April 30 Devotional

Happy last day of April! This has felt like an incredibly long month to me! I’m getting more and more anxious to actually be able to meet face to face! Today we’ll be looking at Psalm 27:
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
    to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
    it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me,
    my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
    yet I will be confident.
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire in his temple.
For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will lift me high upon a rock.
And now my head shall be lifted up
    above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
    be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
    “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
    Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
    O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the Lord will take me in.
Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.
Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they breathe out violence.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!
Take some time and read through this Psalm slowly. Meditate on the words and let them soak into your being. Some Christians I’ve talked to have struggled with the idea of meditation because it often brings to mind (at least in my mind!) various Eastern mystical poses where people have contorted their bodies into weird positions and they’re saying “hmmmmmmm” over and over and over. But Christian meditation is unlike any other form of meditation. Generally, people when they are meditating are told to try to empty their minds. Christians are called to fill their minds during mediation. Fill it with thoughts of God. Thoughts of His goodness. Thoughts of His holiness. Thoughts of His Words. So fill your mind with the words of this Psalm. I’ll give you a couple things to think about from this Psalm.
First, how does David describe God in the first verse? There are 3 words used to describe God: light, salvation, and stronghold. The first one: light is something we see throughout the Bible. Light brings things into focus. Light allows us to see. Light chases away darkness. Similarly, light exposes everything. God being light means nothing can be hidden from Him. The second one is salvation. God is our salvation, and in Him is the only place salvation can be found! He saves us from eternal separation from Him, from our own sin and depravity and provides a way for us to boldly approach Him. Lastly is the word stronghold. A stronghold is the best place to hide when you’re being attacked! I always think of that scene from The Two Towers in the battle at Helm’s Deep, when the odds are stacked against them, the orcs are too numerous to defeat so the heroes finally withdraw to the stronghold to await Gandalf’s final attack and ensuing victory. God Himself is our stronghold that allows us to endure in the midst of any persecution thrown at us! Even as I preached on last week, we can endure if our foundation is secure in Him!
Secondly, in verse 4 we see another good thing to meditate on: to dwell in His house forever. David’s son Solomon was asked by the Lord 1 thing that would be guaranteed. What would you do if God came to you and would give you 1 thing that you most desired? Would you ask for immeasurable wealth? A body that will never give out on you? David here reveals what He would ask: to be with God forever. Now imagine David writing this at a time where God would only be met with in His temple. In this new covenant era that we live in, we’re all called temples because God is with us all the time! I’m guessing David could hardly fathom such a thing! We get to dwell in God’s temple forever because we all are God’s temple! I’d encourage you to take some time today to pray through the rest of this Psalm! Remember to meditate on it and fill your mind with these words!
Today’s song is a fun piano piece that I recently started listening to and enjoying! This would be a nice one to listen to as you meditate on Psalm 27! It’s called ‘To the Moon and Beyond’ and you can listen on YOUTUBEor SPOTIFY.

April 28 Devotional

Today we’ll be looking at 2 Peter 1:16-21:
For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
It’s incredibly comforting to me to read that many, if not all, of the accusations leveled against Christianity have been around pretty much since Christ ascended! Peter begins this whole section by reminding us that this story wasn’t a myth. It’s not something the Apostles made up, it’s not something that was faked. It is a true story the really happened in time and space during the first century in the land of Israel. And not only did Jesus really live, there were so many events that were witnessed by the early Apostles. Specifically, Peter mentions the Transfiguration. The moment when Jesus takes 3 of his disciples up a mountain and transforms before them, and hangs out with Moses and Elijah. What baffles me is that even after that event, Peter still ends up denying Jesus as the Christ! And, Peter misses the point while they’re on the mountain! Instead of worshipping Jesus, he suggest they build tents to stay there and make that place their home! This witness and example point us to the reality of who Jesus is.
But Peter says that’s not the only example they have pointing us to that reality, a better and more fully realized examples is the prophetic word, that is what we today call the Bible! So despite seeing Jesus in His glorified state, Peter actually says it’s better for us to have the Bible! Because we have this word, we should pay attention to it and use it as our guide, as if it’s our light shining in the darkness. If you’ve ever been to a cave where they have everyone shut the lights off it’s disorienting! Your eyes search for any hint of light anywhere and you’re immediately drawn to it! Similarly, our eyes should be drawn to the Bible as our source of light! Peter ends this section with a description of how the Bible was penned. God used normal humans to write it, but they wrote as they were “carried along by the Holy Spirit.” I love that imagery! God used their training, their vocabulary, their experiences, their unique memories all for His purposes of recording His Word down so that we could learn from it today! And that same Holy Spirit that carried along the Apostles carries us along today and allows us to faithfully interpret it! Now, that does not mean we can just sit in the corner and interpret all by ourselves however we want to interpret it. That’s how heresies are started! Instead, we’re to study with the guiding of the Holy Spirit in our church body and community. That keeps us from error and overemphasizing things we should not be focusing on!
Today’s song is a piano song by a friend of mine who has taken many popular worship songs and done simple piano arrangements of them! You can listen to them on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY. The song I’m picking is ‘In Christ Alone’ but he’s got a bunch of other albums you can listen to too!

