Monday, March 31, 2008

For Carol...




thank you Carol for showing us all what persistance and fight mean,
"Well done good and faithful servant."

Grace and Peace to you all,

DCC

Saturday, March 29, 2008

For Carrie....

Nothing- NOTHING can snatch us from His Hand.
Because of His great Love....we will NEVER perish.

"I will give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
No one can snatch them out of my hand." John 10:28

God is aware of all things...at all times...and although it is hard to see this sometime...

He has told us, we are not called to necessarily see it--- we are called to believe it.

"When you can't trace His Hand...trust His Heart"
Grace and Peace to my friend,

DCC

Friday, March 28, 2008

Prayer for a friend...

I have been spending a lot of time with a very sick friend. She has lost her hair, due to Chemotherapy...and yet somehow still looks as beautiful as ever. Because, you see what she has not lost, is her very soul and her strong spirit.
Everytime I see her head, I am reminded of Matthew 10:30, where Jesus says,"Even the very hairs on your head are numbered." This makes me realize in a graphic way-that God is fully aware of the situation and is still in charge. No matter what our human eyes may see.
Today, I humbly ask for you to pray for my friend Carol-and her precious family.

Paul wrote to the Romans in 12:12
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."

Grace and Peace,

DCC

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Acolytes...or Ministers?

So here they were...Easter morning...hair cuts...shiny shoes...ready to work.

As an acolyte on Easter morning..this is pretty serious business....there are a lot of specific instructions were given out- where to walk, turn, stand and return to your pew, etc, etc...

Preston, on the right, had the honor of bringing in the cross- not just any cross, THE EASTER cross....all decked out with gorgeous white flowers....

So, "Onward Christian Soldiers" he marched down the center aisle-stopped in the middle of the altar with all eyes on him and the cross.

Now, here is where it gets a little tricky....he was supposed to stop turn around to the congregation and sit down...however, he got caught up in the song...and the moment of it- and stood there....and stood some more....and then a little longer....mom's were trying to wave him off...clergy was sweating, audience was smiling....and then finally his wing man, Blake, ran up there to tell him, "the moms said you have to come sit down."

Now, what some might have seen as not following the instructions...I happen to see as wonderful! I also happened to see Jesus smiling from ear to ear as His Child, Preston made a very serious point by staying.

The longer he stood...the more we were all reminded, it is not about the pretty music or the flowers or the outfits....

The celebration of the empty tomb started at the cross...and without it,

Our failures were permanent.

Our faith was nothing more than a wish.

Christmas was just another ordinairy day.

Thank you God for using kids, as always, to remind us all. Grace and Peace,

DCC

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

No Fear...

365 times in The Bible this statment is made-
365, as in, Yes, God knew we needed to hear this once a day-
For some, you need to hear it right now.
For others, you need it later this morning.
For some, maybe you just need to share it with others today-
the bottom line, it doesn't matter when you need it...it is there and it is from HIM-

As a "worrier" myself, it is nice to know, He understands me. Since Is able-
to hang the stars, like we put a hanger back up in the closet-
to plant the mountains, like we pick up a Hershey's Kiss
to tell the rolling waves, exactly where to stop and start on the shore-

I am going to take His Word on this.

Grace and Peace,

DCC

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter P.S.

Some serious Easter discussions over heard at La Fonda with one of my Goddaughters this weekend, Katherine and her sisters Caroline and Lizzie.
With all of the excitement of Christmas morning...Katherine yelled (and yes, I do mean yelled, she is my Goddaughter for heaven's sake)

"Can you believe how super awesome it is that Jesus rose from the dead!?!?!"

I said- "I know, I can believe it...it is sooooo super awesome!"

Caroline-"I wish my hamster was like Jesus, he died this morning"

Me-"Only Jesus brings Himself back from the dead"

Caroline- "Duh. I know that."

Katherine-"Even if people are mean you should always love them."

Me-"Good reminder...thanks Kitty Cat"

Katherine- "We have to because, He gave us all our sins"

Me- I think it the other way around- we gave HIM all of ours"

Katherine- "are you sure about that?"

