Acrylic The Garden Tomb

The truth of Sunday’s reveal, invading the darkness of Saturday. That is what this acrylic God blessed me to paint is about. It is my most important painting to date.

The Resurrection has happened. Mary has seen “The Gardener”. John and Simon Peter are about to turn the corner.

Notice, there are twelve roses in total. While artists can be overly dramatic, the number is on purpose. Twelve for the twelve Apostles of The Lamb, and the twelve tribes of Israel.  We hope you enjoy The Garden Tomb as much as did painting it. Also, if you haven’t experienced it, that was my utmost prayer for you.

Thread Count

500 Thread Count … People get so excited about thread count in their bedding, until a thread starts to fray. Then it’s time to think about replacing.  The truth is, we’re not excited about the threads individually, we’re excited about the linens as a whole.

We do that with our lives.  When things start to fray, we despair over the situation.  Many times we look for a way out, or something new.  What we don’t realize is life is a lot like one of those fancy sheets.  It’s all tied closely together.

An expert craftsman weaved fine linens, until machines took over.  A lot of times we view our lives as mechanical, but that’s not true. A Master Weaver crafts our lives.

He takes the good, takes the bad, (80’s kids are hearing a sitcom theme right now), and the messed up parts, things He never wanted us to choose, and makes something beautiful.  If you’re a believer, believe today that He was working out the loose threads.  If you’re not, bring the bits and pieces to The One who crafted the cosmos.  

He knows how to give you a comforting place of rest, no matter what you’ve been through.  For all those who know Him, know that He will complete your situation, leaving no loose thread.

Because Of Jesus

 

Why do I love Jesus? Because every moment of life, good or bad, He is with me. In the bad ones, He is holding me up, keeping me from losing myself in the situation.  In the good ones, He is guiding me through, having made possible every blessing I have.

Why do I love God’s people? Because every moment of my life, I have gained from fellowship.  In the bad times, arms stretched out to embrace me, and help bear my burdens. In the good times, my brothers and sisters rejoiced with me.

Why do I love the Church building? Because every moment of my life, she has been there. Comforting me through storms, and celebrating with me in the sunshine. Just the faithful attendance to this meeting place of souls, has kept my soul!

Why do I share this with you? To show the hurting there is hope. To show the rejoicing that there is a greater joy than you’ve ever known.  

To introduce those who have not yet met Jesus, to the greatest friend and only Savior of man.  To those who know Him, to add my voice to the joyful redeemed, who know Him in relationship.  Why, because of Jesus, that’s why!

The Small Things

We are going through a reading plan this year as a Church, which is a great gift.  It connects areas of Scripture that I never have before. For example, Ruth 1, 2 and Luke 12. I had never compared these before, and yet, I saw, not so much topic, as in tone, the similarities of them.  

The book of Ruth starts as if you were listening to a master storyteller, not fictional in any way, but in the skill of the speaker. It also struck me, the Jewish tone of the writer of it.  I love the Jewish culture of our day, and that day.  Then, in reading Jesus in Luke 12, I could hear the Jewishness of Jesus, The Master Storyteller.

In viewing this, I began to pay attention not to the large details, but the way each addressed what I had mistakenly viewed as small ones. One of which, was the beginning of Ruth.  

Ruth 1:1

1 In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons.

In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land. No comma, no pause, one thought. I would have separated the two, but God. Through the writer, He was saying I placed the judges there because there was a famine, one of obedience to God.  Then He illustrates it by telling of the man who left Judah for Moab.

Ruth 2:14

14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over.

Another example is chapter 2:14, the small words set beside the reapers.  The word Reapers not only means harvest, but grieve, and impatience. It shares some of the meanings of the word Naomi used in 1:20, bitterly.  

Ruth sat with Naomi, and she sat with the Reapers, she had hexperience with one, which prepared her for the second. We view our today sorrows as painful, and they are, but they are also preparation for tomorrow.

Then I read in Luke 12, and I could hear the same tone in His teaching, that I had heard in the author of Ruth. I could also see the parallels of the two members of one family, across time. Ruth, the foreigner to Israel, be coming the generational Great Grandmother Of The Messiah, to The God of the universe, entering our world to become The Son Of Man, and Savior of Mankind!

The lesson, don’t miss the small stuff, because as it turns out, it’s usually not that small.  Also, when someone suggests viewing something differently, look at it through a different angle, you’ll see something new!

