This Week Has Power

Easter14John Cassetto, Pastor of Worship at Saddleback Church wrote this. I could not have said it better myself Valley Christian Church Family!

“It has been my joy to have many friends who have begun their journey of faith at an Easter weekend church service. Right now, local churches all over the world are in the process of preparing great music, Spring cleaning to make sure the house is in order to receive guests, laboring over word choices in sermons, printed materials and songs with the hopes that people everywhere would know that there is a God who loves them and has a plan and a purpose for their life.

This week holds long evenings and early mornings, budgets and nerves will be stretched to the limit, fingers and voices grow weary from rehearsing to get it just right. But we do it because it matters.

People matter.
Love matters.

This symphony of ushers, guitar players, lighting technicians, singers and Sunday School teachers playing their individual part to make one beautiful song. Together.

I’m so thankful for you, church person. The one who still believes in the power of the gathering. The one who labors over each cue. The one preparing the best lesson, snacks and crafts for kids. The one practicing that refrain repeatedly. I’m honored to be with you, by your side, and one of you.

This week has power. Let’s claim it. Together.”

Why Good Friday Is So Important

There seems to be a knee-jerk response on the part of some Christians to the idea of remembering or even acknowledging Good Friday. It usually sounds something like this:

“Why do we need to designate a day to remember the cross? We do it every week on Sunday when we gather as a church, right? We should be remembering Christ’s death as we read the Bible as individuals and families, right? After all, He’s not dead, He’s ALIVE!”

Sure.

But God gave his people celebrations, feasts, days of mourning and days of remembrance for a reason. While we may think that we’re really good at appreciating things consistently on a day-to-day basis, we really aren’t. We are creatures of habit and people of comfort who deem the day doomed if deprived of morning coffee/morning paper/morning whatever. We need holidays to break us from our routines. I never stop appreciating the cross, just as I never stop loving my wife. But on our anniversary, my wife and I take special time to remember the greatest day of our lives. We remember how much we mean to each other and mark the day as a celebration, not because we have been discounting our marriage all year, but because our marriage is worth celebrating.

In the same way, Good Friday isn’t about forgetting the cross all year until Easter weekend. It’s a declaration that the day of our atonement is a day worthy of special remembrance.

Here are some things to keep in mind as we come together this Friday.

Good Friday is Really, Really Good

The term “Good Friday” is a bit dated in that the word “good” used to have a definition more closely associated with “holy” in the English language. Now, while it seems almost irreverent to call the day our savior died “good”, it’s more like the biggest understatement of all time. Jesus went to the cross as the final and perfect sacrifice, taking our sins upon himself, so we could be could be clean and presentable before a holy God. That’s the greatest good that anyone has every done.

Good Friday is Really, Really Old

Christians have been celebrating this day since at least the fourth century. As we join together, we join with them and all other brothers and sisters in Christ throughout history and today who take time to worship and remember the reason why we have grace.

Good Friday Gets Us Ready for Easter

The Resurrection is the zenith of our faith, without it our belief is in vain. The excitement of Easter, though, is superficial without an understanding of the cross. Before Jesus conquered Death, he had to die and suffer in our place. We live out the Gospel when we worship together on Friday and Sunday.

Consider What The Scripture Tells Us

And I, when I came to you, brothers,did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.1 Corinthians 2:1-2

Interesting how the Holy Spirit doesn’t inspire Paul to squeeze in “He’s not dead, He’s alive” in his words here. Also, when explaining the reason and importance of The Lord’s Supper, Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit writes:

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26

All Christians agree on the importance of Communion as an ordinance or sacrament of the church. The Holy Spirit speaking through Paul makes it clear, The Lord’s Supper is meant to celebrate and “proclaim” Christ’s death! These are just two of the many examples throughout the New Testament that speak to the importance of focusing on Christ’s death on the cross.

So, join us Friday, April 18th at 6:00 or 7:30pm @ VALLEY Christian Church as we obey God’s Word and celebrate Christ’s crucifixion, death and sacrifice for our sins!


