Welcome

Greetings! Salutations! Hello! Hola! Bonjour! Guten Tag! Ciao! Namaste! Salaam! Konnichiwa! Marhaba! Jambo! Ni Hou! Kamusta!

The Blog is BACK!

As we start up, I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome you back and apologize for being gone for so long! We hope that this blog will be a platform for us to share some interesting topics and questions with you!

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Welcoming is something many of us does without even really thinking about it. We invite friends over, tidy the house, prepare some food, and maybe even have some games or entertainment. This is an active process of making the choice to extend that invite and prepare an atmosphere.

The next action falls onto the shoulders of the invited friends. They might prepare some food to bring, or dress up a little, but in all this, the most important action the invited friends can do, is show up.

I see this as such a reflection of God’s heart towards his people.

The Lord has extended an invitation to us, He has prepared an amazing feast with all the wacky, crazy camp games we can imagine and it is up to US to accept that invitation and then SHOW UP.

Jesus speaks about this in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 14:15-24 (the parable of the Great Banquet)

In this parable, a man prepared a great banquet, and once it was ready, he sent out his servant to pass invitations out to all his friends, but they all make excuses to not come. One friend says he bought a field and needs to go see it, another says he bought some livestock and need to examine them, and yet another says he just got married, so he just can’t come. These are not very good excuses are they? It would be like saying “oh! I just bought a car so I can’t come, I need to shine it” or “I just bought a house, so I can’t come, I need to go sit in it”. I mean this guy just spent the last few days preparing a great FEAST! He didn’t ask anyone to bring anything, just themselves… and by the way, that last guy? He could probably bring his new wife with him. It seems a bit ungrateful to me, don’t they see what a great opportunity they are passing up?

So, the servant goes back to the awesome party host and tells him that everyone has declined his offer. This makes him mad. Makes sense, right? What if you put in a ton of work to put together a big party, make all the food, put up all the decorations, and everyone you’ve invited says they can’t come? Not cool. And I think if I was the host, I would be so upset, I would cancel the party all together, but that’s not what happens, instead the host sends the servant back out and tells him to invite everyone else, and I mean everyone. The servant comes back at one point and the host sends him out to even more places to find MORE people to invite. What does that mean for us? Well to me, this shows how limitless our God is, and how much He can exceed our expectations. What started as a party for a few turned into a massive gathering of everyone around, and there was even extra to go around.

Knowing all this, it makes me think of how overwhelmingly blessed those first few guys would have been if they had accepted the host’s offer. How often in our own lives, do we refuse God for our own selfish reasons? And look at what we are missing out on.

The beauty of all this is that our God is bigger and greater than any host and his invitations will keep coming, pursuing us and wooing us gently to His table. We should keep in mind, however, the incredible joy and gift it can be to accept His sweet offer the first time.

This week, I invite you to make a choice to SHOW UP, with our family, with our friends, and all for our GOD.

Luke 14:15-24

15 When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” 16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

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MVS – MATTHEW

How do you choose just one verse from Matthew to memorize or reflect over???

Answer: You don’t! This is only a taste of the Gospel of Matthew, just like the other verses were only a taste of their respective books. I encourage you to go back and read more of the Bible whenever you can!

Matthew 28:18-20

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

Essential Questions: Did Jesus have an earthly life after his ressurection?

A numbers of years ago, I met a woman who had no idea that Jesus spent any time on earth after his resurrection.  We had a deeply fascinating conversation about the fact that Jesus spent 40 days on earth between his resurrection and his ascension into heaven.  It is because of this conversation that I decided to make this question my blog post this week.  Given that we are currently in the 40 day period as part of the Church’s liturgical year, I thought it was appropriate to look at this issue this week.

There are several stories in the Bible about  Jesus’ encounters with his disciples after his resurrection.  These meetings each tell us something about Jesus after his resurrection.

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Thomas encounters the Risen Jesus.(Can Stock)

 

(1) Jesus had a physical body.

Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.”  She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[a] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). (John 20:11-18 ESV)

Jesus was standing there in front of Mary in physical form.  Mary thought he was another person; the gardner.  She did not think the man she saw was some form of a spirit.  Yet, Mary did not recognize Jesus at first.  Perhaps it was grief.  Perhaps he looked different.  Perhaps she wasn’t expecting to see someone she thought had died three days earlier.  Whatever it was, Mary did not recognize Jesus right away.  Yet, there was something about the way that he said her name that caused her to recognize him right away.  There was no doubt that it was Jesus.

And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” (Luke 24: 37-39)

Again, it is clear here that Jesus has a physical body that his disciples can touch.

(2) Jesus could walk and talk.

Not only did Jesus talk to Mary was understood.  He talked to his disciples in all his encounters.  He talked to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus while he walked with them.

That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them.  But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”…So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. (Luke 24:13-18, 28-31)

(3)  Jesus could eat.

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit….And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish,[b] and he took it and ate before them. (Luke 24:36-38, 41-43 ESV)

It is very clear from this encounter that Jesus could eat.  Food didn’t just drop through him as though he were a spirit.  In fact, Jesus specifically ate in front of the disciples to prove that he was there in bodily form.

(4)  The marks of the crucifixion remain on his body.

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. (Luke 24:36-40 ESV)

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20:20-21 ESV)

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”(John 20:24-29 ESV)

Jesus’ body still has the scars from the crucifixion in his hands and his feet from where the nails held him to the cross.  The scar also remains on his side where the Roman soldiers put their sword into him to see if he was really dead.

(5) The normal laws of physics did not seem to apply to Jesus anymore.

