Holy Week Project – Good Friday – Meditation…Wait with Jesus at the Cross

Holy Week – Good Friday

Good Friday, April 10th, 2020
Posting by Renee Franzen

 

Sermon Meditation:
               Stay & Watch & Wait with Jesus at the Cross…, as
               God acknowledges the presence of evil, sin and death

                Pastor Renee Franzen
 

Scripture:
John 13:1

Jesus, having loved us in the world …now showed us the full extent of His love.

John Chapters 18 & 19

 
 

Meditation Video: 

             Click here to view Meditation Video by Pastor Renee Franzen.

 

You are Invited: 
              Come Join God & Participate in a Spiritual Discipline

 

1. Start with Prayer

           Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to watch with Jesus and open your heart
           to what God invites you into. Coming to the cross is an uncomfortable place,
           so remember that God has already victoriously conquered all sin, shame, guilt, 
           death, suffering and evil. Resurrection Day is coming, and you are chosen 
           and loved by God who knows you. 

2. Use your Spiritual imagination

Join Jesus and hear him speaking to you. Before the Betrayal of Jesus at Gethsemane, Jesus invited his close friends, including you, to Stay,… Pray,… Watch,… and Wait with him.

 
Scripture Narrative of God’s Story
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 
“Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
 
Jesus began to be sorrowful and troubled.
38 Then Jesus said to them,
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and
keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, Jesus fell with his face to the ground and prayed,
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.
Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
(Matthew 26:36-39)
 

3. Read Scripture account of the true record of witness to Jesus crucifixion and place yourself at the foot of the cross, close to Jesus, your Savior. 

Witness to Jesus crucifixion is found in all 4 Gospel Books of the Bible.
Scriptures:
         John Chapters 18-19
        Matthew 27
        Luke 23
        Mark 15
 

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Holy Week Project – Maundy Thurs – “the full extent of His love”

Holy Week

Maundy Thursday, April 9th, 2020
Posting by Renee Franzen

 

Jesus, …the full extent of His love.

 

Scripture: John 13:1 (NIV)

…Having loved his own who were in the world,
he now showed them the full extent of his love.
 

Video: “Jesus showed them the full extent of His love.”

             Click here to see Video: “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus…”

 

Art Sculpture:  Sacred Space – The Lord’s Supper

                                        Created by Famous Minnesota Artist – Bob Johnson
                                        One of God’s Family at Brookdale Covenant Church
 
 
 
Grace and Peace be yours in abundance!
Pastor Renee

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Holy Week Project – Wednesday- Glorification of Jesus, the Resurrection is the Wisdom of God!

 
 

Holy Week

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
Posting by Lonnie Dufty

Glorification of Jesus, the Resurrection is the Wisdom of God!

 

Scripture: John 13:21-32 (NIV)

Reflection:

“Comments on the Glorification of Jesus.”

At the Last Supper, after Jesus had washed the feet of his disciples he grew troubled in spirit and spoke out “I say to you that one of you is about to betray me.” Asked which one of them it who would betray him, Jesus spoke no name, only took a bit of bread, dipped it into the common dish and gave it to Judas with the words “hurry up and do what you are going to do.” Jesus did not tell his disciples to restrain Judas or do anything at all to prevent the man from betraying him. Jesus did not even say openly that it was Judas was about to do. He merely waited till Judas had left and then turned to his remaining disciples to say “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him.”
The word “glory” as used in the New Testament is a bit of an invention of Jews who translated Hebrew into Greek. Technically, the Greek verb means “I think.” By extension the word came to refer to what a person thinks or remembers about another person, including the person’s public reputation after death. To the ancient Greeks and Romans what people thought about them after they died – their legacy – was extremely important. In visits to Rome and Greece I have seen the tombs upon which were engraved passages intending to define for succeeding generations how the deceased should be thought about and remembered. A survival of that way of thinking is our English expression “don’t speak evil of the dead.”
 