April 27 Devotional

Happy Monday! Today we’ll be looking at Matthew 6:25-34:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
It looks like we may get through all of Matthew 6 by the time we’re finally able to meet again! Today’s passage deals with worry. Jesus begins with the “trinity” of common worries people seem to have throughout history: life, body, food. All of these get back to image. See, you should care about your life and steward the body God’s given you, but always worrying about your image or what other people think about you is a problem. Similarly with food! Food is a great gift God has given us that is meant to be enjoyed! There’s no reason for food to be as delightful as it is, other than it being a gift from God. But worshipping food or worrying about what people think of the food you have is a problem. I remember back in high school, I’d just met a new friend who I’d invited over to hang out. We became fast friends, and the next three times he came over we had the same food: frozen pizza! My mom still apologizes to him to this day that that’s all we ate! But let’s be honest, what middle school boy would ever complain about frozen pizza??? 
Jesus then uses 3 illustrations to give us reason why we can trust in Him. Birds don’t prepare, plan, or worry about food, but God always provides for them. Or an even closer example to me right now, how much time does worrying add to your life? I’d argue that it takes away time from your life because you’re not doing other things you could or should be! And what about the flowers that are starting to pop up all over (even if they’re dandelions!)? They look far more beautiful than any clothes I could ever buy! And if God care about inanimate objects who are not created in His image, how much more does He care about us? I love the way Jesus ends. We don’t need to worry about tomorrow, because we have enough trouble today! Now he’s not saying to never plan anything, or to just bounce from thing to thing, instead He’s reminding us that God knows the future just as well as He knows the past, so we can place our entire trust in Him! 
This song takes the idea out of Romans 8:38-39 to remind us that God’s love has no bounds. It’s by James van Deusen and it’s called ‘No Limit to Your Love’ and you can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 25 Devotional

My apologies for missing yesterday! I totally lost track of what day it was after I woke up! My emotions have been all over this week too, as I’m sure many of yours have. First the governor says that he’ll let the shelter in place order expire Sunday night, which made me excited because we could potentially meet soon! Then the county extended it into May! Yikes! Well stay strong everyone! And don’t forget if you need to chat about anything at all, feel free to reach out to me.
Today we’ll be looking at Luke 6:43-49, which is what we’ll be studying together on Sunday! Don’t forget to tune in to our service on YouTube tomorrow!
“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
This is the end of Jesus’ “sermon on the plain” but it’s the exact same as the ending of His “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 7. He’s gone through all sorts of examples of what it means to be His disciple, and gets deeper and deeper into who we are. His 2 examples today address our hearts. It’s one thing to have external obedience, it’s a different thing to have a completely different orientation in your heart. I’ve been reading a book called ’Sojourners and Strangers’ over the past couple weeks that is about the theology of the church. He talks about 3 orthos that should be characteristic of all Christian:  orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and orthopatheia. So we should all have right thinking, right actions, and right feelings. Christianity isn’t just about external obedience, it’s about having a complete life change! And the way we demonstrate that life change is by demonstrating the right fruit, particularly in our speech, because that reveals where our hearts are.
The second story Jesus tells is about where your foundation is. The foundation is the most important part of a house. Similarly, our foundation is the most important part of our lives. If our lives are built on the foundation of Jesus then we’ll be able to weather anything thrown at us, and if it’s built on anything else our house will fall apart at a whim. I think this current pandemic has revealed for many of us where our foundation is. I hope you’ve been encouraged to more fully rely on God during this time, and have built some good habits during this time that will continue after life is back to “normal.” Looking forward to “seeing” many of you on YouTube tomorrow!
There was a band I occasionally listened to growing up called Big Tent Revival that had a song called ‘Two Sets of Joneses’ taken from this passage! You can listen on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 23 Devotional

