Glory by Way of a Cross

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Holy Week is fast approaching– leading up to our celebration of Resurrection Sunday, more commonly known as Easter, the zenith of the Christian calendar. During this week nearly 2,000 years ago, Christ secured glory for Himself, the Father, and most amazingly, us.

Pastor Wil Owens takes a close look at John 12: 20-36 and unveils for us how Christ’s agony on the cross “leads many sons to glory”. Click on the link below to listen. Enjoy and be encouraged!

“Following Jesus means we walk the same path He walked, the way of the cross. We take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Him. But it also means we will enter His glory with Him, for where He is, there will we be also. How do we live that out day to day, in the middle of the crisis, in the midst of the trouble? We keep looking to Jesus. Heb 12:2 – “looking to Jesus…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…” He endured the agony because He fixed His eyes on the certain, set, guaranteed glory! That’s how we endure as well.” –Wil Owens, Teaching Pastor

 

Fire and Faith

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What do we do when the heat gets turned up on our faith? Nothing reveals the contents of the heart, its strengths and weakness, like a challenge to your Christian walk. Is God refining you? Pastor Wil explores John 12 and challenges us to ask, “When fire challenges our faith–what is revealed?”

“The question for us as we examine this text together today then becomes, what do we do when the heat gets turned up on our faith? How do we respond when it becomes increasingly uncomfortable and even costly to stand with Christ, to affirm the Gospel, to stand upon the truth of God’s Word? Are we only in it as long as we can see an immediate benefit for us? Or are we followers of Christ because we love our Savior? Do we cower and become quiet and compromise when the heat gets turned up? Or do we lovingly, yet firmly remain planted and immoveable from the truth, from Christ?” Wil Owens, Teaching Pastor

Walking Towards Sunday: The Better Question

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Why?

It’s a question that reverberates down the halls of human history. Every single soul to have ever lived eventually sits like a child looking at a broken plaything–wondering why things so beautiful, like peace, health, and hopes, could be so easily broken. When the shards of our dreams lay scattered at our feet we lift our voice with millions of others who have wondered as we do…and cry out, “Why?”

And when God doesn’t show up to make a full explanation we do different things. Our trust may crumble, we may shake our fist at Him, curse Him, and say all sorts of things about Him…He must not be good, or all-powerful, or care, or maybe even exist. Some of us just sit and wait, tears falling.

All of us will walk through dark tunnels of suffering. But the older I get and the longer I live in faith and love with Christ the more I realize that the answer to the question of why something happened matters less and less. Our personal ground zero may be just a charred patch of earth… but look up! What is there that wouldn’t have been there without the suffering and without the grace of God?

Can you see something beautiful above that spot of desolation? Something you and I could never have built?

Christ making us more than we were before….

Christ making better able to comfort….

Christ giving us empathy for others…

Christ cementing our hope in His promises…because we have finally seen His faithfulness.

And that’s when we realize, a better question to ask is, “What is He doing?”

That suffering happened suddenly becomes less important than what is happening.

Seeing what God is doing takes good old-fashioned TIME, however. Experiencing God’s faithfulness can’t be rushed. It is the pilgrim’s reward. He promises to make springs for us in our desert journey.

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
    they make it a place of springs;
    the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion.” Psalm 84:5-7

The problem of suffering is a Gordian knot. Man will never be able to prevent it, solve it, or even be able to explain it. And one meager blog post can barely touch the surface of it. What we can do is accept that Christ promises that He is in control of it, uses it only to help us in the long run, and gives us strength to bear it.

May these verses encourage us ask to the better question —What is He doing?

And who knows? In doing so, God may even allow us to see enough of His work to guess at the answer to the other question–Why.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…”  Romans 5:3

Elizabeth Hiett