The Colors Of Music

I was watching an orchestra, and as a Minister and an artist, I noticed more than the sound, but the colors of music. There are not many bright colors, except for the reds and yellows. The rest are blacks, browns, and whites.  

These tones of a symphony, all together point to the music of life itself. In it, there is One Conductor. At best, we all, are many composers, at the least, we are all performers. 

We are all the same blood, and branches of one family, with different parts to play. Our purpose goes beyond the individual notes of our lives and dreams.  Like the path of a symphony, it’s that God conducts us towards a higher calling together, than we could ever achieve apart.  

I considered each hue in the concert hall, and how it reflects the history of man. The greatest brown, not the beautiful crafted cellos, but the fact that Heaven wrapped itself in the dust of man.  The green of Life itself, most likely taking on the brown eyes of man, because we are His focus.

The greatest red in the symphony of man, is not the crimson hues of the violin, but His Love reflected in sacrifice.  The greatest black is not the richness in the clarinet, or the outfits of the performers, but the extent that Light went to dispel darkness. The Conductor, silencing the candle of His body for three days in a darkened grave, yet never extinguishing His Light.

The greatest yellow, not the glittering of the metal instruments, but The Light from an empty tomb. Last of all, the greatest white, isn’t the bright white pages covered with notes, but the guilty transformed from sin covered, to souls, made pure as snow. All of us are the same, just different shades, all sinful men, offered Redemption by a Loving God.  

Each of us, no matter our story, is only a small note in a much greater journey.  One that God wrote, not selfishly, but selflessly.  Each color, and sound, jointly reflects one Message, Jesus Loves us all. How much more should we, strive to work together, to showcase God’s Love?

A Judaean Stradivarius

A friend of mine had a Grandfather who talked a lot, about his old fiddle. His Grandson, like the rest of his family, didn’t think much about the fiddle. Until one day, they saw a signature on it, which read Stradivarius on it.  

He still doesn’t know if it’s a real Stradivarius or not, but it taught us both something.  It is very easy to overlook something precious, just because you grew up around it.  There were some people like this in The Word Of God.

David comes to mind. His brothers didn’t see much in the shepherd.  They were older, and full of their own future. Yet, when the time came, everyone saw The Love Of God, which was written on David’s heart.

Another Judaean Stradivarius was a boy named Daniel. He was a fugitive, from the royal family of a defeated kingdom. Most conquerors would have killed them all, but God had other plans.  

This young boy, became the statesman prophet. He out lasted, not only the king who conquered his country, but the kings that followed.  God spoke to Daniel, not only about that day, and future days, but the very last days. The king saw his price tag, The Lord saw his value.

They say that the wood that grew in the forest of Cremona were special. There, the trees grew differently because of the weather during the 1700’s. I’m sure not all of them looked special, but they turned out to be.

Isaiah talks of a Root out of dry ground. A young man who had no form nor majesty about Him.  Yet He of all, was the true Judaean Stradivarius.  The Carpenter of Nazareth, was God in disguise.  

He walked into a world with no love song, only tragedies, to play a symphony of hope.  Calvary was the place where Jesus showed the world that all of us had sinned, but all of us could be transformed.  Some say it’s not the materials of a Stradivarius that made it, but the varnish.

Traditionally, part of this process, involved tree resin, and oil touched by sunlight.  Oh how different we are once The Blood is applied to our lives. His anointing transforms us, as He shines into our hearts. A soul changed by The Master, is a creation that reflects Gods Love.  We are sent into the world, quietly, and unassumingly, to point others to The One who transformed us.  

The story is told of an old violin, worn by time, and dusted by neglect.  It’s being sold at an auction, with little success. “What am I bid for this old violin, a dollar, maybe two?”

No one is bidding, until an old man, walks from the back of a crowd.  He takes it from the auctioneer and plays a song. The auctioneer asks, “What am I bid for this violin, 1000, 2,000?”

It’s sold for a high price. After the auction, a bystander asks the auctioneer. “What made the difference in the old violin?”  His reply, you probably guessed, was “The Touch Of The Master’s hand.”  

Only a Stradivari could make a Stradivarius. Only God could craft us from sinners, to Children Of God. He recreated us, through His sacrifice. Now that He has made us new, let us play His song as we go into the world today, pointing others to The One who can transform them. 

