: “They divided my garments among themselves and cast lots for my robe.” See Ps 22:18.

"> 36 Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there. 37 A sign was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Two revolutionaries Or criminals; also in 27:44.

">* were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.

39 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. 40 “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

41 The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. 42 “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! 43 He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way.

The Death of Jesus

45 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. 46 At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, Some manuscripts read Eloi, Eloi.

"> lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Ps 22:1.


47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. 48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. 49 But the rest said, “Wait! Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.” Some manuscripts add And another took a spear and pierced his side, and out flowed water and blood. Compare John 19:34.


50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he released his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, 52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. 53 They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.

54 The Roman officer Greek The centurion.

"> and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, “This man truly was the Son of God!”

55 And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee.

The Burial of Jesus

57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who had become a follower of Jesus, 58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. 59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance and left. 61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting across from the tomb and watching.

What part(s) of the story are you most drawn to?

The mock trials? The crowds cry to have His blood fall on them? The mocking ('Come down . . . if you are the Son of God!')? The darkness? Jesus' final cry? The earth's response to His death? The centurion's response? Who this Joseph of Arimathea was? Something else?

What's most powerful for you personally?

I can't help but wonder where His nearest followers, His disciples, were? The only one who is recorded to have been there is John (John 19). Where was Peter? Peter had only 18 hours before emphatically declared that he would go to prison or die with Jesus! That he would never disown Jesus!

It reminds me that what Jesus did was not dependent on how good or faithful Peter, or me, or anyone else was/is. What Jesus did was birthed out of love.

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

There really is no way for us to measure or fathom the depth of God's love that went into that Friday. Only to receive it.

When we get that, I mean really get that. Then the crucifixion becomes the resurrection. It becomes life to us.

I encourage you to go back and read the story again. And as you read it, think about the love that's woven into every detail.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Uprising - Thur Apr 1

Jesus said to his followers, 'Go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone.' Mark 16:15 (NCV)

This past weekend I made a road trip by myself from Corpus Christi to north of San Antonio. As I left the City of Corpus, I began to see the most magnificent sight! The Texas wildflowers are in bloom and they are gorgeous. I saw all kinds of colors: whites, yellows, blues, purples, pinks, reds, and oranges. I was so enthralled, I’ve gone to the Texas Wildflower website to look them up. I think I saw, among others, white Bull Nettle, Bitter weed, Buttercups, Indian Paintbrush, Nettle, and of course Bluebonnets.

Did I mention they were gorgeous? Everywhere you looked people were pulled over and out of their cars taking pictures of the flowers and taking pictures of people and animals in the flowers. I would go around a curve and the sight was so beautiful it would take my breath away! I found myself wanting to share the beauty with someone. As I passed other vehicles or they passed me, I really wanted to get their attention so that I could point it out and get them to “ohhh” and “ahhhh” with me.

Even after I arrived at my destination, I would tell everyone I saw how beautiful it was. I called my daughter I law. I called my husband. I posted by experience on Facebook. On my way home, I called a friend to share it with her. I called my daughter. I even stopped and took a couple of pictures of them myself.

As I headed home, it struck me that I just couldn’t wait to tell everyone about the beauty I had seen. It made my heart rejoice, and I just wanted to share it. It reminded me of the story of the Samaritan woman in John 4. If you remember, Jesus entered Samaria near the town of Sychar and stopped at a well where he met the woman we now refer to as the Samaritan woman. After a conversation with her, Jesus reveals to her that He indeed is the Messiah. And what did the woman do?

John 4:28-30: "Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 'Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Christ?' They came out of the town and made their way toward him."

She went back to her town and told everyone about Jesus and people went to see for themselves. And then what happened?

John 4:39-42: "Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, 'He told me everything I ever did.' So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, 'We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.'"

Because of the woman’s story they believed. And listen to her story: “He told me everything I ever did.” No three point sermon needed! Very simple. This is what He did.

But then the people said they no longer believed because of what she said, but they had heard for themselves and know that He is the Messiah.

Now, back to “my” wildflowers: I can tell you (and maybe even show you if my photography skills are good enough) just how gorgeous all those flowers were, but you will not truly be able to appreciate their splendor until you see for yourself.

What God showed me is that I should be just as excited to share what I have seen Him do in my life as I am to share the beauty of those wildflowers! Because of what I have experienced in the presence of My Lord, I should hurry back and tell everyone about Jesus.

The beauty of this story to me is that because of the woman’s testimony, they came to believe. But their belief was no longer dependent upon her. They came to Jesus and saw for themselves.

It made me think of our Easter services this weekend. Because of what I have experienced, I should be excitedly sharing my experiences with everyone I know. Then I should invite them to come see for themselves that Jesus has overcome and the grave is overwhelmed.

On Sunday we celebrate the greatest day in the history of the planet! It has completely rocked our world and changed our eternity! So I’m looking this week for people to tell about my experiences with Jesus. . . . Who will you tell???