Palm Sunday was celebrated yesterday. Palm Sunday refers back to when Jesus rode his donkey into Jerusalem and the people laid palm branches before and along his path. Jesus was coming to celebrate Passover but to also indicate Gods plan for Him to become the unblemished sacrifice for the Passover of that day and all Passovers to come by his death on the cross and resurrection only a few days later.
Many people don't know what Passover is or what it means or why people celebrate it. Passover was first celebrated when Moses went to Pharoah in Egypt and under Gods direction demanded that Pharoah let the Jewish people go from their slavery there. The last plague that God sent on the people of Egypt and on Pharoah to accomplish this was that their first borns would be killed unless the people be freed. Pharoah of course denied their leaving and so the plague was sent. No first born was to be spared including Jewish first born children unless the blood of a spring lamb was put on the doorposts of their houses which would cause the angel of death to pass them by.
Now Easter is upon us and this week holds special significance for Christians but as one non-christian pointed out on Facebook this morning, christians should celebrate Easter year-round if we are true believers and not just go to church on this one day out of the year. God calls us to relationship with Him and that is a daily relationship - more personal than your marriage or your best friendships, more knowing than the bond between mother and father and child or between siblings. Can you have a relationship with Christ without being involved in a church? No - Jesus is coming back for His church as a friend of ours preached yesterday. There is no separation between being a Christian and going to church. I'm not trying to substitute the law for grace or to say that legalism enters into the equation but church is critical for our growth as believers.
We are also not just to "go" but to a "part-of" the church. We aren't going to be entertained. We are going to learn and to serve and to fellowship and to challenge and be challenged. We are going to worship and to praise and to strategize and to evangelize the lost. Church is so much more than a weekly Sunday routine - it is the culmination of your weekly relationship with Christ and with others.
I am thankful for my church. God brought Alan and me together although we were separated by 4000 miles of ocean, guided us to a church of less than 50 people, encouraged us to become an active part of the church leadership, hosting our own housegroup and attending another and helping with varoius work days or other events. The changes God has brought about in the church even just since we've been there (and nothing to do with us) have been amazing. To see God work in the lives of the youth is especially rewarding. To see them come to know Jesus in an on-fire, exciting way just thrills Alan and me.
What life there is there but there is still so much work to be done. So much. So many lost in the Birkenhead, Wirral area. Why am I sitting on my butt writing this when there are so many lost out there? I've got to get to work - we all need to get to work. Hours then days then weeks pass and all we are left with are excuses of how busy we were, how afraid we were of being rejected. How paralized we become when Satan convinces us that what we do won't make any difference.
God is good. God is faithful. God is watching over his church this week and He's calling for all men to come to know Him. Time is short - how evident that is when we click on the TV or look at our computers and compare the events that happen each day with what the Bible describes as the end times.
Alan and I celebrate our anniversary on Easter this year. What a wonderful day that will be as we go to Germany to see if that is where the Lord may be calling us into service. The German people are a great people but they are also a stubborn and rebellious people - a people that have turned their backs on the one true God and accepted lies as truth. I love Germans but only with the power of the Holy Spirit will they come to know the Lord. May God watch over us this week as we travel there and hopefully meet many brothers and sisters in Christ as well as many that need the Lord and celebrate this wonderful first year of marriage. I love you Jesus, my savior and friend, my redeemer, comforter and ultimate sacrifice and I love you Alan Rathbone - my husband and soulmate.