Happy Thursday! Today we’ll be looking at Matthew 28:18-20:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
This is the ending of the entire Gospel, and Jesus’ last commands recorded by Matthew. This is the mission statement of every church that has ever existed! Jesus begins with a reminder of who He is. As Paul reminds us in Colossians 1, Jesus is God. And because Jesus is God, He has authority. But not just some authority, or a piece of authority, He has ALL authority in both heaven and earth. That includes every sphere of existence! Jesus begins here because everything else is dependent upon Him being in authority. We can carry out His command because He is in charge!
In Jesus’ command to us there are 4 verbs. In Greek, the verbs are generally the main thrust of the passage. When you’re learning Greek, the verbs are what you spend the most time on, not only because they’re so confusing, but also because they’re very important! The 4 verbs listed here, in order, are: Go, make disciples, baptizing, and teaching. And the reason you spend so much time on the verbs is it helps you know where to place the emphasis, and the emphasis in this verse is: make disciples. Every other verb is subservient to that command. The church is to go, we do not exist for ourselves. This doesn’t mean going from one room to another, this is going out into the world to help others become disciples (to fish for men and women!). Then when people are disciples, the next step of obedience is baptism. This is the easiest step for any Christian to take! Loving our neighbor as we love ourselves is going to take a lifetime to work on, baptism can be done today! But baptism is just the first step, because the next command is the lifetime pursuit: obeying everything Jesus commanded. We’ll never reach that state in our own power, but only though the work of the Holy Spirit in us. And over all this, ensuring that we will endure until we’re called home is the fact that Jesus is with us forever! We can’t flee from Him, we can’t run away from Him, He will continue leading and guiding us in all righteousness. 
Today’s song is by a group that no longer exists, All Sons and Daughters. They’ve taken the Prayer of St. Patrick and turned it into a song called ‘Christ Be All Around Me’ you can listen again on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 22 Devotional

Today we’ll be taking a look at Psalm 2:
Why do the nations rage
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.”
He who sits in the heavens laughs;
    the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
    and terrify them in his fury, saying,
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
    be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
This is a continuation of the previous Psalm, and continues expounding upon the excellencies of God. It begins with our rebellion, which all of us have participated in because we were born in sin. Before God graciously saved us we were all at enmity with God, actively opposed to Him and His sovereign rule. But we were not only opposed to the Father, we were opposed His Anointed. That word Anointed is where we get our word for Christ, or Messiah (Don’t forget, Christ is not Jesus’ last name!). When we’re opposed to God we’re opposed to His Son! And how does God respond? He laughs! Anyone who thinks God doesn’t have a sense of humor needs to read more of their Bible! It seems that God thinks it’s cute when we as his creation try to oppose Him, as if we could sway Him! But He doesn’t only laugh, He also responds in His wrath. How often do you think of God being wrathful? Most of the time when I talk to people they overemphasize God’s love. And while God is love, He is also wrathful, such that the author of Hebrews reminds us that it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
But what does God’s response tell us? He responds by saying His Son is forever on His throne, and nothing can change that! No group, army, king, person can other throw God’s perfect and sovereign rule and reign over His creation. All God has to do is speak and all His enemies will crumble and cease to exist (almost like the SNAP in Avengers: Infinity War). So because God is wrathful, we must instead submit ourselves to Him, and serve Him with fear and trembling remembering that He is God and we are not! So if we completely rely on Him, then we will be called Blessed, as the last verse AND Psalm 1 remind us! So let’s ensure we are not opposed to Him!
A group called “Poor Bishop Hooper” is taking the next 3 years to work through setting every Psalm to a song. So today’s song is simply called ‘Psalm 2’ you can listen on their WEBSITE or on SPOTIFY.

