Before I forget (and since I already preached on it last week), lemme say Happy Palm Sunday!
I hope that if it’s at all possible, you’ll be able to join us for the special times coming up in Holy Week. As always, we’ll have our weekly community prayer time on Wednesday evening, but we’ll also have our annual Good Friday evening service at 6:30 at the end of the week, and then a special Resurrection Sunday morning service at 10:30 -- preceded by our annual Easter breakfast together as a church family, starting at 9:00.
Even if you can’t join us for services this week, let me encourage you to use this time of year to reach out meaningfully to those around you. Easter week is a perfect time to make use of the opportunity to let people know about why you’re so excited to celebrate the resurrection of your Lord this weekend (as Peter encourages us in 1 Peter 3:15-16). So be praying about the people in your life who don’t have a relationship with Jesus, and pray that God would open up times to interact with them over the next few days. Invite them to a service with you, invite them to our breakfast, or just connect with them and consciously let them know why Jesus being alive makes such a strong and significant impression on you today.
We chatted about that a bit in our sermon this week -- about what impresses people. For some it’s “big stuff” (like the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, etc.), for others it’s “attractive stuff” (like a nice house, a fast car, etc.), or it’s “skillful stuff” (like great symphonies or works of art, etc.). But for some people who answer that question, it’s “genuine stuff” (a sweet heart, genuine and unsolicited kindness, a steady faith, etc.). Even in our brokenness, we understand that ultimately, it’s not the stuff that looks impressive when you see it, but the stuff that genuinely is impressive at its core -- the real stuff on the inside.
When Jesus taught in the Temple over that final week of His life in the Gospel of Mark, a great deal of it revolved around having a genuine heart for God, an “all-in” perspective on worship. People like Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees tried to trip Him up with questions, but He spoke against their hypocrisy -- and yet held a poor woman who gave all that she had to the Lord as a shining example of God-honoring worship. When asked about what was the greatest commandment of all, Jesus answered that we should love God completely, unstintingly, with every part of every part of ourselves... and then love our neighbors as if they genuinely were extensions of ourselves.
So if you want to honor God, then it’s not about doing X or Y or Z, or looking like A or B or C -- it’s genuinely loving Him vertically with every part of who you are, and then genuinely loving those around you as if doing so was itself an act of worship (which it then is).
“Heaven and earth will pass away” Jesus told His disciples, but the truth of His words never will. Everything that you know about everything that you see and taste and touch and stress over will someday be dust, but God’s truth will never fade or crumble.
If that really is true, then how should that affect the way that you and I live today?