Sunday, April 13, 2014

Unexpected Power

Today is Palm Sunday. Though still chilly for a spring day, our hearts are warmed by our proximity to the greatest event in history, the victory over death by our Lord Jesus Christ. He is risen indeed.

"Good morning! I'm grateful you're here on this Palm Sunday." This a day in which we celebrate the Triumphal Entry so the children were

Announcements (Life of the Church)
Brook shared that Vacation Bible School is coming, June 16-19. We were encouraged to participate in one way or another. An insert showed the different ways we can help out. Please sign up.
Curt shared that this week in youth group they will be reading John 15 and 16. 
Tuesday 10:00-11:30 a.m. Women's Bible Study 
Wednesday 6:00 p.m. Family Night. Includes a meal and groups for all ages.
Good Friday Service at 7:00 p.m.
Easter Sunday will begin with an Easter Egg Hunt and breakfast from 9:00-10:00 a.m.
Saturday there will be a Rummage Sale at the Twig Town Hall. Set-up will be on Friday. See Suzi Lane for details on how to help or contribute.
April 27 we will have our semi-annual congregational meeting after the service. 

After the traditional greeting we sang Hosanna as the children brought their palms toward the altar.

We began our worship time with the beautful Above All, penned by Lenny LeBlanc. Followed by How Beautiful and Here I Am To Worship.

In our time of prayer we we asked to pray for Rob Strom who fell and fractured his skull. Many other needs were shared, as well as updates on other current struggles. It is always comforting to know we do not bear our burdens alone.

Ed Newman then sang The Holy City.

Unexpected Power

Pastor Brad began by reading from the Gospel the story of the Triumphal Entry. I always struggle on this day because of how the people misunderstood why Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. (See Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44 and John 12:12-19. As Jesus descends from the Mount of Olives towards Jerusalem the crowds lay their clothes on the ground to welcome Jesus as he triumphantly enters the city.

In 2011 there was an F3 tornado in North Minneapolis. Brad shared about a church there called Sanctuary Covenant that became a center for helping meet needs in the wake of this tornado and the disaster it created.  It had always established itself as a helping, service oriented church, so it was natural that the church became a touchstone for the neighborhood. Since there was no electricity the church set up generators to create power for people to re-charge cell phones so they could contact friends and family to let them know they were safe.

As church people were helping the neighborhood a group of gang members approached in formation. Church members went out to meet them and the leader of the group said, "We hear you have power." Indeed. The response to these men led some of them to become part of this congregation.

In the days leading up to His crucifixion, Jesus was approached by James and John regarding a matter that was the last thing on His mind. They said, "Lord, we want you to do for us whatever you ask." Jesus had just finished telling them that He would be spit on, beaten and flogged, and crucified before rising on the third day.

Nevertheless, He did not berate them for the audacity of this request. Instead He replied, "Are you willing to drink my cup?" When you serve with a heart for others, rewards are not what you're doing it for.

The people shouted "Hosanna" which means "Save Now!" or "Save Us!"

What is shocking is how the crowds who praised Him as He rode into Jerusalem were the same who a few days later were shouting, "Crucify Him!"

Brad then told the story of the Maccabees, an uprising two hundred years earlier that used force to overthrow Antiochus IV and the oppressors who were violating the Temple in a manner blasphemous to God. The meaning of the palms was connected to this event, thus the palm branch came to symbolize victory and deliverance from oppression.

The crowd wanted Jesus to be like the Macabees, to deliver Israel from Roman oppression. But Jesus came wearing a different disposition, as referenced by Paul in Phil. 2:5-8. Jesus was willing to be insignificant in order to be effective. He demonstrated His power not in the absence of fear, but with a conviction that says, "Fear doesn't get to dictate what I do."

He trusted the Father regardless of the aftermath, praying, "Father, take this cup from Me, though not My will but Yours be done."

We ourselves have the power to transform this community. When the love of Jesus Christ flows through us in this place, with the same humility... we will have power.

In Mark 14 Jesus' disciples asked Him, "Where do you want us to prepare the Passover Supper." Jesus is thinking about the cross and yet despite the horrors awaiting him, including experiencing separation from the Father and death, He gives them instructions and doesn't say, "Hey, when are you guys going to start making decisions and taking responsibility?"

We're all very distracted, and the disciples were distracted, too, but Jesus wanted to meet with them.

In the week ahead we have opportunity to let the important moments speak to us, to make time to hear from God and the meaning of this time. My prayer is that you wouldn't let this week pass without making time to meet with God.

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