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[a] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.  (John 20:19-20 ESV)

The disciples were behind locked doors, and Jesus appeared to them.  He did not need to have the doors opened.  He just appeared in the room.

He could also leave just as easily.  After he broke the bread with the disciples after their walk to Emmaus, he vanished from their sight after they recognized him.

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them.  When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. (Luke 24:28-33 ESV)

Check out the stories for yourself.  See what else you can learn about Jesus and his life on earth after his resurrection.  Share what you have learned in the comments.

John 20

Luke 24

 

 

MVS – MALACHI

Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament! Next week we’ll move into the New Testament 🙂

 

Malachi 3: 6

“I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”

Our Lord does not change. When He makes a promise to us, He sticks to it. He will always love us, no matter what we do.

How great is the love that the Lord has shown us!

Spring is in the air!

Today’s blog post starts off our new series in April focusing on Spring and Renewing your Faith!

A few weeks ago the weather outside was absolutely gorgeous. The sun was shining, birds were singing and I could sit outside in my long sleeve shirt with my face to the sun (sunglasses on of course) and not shiver in cold.

I had about another half hour before my next class, and I decided while sitting on the bench in the sun, that I would spend those 30 minutes in prayer. So there I sat, in the middle of McGill’s MacDonald campus with students going back and forth, praying silently (that’s where the featured photo is from!).

AND IT WAS AMAZING!

My soul, my mind, my spirit, my heart, EVERYTHING, felt refreshed and re-energized. I went to class floating on a cloud and the rest of my day was so peaceful. Not because crazy things didn’t happen or that I wasn’t busy (spend more than 5 minutes with me and you’ll realize how insanely busy my life is), but because I got to spend those 30 minutes talking with my Father, Lord and Savior.

Everyone will tell you that an important part of any relationship, whether it be friendship, romantic, professional or otherwise, is COMMUNICATION. You need to talk with people around you so that you can not only learn to interact efficiently and meaningfully with each other, but so that you can begin to understand each other better as well.

New Year’s is not the only time where you can begin new things in your life. Spring is in the air and the entire world is beginning anew after winter (although let’s face it, our winter this year sucked). Why can you not also start fresh whenever you want?

I encourage you to spend time communicating with your Father. Try to find times where you can pray by yourself. As you talk with Him more, you open yourself up so that His Holy Spirit can fill you and reveal what God is trying to communicate to you.

It doesn’t have to be 30 minutes, start small with 5 or 10 minutes. You can pray during a break, you can pray in your car or on in the bus or in the metro. There is no limit to where and how long you can pray other than what you decide for yourself.

Matthew 7: 7-8 (NIV)

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Our Father is faithful and holds to His promises.

MVS – ZECHARIAH

Zechariah 9:12

Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;
    even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.

The first time I read this verse, I was frankly unimpressed. I didn’t really understand what the Lord was declaring in these words. But think about it for a second, “I will restore twice as much to you.” WHAT?!

Can you imagine your teacher saying, “Don’t worry about the points you lost on this test, I’m going to give you back double.” I can’t!

Is our Lord not amazing that He has promised to give back to us two times what we have lost. How deep the Father’s love for us.

Essential Questions: What do you mean Jesus rose from the dead?

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Today is the day after Easter Sunday – the day that we celebrate Jesus being raised from the dead.  What do we mean that Jesus rose from the dead?  Exactly that.  Jesus died on Friday and on Sunday, he was alive again.  On Sunday, the tomb was empty.  Jesus had risen in body from the dead. (John 20:1-10)

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. (John 20:6-7).

God had restored Jesus physically from the dead.  Jesus had a body.  He was not just a spirit.  The risen Jesus was seen by many people after his resurrection.  For example, John, chapter 20 lists three encounters.

Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).( John 20:14-16)

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,[b] Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)

Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”(John 20:26)

Paul’s letter first letter to the Corinthians also talks about several of the accounts.

Now perhaps the story of the resurrection seems too fanciful to be believable.  Paul also addresses these questions:

For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ must still be dead. And if he is still dead, then all our preaching is useless and your trust in God is empty, worthless, hopeless; and we apostles are all liars because we have said that God raised Christ from the grave, and of course that isn’t true if the dead do not come back to life again. If they don’t, then Christ is still dead, and you are very foolish to keep on trusting God to save you, and you are still under condemnation for your sins; in that case, all Christians who have died are lost! And if being a Christian is of value to us only now in this life, we are the most miserable of creatures. (1 Corinthians 15:13-19)

But, why should the resurrection be any different from any other part of our salvation story?  The bible is full of  stories which seem crazy.  Resurrection from the dead is no stranger than anything else God has done in the story of salvation.  How about the sea that was divided?  How about the story of the walls of Jericho which came down after being walked around seven times and yelled at?  How about the story of Daniel who spent the night sleeping with lions?  The list is long.  Take some time and look at some of these Old Testament stories.

As I see it, either we believe that Jesus was raised from the dead and people saw him, or we don’t.  However, I can’t see how you can believe some of the  other stories of the bible and not believe this one.  God does crazy.

As Paul puts it:

So what about these wise men, these scholars, these brilliant debaters of this world’s great affairs? God has made them all look foolish and shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. For God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never find God through human brilliance, and then he stepped in and saved all those who believed his message, which the world calls foolish and silly. (1 Corinthians 1:20-21)

For believers in Christ, Easter celebrates the pivotal point in history when God restored our relationship to Him.  For non-believers, Easter is foolishness. (1 Corinthians 1:18).  If we are wrong in our belief, we have lost nothing.  BUT, if we are right, we have the ultimate secret to happiness and eternal life that the world so desperately is seeking.

What do you believe?