Me- "Yep, pretty sure."
Katherine-"So He got OUR spanking?"
Lizzie (5 yrs. old) - "I like the chocolate eggs...but it is really about God's Son"
Me-"You are right Lizzie, it IS ALL about and ONLY about JESUS."
What I wanted to tell them, but they had already high-tailed it out of there down to Pet Works for a new hamster, was this-
It is super awesome that he rose from the dead...for so many reasons...the older you get the more you will learn and be aware of how many "spankings" you deserved, but HE took on the cross.
I pray that you will always keep in mind....that in all the details of faith, the what, the when, the how, the why....
all that really matters is Jesus. Its just that simple.

Amen.
Grace and Peace,

DCC

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Folded....

"The napkin that was upon his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but apart, 
having been folded up, in one place." ~John 2-:7

The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that a napkin was set apart and folded. 
 Things that make you go hmmmm.... 


Did Jesus have good manners? 
He was a nice tomb-guest? 
His mother raised him well?

I am guessing yes to all of the above.


However, in Israel, I learned a few things of the Eastern culture...
not nearly enough..but a few things that have really enlightened The Scriptures for me
-one of them was about table manners back in the day.

The Hebrew tradition of that day about napkins, went like this:


When the master had finished eating, he would get up from the table,

wipe off and would then wad up his napkin and throw it onto the table. 
The servant knew it was time to start cleaning- 
because a wadded up napkin clearly stated, 
"I am done. I am not coming back."

However, if the master got up from the table and folded his napkin and laid it next to his plate.....well, then we have a whole different story!

Because the folded napkin meant,
"I'm not finished yet...I will be back."



"Since I am going and preparing a place for you, 
I will return to take you with me; so that where I am, you may be also." ~John 14:3


Jesus folded His napkin for a very specific reason-
He is not finished.
He will be back!

Thank You God, for the empty tomb and all that You are still saying to us through it.


In His Dust,
DCC

EASTER SUNDAY!!! HE IS RISEN!!!!!

The stone was not rolled away so that He could get out....it was rolled away so that we could see in- Nothing, including death or a stone was stopping Him...

THE TOMB IS EMPTY !!!

I imagine the disciples the night before, had finally passed out from exhaustion, hoping to dream away the horror of the previous two days. To forget the faces....the sounds...the smells...Mary's tears...Jesus' Voice...
However, when Sunday came, they woke up knowing the events were not merely a bad dream.

Jesus had died.
Then, the news came..HE IS RISEN!!!

It does not come as a surprise to me that the disciples did not believe the women's report that Christ had risen. They knew that Jesus had been crucified. They knew he had been taken down from the cross and put into a heavily sealed and guarded tomb. But now the women claimed he was alive and the tomb was empty! Had their exhaustion clouded the facts?

Knowing this and them...Jesus appeared to them. Their joy must have been unspeakable. And certainly undescribable by me, some 2000 years later.
All their hopes, shattered two days before, were restored in an instant.

All their fears were now proven futile.
"Heaven unplugged the grave's power cord, and you and I have nothing to fear.
Death is disabled." -Max Lucado

All of their future was suddenly taken care of.
and guess what...
The same thing goes for each of us.

Easter blasts in and announces for every single one of us

Our own resurrection, and restored hope for the world!!!
Christ has died; Christ has risen; Christ will come again!!!

While in Israel a few years ago...Ray VanderLaan told us that he believes Jesus burst out of that tomb at one second passed midnight! I loved that vision....BOOM!
Easter-Where defeat meets Triumph--

Thanks Be To God!!!

In The Name of our RISEN and LIVING SAVIOR,

DCC

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!
Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday of Holy Week...Tetelestai!!!


After The Last Supper....Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to talk to His Father.

This earth stopping moment, where a boy asks His Daddy to help him!
"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want Your Will to be done, not Mine."~Luke 22:42
  
 Jesus STILL chooses His Father's Will over His own.

 
Just before dawn...Jesus goes on trial before Pilate and Herod Antipas.