The Tribe Of Simeon

Genesis 29:33
33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.

The tribe of hearing, this is what Simeon means, more specifically the tribe of Divine Hearing. Leah, one of my favorite people in the Bible named him. In the struggle with her sister Rachel, Simeon was her second son. His birth represented that God had heard her cry, Simeon would reflect hearing throughout his history.

Genesis 46:10
10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.

I love learning little known facts, and aspects of people in The Word Of God, and many years ago, I learned something about Simeon. He knew firsthand about family stress, growing up he saw the rivalry between his Mother, and Aunt Rachel. I wander how he felt when he heard the arguments, and felt the pain they caused.

Commentators believe that a second wife of his own brought strife into his own family. Only one of Simeon’s sons bears this title, what the King James calls, the son of a Canaanitish woman. The phrase is repeated in Exodus 6:15 as well, yet disappears by the time Shaul is mentioned again in Numbers 26:13, and 1 Chronicles 4:24.

The word that represented Shaul’s Mother, Canaanitish, connects with the meaning of her son as well. Canaanitish not only represents a Canaanite, but implies a pedlar. Shaul means desired, or one begged for.

His Mother went from being called a term applied to beggars, to giving birth to a tribal prince’s son. It reminds me of where God brought Man, from the fall to the Cross.

I wonder how it happened Simeon’s love story happened? Was Simeon heartbroken when his Wife died? If commentators were correct, he became a widower with five sons. Did he look for a Mother for his children? Did he meet a band of merchants and fall in love with one of their daughters?

However it happened, he married a woman, that we don’t even know by name. This doesn’t reflect her worth, because she gets more of a mention than Simeon’s first Wife. We only know she existed because she produced five sons. Ironically, Leah had six sons, and with the edition of Shaul, so did Simeon.

One begged for, Shaul’s meaning. Did his Mother feel the sting of resentment from her stepsons? Did Simeon’s family, and servants, compare her to her predecessor? Maybe it was Simeon who longed for another son. Whatever happened, God heard the ache for a child and responded.

While I believed Shaul’s Mother wanted him deeply, I believe Simeon did too. Each of Simeon’s children had a special name. His firstborn Jemuel meant Day Of God. Jamin meant right hand, Ohad meant united. Joachim would also be the name of a pillar in the temple, for it meant He will establish. Zohar means brightness.

Family was important to Simeon, he had learned that lesson well. Ironically it was this love of family which would cause issues with Simeon’s own father. Simeon had five brothers, but one sister, Dinah.

Commentators debate it, whether Dinah went somewhere she shouldn’t have, or was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whether he forced her, or seduced her, he took her, and then tried to fix it. Simeon and Levi wouldn’t hear of it.

They cooked up a story. They tricked Shechem, his father, and the men of that city, then attacked. This act angered Jacob. Although he loved his sons, he not only did not approve or condone it, he never forgot it either.

After this, Simeon goes along with his other brothers concerning the rejection of Joseph. Most commentators will explain that Joseph’s life was a type and shadow of Jesus, which I also believe. If that is the case, while Joseph sends his other brothers away for a time, Simeon, or hearing, is held captive.

The tribes of Israel are separated from their hearing, or Simeon. This is the case until Benjamin is brought to Joseph. Benjamin means son of my right hand, but son can also mean people of a nation. Right hand also means the south, or facing the east.

To paraphrase, hearing was withheld from Israel until the nation came to Joseph, foreshadowing Jesus revealing Himself to Israel. As Bishop Livingston taught us, this happened while Joseph’s Gentile bride, representing the Church and the rapture, was shut up in another chamber.

Finally, Joseph revealed himself, Jacob arrived in Egypt, time passed, and the Exodus occurred. It came time for Jacob to die, but before he did, he had a few things to say.

He stated that he would scatter Levi and Simeon in Israel. I don’t know if Jacob understood what he prophesied, or not, but unlike it seems it was not bad. Simeon’s inheritance ended up among the tribe of Judah, the praisers. It’s always easier to hear God’s voice while worshiping!

Deuteronomy 27:12
12 “When you have crossed over the Jordan, these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.

Levi was the tribe of the Priesthood, Simeon lived with Judah. Moses commanded that, when Israel arrived in the promised land, certain tribes would stand on a certain mountain to bless Israel. The first three, Simeon, Levi, and Judah!

