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April 7, 2018

See

by Robby Higginbottom

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where heSome manuscripts the Lord lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you." So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus
said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me."

Matthew 28:1-10 (https://pcpc.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=eba67192d3a27da52e93fefb8&id=9e32869833&e=82a9a8f891)

 

How do you feel when someone says, “I told you so”? An interesting tension exists in the resurrection narratives in the Gospels. On one side, we have trembling guards and fearful women and perplexed disciples. Everyone seems so surprised by the empty tomb. On the other side, we have Jesus and angels, who don’t seem surprised in the least. “He is not here, for He has risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:6). What do we make of this angelic “I told you so”?

When people say, “I told you so,” they’re often trying to tear us down. But when the Lord says it, He intends to build us up. The various responses to the resurrection reveal a kind of scriptural amnesia. Confronted with the horror of the cross and the triumph of the resurrection, the disciples simply forget what the Scriptures say—and what the Lord Himself has said! As the news spreads, some of His followers remember His words (Luke 24:8), while others think it’s “an idle tale” and struggle to believe (Luke 24:11). Jesus even tells two travelers, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25). Without question, the risen Christ wants His people to rejoice in His victory. But He also wants the resurrection to build their confidence in His word.

The Lord loves the argument from the greater to the lesser. “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). If God has already accomplished the greater thing (not sparing His own Son), how will He not also accomplish the lesser thing (graciously giving us all things)? The Lord’s “I told you so” suggests a similar argument. “If Christ has been faithful to His promise to rise again—as He said—how will He not also be faithful to every other promise He has made?” The resurrection invites us to take God at His word, to cultivate a humble confidence in His great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4). Should we be shocked when God does what He says He would do?

By God’s grace, we can put this “argument” to work this week. If we’re anxious, we can cast our anxieties on Him, because He cares for us, as He said (1 Peter 5:7). If we’re tempted, we can be confident that He will provide a way out, as He said (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). If we’re lonely, we can trust that He will never leave or forsake us, as He said (Hebrews 13:5). If we feel inadequate to be His ambassadors, we can remember that our sufficiency is from Him, as He said (2 Corinthians 3:5). If we feel cut off from His love, we can remind ourselves that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, as He said (Romans 8:37-39). If we’re facing death, we can be confident that we will be united with Him in His resurrection, as He said (Romans 6:5).

Friends, Christ is risen, as He said. All the promises of God have found their “Yes” in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20)! May we come and see the glory of the risen Christ on full display in His word. May He cause our hearts to burn as He opens the Scriptures to us (Luke 24:32). And like the morning of the resurrection, may He give us joy to go and tell, as He said (Matthew 28:10).

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About the Author

Robby Higginbottom
Assistant Pastor of College Ministry
Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Robby Higginbottom was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. As early as high school, he sensed the Lord calling him to pastoral ministry. Robby is a graduate of Highland Park High School, Duke University, and Redeemer Seminary. Through the years, he has worked with high school students, college students, and young adults at PCPC. Robby currently serves as an assistant pastor. He is married to Ann, and they have two children: Will and John Harper.

April 2, 2018

2018 Easter services in Louisa...

2018

 

Church pastors of the Louisa Ministerial Assn. invited the community into their churches last week for Holy Week services, an annual tradition in Louisa and Lawrence County.

Services were held each day of the week with different pastors preaching at churches other than their own. The services were held during the lunch hour so that as many people could have the opportunity to attend as possible

Services started at noon each day with prayer, music and a different speaker every day. The services were dismissed each day at 12:30pm for a light lunch and fellowship sponsored by the home church.

'Louisa First Baptist Pastor Chuck Price led off the week's services at Community Fellowship Church.Louisa First Baptist Pastor Chuck Price led off the week's services at Community Fellowship Church.

Rick May of Louisa Community Church spoke @ First United Methodist Church in Tuesday during Week of PrayerRick May of Louisa Community Church spoke @ First United Methodist Church in Tuesday during Week of Prayer

 

Louisa United Methodist Church pastor Dan Smith held the service at St. Jude Catholic Church.Louisa United Methodist Church pastor Dan Smith held the service at St. Jude Catholic Church.

Father Michael Rambler of St. Jude Catholic Church delivered the message Thursday at Louis First baptist.Father Michael Rambler of St. Jude Catholic Church delivered the message Thursday at Louis First baptist.

New Louisa First United Methodist church paster Scot Hoeksema spoke at Friday's service at Louisa United Methodist Church on the hill.New Louisa First United Methodist church paster Scot Hoeksema spoke at Friday's service at Louisa United Methodist Church on the hill.

 

Here is the schedule for the Easter Week Activities:

 

*  Monday - Community Fellowship Church - Pastor, Rick May

 

*  Tuesday - First United Methodist Church - Pastor, Scot Hoeksema

 

*  Wednesday - St. Jude Catholic Church - Father, Michael Rambler

 

*  Thursday - Louisa First Baptist Church - Pastor, Chuck Price

 

*  Friday - Louisa United Methodist Church - Pastor, Dan Smith

 

 (See 'Meet the new pastor' feature on LFUMC pastor Scot Hoeksema on Lazer Lifestyles section today)  

 

March 31, 2018

The Humility of God

by Erin Golangco

...Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,


“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”

 

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

Matthew 21:1-11 (https://pcpc.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=eba67192d3a27da52e93fefb8&id=40d389dbec&e=82a9a8f891)

 

Who is this? Have you ever tried to describe someone very precious to you, and all the words seem woefully inadequate to capture that person’s character and worth? That is how I’ve felt reflecting on Jesus’ person this week. All words seem to groan under the weight of all that He is and has done.

