I learned how to make ice cream this week. Actually, I learned how to make ice cream when I was about 10 years old. I filled a bag with milk and sugar and vanilla and then sealed it and put it inside a bigger bad that I filled with ice and salt and then I shook it and kneaded it for 15 minutes and it made a slightly flavorful, slightly creamy, slightly solid bag of “ice cream”. This week though, I learned REAL ice cream. From the master, Paul White. And as you can imagine, it turned out to be a better product than my previous attempt 20 years ago. We used a superior method and better ingredients and that’s the main reason it turned out better but I think the better result was a perfect reflection of better and more purposeful teaching. I wasn’t just taught ice cream; I was discipled ice cream. It was intentional, relational, thoughtful, and with the purpose of teaching me to teach someone else. Because what real value is there in teaching someone to fish if you’re not ALSO teaching them to teach someone else. We got to share our thoughts and ideas on discipleship and how it becomes more about the person than the activity and more about the relationship than doing it “right”. How might this connect to our relationship with Christ? Well, watch our videos on Dan’s Youtube Channel. Or just give it some thought. In the end it was pretty natural.
When was the last time you read the Ten Commandments? I remember this being a really big deal when I was a little kid and I was challenged to memorize all of them and even learned skits and hand movements to be able to recite them easily. I’ve rediscovered the Ten Commandments at different points in my life. As a teen I remember hearing them as more than something to memorize but to also live by and use a guiding post for how God desired for me to live. In College I remember coming to a point where I realized that many of the commands were for my own good. They weren’t just random things God chose to hold over us and expect us to follow; instead, by following them, I lived a better and healthier life with stronger relationships. Recently I have explored them from the perspective of a relationship. God loves us, and like any good relationship He wants to know us and He wants us to know Him. Our prayers should be full of our daily highs and lows because God wants to rejoice with us and comfort us. The Ten Commandments were a way for God to share a little bit of Himself with us in a way we could understand. They help us understand that He is holy and jealous for us. They help us understand that He is a just and fair and compassionate God. That He honors authority and honesty. Read Exodus 20 and make a list of ways they help you better understand God.
It’s Easter Sunday! Set aside some special time today with God to contemplate the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross and why He did this. Consider what this says about how much God loves you and how He chooses to be with you. Lift up thanks and praise to our Lord and Savior for taking your sins upon Himself and taking the punishment that you deserve. Read the story and try to put yourself in the shoes of the spectators, the authorities, the soldiers, the persecutors, the men and women that wept at the feet of the cross. Consider what it might have been like for Jesus throughout this experience. Then read about the resurrection. Read about the empty tomb and the men and women that ran to find this mysterious site and how they responded to it. What were they thinking? Did they seem joyful? Scared? Sad and frustrated? Worried? What do you think they believed at this moment? Then read about how Jesus met with and interacted with people after his resurrection. Consider what it would be like to talk to this man who died a few days ago. At what point doo you think they began to have true faith in Jesus as the Son of God? What do you think it was like to experience Jesus in the flesh and then watch Him go up into heaven? What would you be thinking? What would you do next? Spend time praising and thanking God for defeating death and making a way for you to be with Him forever. Then pray and ask God how He desires to use you to share this message with others today!
God is in Control
The story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt is one of my favorite story. It starts when a baby boy is saved from the murderous hands of an insecure ruler by delivering him into the hands of that ruler’s daughter and then ends as that same baby leads the entire Israelite nation on dry ground along the bottom of the Red Sea. It’s an incredible story full of action, romance, prophesy, overwhelming power and miracles, an evil ruler and his magic wielding henchmen, and an underdog that comes through in a spectacular way! But really this story isn’t about any of that at all. Take a look at Exodus 3:18-22 where God tells Moses from the beginning how it will pan out and how He will need to compel the Pharaoh of Egypt with a “mighty hand”. Then, even more dramatically, we find out later in Exodus 14:1-4 that even after the Israelites are released and think they’re home free, God has other plans. Moses is told that God will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he pursues them. What? After everything that was accomplished and after freedom was promised; after the battle was won… God hardens Pharaoh’s heart so that he pursues them? Why? Why would God do this? We find out in the next verse; “I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all His army”. This isn’t about us. It’s not about Moses. It’s not about Pharaoh. It’s about God and His glory. It’s a story to help the Israelites and, today, us. Know that GOD IS IN CONTROL! What a great reminder for today 😉