Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

holy week

Here we are in Holy Week, the most life-changing events for God’s people.  We have spent seven weeks preparing our hearts for what is about to take place.  Last night Manchester United Methodist Church taught on Matthew 26:1-4, 14-16, which is the plot to kill Jesus:

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”  Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him….14 Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. (NIV)

What a slime-ball, right?!  Judas was in Jesus’ posse, did everything with Him for 3 years, witnessed miracles, heard teaching, knew Jesus to be the Savior King…

…and he betrays Him?  For 30 piece of silver?!  REALLY?!

I can’t believe that’s all it took for Judas to betray Jesus.  It breaks my heart.  It makes me mad.  How could he do that to Jesus?!  How could he?!  I asked this question to the students of CORE Youth Ministry and realized the cold, hard truth:

I am Judas.  And I’m willing to bet you are, too.

You see, this Sunday is in danger of becoming jussanothaday if we don’t see ourselves as sinners in need of saving.  Otherwise, what is there to celebrate?  If we are “good enough,” we don’t need Jesus to break the curse of sin.

But we do need him.  Desperately.  We are just a despicable as Judas.  We betray Jesus with our words and actions.  We rebel against our Heavenly Father with our heart and mind.  We grieve the Holy Spirit with our sin.  We will never be “good enough” on our own.  We.Need.A.Savior.

And our Creator God knew this.  His love for us is so deep–so unfathomably wide–that He implemented the most scandalous rescue mission of all time.

Enter: Jesus.

This Easter, as you reflect on the betrayal of Maundy Thursday (Matthew 26:17-75), the perceived hopelessness of Good Friday (Matthew 27:11-66), and the celebration of Resurrection Sunday (John 20-21). I invite you to fully engage with the events of Holy Week.  Let the realization of your sin remind you of your desperate need of a Savior, and let your desperate need for a Savior make your celebration that much sweeter on Sunday.

He.Is.Victorious!  Oh happy day!

This lesson was based on the Lenten sermon on March 27, 2013 from Senior Pastor Mike Druhl of Manchester United Methodist Church.

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Lent: 6/7

Posted: March 21, 2013 in Action, Christ, CORE, Easter, Lent, Love, Luke, Pursue, Worship, Youth Ministry

luke

I asked the students of CORE Youth Ministry what they found significant from our bible lesson from Pastor Mike of Manchester United Methodist Church.  The conversation was quite interesting.  What do you find significant?

36 One of the Pharisees asked Jesus[a] to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. 37 And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 38 She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what kind of woman this is who is touching him—that she is a sinner.” 40 Jesus spoke up and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Teacher,” he replied, “speak.” 41 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii,[b] and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he canceled the debts for both of them. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the greater debt.” And Jesus[c] said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has bathed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” 48 Then he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (NIV)

Many students shared a kinship with the key players in this story.  Like the Pharisee, there are times in our life where we pass judgement on those who seems be be living a messy, unholy life.  Their sin seems to be far worse than ours.  “At least we don’t do that!”  The reality is, though, that no sin is worse (or better) than another.  We were challenged to love Jesus as deeply and desperately as this woman did.

One observation made by a student was, “How interesting it is that the woman knew who Jesus was…that he could save her from her sin.”  Digging more deeply, I wonder how interesting it is when we know who Jesus is–that He can save us from our sins–and yet we do not display the same adoration that the woman did.

As we prepare our hearts for Holy Week (Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday) the reality of who Jesus is, what He did, and what He’s all about becomes powerfully clear.  Are you prepared to worship Him as this “sinful woman” did?  She is leading the way for us.  How will you respond?

Inspired by the Lenten Service at Manchester United Methodist Church on March 20, 2013. [Senior Pastor Michael Druhl].

Mercy

We’ve been in Lent for a few weeks now.  Lent is the season before Easter, a time of anticipation for God to reveal His GRACE and MERCY.  Those may feel like mamby-pamby words until you experience them–truly experience them–for yourself.

Here’s an example of our ol’ buddy Paul, always showing what it means to experience God.  Here’s a passage from his first letter to Timothy:

12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost.16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life.17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.[a] Amen. (1 Timothy 1:12-17, NRSV, emphasis added)

Here we have a man who did some pretty bad things.  He does not seem like someone who deserves a spot in Heaven and a relationship with God Almighty.  But that’s why I can’t keep this “Jesus stuff” to myself–because mercy is God the Father using Jesus to rescue us from what we deserve.  It’s knowing we deserve a punishment, but finding out that someone else took the punishment for us.  Mind blowing, right?

