Saturday, April 23, 2011

Circle of Love ~ Saturday April 23, 2011

Saturday April 23                               Matthew 27:57-66      Easter Eggs for children!  10:00 AM

Today is the last of our 40 days in the Circle of Love sequence.  I rejoice in your faithfulness and celebrate what God has been doing among us.  I pray that your commitment to Scripture and prayer has been a blessing to you.  Now, there is just one more day!  I hope you will join us for Easter worship...6:30 Sunrise on the Wilson 'front yard'...8:00 ~9:30~11:00 in our newly updated sanctuary.  If you can not join the Wilson community...please be a part of a faith community in your neighborhood!

One last Lenten reading:  Please read the Gospel passage from Matthew 27:57-66.   Read it slowly.  Let it sink deeply into your spirit.

The cross has accomplished its purpose.  The tomb has been prepared.  The body has been wrapped.  The guard has been posted.  And the stone has been sealed.  It is time to wait.  We are invited to wait in a spirit of reflection.  Wait.  Faithfully wait.  Easter is coming!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Circle of Love ~ Friday April 22, 2011

Friday April 22                                               John 13:36-38              

Good Friday   Worship 6:30 tonight in the Wilson Worship Center

Quiet your heart today as we gather at the foot of the cross.  Consider this brief (yet powerful) interaction between Jesus and Peter.  Remember, Jesus is about to walk the streets of Jerusalem carrying his own cross of crucifixion.   He is about to give his life for the world. 

At first, Peter is eager to follow Jesus…he is willing to lay down his own life.  Then we hear the potent words of Jesus that remind us that the rooster will crow three times as a reminder of Peter’s denial.  As you choose your method of fasting I pray that it will allow you the blessing of being reminded of the times when the rooster has crowed in your life.

It is a powerful moment that will ultimately be reconciled and transformed at the empty tomb on Easter morning.  Peter will race John to the tomb to find that Jesus is alive and discover that his heart has been forgiven.

Today is a day to bring your own heart to the foot of the cross.  Maybe you will hear Jesus say, “Come! Follow me!”  What will you do?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Circle of Love ~ Thursday April 21, 2011

Thursday April 21                              John 17                                   Holy Thursday                      

Living Last Supper Drama with Holy Communion ~ 6:30 PM tonight at Wilson United Methodist Church

First, let me encourage you to be at the church tonight for the dramatic presentation of the Living Last Supper and the celebration of Holy Communion.  Members of our congregation will open your eyes to the various dynamics that were being expressed in the hearts of the early disciples.  I know it will be a great blessing for your Holy Week Journey.

Second, I would suggest that you read today’s Scripture from start to finish in one session.  It is the end of a section that actually begins at the start of Chapter 13.   We sometimes call this section the Upper Room Discourse.  It begins when Jesus gathers his disciples in the Upper Room to share the Passover meal.  He washes their feet and begins to teach them.  You may want to read the entire section starting with Chapter 13 and flowing through Chapter 17.  You will be reading a personal prayer that was offered by Jesus. 

The prayer unfolds in three major parts.  Initially the prayer draws a focus on the relationship Jesus shares with God the Father.  From there he shifts his attention to the disciples who are present in the room with him.  Finally he projects his prayer in to the future as he prays for all who will believe in his name in days to come.  Be sure to read it as a prayer.  Read it slowly.  You might even want to read it through two or three times to get the full flavor of his passion.

As you come to the end of your reading please set your Bible down and simply reflect for a few moments.  Let the prayer of Jesus sink into your soul.  Consider what it would mean if Jesus (his person and his teaching) was actually embedded into your spirit. 

Now, read the last verse once again and ask yourself, what does it mean to be ‘in Christ and for Christ to be in me?’

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Circle of Love ~ Wednesday April 20

Wednesday April 20                           John 12:27-36

Wonderful Wednesday at Wilson tonight: 5:30 dinner!
Lenten Circle of Love study group meets with Randy Jessen in Room 10 @ 6:15 to reflect on the readings of the past week and to examine the flow of Holy Week.

Do you remember when we talked about the way John loves to speak about light and dark?  It is a primary metaphor that helps his readers understand the remarkable blessing that is ours when we step from dark to light. 

In this passage we focus our attention on the last two verses.  Take a moment to reread verses 35-36 to focus on the issues of ‘light and dark’…now take a minute to reflect before you jot down your thoughts about how ‘light and dark’ impact your life.

During Holy Week we will be experiencing the impact of this message most dramatically between Good Friday and Easter morning.  The world can sometimes look very gloomy before we are able to notice the light penetrating the dark.  Thank God we know that the empty tomb is just around the corner!

[Happy Birthday Dad and Louise!]

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Circle of Love ~ Tuesday April 19

Tuesday April 19                                John 12:20-26

Within this brief passage of Scripture we find a central sacred truth of spiritual life and a key understanding of Holy Week. “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  Jesus is about to give his life so many can live. 

At the same time he reminds us of the ‘upside-down’ process of spiritual formation and discipleship. It is the ‘first who will be last and the last being first’ principle.  We must give our lives to find real life.

It is the image of baptism that takes us under the water in a symbolic act of death so we can arise from the water in the glory of new life.  It is about sacrifice and surrender.  It is about discipleship that counts because it costs.  It is about offering our very best before the Lord.  We offer our best in a personal commitment to pray.  We bring our best in our desire to serve the world.  And our best in the way we share our resources so the ministry of the church can flourish.  

These are the challenges and the joys of Christian life.  Are you experiencing the full joy of your faith?