Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


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9. From Worry to worship – Part 2

John 20:1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Mary went from being a slave of Satan to being saved and set free to serve the Savior. Which is what we see her engaged in as we come to John 20. It’s here that we see woman at:

  1. Work

Not only do these women seek to serve Jesus but they are willing to sacrifice. If we pay attention to the passage, we will see that it’s still dark out as they go to care for Christ’s body. While others are still sleeping they are serving, how like moms, often the first up and the last to bed. It’s not easy to serve while everyone else snores, but working for Jesus is not a 9-5 job it’s a calling. Church we must be dedicated even in the darkness when things are difficult and dangerous.  Maybe that’s where you are at today, disillusioned, discouraged, depressed, ready to give up on God and throw in the towel on truth. But let me remind you darkness always gives way to the dawn. Mary might have set out in the darkness, but she discovered the light of the Lord. Don’t focus on the darkness focus on the Deliverer. It’s here in the midst of the work that we also see the:

  1. Worry

Mary panicked because things didn’t go according to her plan. Look worry isn’t just a woman problem we all tend to get worked up when things don’t go our way.  But sometimes what you perceive as a problem actually turns out to be God’s plan. But darkness can distort your perspective and cause you to worry instead of worship. While Mary worries she doesn’t wallow in her worry she shares her sorrow with other saints. I find it interesting that she chooses to share her fears with Peter, a man familiar with failure. Just three days before he had denied Jesus three times. There is a lesson here for us to learn, you don’t have to be perfect to be part of God’s plan. Because failure is not the final word for those who have been forgiven. Yet many of us are letting ourselves be defined by our failure instead of the Fathers forgiveness. What voice are you going to listen to, the voice of your past failure or the voice of the Father and His forgiveness? The second lesson here is that we don’t serve alone so we need to stop going it alone. Surround yourself with likeminded servants, stop feeling like you have to figure it out, stop carrying your cares and start casting your cares. We were not created to carry worry but to worship Christ. Mary shared her sadness and her struggles and so should we because we are not built to carry burdens. Now I’m not talking about flaunting your failure but I’m also not talking about faking it. Mary went to Peter and shared her pain. Notice she had to tell Peter what the problem was. Ladies when it comes to marriage let me give you some advice, your man is not a moron but he is also not a magician. Talk to him because telepathy doesn’t work, you want your husband to know then tell him. You think he is insensitive because he doesn’t pick up on your subtle female clues, maybe he is not being insensitive maybe your being ignorant. Stop leaving him emotional bread crumbs and start communicating. Be honest with your husband, don’t fake it with your family, because you will set your kids up for failure. Many moms are frustrated with their families because they won’t help, but the truth is you haven’t asked, you want them to notice and just respond.  Now men we need wake up when it comes to women. When your wife shares her heart don’t just hear her come alongside her. Peter and John didn’t just respond they rushed to respond. We are called to bear one another’s burdens not bottle up our burdens. Notice here that when the men enter the tomb they are confronted with the truth, Jesus is gone but His grave clothes are still there. Remember when Lazarus was raised from the dead he comes out of the grave wearing his grave clothes and needs help removing them. But when Christ rises from the dead his grave clothes remain in the grave, exactly where His body was. Why? Because Lazarus was raised to physical life again and he would one day die. Christ, however, has defeated death. Death would never again have any claim over Him and so the grave clothes are left behind. Lazarus would need them again but Christ the conqueror would not. How do we live a life of worship in the midst of worrying times? By focusing on Christ’s finished work not our worry. Instead of focusing on the crisis focus on Christ the conquer. If He has overcome our greatest fear, death than what do we really need to fear? When we focus on the finished work of the cross we discover that not only should we not live in worry, but that worry is a waste. Is there a burden you are carrying that you need to give to Christ? Are you serving and sharing with other Saints or are you trying to be a solo Christian?

 


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8. From Worry to worship – Part 1

John 20:1-18

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Jesus valued women and so should we. We need to do a better job of honoring women in our churches, in our homes, and in our society. Women not only played a key role in the Bible, but they were often the first to surrender, serve and sacrifice their lives for the Savior: Today as we return to our series “Living in the light of the Resurrection” I want to remind you of the role that women played in the events surrounding the death of Jesus:

Women were the last to leave the Cross (Mark 15:47)

Women were the first at the Tomb (John 20:1)

Women were the first to proclaim the Resurrection (Matthew 28:8)

In John 20:1-18 we see a group of women who sacrificially set out to serve the Savior but ran into sorrow. Their story reveals several stages that we all go through and how our Savior not only meets us where we are but also ministers to us where we are. Today we are going to focus on one woman, Mary Magdalene whose name comes from the Hebrew name Miriam, meaning “wished-for child.” You remember the story of Miriam in the old testament, the sister of Moses, who hid her baby brother Moses by the side of a river to evade Pharaoh’s order that newborn Hebrew boys be killed. She watched as Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the infant and decided to adopt him. Moses’s sister then suggested that the princess take on a nurse for the child, and suggested Moses mother. Women have dealt with the happiness and the heart ace of motherhood for thousands of years.Now Mary’s last name was not “Magdalene” this is actually a reference to her place of residence, where she was from.  She is mentioned in all four gospels, fourteen times in all, more than any other woman except Mary the mother of Jesus and 4 more times than most of the apostles. A reminder that the Word of God gives worth to women and so should we. We first meet Mary in Luke 8:1-3 where we discover that she is the first-named woman among Christ’s followers.

Luke 8:1-3“After this, Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The Twelve were with him,and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.”

Here’s what we know about Mary.

  • Satan held her in bondage.

She was a prisoner of the Prince of darkness, overwhelmed by the oppression of the occult. She lived a life of darkness, depression and death but then came Jesus the deliverer. Don’t let the devil deceive you into thinking he has the final word. Because it’s here that scripture says:

  • The Savior set her free.

She was delivered from the power of Satan and set free to serve the Savior. Think about that transforming truth, she went from the control of Lucifer to living for the Lord. From failure to Freedom. If you have accepted Christ as your Savior you are no longer slaves of Satan, you are free to serve the Savior. Do you know what the most mentioned miracle in the book of Mark is, exorcism, being delivered from the power of the Prince of darkness the devil. John 8:36 tells us this truth: “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”You are not defined by your past but by the power of Christ. As a result:

  • She sacrificially served the Savior

Like the widow who gave everything she had to Elijah in 1 Kings17:13-15, these women offered their possessions for God’s purposes. We were saved to serve not to be selfish. What a privilege we have to partner with God by giving of our time, talents and treasures. We need to remember that tithing is tied to Jesus, it’s in response to the Redeemer not a tax right off, it’s not about a percent it’s about the Prince. Mary reminds us that ministry takes money. Where are you investing your time, talents and treasure? Here was a woman who wasn’t just saved and content to sit on the sidelines, no she sought to serve the Savior. By the way it is worth mentioning that no man is explicitly identified in the gospels as a financial supporter of Jesus. Way to go women. So, let me ask you how much do you value women? How about the Savior, does the way that you are currently living show that you love the Lord? Are you living in the freedom of God’s grace, freely serving and sacrificing not just for Him but to Him?