I believe we’re all looking for mercy.  We all want to be a part of a bigger story of being rescued.  Take a look at another example of God’s mercy in action:

35 As he approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard a crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth[a] is passing by.” 38 Then he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who were in front sternly ordered him to be quiet; but he shouted even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”40 Jesus stood still and ordered the man to be brought to him; and when he came near, he asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, let me see again.” 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” 43 Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.  (Luke 18:35-43)

In this man’s brokenness (remember, he was physically blind) he cried out for help.  Jesus, being the compassionate, loving, merciful Savior that He is, healed the blind man.  I’m sure Jesus was quite busy, and probably had many better things to do than waste his time with a blind man.  Yet.  Just like Paul, God used this man as an example of healing and transformation.  He was merciful.

And He longs to show His mercy to you as well.

If you’ve never cried out to God for help and mercy, now is the perfect time to do it.  We have two great examples of God answering our prayers for mercy, and scripture is choc-full of other broken, hurting people who received God’s mercy when it was asked of Him.  He ALWAYS extends His love, grace, and mercy.

Maybe you’ve already done this, but your relationship with Jesus has become stale, routine.  It’s been a long time since you’ve experienced this desperate need for God’s mercy in your life.  If this describes you, I encourage you to treat this season of Lent as a time for reflecting on past mercies God has shown you, and refreshing your faith through spiritual disciplines such as meditation, fasting, or solitude.

We are drawing near to Easter–the moment when Jesus displays His most awesome act of mercy.  Prepare your hearts!

“He loves like a hurricane and I am a tree bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.”  ~David Crowder Band, How He Loves Us

Inspired by the Lenten service at Manchester United Methodist Church, March 13, 2013.  [Senior Pastor: Michael Druhl]

Lent: 4/7

Posted: March 7, 2013 in Christ, CORE, High School, Lent, Love, Luke, Service, Transformation

2011-06-28 COLORADO

“Father Abraham had many sons / and many sons had Father Abraham / I am one of them, and so are you / so let’s just praise the Lord!”

Many of us are familiar with this silly Sunday School song.  Many of us are familiar with the story of Abram, a super-old, faithful man who was given a promise by God: “Look up at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them…so shall your offspring be,” (Gen 15:5, NIV).  That’s a crazy promise, right?  Abram and his wife, Sari were suuuuuuuuper old.  Like our grandparents having their first baby.  Sick.  Nasty.

When God spoke to him, Abram had a choice in how he was going to respond.

Put a pin in that thought and turn to the New Testament, to Simeon.  [Sorry, I have no catchy Sunday School song for him.]  Simeon was also old, and was also given a promise from God that “…he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ,” (Luke 2:26).  Like Abram, Simeon had a choice in how he was going to respond.

Both men could have taken the thing that was given to them from God (Abram: A promise for many children // Simeon: A promise that he would see the Messiah) and laughed in God’s face.  “Yeah right!  What are the chances that’ll happen?!”  Or they could have responded in faith and action.

Which they both did.  [For the rest of Abram’s story, read Genesis 15-22; For the rest of Simeon’s story, read Luke 2:25-35]

So what’s the importance of these two examples in our life today?

Our dear friend Bill preached this message at Manchester United Methodist Church last night.  He challenged our actions and asked us, “What are you doing with the things God has given you?”  God might not have told you that you will be given more children than there are stars in the sky like Abram, but He has given you gifts, talents, and passions.

You honor God by the way you live your life.  What are you doing with it?

Inspired by MUMC’s Lenten Service [Lay Leader: Bill Scanlan]

For those of you who have been keeping up (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4,), we have been talking A TON about the idea of #sacrifice.  It was starting to feel pretty dark, like being a Follower of Christ is a terrible death sentence.  Well, I suppose there is a death sentence involved…

Luke 923

The death sentence I am referring to is a death to ourselves, and a death to anything we may love more than Christ.  We are called to #sacrifice the things that distract us from a closer walk with the Lord.  We are called to kill anything that robs us of the presence of Jesus in our lives.

There I go again…getting all intense.  So I started asking the students of CORE Youth Ministry a few questions, like:

What motivates your #sacrifice?