Who is this? The crowds were anxiously asking this question as Jesus came into Jerusalem. Imagine the sights and sounds, how people pressed and fought to see this man called Jesus enter Jerusalem. It was the week of Passover, and likely stories of Jesus’ power to heal likely preceded Him from nearby Bethany where Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead. Pilgrim Jews were eager to receive this man who worked miracles in their midst. Could this be the one that would save them from Roman oppression?

For the first time in His public ministry, Jesus wants all eyes on Him as He enters His final week on earth. He wants people to see what kind of King He is, and that His way of conquering is not through force or dominance, but through humility and death.

Sinclair Ferguson points out the fact that Jesus draws attention to only one special characteristic about Himself—paradoxically, His humility. He calls His disciples to learn from Him, for He is gentle and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:28). This is embodied in how He rides into Jerusalem. He comes not on a chariot or a war horse (Zechariah 9:10), but as the Prince of Peace, humble and mounted on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9). Jesus establishes His eternal rule not by way of the world’s glory, but instead the world’s shame and disgrace all the while exhibiting the most tender compassion and grace for His people. He is precisely the kind of king we need. And what a King He is!

Who is this? I want to borrow from the words of Gregory of Nazianzus, who gives such a poignant picture of Jesus’ person, work and worth:

“…He is sold, and cheap was the price—thirty pieces of silver; yet He buys back the world at mighty cost of His blood. A sheep, He is led to the slaughter —yet He shepherds Israel and now the whole world as well…He is weakened, wounded—yet He cures every disease and every weakness. He is brought up to the tree and nailed to it—yet by the tree of life He restores us. He is given vinegar to drink, gall to eat—and who is He? Why, one who turned water into wine, who took away the taste of bitterness, who is all sweetness and desire…He dies, but He vivifies, and by death destroys death…”

Who is this? I want to be more like the blind beggars who unabashedly called out to Jesus for mercy, pleading in desperation that they may recover their sight (Matthew 20:29-34). Would we all have fresh eyes to behold the power of the cross and the astounding meekness of our Savior, and may His perfect holiness be our humility.

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About the Author

Erin Golangco
Director of Small Groups
Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Erin Golangco works at PCPC as the Director of Small Groups. She attended the University of Oklahoma and graduated with a B.A. in Classics/Business. Since 2005, she has held roles in sales, operations, and consulting prior to joining the PCPC team in early 2014. She is married to Paul and a mother to their young daughter.

 

God's Holy Fire from Heartlight

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Nothing Else Matters!

    [Jesus said,] "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you — they are full of the Spirit and life."

    John 6:63 NIV

    Key Thought

    The apostle Paul said essentially the same thing as in today's verse when he wrote, "I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him..." (Philippians 3:8-9). Paul was saying that everything is nothing without Jesus. So much of what we pursue — what I have pursued — really counts for nothing. Economic meltdowns, which invariably happen, are reminders that the only investments that last, that are sure, are investments in Jesus and his kingdom. So we are called to turn our hearts to Jesus, to be shaped by his words, guided by his Spirit and conformed to his character. Jesus' words are lasting, eternal, and life-giving. Better yet, there is someone lasting and eternal and life-giving in his words — the Holy Spirit. That is why one of the ongoing works of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, is to bring to our minds the words of Jesus (John 14:26). So read the Gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. But more than reading the words, ask the Holy Spirit to be alive as you read and are shaped and given life through the words of the Savior!

    Today's Prayer

    Holy God, I praise you! I thank you, Father, for sending the Son to die for our sins and for showing us the way home to you. I thank you, Jesus, as Son of God, for sending the Holy Spirit as my Advocate and Comforter, to be your presence within me and to bring me life through your words. I thank you, Holy Spirit, for living within me, and I ask that you conform me to Jesus and produce your holy fruit in me. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

  • Must!

    [Jesus said,] "But the time is coming — indeed it's here now — when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth."

    John 4:23-24 NLT

    Key Thought

    "Must..."! That is a hard word when spoken by Jesus! So we should pay careful attention when the Lord uses it. Our actions must conform to his words. "Must..."! Yet this "must" is not one we can do on our own. The requirement to worship God acceptably cannot take place because of our effort — not because we do it right, say the right words, do it in the right place, or follow the right procedures. God is Spirit. We cannot worship God without the Holy Spirit! In other places, we are told that true worship is worship in the Spirit (Philippians 3:3; Ephesians 5:17-21 — notice "pray/praying in the Spirit" in Ephesians 6:18 and Jude 20). More than engaging our minds and our bodies, we need the presence of the Holy Spirit to help us worship acceptably. We need the Spirit for at least two reasons. The first is that the Holy Spirit facilitates our communication with God by giving us access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18), interceding for us (Romans 8:26-27), and enabling us to cry Abba Father to God, spirit with Spirit to God (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:6). The second reason is that the Spirit is at work conforming us to be like Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:18), empowering us to put to death the misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:9-13) and to display the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This influence of the Spirit is why being born of water and the Spirit is so important (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:3-7). Without the Spirit, true worship will not happen. We MUST have the Spirit to worship in spirit and truth!

    Today's Prayer

    Father, thank you for sending Jesus to reveal your truth and for sending the Spirit to make that truth come alive in me. May my life be a living and holy praise to you! In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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