After they were freed from Egypt, traveled through the wilderness, and fought for the promised land, they settled in their cities and villages. The locations mentioned for a group of Simeon’s family, lived from the city of Beersheba, to the village of Beth-Biri.

Beth-Biri, which means House of My Creator, or House of my health. When you spend your life listening to Jesus, you spend your days in His house, and your spiritual health will be assured. The Shallumites, Shaul’s son, lived there. Shaul, who had been known by his Mother’s less than stellar heritage, now lived in The Creator’s House.

Jesus Paved The Way

The Lord Jesus borrowed a tomb, but had His own cross. The difference, He, Life itself, showed death that He was it’s Master, and not the other way around. He showed the grave, it was merely a vehicle to carry Him from Friday to Sunday. The Lord Jesus kept the keys, but parked the car!  

Three days later, He walked out, and created a Path to Heaven for the rest of us to walk with Him! They will be completely destroyed, at a time The Lord Jesus decides. Until then, The Lord turned death, and the grave, from enemies to servants. Jesus paved the way, so we could walk with Him!

To Seek And To Save

The following is a message I was privileged to preach at our church, Point Of Mercy in Nashville.

Luke 19:10

10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Amos 7:14-15

14 Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs.

15 But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

Acts 2:44

44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.

Common:

Today, I’d like to talk to you about a common man. An ordinary laborer. One who knew what it was like to get his hands dirty. A man who knew more about wool than he did witnessing.

To understand him though, you have to first understand what the word common means. Common is a word that can range the spectrum. It’s range is a lot deeper than the surface.

First it can mean profane, or unholy. Common, also means Communion, and joint participation. A gift jointly contributed, the idealized state of fellowship and unity that should exist in the Body Of Christ. That last description didn’t come from Greek or Hebrew, but an English encyclopedia.

Pastor brought out the early Church last week. They had some things in common. Fellowship was common, faithfulness was common, and doctrine was common. The neat thing is, the word common, can also mean profane. This ordinary word can mean what is unholy, as well as the perfect state of Communion between God, His Church, and the members of the Church.

In the Old Testament, in 1 Samuel 21:4-6, a Hebrew word is translated as the word common, means both ordinary, profane, and it means sand. It’s a perfect picture of the potential of man, to go from the horrors of sin, to the Power Of God.

An Ordinary Man:

Such a man was one of the Prophets in the Old Testament, his name was Amos. Before I tell you what he did, let me share a little about his journey first. To be what we refer to as one of the Minor Prophets, he was an interesting man.

I believe that God attends the birth of every child. We know that He is All Knowing, and All Seeing, and if He, as The Bible says, attends the funeral of every sparrow, then surely He is there every time a baby utters it’s first cry.

I don’t know how it happened, but one day, or night, a baby was born to a herdsman in the village of Tekoa. A lot of children are named something that sounds good, or sounds different. Some children though, are given a name that is a glimpse at their purpose. This was such a baby.

I wonder if anyone had any idea. I wonder if God Himself whispered the suggestion in Amos’ parents ears. You see this child was named burden. Of all the neat meanings of Prophet’s names in the Old Testament, I doubt you could get a better name than that.

The trouble was, this boy wasn’t a Prophet. He was to be a herdsman, or shepherd, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit. Many commentators take it to mean his family was poor, with a small produce business on the side.

Jewish commentators say it meant he was rich, and had a vale filled with sycamore trees. Honestly, I don’t know, and it doesn’t really matter. For one day, rich or poor, he would put down the sheep shearers, he’d leave the fruit baskets behind, to follow God’s purpose for His life.

He probably had the smell of sheep, and fruit stains on his clothes then when God called him. Amos said I was among the herdsmen when He called me.

Sycamore/Mulberry Fig:

We know that he was good at his job. God would not have called a man to speak to God’s flock, if Amos had not been faithful to his own. We learn that he gathered sycamore fruit, and you’re thinking what’s so important about sycamore fruit. As it turns out a lot.

You see sycamore fruit isn’t like picking an apple. If an apple isn’t ripe, it’s going to be sour. To eat a sycamore, about four days before you pick it, you have to prick it. That’s what makes it ripen. The wound it receives causes the fruit to be harvested.

