The Last Week of Jesus – Wednesday

The Bible gives no record of what Jesus did on Wednesday.   Perhaps he took a day off, and retreated with his friends before the climatic events started on Thursday.    On Sunday through Wednesday, Jesus spent each night in Bethany, which was just a couple of miles from Jerusalem.   Most likely he stayed at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

Who do you retreat with?   When you need to prepare yourself for an intense situation or debrief after an exhausting experience, do you have a place to rest and refresh.   Hopefully, your home can be that place.   Maybe you need to create an atmosphere for others to be refreshed.    I look forward to the day when we can know Jesus face to face, and share a meal with Him.

The Last Week of Jesus – Tuesday

Jesus spent today teaching, reasoning and prophesying about the end times.   On Tuesday, Judas Iscariot planned and agreed to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).

Judas heard Jesus’ teachings and saw his miracles, yet somehow he justified turning the innocent one over to the vengeful religious authorities who wanted to kill Jesus.  Judas soon regretted this betrayal (Matthew 27:3-4).

What are you planning today that you will have remorse for on Friday?  Or next week? Or any time in the future?   Don’t hastily make wrong choices like Judas did, but consider carefully your decisions.  There are days when following Jesus is unpopular and hard.   Stick with Jesus on those difficult days.  We have all betrayed Jesus.  Don’t betray Him today.   Don’t betray Him any other day.

The Last Week of Jesus – Monday

As we prepare for Easter Sunday, I want you to journey through the last week of Jesus’ pre-resurrected life.

On Monday, Jesus cleared the Temple of merchants and currency exchangers  (Mark 11:15-17).

Jesus became angry when he saw how merchants were taking advantage of the Passover holiday to overcharge out of town visitors for sacrificial animals, and inflate the exchange rate for the temple currency.  It was blatant extortion.

If Jesus was to look into your heart today (“The Temple”), would he be angry?   Has Christianity become something in your life that God never intended it to be?

Let Jesus clear out “the temple” in your life today.  As he overturns tables of pride and insincerity, fall in love again with who He is.   Simple devotion to the son of God is the essence of Christianity.  Nothing else matters more.

Wednesday Night Praise Explosion

On Wednesday (March 17) we had a beautiful mid-week service.  As we looked at ways to praise the Lord from our study in Nehemiah, we spent some extra time in worship to close the evening.   The people really pressed in – and it was beautiful to see.  I think all of us in the service took a step to be bolder in worship.   We only finished half the teaching on worship, so I look forward to finishing the rest next Wednesday.  I hope you join us this Sunday and next Wednesday.

Have You Tried Solitude?

There has been nothing more useful for me to experience God’s presence than solitude.  Solitude sounds very intimidating, but it is the most simple spiritual practice.  Solitude is getting alone from the noise of friends, family, media and other voices that drown out His voice.   I often experience solitude in motion.   I drive, walk or even spend time in crowds where no one knows me.   The action isn’t the important part.   The key is listening for Him.

God doesn’t call us to a life of solitude, as being in “community” is a huge part of His plan for us.   Yet, when I spend regular time in solitude, I have much more to give to my family and friends when I spend time with them.   In solitude you are alone, but not alone.  His presence is with you in solitude.

Are You Aware of Him?

Awareness is the key to experiencing God’s presence.  Many people live their entire lives completely unaware that they can know His presence.   This may be a non-Christian, or believers who are never educated about the Holy Spirit.

For me, awareness is a daily issue.   God is present everywhere, so it is my choice whether I am aware of Him, or if I ignore Him.   When I ignore Him it usually isn’t malicious, but rather an unfortunate oversight.

Now that you know, stay aware!  His presence is available to you and me today.  Let’s both stay aware of Him.

Avoiding Sin is Worth It!

It’s hard to feel His presence when our life isn’t clean.   Because of Christ’s work on the cross, we are positionally clean before God.   However, our choices determine if we are morally clean before Him.    It’s this plain – the more sin in our life, the less we experience His presence.

In His presence is complete happiness, infectious joy, fulfillment, peace, discernment, directions, clarity, contentment, freedom – and I could go on and on.   Is any sin worth missing out on that?   Keep yourself clean, so you can experience His presence.

He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. – I Corinthians 1:8

The Presence of the Lord

There is a very, real tangible presence of God that you can experience on this earth.   In some churches you can hear the term “the presence of the Lord” so often, that you forget it’s meaning

What is presence?   It is “the state or fact of being present.”

God is present among us!   The Holy Spirit came so that we can know His presence on this earth.  Yes, some day we will be in heaven where we will see God face to face, but until that day, we can know His presence personally in this sin-infested world.

This week I am going to write about dwelling in His presence.   I pray that the presence of God will be very real to you this week.

Things I am excited about right now . . .

– Our women’s conference this weekend (March 5 – 6) is going to energize and refresh the ladies of CIL.

– Winter will end this weekend (we hope!)

– Intercessory Prayer in the sanctuary will start each Friday at 10:00 a.m. beginning March 12th.

– It’s the first year my two boys will watch March Madness.  They are hooked already, and they don’t even know exactly what it is.

– Sixteen years ago, Julie Richard was one of the most effective youth pastor’s wives I have ever seen, so I know she will impact our ladies while speaking at this weekend’s Women’s Conference.  She’s a pastor’s wife now at Lake Hills Church ( in Austin.

The Swell Season is performing at the Ryman on May 18th.

– We have had a great sign up for the Lawn Care ministry.

– Spring Break is two weeks this year for Sumner County kids.  Yeah!

– I have time to mow my yard this year (ok, less than excited about that)

– The Exit Seven Youth are surging.

– I am forgiven of my sins!

Today is Important Because . . .

It is March 1, so it is a great time to energize your New Testament Bible reading plan.  Even if you haven’t read up to this date, why not start today.   This will be a good month, because you will have 31 days for 25 readings.   Plus, we will read Hebrews, Galatians and James – three excellent readings.

Hebrews starts out a little slow, but will end up having some of your favorite passages.   If you don’t quite understand a passage, try one of the modern translations such as the NLT, The Message or The Voice.

It’s hard to believe this, but your time reading the Bible will effect the spiritual fervor of our church.  Your participation is important.

If you need a new copy of the NT Reading plan, you can click here.