Thursday, March 20, 2008

Holy Week—Maundy Thursday, well sort of.

Many, if not most, Christians recognize today as Maundy Thursday. That was the day on which Jesus celebrated the Passover Seder with his disciples.

It was a memorable day for Jesus and his followers. First, there was the joyous celebration of the Passover meal. The ritual reminded the Jews of God’s delivering of his people from captivity in Egypt. Each part of the ritual represents a part of that story.

Second, it was the last time that Jesus would eat with his disciples. They would remember that meal as long as they lived.

Third, it was the night where Jesus and his followers went into the garden to pray.

Fourth it was the night that Jesus was betrayed.

Evergreen has a tradition of celebrating the Passover Seder meal on Maundy Thursday. It is a wonderful time for reminding us of God’s past actions—he was with his people in the past. It is a wonderful time to remind us that God is with us today.

There’s only one problem… this year’s calendar does not match up with the Jewish calendar. This year we added a “day” to our calendar for Leap Year. This year the Jewish calendar added a whole month! According to my messianic pastor friend, the Jews have used the same formula for adding the “month” for several thousand years. This keeps the spring festivals in the spring and the fall festivals in the fall. Evergreen has been invited (and we accepted) to join with our messianic friends for the Passover Seder. Therefore, we will celebrate “Maundy Thursday” in April!

Don’t panic! We will not forget the betrayal of Judas this Easter. I talked about Judas last Saturday/Sunday. We looked at his kiss of betrayal.

So what does all of this mean? Today we can remember the “traditional” Maundy Thursday. Next month we will get the privilege of remembering the Exodus event and be reminded that God is still with us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Holy Week—That We Would Be Like Andrew.

Andrew was the disciple that liked to bring people to Jesus. In John 12 we read of the time when Phillip was approached by some “Greeks” who wanted to see Jesus. For some reason Phillip wasn’t comfortable with taking them to Jesus. Strange?

Why would someone who had been with Jesus for three years be hesitant to take someone to Jesus? The obvious answer would center around their being “Greek.” These people were Gentiles—unclean, unholy. Phillip may have been concerned with accidentally causing Jesus to be ritualistically unclean. It could be that Phillip didn’t feel close enough to Jesus to bring the strangers to him. Whatever the reason, Phillip was hesitant to take the people to Jesus—even though they WANTED to see Jesus.

How many times have we been like Phillip? Are we hesitant to take people to see Jesus?

Andrew took those “Greeks” and Phillip to see Jesus. Andrew was a conduit to Christ.

Easter is almost upon us. People who don’t regularly attend church are thinking of attending on Easter Sunday. Who will invite them? Who will bring them to Jesus? Oh that we would be like Andrew.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Seven habits of highly ineffective churches—final post.

Every church has habits. We have all heard the phrase, “We’ve always done it that way.” Some of the habits are good; some are not so good.

Every church needs to learn to laugh at itself. Some of the things we do are comical on purpose and so are totally by accident.

Every church has habits that should cause us to laugh at ourselves.

Every pastor has habits that should cause him/her to laugh at themselves.

I believe that God has a tremendous sense of humor. He uses imperfect churches, led by imperfect pastors and populated with imperfect Christ-followers to bring his message of salvation to the world.

Do our churches need to take a closer look at their habits? You bet they do.

Do our pastors need to take a closer look at their habits? You bet they do.

Do Christ’s followers need to take a closer look at their habits? Absolutely.

We do not have to settle for being ineffective as a church, pastor or follower of Christ. We should strive to give him the best we can give.