For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10b

“Holy Week” – Pastor Matt Ragain

Posted by on Apr 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

     In 2001, I was preparing to go to college.  After spending the summer waiting tables, I drove to Missouri with my parents.  The week leading up to my first class was a whirlwind of activity and preparation.  I needed to sign up for classes, meet my roommate, move into the dorm room, buy books and say goodbye to my parents.  That is usually how life goes.  When a momentous event is coming, preparation and activity come before the event.  This is true for weddings, having children and starting new jobs.

In the gospel of Matthew, the week before Jesus’ crucifixion is no different.  Roughly 1/3 of the entire book of Matthew takes place during this time.  Something big was happening and Jesus was preparing for it.  Jesus did so many things in such a short period of time.  He cleansed the temple, cursed a fig tree, ate the Last Supper, prayed at the garden of Gethsemane, and he taught.  Jesus gave many parables, including the parable of the Ten Virgins.  He confronted the religious establishment over their hypocrisy.  Jesus also gave warnings to those in Jerusalem over the imminent judgment of God.

As we read through Matthew we come to realize that Jesus was not just preparing himself for his death, he was preparing his disciples and followers.  As we let the words of Matthew guide us, we prepare our hearts for Jesus’ death.  Holy Week is such an important time of the year.  It’s the deep breath before the plunge.  How do you prepare your heart for Good Friday?  What are some practical things you can do to get ready?

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“Stuck” – Cassi Piper

Posted by on Apr 13, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

 

“Be still and know that I am God.”                 Psalm 46:10

Last week my son missed our Wednesday night children’s program at church. No, he didn’t have a fever or cough or some other ailment. Nor did he have somewhere else to be. He wanted to go, he simply couldn’t. He was stuck.

The theme for last week’s program was to dress up like the person you wanted to be when you grew up. My son announced he wants to be a deep-sea diver. So, I rifled through our bin of dress up clothes and found a makeshift oxygen tank we had made for a fireman costume. I then searched through the garage and found a snorkel and mask. Convinced these would make a great deep-sea diver outfit, I proudly presented them to my son. What ensued was a tantrum, the likes of which I have not seen in recent history.

“I want a tube that connects my snorkel to my oxygen mask!” My son demanded. “I want a wet suit!” I gently explained to him that I didn’t have those items. “How can I be a deep-sea diver without proper equipment?” He fumed. Trying to be accommodating I thought up several possible quick alterations to his outfit that might fit the bill. All were refused.

An hour later it was time to go to church and my son was still in a tailspin. Storming all over the house with hands being thrown around without care for anything in their path, my son simply could not let go of the expectation he had convinced himself he was entitled to. Exasperated, I left him behind with my husband and toddler.

As frustrated as I was, I couldn’t help but be reminded that I too have been stuck. I remembered the day our home of eleven years was sold in a sheriff’s sale. What I had feared for months was finally official, we were in foreclosure. “We tried so hard!” My spirit yelled. “How do I explain this to our kids?” I questioned. “Where are we going to go?” God tried to calm my spirit, to remind me that He was there, that He had it figured out, but I didn’t want to hear it. “I will never feel like any other house is home!” I cried.

Fast forward three years, two moves and too many Godly interventions than I can count. Today we found out that we can purchase the dream house we never before knew we wanted. No, it’s not huge, or fancy or anything we would have coveted prior to losing our previous home. But God used our loss to change our desires and priorities and led us to a place of peace and rest. For the first time, we truly feel we are home. Had I remained stuck in my mindset of anger and fear, we might not ever have realized God’s awesome plan for this next chapter of our lives.

It’s never too late to get unstuck. Just take a deep breath, be still and listen. God is bigger than our circumstances and wants to use them to shape us into His likeness. It can be messy and painful and hard, but what an amazing blessing and encouragement it is when we can look back and recognize His faithfulness and provision all along!

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