He was scourged and beaten 39 times with metal and leather whips.
("40 lashes minus one" was the law- because 40 was considered a death sentence.)
That means Jesus was brought to the very brink of death by stopping at 39.
Most did not survive this...God's Only Son did!
He was spit on and made fun of-

He was taunted and ridiculed with a crown of very sharp thorns-


and yet, He still found it in His Heart to say,
 "Father forgive them...they know not what they do." 

At exactly 9 am, they nailed Jesus to the cross.
"At noon the whole country was covered with darkness
which lasted for three hours." ~Matthew 27:45
(Is it no wonder?The Light of the world is being crucified)

God said it would be just like this in the Old Testament book of Amos.
“On that day…I will make the sun go down at noon,
 and darken the earth in broad daylight….
I will make it like the mourning for an Only Son,
and the end of it like a bitter day.” ~Amos 8:9-10


After 6 hours of unspeakable grueling agony, at exactly 3 pm,
Jesus looks up at His Father, yells-
"IT IS FINISHED!!!" ("TETELESTAI") and died.

"Tetelestai" is the Greek word for "It Is Finished."
When a servant was sent on a mission and then later returned to his master, he would say, "Tetelestai" which meant, "I have done exactly as you have requested or
"the mission is now accomplished".



"Tetelestai" was also the equivalent of the Hebrew word spoken by the high priest when he presented a sacrificial lamb without spot or blemish.

"Tetelestai" was also, in a secular sense, the word used in the business world to signify the full payment of a debt. When a debt had been fully paid off, the document on which the debt was recorded was stamped with "TETELESTAI," which meant the debt had been "paid in full."



Which is what Jesus did for you and me when He paid the ultimate price for all of our sins.



One more thing..."Tetelestai" is in the perfect tense. This is very significant because the perfect tense speaks of an action which has been completed in the past with results continuing into the present. It’s different from the past tense which looks back to an event and says, “This happened.” The perfect tense adds the idea that
“This happened and it is still in effect today.”



When Jesus cried out “It is finished,”
He meant, “It was finished in the past,
it is still finished in the present
and it will remain finished in the future.”



Finally on this Friday,
Jesus was placed in a strongly sealed and highly guarded tomb.
“The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” ~John 1:29

"These six hours were no normal six hours. They were the most critical hours in history. For during those six hours on that Friday, God made it possible for you to know that: Your life is not futile. Your failures are not fatal. Your death is not final" ~Max Lucado

The Lamb of God.
His Eyes were set like flint on His Father and you were NEVER out of His Sight.
to this very moment.....you still are.



God, I am so sorry. I love You.Thanks You God, that "Tetelestai" was for each and every single one of us.


In His Dust,

DCC

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thursday / Last Supper


1. In the evening, Jesus celebrates the Passover meal with his disciples. (He announces His Body and Blood as The New Covenant)

2. Late Thursday evening, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane. (While His Disciples take a nap)
The word "Gethsemane" comes from two Hebrew words:
Gat, which means "a place for pressing oil (or wine)" and shemanim, which means "oils."
During Jesus' time, heavy stone slabs were lowered onto olives that had already been crushed in an olive crusher. Gradually, the slabs weight squeezed the olive oil out of the pulp, and the oil ran into a pit. There the oil was collected in clay jars.
The image of the Gethsemane on the slope of the Mount of Olives where Jesus went the night before his crucifixion provides a vivid picture of Jesus' suffering. The weight of the sins of the world pressed down upon him like a heavy slab of rock pressed down on olives in their baskets.
His sweat, "like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44) flowed from Him like olive oil as it was squeezed out and flowed into the pit of the olive press.
3. Sometime later Thursday night or Friday morning, He was arrested.
 Peter denies Jesus three times and Jesus is questioned by Caiphas the High Priest
"Father forgive them, they do not know what they are doing." -Jesus. (Luke 23:34)

In His Dust,
DCC

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday of Holy Week...


