Holy Week: Love Is the Greatest

  "And now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13   "AND NOW!"... This subtle, yet dramatic conclusion to the legendary chapter of love brings us to our destination of Holy Week. Today, we still grieve the bloodied, empty cross. Tomorrow, we celebrate the empty tomb, the resurrection of Jesus Christ! This trio of virtues will not only prepare us as we await Christ's return, they will accompany us there. Hope keeps us focused on God and His promises. It's not dreamy imaginings or wishful thinking. Hope is solid confidence in the Lord. Faith is hope in action. Faith is our belief in Christ. Faith reaches fulfillment when we enter our heavenly home, when we see Him face-to-face. "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb 11:1NLT)." Jesus said, "Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these... (John 14:12NLT)." "The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love (Gal. 5:6b NLT)."  Love is our motivation. Love is the greatest of virtues; the greatest commandment. Love will last forever; it is the governing and uniting [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:38:35+00:00 April 19th, 2014|, , |1 Comment

Holy Week: Love Unveiled

"Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete,  but then I will know everything completely,  just as God now knows me completely." ~1 Corinthians 13:12NLT It makes me laugh to read the first line of this verse. I'm picturing that first-thing-in-the-morning glance in the mirror. More puzzling than pretty! That must be why I tend to avoid the mirror until I've had a cup of tea and time with Jesus. Then I'm up for the challenge of a new day in this not-so-new body.   I love this image of the bride's mirrored reflection through her veil. It vividly illustrates the veil imagery in scripture. Moses wore a veil after meeting with God on Mount Sinai, because the glory of God radiated from his face. He covered it so that the Israelites would remain faithful even though the radiance faded away.   In the temple there was a veil, or curtain that set apart a section called The Holy of Holies, where only the priests were allowed to enter. They were the only ones who could come before the Almighty God on behalf of the people.   And, on this memorable day in history which we call Good Friday, the veil is significant [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:38:37+00:00 April 18th, 2014|, , |4 Comments

Holy Week: Love Perfected

"But when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish things behind me." 1 Corinthians 13:10-11 NIV   "Why do we suffer?"   As a pastor, church leader, minister, I have been asked that question many times. My gut reaction? "Why wouldn't we?" When I try to imagine the suffering of Jesus, I wonder how we could ever think that He should intensely suffer, and we would lead perfect painless lives. It seems I have that perfectly logical thought one minute, and the next minute I am the one suffering and asking God that same "childish" question, "Why must I suffer so? Why is my life marked with such pain?"   Today is Maundy Thursday, which seems the perfect day to ask that question. Today we remember events leading to the crucifixion of Christ: The Passover/Last Supper Jesus shared with His disciples, His arrest, suffering, and trial (Read Matthew). Serving the meal to the disciples, Jesus spoke these words, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God (Luke [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:38:39+00:00 April 17th, 2014|, |0 Comments

Holy Week: The Law of Love

  "If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing." ~I Corinthians 13:2  As we enter Holy Week, our thoughts are drawn to the plight of Jesus. He was and is The One, the long-awaited Messiah. He was the fulfillment of prophecy and He was prophetic. He understood all of God's secret plans. In fact, He was God's secret plan. He possessed all knowledge. He had faith that could move mountains. He had all of these gifts and abilities. But it was His love that changed lives. It was His love that got Him in trouble. It was His love that led Him to the cross. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, we see hecklers in every crowd: the Pharisees. It was their religious position, or disposition, to protect and enforce the law of the Jews. They were religious to a fault. They were legalistic to a fault. They imposed so many rules and regulations that the people became slaves of the law. They tried to impose their laws upon The One who came to fulfill the law. Jesus refuted the [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:38:43+00:00 April 15th, 2014|, , |2 Comments

LENT: What is Prayer?

 by Nancy Stiverson   “Devote yourselves to prayer….” Colossians 4:2a       PRAYER IS... a confession a praise a petition an act of communion with God a reverent petition to God But my favorite definition... Prayer is the ability TO SEE! Just think of that: Prayer is the ability to see--- the ability TO SEE GOD! What a wonderful reality! When we pray, it is the breathing of the Spirit in us.  A woman is never more powerful as when she is on her knees before the Lord in prayer. We’re waiting and trusting in Him. I read a touching story about an elderly woman who lived in the 1800s, during the early days of the Western Movement.  This woman, who had never seen paper money, came to her minister saying she was in desperate need.  She explained that her son had traveled farther west to seek his fortune.  Although the son sent many letters, she explained that he never sent anything to help her financially.  “All he sends me are letters and pretty pictures,” she said. “May I see one of the pictures?” asked the minister.  “Yes, I have all of them here in my Bible,” she answered. Between the leaves of her worn Bible, [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:38:50+00:00 March 27th, 2014|, |0 Comments

LENT: Produce Fruit

Jesus did some weird things. Some he explained and used as illustrations for right living. But some he really didn't explain all that much. In Matthew 21:18-21, he wants us to figure it out for ourselves. It was the last week of Jesus' life. He was walking from Bethany to Jerusalem. Jesus was hungry for some breakfast. There was a fig tree along the road, so he stopped to pick some fruit. It's hard to picture, but imagine Jesus throwing a fit when he discovered the tree was full of leaves but there was no fruit! Hard to conceive? Well, he was so upset that he even cursed! Yes, Jesus cursed the tree. He said...to a tree... "May you never bear fruit again!(vs. 19b)" You may be wondering, "What's up with that?" The disciples were even more astounded when they saw the fig tree wither up and die right before their eyes! They must have thought Jesus was on a rampage. After all, the same day He went into the temple courts and overturned the tables of the merchants and money-changers. What's up with Jesus? Is he misbehaving? The truth is that He is still turning over tables. He's still searching for fruit. He's still upset because WE ARE MISBEHAVING. Jesus is offended [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:38:56+00:00 March 20th, 2014||0 Comments

LENT: Less Is Best!

 by Woven Leader Cheryl Simpson “When she speaks, her words are wise, she gives instruction with kindness.” Proverbs 31:26  She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She knows when to speak and when to be quiet. Her words are ALWAYS kindly spoken.   It's obvious that this woman thinks before she speaks. Her words are few. She lives by the motto that “less is best.” How we admire such a godly woman! A familiar life verse in Micah 6:8 instructs us on how we are to live. “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” It sounds like our Lord wants us to delight in being kind to others, and our words are especially important in all these aspects of living a life that pleases Him. James , the brother of Jesus, writes a great deal about our tongue. He shares these pearls of wisdom with us: "Everyone should be quick to listen, and slow to speak (James 1:19)."  "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless (James 1:26)." "All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:38:58+00:00 March 13th, 2014|, |1 Comment


by Woven Leader Kathleen Benis   "Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."  Proverbs 31:30(NLT)   How can it be? Beauty does not last?   Each day I look in the mirror, I see one more wrinkle. One more line. My spanks cami is no longer lifting and smoothing. How these models charm you into believing if you do this and wear that, your beauty will last. I thought beauty and charm made women come alive! I was deceived. Then I met Jesus. He introduced me to the issue of my heart. Just as I love to be pursued so does He. God longs for you to love and pursue Him. He says,  “Seek me with all of your heart”(Jeremiah 29:13).   As I seek Him, He unveils my beauty. He fuels my search for meaning, for wholeness. I begin to see the essential life-impacting role He has for me. My priorities shift.   Jesus opens my eyes to see myself and others through the heart. An internal beauty that captivates. This beauty brings life to others. It encourages. It inspires. As we allow Jesus to unveil our [...]

By | 2016-12-15T15:39:03+00:00 March 8th, 2014|, |2 Comments