Somewhere along the process the Jewish translators infused the Greek word for “think” with a sense of wonder at the spectacular, something praiseworthy. The word “glory” was no longer a subjective opinion or thought but an objective and positive characteristic. The Apostle Paul hinted at this idea when he wrote in 1st Corinthians 11:15 that “a woman’s glory is her long hair.” In today’s text and in other contexts John quotes Jesus as attaching to the word “glory” something unique and wonderful about his impending betrayal and crucifixion. Betrayal and death as wonderful? No wonder the disciples were so confused when Jesus talked about his betrayal and crucifixion and didn’t grasp what Judas was about to do when he exited the upper room!
 
In letting Judas depart in peace after indicating to “the beloved disciple” what was going on, Jesus said nothing to prevent his betrayal. Far from acting surprised or fearful, Jesus outward response shows us the Lord viewed this betrayal as inevitable, the fulfillment of earlier statements such as John 12:23 when he said “when I am glorified I will draw all people to myself… a seed must fall into the ground and die after which it will multiply.”
 
How is it that Jesus did nothing, that he even viewed his coming death by crucifixion as something wonderful and positive? He said it himself: his being lifted up on the cross would would bring attention to himself and to the heavenly father. John 3:16 tells us Jesus’ death was a display of God’s love for the world. It was the supreme act of grace and forgiveness through which the human representation of the invisible God took upon Himself all that is wrong in this world. Foolish according to the thinking of the men who put him on the cross but the wisdom of God in that Jesus resurrection established once and for all his credentials as the living Son of God who had conquered death and hell. Wise in that the cross of Jesus has become the ultimate call to multitudes of people to “come and see what God has done.” This is how Jesus wants us to think about his cross, that special thing for which we remember Him!
 
Now that we understand how Jesus thought about his cross and how he wants us to remember his death, what are we to DO? Jesus provided the answer with a command and a promise in Matthew 28: 19 and 20. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
 
 

Scripture: John 13:21-32 (NIV)

John 13:21-32 New International Version (NIV)

21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”

22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”

25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”

26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial

31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him,a] God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

References:

Greek New Testament & Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament Vol. 2, pp 232 ff.


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Holy Week Project – Tuesday – What’s Better than Answers to all our Questions?

Holy Week

         Tuesday, April 7th, 2020
         Posting by Cindy Dufty

 

What’s Better than Answers to all our Questions?

 

Scripture: John 12:20-36 (NIV)

Jesus Predicts His Death

20 Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the festival. 21 They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

23 Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, 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. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”

Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” 29 The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

30 Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32 And I, when I am lifted upa] from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

34 The crowd spoke up, “We have heard from the Law that the Messiah will remain forever, so how can you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?”

35 Then Jesus told them, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where they are going. 36 Believe in the light while you have the light, so that you may become children of light.” When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.
 

Reflection: 

What’s Better than Answers to all our Questions?

In this text some “Greeks” who were in Jerusalem for the Passover feast asked Philip for an introduction to Jesus of Nazareth. Philip and Andrew, both from the north Galilee fishing village of Bethsaida, relay this inquiry to Jesus.

I’ve always wanted to know more about these “Greeks.” Were they travelers from Greek-speaking regions of the Roman empire? Maybe they were natives of “Galilee of the Gentiles” – disparaged by the Jerusalem elite as a place with too many foreigners. I’d assume they were “God fearers,” drawn to the God of Israel but not fully compliant with the rigorous demands of the Torah. Did Jesus agree to talk with them, and if so, how did that conversation go?

The text doesn’t answer my questions; rather we are invited into an intimate disclosure of the thoughts and feelings of the Son of Man a few days before the execution he knew was coming. Perhaps this inquiry from “foreigners” serves as a signal for him – “The hour is coming for the son of Man to be glorified.” Did these Greeks stand in for the multitudes from every nation who would hear and believe the good news about Jesus, up to and including us in our time and place?

Jesus expresses his willingness to be the grain of wheat dying so that a great harvest can take place. Yet he shares his troubled emotional state as he contemplates the horror of that painful trial. In tune as always with the Father’s purpose, he asks only that the Father be glorified. The heavenly affirming voice comes, reminding us of what happened at his Jordan River baptism.

And then Jesus announces another dimension of the work of the cross he is undertaking: “Now judgment is upon this world, now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” This is a turnabout; Jesus surely knows he is the one who will be arrested, maligned by false witnesses and convicted, then marched outside the city to suffer the most humiliating and tortuous death devised by humans at that time.

