Holy Week 2013 Thoughts

This year as Easter approaches, I feel somewhat caught off-guard.  I no longer work in church ministry (for now), and it was strange during Christmas this year I wasn’t planning Easter dramas and music…

I have participated in a very self-revealing Lent this year that has exposed parts of my heart.  I  gave up all television and movie watching (apart from watching things with friends, and an occasional Sunday I watched a few shows).  Six weeks is a long time.  But in many ways it has gone by really quickly.  I’m still not quite ready for Easter.

There is much to be said about this significant week, you can read some of my posts from Holy Week 2012 for more devotional reads.  I was a little more dedicated last year.

As I slaved away this week writing a paper on the sacrificial system in Leviticus, there was a phrase that caught my attention: the wrath of God satisfied.  Of course this reminds me of In Christ Alone (what phrases DON’T remind me of a song?), but in this case it was in the context of Leviticus 16, The Day of Atonement.  Once a year, the High Priest made an offering for the corporate sins of the Israelite people.  This was to show: the constant daily sacrifices made by the people for their sins was not enough.  For a Holy God to continue to dwell among his people and for his wrath to not consume them, atonement had to be made.

God.  Dwelling in the camp with His people.

I still am blown away by this.

Anyway.  I started this post earlier this week, and now it’s Good Friday.  I’m saving more on Leviticus 16 for another post, but for now, for today, we rejoice in the brutal, humiliating death of our Lord Jesus Christ.  A sacrifice perfect and sufficient.  Unlike the Hebrew people needing to continually make sacrifices in Leviticus, this sacrifice satisfied the wrath of God.

Completely satisfied.


holy week

Holy Week this week.

Lent has been different this year for me.  Not as intentional as I’ve been in the past.  Honestly, I tried to give up facebook for the entire 46 days, just to have some extra focus.  Then it turned into just checking it if I needed to, and then just not wasting my time on there.

There are more important things going on around in the world than what your friends are saying on facebook.  That’s for sure.  I value my friends greatly, but more importantly, I value my REAL friends, the ones who are in my life and who pursue me as a friend, and that usually is distinct from facebook.

So much more I COULD say.  But I won’t.

This week is interesting, because it’s so full of the ancient, but also the new.  This goes in the realm of good, and of evil.  It seems the deceiver works extra hard these leading up to Easter days too.  Thinking he still has victory, somehow, someway.

But we have the victory.

Because HE lives.

It’s beautiful.

I’ve often thought about this, but I wondered, why is it that I’ve come to embrace and love the cross so much more as I’ve grown older?  The answer is simple: because I know I need it.  When I was younger, I didn’t see my need for it.  I was “good enough”.  I didn’t really do anything that bad.  But now I know.

Now I know I’m lost without the cross. Without the sacrifice.

This morning I read Matthew’s account of the crucifixion.  And cried.  Matthew 27.  Just the thought of Jesus bearing all the sin of the whole world on his shoulders still makes me weep.  I’m not being overly spiritual here.  Think about it.  The weight of everything we’ve ever done or will do weighing on him.  Pulling down on perfection.  White becoming black with no reason, no cause. Just love.


Why do we still slap him in the face and hurl insults at him today?  We do this through our actions and thoughts.  Every moment.  We are non-holy beings.  How could we ever deserve to be called holy?  Righteous?  Loved?

I plead with you my friends, can we strive to seek him?  Serve him?  Turn away from darkness into light?

Through his grace.  Through his grace alone.

Isaiah 53:3-6
(emphasis mine)

 3 He was despised and rejected
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.

 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
   it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
      the sins of us all.

lenten prayers and thoughts

“Hope by its very nature captivates both our hearts and heads.  It evokes deep emotion.  It moves in and makes itself at home in our souls.  It takes up residence at the very core of who we are.  That is why it is so vital that we begin to place our hope in the Lord.” -Adam R. Holz

Breathe in me,
O Holy Spirit,
that my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me,
O Holy Spirit,
that my work, too may be holy.

Draw my heart,
O Holy Spirit,
that I love only what is holy.

Strengthen me,
O Holy Spirit,
to defend all that is holy.

Guard me, then,
O Holy Spirit,
that I may always be holy.

-St. Augustine

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit…
Many are the sorrows of the wicked,
but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Psalm 32: 1-2, 10-11

“O God, the deathless hope of everyone, we rejoice that you support us both when young and even to old age.  When our strength comes from you, it is strength indeed; but when our own strength is all we have, it is feebleness.  You give refreshment and true strength.” -St. Augustine

Lenten Reflections so far..

Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to know everything about everything with Lent, the church year, or any other fasts, I’m just reflecting on some thoughts I’ve had during lent this year.  Enjoy.

