It’s only Friday, but Sunday is a comin’!

The calm on Saturday sits in stark contrast to the disrupting events of Thursday night spilling into Friday … and to what awaited on that Sunday 1 which changed every day.

Jesus lay in exile in the empty, all of God’s promises at risk of defeat.

It’s Friday
Jesus is praying
Peter’s a sleeping
Judas is betraying
But Sunday’s comin’ 2

It’s Friday
Pilate’s struggling
The council is conspiring
The crowd is vilifying
They don’t even know
That Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The disciples are running
Like sheep without a shepherd
Mary’s crying
Peter is denying
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s a comin’

It’s Friday
The Romans beat my Jesus
They robe him in scarlet
They crown him with thorns
But they don’t know
That Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
See Jesus walking to Calvary
His blood dripping
His body stumbling
And his spirit’s burdened
But you see, it’s only Friday
Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The world’s winning
People are sinning
And evil’s grinning

It’s Friday
The soldiers nail my Savior’s hands
To the cross
They nail my Savior’s feet
To the cross
And then they raise him up
Next to criminals

It’s Friday
But let me tell you something
Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The disciples are questioning
What has happened to their King
And the Pharisees are celebrating
That their scheming
Has been achieved
But they don’t know
It’s only Friday
Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
He’s hanging on the cross
Feeling forsaken by his Father
Left alone and dying
Can nobody save him?
Ooooh
It’s Friday
But Sunday’s comin’

It’s Friday
The earth trembles
The sky grows dark
My King yields his spirit

It’s Friday
Hope is lost
Death has won
Sin has conquered
and Satan’s just a laughin’

It’s Friday
Jesus is buried
A soldier stands guard
And a rock is rolled into place

But it’s Friday
It is only Friday
Sunday is a comin’!

Faithful learners will take note of the ancient prophesies of the Resurrection 3, and of His Resurrection, and how His defeating death opened the door for our hope. There is more Mercy in Christ than sin in us. There is more Hope in Him than despair in us. There is more Life in Jesus than death in us.

Death could not hold Him. No matter what you’re facing, Sunday’s coming.

  1. Estimated as April 5, 33 AD in The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, by Andreas J. Köstenberger, Justin Taylor, with Alexander Stewart (published by Crossway; see reading guide PDF).
  2.  Easter meditation by S.M. Lockridge (1913-2000), pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego from 1953 to 1993.
  3. Job 19:25–26; Ps. 16:9–11; Isa. 25:1–12; 26:19; Ezekiel 37; Dan. 12:1–3; Hos. 6:1–2.
 

Listening & talking about stories that matter.

It takes humility to tell someone your story, without trying to downplay the brokenness or exaggerate your successes.

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It also takes courage and generosity to listen to another’s story without chiming in with your own thoughts.

The RENEW men are seeking to understand our Gospel Stories (Creation » Fall & rebellion » Redemption » Restoration), finding our place in God’s big Story, where Jesus is the Hero.

Recently we’ve been sharing our own stories, and now we turn to the better task for listening to other’s stories. Call it “Gospel Listening.”

Do people think of you as a good listener? 

Since everyone has the same four parts of their life story — and in all the countless little stories and narratives that flow out in normal conversation — let’s take a look at each part, from the perspective of Gospel Listening. 1

Gospel Story

1) CREATION // Everyone has a fundamental belief about their origin — who or what brought about their existence, made them who they are, or shaped them into the person they are today.

  • Listen for: Who or what do they credit or blame for who they are today? (Or the situation they find themselves in?)

2) FALL // Each person has a central belief about the cause of brokenness in the world and a deep desire for justice. People blame their parents, family, friends, boss, government, etc. for what they’ve become AND want just for putting the blame on someone else for the pain and suffering in the (their) world. Someone is at fault and someone deserves punishment.

  • Listen for: Why are things and people not the way they are supposed to be and who is to blame? 

3) REDEMPTION // Everyone has a solution they believe in, a remedy they look to or a “savior” they trust in to redeem the brokenness in their life and world. Many are looking to a philosophy. Others look to a plan for self-improvement or personal growth. Many believe some kind of reform in education or politics will change things. Everyone believers in a “redeemer” or in a self-improvement plan of some sort.

  • Listen for: Who or what will rescue them and redeem what is broken in their life?