-The gospel writers do not tell us what Jesus did on this day.
Intersting....an entire day in the last week of His Life...and we got....nuthin'.
(Which, translates to me as, God didn't think we needed to know.)

-Scholars assume, Religious leaders probably continued plotting Jesus' death,
as Judas agreed to betray him for thirty lousy pieces of silver.

 
I wonder...was He able to sleep at night? Was there a countdown in His head...
did He keep asking what time it was? Did He have an appettite? Was He frustrated, looking at the faces, He knew were about to betray Him?  

Knowing what we know about Jesus...it seems as if, He probably did what He always did...
talked TO and ABOUT His Father.
I bet on Wednesday, He loved God and He loved others...and He did it and still does, perfectly.

His "face set like flint"towards Jerusalem- With your face in His mind.


In His Dust,
DCC

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday of Holy Week...



1. Religious leaders questioned Jesus' authority,
but Jesus evades their trick questions and speaks the truth.

2. Jesus teaches in The Temple, telling parables and warning people
against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.

3. Jesus predicts the destruction of The Temple and tells
His disciples about His future return.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Where did Jesus get His Authority? Great question...with an even more powerful answer-

But first, I have to share a little background info with you-
In Biblical times there were rabbis with authority and those without.

Rabbis with authority, (aka Smikkah, Hebrew word for authority), got this authority,
which was very rare, by two others with authority.

Jesus received His Authority from John the Baptist (1) and from God Himself (2). He said..."This is My Son...in Whom I am well pleased." This took place at His Baptism.

If a Rabbi had authority, He had "permission" to not only teach The Torah, but to interpret it as well. Matthew 7 records, "the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as One who had authority."

Which brings us back to the religious leader's question- Where did you get your authority?
The answer -His Daddy.

Which, come to think of it...is the same place we get our's.

The Rabbi, Jesus, is available to you, today.
Right now, at the Very Moment you are reading this.

In His Dust,

DCC

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday of Holy Week...

What is going on in church this week???
Plenty! To understand, we will need to look back at what went on during this week so many years ago-
Jesus thoughts are not recorded during His last week. But according to the gospels, we do have some information about His actions during this time.
Scholars disagree over the specific days on which certain events took place,
but, to the best of my knowledge (along with alot of help from The Gospels and Ray VanderLaan, I will try to tell you what took place on those days-



MONDAY

1. Jesus returns to The Temple
2. Jesus clears the Gentile courts of money changers and vendors
3. Jesus curses Fig Tree

I remember this day as the day Jesus got mad!

When Jesus "cleared the temple", it was not a fit of rage, like
I tend to have in back of a slow driver.
Jesus' anger was very deliberate.

Jesus did not sin in His Anger.

This is a foreign concept to me...anger without sin? I lost my cool just yesterday over some drivers who thought the speed limit on Broadway was 16 mph.

Jesus anger was righteous. He was furious because they were not only ripping off poor people...but were standing in the way of the Gentiles worshipping and knowing about His Father, God.

In my opinion..I think this is what pushed Him over the edge. Stopping people from worshipping His Father...or at the very least...learning more about Him.

Humbly today and this week..I will wonder...what does Jesus wants to clear out of my life...is it my lack of patience with drivers, (as I drive by with His Fish on the back of my Tahoe?) Or is it my attitude towards someone in my life, who I see as constantly trying to "diminish out my light." Maybe God is trying to clear out my impatience and with others- ouch.

What is He wanting to clear out of yours?

In His Dust,

DCC

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday =Lamb Selection Day...


Palm Sunday:

On the Sunday before Passover, Jesus came out of the wilderness on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives (just as the prophecy said the Messiah would come).
People spread cloaks and branches on the road before him. Then the disciples "began, joyfully, to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen" (Luke 19:37). The crowd began shouting, "Hosanna" a slogan of the ultra-nationalistic Zealots, which meant, Please save us! Give us freedom! We're sick of these Romans!"

The Palm Branches:

The people also waved palm branches, a symbol that had once been placed on Jewish coins when the Jewish nation was free. Thus the palm branches were not a symbol of peace and love, as Christians usually assume; they were a symbol of Jewish nationalism, an expression of the people's desire for political freedom.