Lent is a really beautiful time, full of uniqueness of any other time during the year that I experience.  Growing up I never had any understanding of the traditional Church calendar, only Christmas and Easter being the most significant moments of celebration within the church.  Yet as I’ve grown older, I see that part of the rhythm of life walking with Jesus in my own spiritual journey has let me to see the great significance of the Church calendar, and how it can foster a new understanding of who God is through it.

Some things I’ve read recently through Upper Room, have described Lent as the “awkward” season, which I guess in many ways is true.  Lent is one of the longest fasts during the Church year, which can have many challenges, depending on what type of fast you are doing.  Lent leads us to the cross.  Yet again.  Separate from each Sunday being a celebration of Christ’s resurrection.  We are lead on a journey of sometimes barrenness, cleaning, reflection, prayer, and sometimes great trial.  Saying “no” to the “old man” of sinful nature is never easy.  Fasting from things we enjoy gives us just a taste of the pain Christ endured, but really, can we compare not having meat and diary for 40 days to the suffering and death of Jesus Christ?  Or the sacrifice of video games/sweets/facebook/television.  Seems insignificant to me.  Compared to the cost, yet shows us that at the same time.

This time, I’ve approached Lent differently than other times.  Prior to Lent this year, I realized the depth of my need for being filled by God’s presence and His Holy Spirit, so there have been many things I “cut out” or limited prior to the beginning of Lent this year, which was needed because of the kind of work I do for the Kingdom.  New habits during the day.  New times of worship, praise, refreshment.  I gave up something that actually seemed like it would be “easy”, but has turned out to be really hard… meat.  Who would have thought?  Anyway, instead of focusing on what I would give up, I added in a practice that has really opened my eyes.  I’ve studied the Old Testament a little more deeply, and I’m still stuck in Genesis, but have a much greater understanding than I had before.  All creation and history points us to the cross.

“All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them, and all His plans have death to self in them”.

This blog isn’t meant to stir a theological discussion, so please don’t take it as that.  God is speaking into our lives each moment, I believe, and drawing us to himself through many of the mundane, typical, every day things that we do.  If I had not been more intentional about knowing him, I can tell you for certain that the difficult things I’ve encountered over the past few weeks would have been handled quite differently if I had not been in the place I’m in today.

Easter is near.  I can’t wait.  Honestly, it is a day I always have looked forward to.  Spring, and new life are all around us, but also the celebration of victory over death, and the new life we have in Jesus Christ.

Well, that’s it for now.  I’m looking forward to the tofu I will be having on my salad for lunch today.  Should be delicious.  I’m actually thinking I may order a steak on Easter, which I don’t think I’ve ordered a steak at a restaurant in years… hummm….


great read on Lent

Well, back to things that are more important, yet just as exciting, if not more so than The Bachelor…

Glenn Packiam is great.  He was the key-note speaker at a Worship Conference I attended a few weeks ago, and one of the Worship Pastors at New Life Church in Colorado Springs.  Check out his latest blog, on Lent…I wish I could have written it myself!  It was a great read, enjoy!


Completely unrelated, check out David Crowder Band’s album “Church Music”… it’s inspiring!  I will admit, it has been a long time since I went to the store and purchased an entire album that had a physical CD with it, but I’m enjoying the tunes FULLY.  It’s very unique for them, but I’m loving every track!

Blessings to you all… all who are thirsty.  I’ll leave you with a great quote from Tozer… “Thirsty hearts are those whose longings have been wakened by the touch of God within them”…may you worship today and be touched by Him.

lenten reflections (so far)

Here is a website I wanted to share with FAQs about Lent, I thought I’d share: LENT 101.

Let’s be honest, our lives are way too busy.  I’ve felt conviction since I began lent, last Wednesday, because the thing I chose to ‘give up’ has still not created the space I was hoping for to simplify my life.  There’s always something more to be done, and it’s always a never-ending list.  

One author describes lent as being a “heavy season”, in which we are to deal with the attitudes, thoughts, actions, and all the physical and spiritual junk we’ve accumulated in our lives.  Honestly,  I don’t even know where to start.

I encourage you to do your own cleaning out.  Lent is actually where the term and idea of “spring cleaning” came from, and also includes the physical side of our homes, only we should remember to give away things we do not want, and give them to those who are in need.

“Contradictions, sicknss, scruples, spiritual aridity, and all the inner and outer torments are the chisel with which God carves his statues for paradise” -Alphonsus Liguori 

“Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”.


“God of mercy, come into the hidden places of our hearts.  Christ of compassion, come into the broken places of our world.  Spirit of life, come into the polluted places of our lives.  Forgive us, heal us, redeem us, lead us from death to eternal life.”

Our father in heaven, holy is your name.  
May your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  
Give us today our daily bread.  
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.  
Lead us not inot temptation, but deliver us from evil.  
For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours.  
Now and forever.