April 21 Devotional

Today we’ll be looking at Jude 24-25:
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Before we dig into some application points, a quick story about this passage. My dad performed Cara’s and my wedding ceremony, and used this as the benediction. We did things a little differently at our wedding and had my dad facing us with his back to the crowd. As he was reading this benediction he was backing up to get out of the way for the recessional and didn’t notice my niece running behind him, so as he said “to keep you from stumbling” he stumbled over my niece! It was a great moment, and then got passed around at his office! 
Jude began this letter wishing to write about the “common salvation” given to all believers (vs. 3), but instead he had to remind them to not give up their faith. He then reminds the believers where they have come from and encourages them to not give up. Yet in the midst of our daily struggles and difficulties, we begin with a promise in this doxology: that God alone is able to keep us from stumbling. I’m guessing most, if not all of you, have stubbed your toes before. You can be mindlessly walking along, minding your own business, when a chair jumps and trips you and it hurts like the dickens! Because God knows everything, He alone is able to prevent us from tripping and stumbling over the trials and temptations that are guaranteed to come our way. But He not only keeps us from stumbling, He also is able to “present you blameless.” We’ve read a number of passages together over the past month plus that talk about how God’s righteousness is given to us. Isn’t it incredible to read that we are blameless? No blame can be found in us. I know I never feel that way! I sin every day, yet God’s grace is enough for all of that. That’s what we get, but then Jude reminds us who God is.
This blamelessness and ability to keep us from stumbling is only true because Jesus has: glory, majesty, dominion, and authority forever. Jesus is given glory and we must glorify Him with everything we do. (John Piper has written a wonderful devotion on this very topic HERE.) He is also given majesty (which makes me think of THIS SONG). The dictionary says this is royal power. This is a reminder that Jesus is on His throne and nothing can thwart His plans! This also ties in to his dominion. This is Jesus’ sovereignty. He is in charge of everything! And lastly authority. He not only has the power to enact His perfect plan, He also has the authority to bring it about. He is seated on His throne and He is in complete control! And the best part? This has been true from eternity past and will be true into eternity! So not even a virus can work outside of His perfect plans!
There’s a group called ’Ghost Ship’ that has done a song to this passage called ‘Jude Doxology’ You can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 20 Devotional

Today we’ll be looking at Romans 1:16-17:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
One commentator has called these verses the venter point of the entire book of Romans! That means it’s incredibly important to understand it to comprehend the rest of the book. Paul begins be stating he’s not ashamed of the gospel. Why would one be ashamed of it? I sometimes worry that we’ve been over saturated with the message that we need to be gospel people. There’s more book, conferences, blog posts, articles and discussions on this than we could ever have time to digest, so when we use a word so often we have a tendency to become immune to it, which is what I worry has happened with the gospel! Literally, it’s “good news,” the good news that Jesus has descended to earth, died our penalty on the cross, then rose again on the third day, has ascended into heaven where He sits next to His Father to prepare a place for us until He returns to right everything that’s wrong. That gospel message has power to change the entire cosmos (as Paul will get to in Romans 8). That same power that was at work in Jesus to raise Him from the dead is now available to anyone who will believe in Him! So we now have the privilege of following Him with our lives!
Then we see God’s righteousness. In the gospel message, God’s righteousness is revealed. God in himself is completely perfect and holy, lacking in nothing. The gospel is a visible demonstration of that perfection and holiness. His righteousness has been ultimately revealed in Him sending His one and only Son to bear the penalty for our sins. And that righteousness can be our righteousness, if we put our faith in Him. We then go back to the beginning of this! If we are living by faith and have put our complete trust in Him, then we have no reason to be ashamed! We will one day see Jesus face to face and will spend eternity with Him. So let’s do whatever we can to bring others along and share the gospel that we’re not ashamed of!
Today’s song is one of my favorite songs from Lecrae’s group 116 Clique. This one features Trip Lee, Andy Mineo, and KB. Trip currently serves as a Pastor in Dallas while touring on the side. This song is called ‘One Sixteen’ and they got the name from Romans 1:16! You can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 17 Devotional