4) RESTORATION // Every person has a picture of the future when everything is as it should be .. or how they hope it will be. Some see a utopia with humans all living at peace with one another. Others believe Mother earth and humanity will be one. Still others see another world where they will go to where they will be at the center. Some people’s future hope is to be married, have children, get a job, be rich, etc. Everyone wants something better — restoration of what they believe their world should be like.

  • Listen for: What will the world or their circumstance look like when all is as it should be (according to them), AND who or what will be the focus of this world? 

Learn to listen to people. The aspects of life they complain about or are super excited about helps us discover what they see as “bad news” in the world, and what is “good news” to them.

As you listen to someone’s story (or consider your own), notice the reasons for not being willing or able to obey Jesus’s commands: fear, insecurities, selfishness, pride, need for approval, and the worship of child, family or work. All of these reflect trust place in something or someone other than God.

As you become aware of the people or things that have become idols or “little gods,” take the time to compare them to Jesus. Ask the Holy Spirit to help in revealing Jesus as the best resolution to what a person is seeking elsewhere, the opposite of what they are experiencing, and the deeper reality of what they are searching for.

That is Gospel Listening.

  1. This section adapted from The Gospel Primer, a resource the Renew Church men utilize for discipleship and learning.
 

The God with dirty hands.

What does God think of the messiness of our lives? Is He mad like the parent who tells the kids to clean their rooms only to return and find them dirtier and more disheveled than before?

I’ve found through Jesus God the Father comes and cleans up the mess alongside us, even doing the hardest parts gladly, yet letting us feel like we’ve contributed to the project. Of course, without Him it (and we) would still be a mess, and simply put, He’s done it all. All because Jesus proves God doesn’t mind getting messy.

“We worship a God who gets His hands dirty, forming humanity from the dust of creation, becoming human and breathing His first breaths in the filth of a stable, and living an ordinary life as a carpenter. His hands are stained with blood and dust as He climbs Golgotha and His hands are forever scarred by nails as He dies for you and me. The story of the Gospel is a story that takes place within our world, beginning in a garden, journeying through deserts, and showing up in the landscapes and living rooms of our own stories, where we first came to know Jesus and hear what He’d done to bring us back to God.
… Though Jesus has ascended to heaven, He’s not finished with getting His hands dirty. Now, though, His intent is to get His hands in the dirt through you and me as we live in the world on His behalf.” 1

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  1. Daniel Montgomery & Mike Cosper, Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for a your a Spiritual Journey, 195-196.
 

Not fools: We exist because of Jesus’s resurrection.

On the morning of the third day [Sunday] Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus go to His tomb to anoint His body. They expect to find it, and are anxious about how they might roll away the stone that covers His tomb.

And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here.” (Mark 16:4-6)

It’s this moment that allows the apostle Paul to cry out, years later,

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?” (1 Cor. 15:54-55)

The empty tomb shows that the greatest oppression of all—the oppression of sin and death—has been defeated. It’s gospel Judo. In Judo, you learn to use the power and movement of your attacker against them, often in moves that end with your opponent landing headfirst. Jesus takes on all that is plagued—He becomes human, taking upon Himself all the wrath of God against sin and all the attack and oppression of death, turning it on its head to provide life for God’s children.

Why did Christianity arise, and why did it take the shape it did? The early Christians themselves reply: We exist because of Jesus’s resurrection. Were there no resurrection, we would have neither comfort nor hope, and everything else Christ did and suffered would be in vain.
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—Daniel Montgomery and Mike Cosper, Faithmapping: A Gospel Atlas for Your Spiritual Journey, 59, “The Gospel of the Cross.”

 

Passion Week timeline.

The events of Jesus’ last week leading up to His death on the cross and resurrection are called “Holy Week” or “Passion Week.” His passion speaks of His sufferings in our place, on our behalf, to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18).

Starting in Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12, we get to walk beside Jesus, seeing and hearing what He did and said.

Creative artist Josh Byers has put the timeline of events of Passion Week in illustrated form. Follow along, from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday, and everything vital movement in between.

Passion Week

The Passion Week timeline

 

Self-giving beyond ourselves.

Quote

What hope do we have of becoming generous people?

The same hope we have at death is the hope we cling to in this life.

Watch (or click through to see video):

From question 1 in the New City Catechism:

Q1: What is our only hope in life and death?

That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.

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