Saturday 4/11

From Pastor Ken...

The Disciples Grief...

Scripture goes silent from the moment of Jesus' burial until Sunday morning.

It was the Jewish Sabbath so most of the people continued to celebrate the Passover Festival and the Sabbath.

Not the disciples. Grief, shame, guilt, confusion, regret. Everything they hoped, everything they gave up, and everything they failed at Thursday and Friday came crashing in on them. John 20:19 says they were locked in for fear of the Jewish leaders.

How long would their grief, loneliness, and despair last? Could they ever find a normal life again?

Are you living in Saturday's grief with the disciples? Are you wondering if a new life will ever 'rise' again for you?

In Mark 15:37-38, the curtain of the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom when Jesus breathed his last breath. The curtain separated humanity from God's presence. When Jesus died, the separation ended. Now, nothing can separate us from the Love of God.

I am not sure how long Saturday lasts for us in our struggles and grief. I imagine it is different for each situation and person. But it is real and it does lock the doors on us from joining in on living life to its fullest.

Sunday is coming. Jesus brings new life to you and to me. Hold on and when Mary comes knocking at the door and says that Jesus is alive, believe. When Jesus comes and stands in the midst of the room because the doors are locked, believe and cherish his presence.

Sunday is coming. Saturday will be long and difficult but in Christ, you will overcome.

'No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.' Romans 8:37-39

Together in Christ.

Wednesday 4/8

From Pastor Ken's Loft...

Greetings from cell 7055. Okay, maybe not. Is anyone finding their tolerance tank less full? I can tell things are bothering me. I'm supposed to be learning how to slow down right now. But there are moments that I can tell that this whole thing bothers me and is simmering beneath the surface.

3 of the Disciples this week intrigue me. Judas and two anonymous Disciples who had swords. What was Judas thinking? Tomorrow night at the 'Last Supper' he sounds shocked that Jesus said he was betraying him. Was Judas trying to trick the Sanhedrin by taking their money and thought that when they arrested Jesus that he would rise up and take power? Was Judas just greedy for money? Why will he kiss Jesus on the cheek tomorrow night in the Garden? What was Judas thinking? He felt such remorse and shame he killed himself on Good Friday.

Then the two disciples with swords! Really? They even bragged about having 2 swords among the 12 of them! At least two of them were ready to lead a rebellion. 2 swords? Really? Maybe they really were ready to die for Jesus! I love Jesus' response to them, 'That is enough.' I love it! What a rebellion? Was Jesus smirking or sighing and wondering when they would get what losing your life to gain it really means? Or maybe Jesus knew something they did not.

Then all 12 of them start arguing about who the best 2 disciples were. Maybe, Jesus and the 12 were all dealing with some simmering emotions and anxiety under the surface.

So going into Maundy Thursday, Jesus and the Disciples were dealing with emotions and events they could not control. They said and did some things that did not make sense. What would Thursday bring?

What will Thursday bring for us? What economic news, pandemic news, family news, employment news, and more will we find out? Is our patience and are the other Fruits of the Spirit (read Galatians 5:22-23) running a little thin when we need them the most? Mine have been.

Jesus did not venture off on his own. The disciples stuck closer than glue or body odor this week. And when things got really stressful, he asked them to stay with him and pray with him.

Let's stick together, stink together, pray together, and eventually be a pleasing aroma to the Heavenly Father together. Call someone today. See how they are doing? Pray together right there over the phone or video. Do it. The Church Family that stinks together, I mean prays together, smells good together too.

Together in Christ.

(The Cardinal is still at it and a Robin sits on the branch and just watches all day!)

Monday 4/7

Daily Encouragement 4 7The Cardinal Watch with Pastor Ken...

The attack Cardinal lives. He started his attack today at 6:10am and continues the assault even as I type.

Tell me you enjoyed the weather today! Wow! Beautiful! Almost as if nothing were wrong in the world. BUT plenty is wrong. COVID-19 continues to spread, take lives, and manipulate our lives. On one hand, a beautiful day that many people enjoyed. On the other, a pandemic changing lives.

Look at Jesus' last week alive. The Jewish people loved the Passover Festival. Thousands of people were in Jerusalem enjoying the festival and worshipping God. But on the other hand, the religious leaders of the country were dealing with Jesus and his followers who were talking differently about the kingdom of God. They felt threatened that Jesus' life, teachings, and miracles would start a movement, a 'pandemic' for them, that would change everything.

Even before and after this pandemic, we never really knew what was going on in someone else's life. We assumed they were enjoying the sunshine of life. But in reality, we all deal with the world's problems.

This week, Holy Week, remember that Jesus told his disciples, in John 16:33, 'In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!'

Be encouraged. Find someone today to join in their story. Remind each other that Christ has overcome the world and gives us peace beyond understanding.

Together in Christ!

Saturday 4/4

From Pastor Ken's Loft,

A few announcements before a devotional thought:

- We will not be holding services at 698 N. Locust St tomorrow morning. Instead, we will be bringing our services online to you at 10am in your homes. FB - Manteno Naz or Manteno Church of the Nazarene; YouTube - Manteno Nazarene or our website - www.mantenonazarene.org.

- People have been asking about holding a Parking Lot Service and broadcast over the car radios. After looking into that, here is where we stand. The FM Transmitters are all unavailable until May. Sold out. Also, last week about 6 cars were 'gathered' in our parking lot, talking. Someone called the police on us. For now, online is our best option.

Right before Jesus rode into Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday, he was anointed by Mary with expensive perfume. The disciples were mortified but Jesus was touched because she alone picked up on the heaviness of his heart and was willing to be present in his grief and possibly even dread of the next week of his life.

If I were there, would I have been trying to talk Jesus out of going? Or would I have been like Judas and sold Jesus to force his hand into rebellion? Or would I have purchased a sword like Simon Peter? Or, would I have known the heart of Jesus and joined him like Mary?

When we see people with heavy hearts, will we stop and have a heavy heart with them or will we try to change them? Stop first. Let Jesus work on the change.

Together in Christ,

Pastor Ken