How is it that the “ruler of this world”, AKA the Satan or the accuser, has been cast out? Today as we are challenged by a natural evil of global scope and the continuing power of death, I think we readily agree with the author of Hebrews that “we do not yet see everything subjected to Jesus.” (Hebrews 2:8). I have questions about this too but am helped by the meditations of others.

Not that the world is now wholly rid of the devil and goes on with him being completely removed. The judgment on his kingdom (“This World”) is the judgment on his rule over this kingdom, the decree that throws him out. What remains to him is the hopeless attempt of an already dethroned ruler to maintain himself any kingdom, the very existence of which is blasted forever.[1]

The ruler of this world, the lord of disorder and of disordered humanity in his thrall, passes judgment on the judge of all. The judgment is so monstrously false that only by submitting to it can its falseness be exposed. By Christ submitting to the judgment of the world, the world is judged. [2]

Finally, as we deal with fears and anxieties, and experience disruptions of our plans and the times of gathering together that so bless us, let us hear Jesus’ words of encouragement: “While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”

After Good Friday and Easter, we know how the Light triumphs. We know Jesus’ being first lifted up on the cross has demonstrated the heart and purpose of God to reconcile all things to himself. We know that Jesus then being lifted up from the tomb shows the Father’s vindication of his Son and the Triumph of the righteous suffering servant.

We know that, if we are united to Christ through actively putting our whole trust in him, the one who would accuse us has “nothing on us” either. What can we do in these days to live by his grace as children of light and share our hope with others?

Let’s resolve to do as one of our worship songs suggests:

 
“I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken”[3]
 
 
 

[1] Lenski, R.C.H. The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel, p. 874

[2] Neuhaus, Richard John, Death on a Friday Afternoon p. 28

[3] Build My Life, Song Lyrics CCLI# 7070345


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Holy Week Project – Monday – Who am I? Mary

 

Holy Week

         Monday, April 6th, 2020
         Posting by Meredith Nyberg

Scripture: John 12:1-11 (NIV)

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

 
12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 
 

4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Leave her alone, Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.
 
Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.
 

 

Video:  Who am I?  (Mary)

Hi people!
This is the devotional I recorded about Mary anointing Jesus with ointment from the book of John 12:1-11. I also based some of this re-imagining on the book “When Jesus Wept” by Bodie and Brock Thoene, Zondervan 2013.

Click here see Video: WHO AM I?…Mary 

Love to you all,

Meredith


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God wants to give you Spiritual Strength!

God wants to give you Spiritual Strength!

What an unusual time. PLEASE KNOW our church staff and leadership are all praying for each of you and for our community and all people world-wide.

Coronoavirus, COVID-19 virus, is a world-wide challenge that smart people have not yet figured out how to protect us from, cure the sick, or stop from spreading.

But we must know in our hearts this Coronavirus does not have our mighty all-knowing God confused. Go is not worried. God is not confused. So, we take heart and all talk to God and listen to the Holy Spirit as we pray great love for one another and in thanking God for always being in control.

This is the time WE as the church of Jesus Christ must gather (using social distancing of course 😊) together in PRAYER and in SPIRITUAL STABILITY and SPIRITUAL STRENGTH.

Pastor Renee recently reminded us during worship, Jesus says

“And I tell you, … on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

‎If you watch the news feeds and the reports Coronavirus, now labeled a pandemic kind of feels like “gates of hell” as we wonder how to stay safe and help each other. So lean into what Jesus promises “the gates of hell shall NOT prevail against His church”. Lean into God with a SPIRITUAL STRENGTH and ENCOURAGE yourself and one another.

Remember we have been Fasting and Feasting in this season of LENT as we anticipate Jesus moving intently with great love for us toward the cross, dying and powerfully rising and conquering all sin and evil. Let’s back up to our first fasting & feasting.

Fasting on distractions and Feasting on the Word of GOD.

What a wonderful spiritual practice to challenge us at such as time as this. I don’t want you to miss out on the power of solidarity with God, even if you are feeling alone or isolated or uncertain about: all this social distancing, stores with empty food shelves, and unsuccessful valiant searches for toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Seriously, we have present challenges.