Today is Cara’s birthday! It’s a weird birthday with us being stuck at home instead of going out and doing something, but we’re trying to celebrate nonetheless! So today we’ll be looking at Romans 12:1-2:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
This passage is one of the foundations I use for the entire music team! The first 11 chapters of Romans are Paul expounding upon a rich treatise of theology that has served as great fodder for many debates in the church throughout the centuries! But then all that reach theology turns into robust theology at the end of chapter 11 where he says “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” After the doxology he turns into practicality. Now that we have this foundation of theology, what are we supposed to do with it? It begins with the exhortation and command to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. That bodies isn’t just referring to our flesh and bones, instead it’s talking about our whole being. Everything we are is meant to be submitted to the Lordship of Christ. But that’s not the only characteristic used here! We’re also called to be “holy and acceptable to God.” That means we’re not only a sacrifice, but we’re commanded to be holy, or perfect, just like our Father in heaven is perfect. And if we’re holy then we’re also going to be acceptable to God.
Then we turn to more ways we’re supposed to submit ourselves to God. We’re commanded to not be conformed to this world. That is: don’t just go along with the worldly sinful ways that we used to live in. We’re commanded to be different. As Paul has just said, we’re to by holy, which cannot be evil. So what is the alternative? We’re instead commanded to be transformed. So don’t CONform, be TRANSformed. What we’re being transformed into is the image of Jesus. As we saw yesterday, Jesus is the icon of God, and we’re to be icons (image bearers) of Jesus into the world. (The iconoclastic controversy really is applicable and fascinating!) This transformation begins in our minds. We must change the way we think in order to pursue holiness. This is where the spiritual disciplines come in to play. What is it you’re spending your time thinking about, meditating on, devoting time and energy to? This changed thinking will allow us to more faithfully and accurately determine what the will of God is. Unfortunately, we so often treat God’s will a bit like a magic 8 ball, where we HAVE to get the right answer to determine where we’ll go, and if we miss something we’re outside God’s will. Instead, following God’s will is pursuing holiness! If we’re pursuing God and being like Him, then we should live our lives! And by being obedient to Him, we will see that which is good, acceptable, and perfect. 
Today’s song is ‘No One But You’ by Hillsong. I fun one to sing along to! You can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.

April 16 Devotional

Happy snow day everyone! Now we have double reasons to stay home!
Today we’ll be taking a look at Colossians 1:15-20:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
This section is an exposition on who Jesus is. It begins by describing Him as the exact image of God. The word used is ‘icon’ which eventually lead to the iconoclastic controversy of the 8th century (if you want to talk about that sometime, let me know! That period fascinates me! I don’t have time to discuss it here!). The intent here is saying Jesus is God. If you’ve ever seen a wax seal, it bears an imprint of the seal on it, which is the same every time. Jesus is exactly the same as God, this is another way of saying He is God! So we see Jesus is God, but then we also see how the Son was involved in creation. He created everything together. As Abraham Kuyper is popular for saying, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” Jesus is the beginning and end of everything. He not only created everything seen and unseen, He holds it all together! But the most important thing He holds together is the church.
The point Paul is driving to in this passage is the need of the church to submit to Christ’s headship. Because of that, we need to recognize that Jesus is preeminent in everything. In our life, in our house, in our marriage, in our parenting, in our chilling, in our buying, in our living. In everything we do, Christ should be seen as Lord and Savior. He is the Lord of the Church, and because of that we need to do our best to submit ourselves to his leadership. And because He is the head, Lord, and Savior, He is able to reconcile everything to Himself. I have a distinct memory of one class in college where the professor asked if we could tweet the gospel message (at the time, Twitter was limited to 120 characters). After spending almost 2 hours on it, the class came to the conclusion that we couldn’t! Yet as I’ve thought about it since, I think I would define the gospel as: reconciliation. We were enemies with God, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross has brought about reconciliation. At some point I’ll look at the next step of this idea where we are thus commanded to be ambassadors of reconciliation! But that’s our task as God’s people. We must seek to bring reconciliation in every area of life. I think this is timely for all of us right now, as I’m guessing many of us are maybe starting to reach the point where you might need some reconciliation at home 🙂 I know my family has reached that point a couple times! Being stuck inside is bringing out the best and the worst in all of us! So I hope you’re able to be a minister of reconciliation in your home today!
Today’s song is originally by Andrew Peterson, but if you’ve heard of Shane & Shane you may have heard that they’ve started a new ministry of how to lead worship more effectively, so they’ve got a ton of great covers you should check out! The song’s name is ‘His Heart Beats’ and you can listen to it on YOUTUBE or SPOTIFY.
There’s a guy who’s started a TV series looking at the life of Jesus that Cara and I just started watching last night and really enjoyed it! For a little while you can watch it for free, it’s called ‘The Chosen’ and you can watch it HERE. They also have an app where you can watch it all for free that you can access HERE.