Jesus as the Passover Lamb:

Jesus came to the people as the Lamb of God. On that lamb selection day, Jesus didn't enter the temple by the southern gate to worship, he didn't enter by the eastern gate as King, but he entered by the northern gate as THE lamb who takes away the sins of the world - Jesus, the sinless Messiah who would die on humankind's behalf, appeared on the very day that people chose their spotless Passover lambs! (Choosing a lamb was somewhat like we pick out our Christmas trees...it as a tradition to go out and "pick your lamb")
It's almost as if God said to the world,
"Here's my Lamb. Will you chose him?"

But instead of turning to Jesus as the Lamb of God, the crowds misunderstood his proclamation that he was the Messiah. They wanted him to be their political-military deliverer.

Jesus Wept:

In response, Jesus wept. The tears Jesus shed as the people cried out their political "Hosannas" were tears of grief for the hearts of his people.
Jesus foresaw the terrible devastation of Jerusalem that would result because the people did not recognize him as God's Messiah. The people were looking for a messiah who offered political deliverance and a political kingdom.
However they would have nothing to do with the Messiah who offered forgiveness and deliverance from sin. In his grief over their distorted beliefs, Jesus wept out loud.

This Palm Sunday He listens for your answer...

as He once again asks....

Will you pick Me...Let Me be your Lamb?...Grace and Peace,

DCC

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Stuck...

"I am stuck on Jesus and Jesus stuck on me"
(sung to the Band Aid commercial theme)

No matter what you have done...or have not done....
No matter where you have been...or have not been...
No matter what you have said or have not said...
No matter how far you feel from Him...

If you ask Him to, He will meet you there...and when He does...
He will stick with you.

Get stuck on that.

Grace and Peace,

DCC

Friday, March 14, 2008

We Don't...

care what you wear to church at Easter.....

or if you just rolled out of bed...

and you can't do a thing with your hair.....

Just get up...put on whatever you are comfortable in and come worship with us...check out what all the fuss of Easter is about!!
Grace and Peace,

DCC

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"My Easter Prayer" by David McNitzky

Mary Magdalene's comment at the tomb on the first Easter morning speaks loudly to me: "They have taken away my Lord and I don't know where they have put him."

That is what grief does to us; it clouds our vision.

When a dream of mine is crushed, a relationship stressed or my health falters
I cry out inside, "Where is Jesus? Where have they put Him?"
The truth is, of course, that just because I cannot see Him
at that moment does not mean he is not there.
He is just there in ways that are new to me.
He is working outside of my previous experience and current expectations.

While Jesus is no longer in the physical condition in which Mary expects to find Him, He is, however, present in a much more powerful way.
Jesus never promised that we would not have moments that cause us to question and cry out, but He did promise to "be with us always."

My Easter prayer is that when it appears someone has removed Jesus from my world, I will through my tears, seek to look for Him to appear in new and surprising ways.

Please come join us this Sunday as we celebrate Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week.
~David McNitzky

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Everywhere...


"No One has ever seen God;
But if we love one another, God lives in us

and His Love is made complete in us."

1 John 4:12

Look around you...He is EVERYWHERE!!

Grace and Peace,

DCC

*Click below on comments and let's chat about where you have seen Him~

Monday, March 10, 2008

Merry Easter...

Just because Easter is two weeks away, doesn't mean we should take our focus off of Christmas. After all, it was Christmas, when God sent Jesus, (Emmanuel=God with us) to live among us.

From the looks of this picture~

The shepherds kept watch with a staff in one hand and a slice of pepperoni in the other! The angel came down to say...don't be afraid, I bring you good news and more hot pizza!!

However, pictures don't tell the story.

The Bible, does...and from what I have read Jesus lived in the real world. The same one the rest of us live in. He understands our confusion, frustration and fear.

He wants to be a part of our everyday lives- He is ready to get in the mess of life with each one of us...pizza sauce and all.

Will you let Him in???

Grace and Peace,

DCC