The answer I heard brought tears to my eyes.  “Love.”  These Christ-followers in Manchester, Iowa pointed back to Luke 9:23, describing “…take up his cross daily,” as a picture of love.  When Christ took up His cross, it was motivated out of His deep, wild, extravagant love for us.

ephesians

Our #sacrifice–whatever form it takes in your life–is motivated by our deep, deep love for the Lord.  And our love for the Lord is a response to His deep, deep love for us.  I promise that it is as simple as that.

How will you live this love out during this season of Lent?  Maybe it’s #sacrificing something that has kept you from spending time with the Lord.  Maybe it is adding something to your life that brings you closer to Christ.  Either way, here is our prayer for CORE Youth Ministry, and our prayer for you for the next 40 days:

Final Lent Prayer

Inspired by “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman, and the Ash Wednesday Service at Manchester United Methodist Church.

rock you.

Posted: July 19, 2012 in Action, Christ, CORE, High School, Love, Lunch Bunch, Music, Service

Lunch Bunch on July 16. Small crowd, but great conversations.

Monday’s Lunch Bunch will be at Las Flores at 12:30pm.  PLEASE NOTE THE TIME CHANGE.  This is due to many of us helping with Vacation Bible School.  Be sure to spread the word. :)

Remember all those Wednesday nights were Kelsey asked, “So then, how can we live out this scripture?”  Your answer was always the same: serve.  So here’s our shot.  Monday, July 30th CORE is serving with 2nd Helpings.  This great ministry hosts a weekly free meal for people in the community who are in need.  It’s incredible.  We will help prepare, serve, and eat with people.  What a great way to serve AND talk about the God that we love so much.

So here’s what you need to know:  Monday, July 30.  Be at the church at 4:30pm wearing your CORE shirt (or wearing our colors–red or black).  We need THREE SALADS (such as pasta salad, broccoli salad, etc).  If I don’t get any volunteers to make a salad I will be asking a few of you specifically (so here’s your chance to beat me!).

Serving people is a great way to live out the transformation that Jesus has made in your life.  It reminds me of this powerful song that I’ve shared before by the band For King & Country called “The Proof of Your Love.”  Check out the lyrics below…they’ll probs rock you with their truth. :)

If I sing but don’t have love
I waste my breath with every song
I bring an empty voice, a hollow noise
If I speak with a silver tongue
Convince a crowd but don’t have love
I leave a bitter taste with every word I say

So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You’re made of
How You lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love

If I give
To a needy soul but don’t have love then who is poor?
It seems all the poverty is found in me

So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You’re made of
How You lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
Oh, let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love

When it’s all said and done
When we sing our final song
Only love remains
Only love remains

Let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You’re made of
How You lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love

Tonight was not about introducing more scripture, or new scripture.  Tonight was about asking the question, “How can we live this out?”  These are the notes taken from the students’ ideas.  In the following month we will dig deeply into the concept of belief in action.  Tonight, we simply listened to the thoughts of our students, from their personal perspective.

Matthew 25:40

Main Points:
  • If you hurt someone, you are hurting Christ.
  • Treat others like you treat Christ.
  • Be selfless.
  • Doing a favor= doing a favor for God.
How can we live this out?
  • Including, not excluding.
  • Don’t avoid those who irritate us.
  • Don’t be mean, and encourage others not to be mean.
  • Stand up for those who are struggling.
  • Stop friends from teasing/hurting others.
  • Support each other in doing the “right” thing.

1 John 3:16-24

Main Points:
  • Giving someone the cold shoulder = ignoring God.
  • Love with your heart and your head.
  • Stop criticizing yourself–then you’ll not criticize others.  (God don’t make junk!)
  • Sacrifice for fellow believers.
  • Don’t judge yourself because God has forgiven you.  (Christ died for you!)
How can we live this out?
  • Visit someone who is hurting.
  • Listen to others.

Philippians 1:9-11

Main Points:
  • “Love” the right way.  (The ones who need it.)
How can we live this out?

Think before you speak.

Test your feelings!

Check your motives.

Give advice, don’t just take it.

Grow in KNOWLEDGE (scripture), INSIGHT (understanding scripture), AND DISCERNMENT (what is best, then do it!).

Challenge for this week:

Make a personal goal (based on the ideas above) and TRY to achieve it.  Text/facebook Kels “Transformation” if you do try.