As you feast on the Word of God I want to bring your attention to the spiritual gift of the Spiritual Armor of God. See Ephesians 6, where apostle Paul tells us how to put it on.

                      

Ephesians 6

9 And… since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.

[How do you read the above message from God?
Do you truly believe you are God’s favorite? God’s favorite!
There is no favoritism in God’s heart and in God’s Kingdom
because EVERY PERSON, including YOU, just as you are, YOU have been chosen by the LORD and YOU are His favorite, His special possession
(1 Peter 2:9).]

God loves us so much, He gives all of us daily His protection, provision and wisdom through the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Now, if you are having more time at home due to the Global, national and state restrictions to contain the spread of this Coronavirus. Or if you are concerned and do not feel well or are sick, having trouble sleeping, or just fit into the high risk categories for this virus, God loves you and wants you to put on this Spiritual Armor so you can guard your heart, be calm and stand firm in faith in Christ our LORD.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

[Do not be fearful in your thoughts, instead choose to believe God’s promises and put on each piece of spiritual armor with God. Spiritual armor is something you do with God. He is always present.]

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

[Keep your faith, love your family and friends and keep your joy. God does not want you to worry. Today God is inviting ALL people world-wide into the challenge to trust God deeper. How is God inviting you to trust Him?

How does God want to grow and stretch your faith?]

14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,

[God loves simple honest truthful prayers. What do you need from God? David cried out to God for help, and God showed up every time!]

with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 

[Forgive yourself, you are already the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, because God loves you.]

15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

[Who does God want you to share your spiritual confidence with?
Will you tell someone you] are praying for them and ask them how to pray for them?]

16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

[Faith or fear?
You must choose. Each of us must choose. This is why we should connect and pray for and with each other. During this pandemic and time of uncertainty, fear is a sneaky tactic of the evil one and comes as flaming arrows. What are your thoughts, do you have fears sneaking in your thoughts about your health, health of your loved ones, travel, finances, food availability, your job, your children out of school, being exposed to the Coronavirus, what the next weeks hold, loneliness. Sometimes fear starts with only a spark! God’s spiritual armor of the shield of faith is to shield your heart from any of these fears.
FAITH will bring you peace and solidarity with God. God promises to guide and we will all need a whole lot of guidance going forward.
Faith is what God gives you, that’s why we must “take up” the shield of FAITH. This honors God and gives God all the Glory.
Do you realize fear is the opposite of faith?]

17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

[Truth, Sometimes I put that helmet of salvation on backwards! Yup. 😊
Suggestion make sure you put on the mind of Christ, (God’s words) first before your helmet so your helmet will be sitting front to back. I get in trouble with my own mindfulness. The Helmet of salvation is knowing Jesus already has the victory in any of your struggles.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

19 Pray also for us

[us including God’s family at Brookdale Covenant Church, all of God’s people both believers and not yet believers, and of course pray God guides and provides for all our leaders, scientists, researchers and medical professionals that are passionately challenged to beat and conquer this virus]

that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains.

[Suggest repeat “I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel”, then speak out loud “for which I am an ambassador in chains”. We are given the amazing gift of being God’s ambassadors! Yes you are. God will give you the words to speak in faith. I got to this part of God’s Word, and heard the spirit whisper to me to write this blog.

Chains! Well this Coronavirus pandemic is the biggest world-wide chains to bring a unity to all people everywhere under heaven I have ever seen! We have world-wide problems but not that stop everything and can not be contained. What is God opening our eyes to?
Who will you be an ambassador for God and God’s Kingdom to?]

Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Final Greetings – are Blessings that God releases

23 PEACE to YOU brothers and sisters, and LOVE with FAITH from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

[We as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ have this powerful-privilege that we can at any time ASK God for wisdom and to “increase our faith!”, just as Jesus disciples asked at a time of uncertainty.
Simple prayers release God’s power into our circumstances.]

24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Stay strong, pray often, be good to yourself, be calm you are loved by a wonderful God and put on this spiritual armor because you are called to be part of God’s army. Your prayer is powerful, Jesus says so. I pray your prayers are answered so you see God is for you and God is for all of us.

Put your hope in God my friends!

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