Continuing in His Rest

Last Sunday we took an in-depth look at Hebrews chapter 4 and what it means to enter into God’s rest by faith. The seventh day, when God rested, was a picture of what God first intended for all people: a life at rest with God, ourselves, and others. Sin ruined that rest for humanity, but God’s rest remained. Israel rejected God’s invitation into His rest by not possessing the faith to enter into the promised land. Today, God extends the invitation into His rest through Christ and his finished work on the cross. To get the full context of the message, you can view it here.

There were a couple of other insights that time didn’t allow for on Sunday that I thought would be helpful to expand on.

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Easter Week Recap

We know that for the Christian, every day is Resurrection Day. The life and power of Jesus are always available and always at work in and through us. Praise God that we can walk in His resurrection power and promises every single day! Having said that, there is something special about taking intentional time to reflect on the work of the cross and resurrection. Easter week is always a week where the Spirit of God works in people’s hearts in powerful ways through the message of Christ crucified and risen to life forevermore. It was no exception this last week here in Northern California! Here is a brief recap of some of the wonderful things God did among us.

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Welcome the King (Palm Sunday)

So this is one of those long posts I promised I wouldn’t do. Palm Sunday is a powerful day, here are some thoughts on it from Psalm 24.

[Psa 24:1-10 NKJV] 1 A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein. 2 For He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the waters. 3 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. 5 He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6 This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face. Selah 7 Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in. 10 Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah

Do you remember times of anticipating someone’s arrival? When you hear the phrase, “Wait until your father gets home…” What do you think of? I can think of moments in my life that statement has excited me. When my dad and I were working on my restoring my first car, I was excited about his arrival. As a kid, in general I was always excited about my dad getting home from work because he was always doing something with us; some fort to be built, some fish to be caught… and I always looked forward to it. Then there were those times when I feared His coming. Like the time when I laughed at my mom when she tried to spank me. I laughed until I heard the words, “You can wait for your dad to get home.” Yeah, I wasn’t that excited.

Well, Psalm 24 is a Psalm of someone’s arrival. It paints a picture of an eternal, worthy King; a King who is Lord and creator of all, who is coming to a great city. His identifying monicker, “The King of Glory”, sets His arrival apart and above all others. He has an anticipated day of arrival, and along with him He brings blessing and salvation to all whose gates are opened to His coming. So why Psalm 24 on Palm Sunday? Many of us are familiar with the Hallel Psalm 118 that declare the cries of the people on that first Palm Sunday, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” While Psalm 24 is not directly mentioned in the triumphal entry narrative, it is an appropriate, prophetic picture for Palm Sunday. It’s also interesting Psalm 24 is one of the psalms used by the Jews in their daily liturgies. On Monday they meditate on Psalm 48 – on Tuesday, Psalm 82 – on Wednesday, Psalm 94 – on Thursday, Psalm 81 – on Friday, Psalm 93 – the Sabbath psalm is 92 – on Sunday, Psalm 24.

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Oh the Wonder

There are some things that happen which cause us to gaze in amazement. As the snow fell this morning, I was refreshed and strangely mesmerized by its beauty and calm. My son was up early, and upon seeing the white out the window, insisted on running out in his pajamas. Call us bad parents, but we let him. It was joy for us to see him so enraptured and excited.

It’s how I felt at church yesterday. I watched people worship Jesus with passion, engage in the Word of God, and respond to the gospel. As we prayed for 5 new believers who came forward, a holy awe filled the room. We were weeping with tears of joy and amazement at the life changing power of Christ.

I think it brought God joy. Not only to see the lost saved, but to see his people so happy in His presence.

I pray you have a wondrous week.

Isaiah 29:14 – Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”

Week in 4 Words

What a week and weekend it was! I’ll try to recap it in four words.

Inspiring – we finished 1 Corinthians 15 at our Wednesday night service. In short, Paul finishes his defense of the resurrection with an inspiring conclusion. Everything we do for Jesus this life is worth it because He rose from the dead, and one day we too will rise in Him to eternal bliss! Quite a motivation to live now for Christ, knowing that our labor is not in vain.

Heartbreaking – my uncle RC passed away this week. We weren’t extremely close, but he was an incredible man who loved Jesus deeply. I have some wonderful memories growing up… especially of his incredible tenor voice singing, “Down the road a little bit farther, we will all understand…” Today He understands more completely than all of us, but he will be missed. Please pray for his family.

Memorable – our Crossroads marriage retreat happened this weekend and everything lined up for a powerful and meaningful time away. It lasted just two days, but they were full of building new friendships, investing in intimacy, and gleaning helpful tools for our marriages. My friend Pastor Rob Salvato and his wife Denise shared a special set of teachings. We appreciated their transparency and vulnerability as the shared their life and lessons with us. And of course, two days alone with my wife was much welcomed!

Encouraging – the weekend concluded with Pastor Rob giving a powerful message at North Campus on how Jesus handles bread… and people (you need to hear this sermon). Pastor Jason shared his heart and vision for South Campus, and I had the blessing of guest teaching for a church in Roseville. I passed several churches on my way down the hill and was grateful that the Word of God was going out in so many places and impacting so many lives.

God is at work, in the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult, the joy and the pain. May your week be empowered and guided by Him! Love you all.

Pastor Josh

Proverbs 12:25 – Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.

Sunday Recap

You never know quite what to expect at church on Super Bowl Sunday. I would love to say that football and church never compete, but alas… (BTW, nothing against football here. I enjoyed watching the Eagles handle the Patriots just as much as the next guy. And how about Nick Foles? Grateful for his witness!). Despite my skepticism, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many people show up at church with excitement, anticipation, and open hearts!

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