Singles and Sexual Atheism

Dating-Couple-800x600“In a recent study conducted by ChristianMingle.com, Christian singles between the ages of 18 to 59 were asked, “Would you have sex before marriage?” The response? Sixty-three percent of the single Christian respondents indicated yes. In my 30 years of youth and adult ministry experience, this is as unfiltered, direct and honest as a question and answer can be.

It is equally honest to say that nearly nine out of 10 self-proclaimed single Christians are, in practicesexual atheists. In other words, God has nothing to say to them on that subject of any consequence or, at least, anything meaningful enough to dissuade them from following their own course of conduct. It is the ultimate oxymoron. A person who at once believes in a wise, sovereign and loving God who created them and all things, can also believe simultaneously He should not, cannot or will not inform their thinking or living sexually. It reminds me of those famous red letters in Luke’s Gospel where Jesus says, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46, NIV). There is disconnect between identity and activity.”

Shocked? Read more of Kenny Luck‘s eye-opening post  HERE

PROJECT Main Street

MainStreetUSAAs I write this post, the smell of fresh paint fills the air of my office. It’s a familiar smell in our church almost every week. “Weekly” you ask? Yes, we like to call it, “PROJECT Main Street”. The Williamson family are huge Disney fans. We love to take vacations in Orlando at the Disney Resort as often as we can. On one trip, we discovered what Disney calls, “PROJECT Main Street”. Every night, when the park closes, Main Street USA, that leads the way to Cinderella’s castle, is repainted! Yes, every night! That’s why it looks almost exactly the way it did when I first saw it as a little boy in 1976!

Disney has always set the bar high for excellence, and it seems to me churches shouldn’t have lower standards than an entertainment corporation. And yet, we all know the reality is, most churches have much lower standards. Church facilities are old, outdated, rundown and dirty. Sadly, for a lot of my life, the smell of mildew always reminded me of God, because that was what our church smelt like when I was a child!

I’m not saying we should have people in character costumes greeting guests on Sunday (although that would be cool). But what about budgeting a can of paint or two each month just to cover up all those hand prints, smudges and random marks all over the walls of your facility? At VALLEY Christian Church, we utilize volunteers for painting, so it literally costs just about $20-30 for the can of paint to make things look fresh and new. Rather, than scheduling a HUGE work day once or twice a year, we’ve discovered “a little bit goes a long way” to keeping things looking like a Barbarian horde didn’t descend upon the church last Sunday!

Recently, a new family came to our church and asked us how old is our building. When we told them almost 30 years old, they almost left because they thought we were lying to them! Then they told us, they thought is was less that 5 years old based on how everything looks. Needless to say, it seems like for them, the smell of mildew will NOT be a lasting memory of their experience of Jesus Christ in our church :)

(If you’re interested in learning more leadership lessons churches can learn from Disney, I highly recommend a book my friend, Christopher W. Perry wrote called, “The Church Mouse“. You can order it through Amazon HERE.)

 

Why You Should Know Who St. Patrick Was

patrick_shamrock_0Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

-St. Patrick’s Breastplate

Patrick of Ireland was one of the greatest Christian missionaries in history. March 17th is the date of his death, when we celebrate his life and impact on not only Ireland, but Christianity as a whole. To find out the truth about who St. Patrick was and why he is such an important figure in Christian history check HERE, HERE, or HERE

The Goal of Marriage

Last night, my wife Susie and I had a great time speaking together at a special event at VALLEY Christian Church that we call, “Marriage Matters”. Crazy to see the room packed on a Friday night with couples who simply want to see their marriages grow from good to great! The topic last night was, “God’s Goal for Your Marriage“. Much of what we taught was centered around Genesis 2:24. We discovered together that “Oneness” is God’s heart for every marriage and ultimately it only takes place as a couple defeats selfishness, leaves the past in the past and cleaves to each other in covenant love.

Susie and I are blessed to have the opportunity to share with other couples on the topic of marriage and are continually humbled to see God work through us. HE is AWESOME!!!

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