Sycamore trees were important, of course in the Bible, they use two names for this tree. It’s called a sycamore in several places, but it’s called a fig tree in others. It’s a specific type of fig tree though, called a sycamore, or mulberry fig. The fruit grows in clusters on the tree, sort of like grapes.

Psalms 78:47-48

47 He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamores with frost.

48 He gave over their cattle to the hail and their flocks to thunderbolts.

It was one of primary trees of Egypt, that God destroyed before the Exodus. In addition to the fruit, the Egyptians used the wood to make their coffins. I can imagine Amos, before he grows up, climbing those sycamore trees like a lot of kids do.

Racing Jesus Illustration:

They say these trees were throughout the lower parts of Galilee. Aren’t you glad that, even though Nazareth itself, was a city set on a hill, it was in lower Galilee. Jesus lived among the lowly, to give us a seat in the Heavenly. When I think of a kid climbing a tree, and somebody mentions Galilee, I think of Jesus. I wonder if Jesus ever climbed a tree? Just suppose for a minute that Him and James as kids wanted to have a race.

Maybe James said, “I’ll race you to the top of that sycamore Jesus.” Although, I wouldn’t try to beat Jesus at a race, would you? Just maybe it happened, and maybe they got hungry when they got up in that tree. Maybe James, being a kid and not knowing, said He’d eat a sycamore.

We know Jesus liked to eat from trees. Maybe He wanted one too. The difference would have been, James may have found out that you couldn’t eat it yet, and Jesus saved His. He knew you have to prick it, before you pick it.

Calling Of Amos:

Meanwhile, back to Amos. I wonder how God did it. Maybe it was a hot day, maybe Amos heard something that He didn’t recognize at first. Maybe it was a Voice, maybe it was a sign, we don’t know. What we do know is, Amos, the man named burden, was called to carry God’s burden to Israel.

Amos was just a common man. Yet God chose Him to call Israel to repentance. God chose Him to talk to Israel about The Tabernacle Of David. About the harvest of souls. Amos said that one day the harvest and planting seasons would have no gap between them. He described it as the plowman shall overtake the reaper.

If Amos was a gatherer of sycamore figs, maybe he was a planter too. He knew the hot sweaty work of raising sheep, and of harvesting fruit, maybe he knew what it was like to plant. He probably knew what it was like to go to harvest, and to see very little fruit.

A Continual Harvest:

Maybe that’s why it was so exciting to him, the thoughts of a continual season of going from planting, plowing, and reaping, with no gaps in between. You see, he knew first hand how precious that fruit was. It was more than about a livelihood, it was life itself.

This same tree that you invested in, could carry you from childhood to supporting you financially, to even your grave, the Egyptians proved that. He also knew though, there was something more important than what grew on that sycamore tree, it was The Who which caused it to grow.

Amos 9:15

15 I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,” says the Lord your God.

Amos ends his book, the way he started it, talking about planting. He planted The Word Of God as sure as a Master Gardener planted sycamore trees. In the last chapter of his book, Amos gets to do what Isaiah got to do.

A Glimpse Of A Working God/Man:

He catches a glimpse of another working man, although as the old song says, He was more than a man. He looks ahead through time, this shepherd turned Prophet, this fruit picker, and He sees a God Who swung a hammer, a Carpenter.

Amos 9:11

11 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old,

He sees a God who lifts up Israel, repairs the breaches, raises up its timbers, rebuilds it. He sees what Jesus did spiritually, but is it any wonder after this verse, why Jesus was a Carpenter? A working God, gave a working man, a glimpse, not just of the three and half year Ministry of Jesus, but His purpose, and the occupation which occupied His life.

Jericho And A Certain Sycamore:

As I mentioned, there were sycamores in Jesus’ days. One in particular comes to mind. Jesus was on His way to die for every common man. All had sinned, and come short of The Glory Of God. To do so, He had to pass through a certain place, and that itself was a miracle.

You see, the place Jesus was about to go too, was a place that He had once destroyed. It was the city of Jericho. You all know the song, Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, or as the old timers said, He fit the battle.

Joshua 6:26-27

26 Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.

“At the cost of his firstborn shall he lay its foundation, and at the cost of his youngest son shall he set up its gates.”

27 So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.

1 Kings 16:34

34 In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun.

God had ordered the city destroyed. He told Joshua, “Cursed is the man that rebuilds Jericho. His firstborn will die at the laying of the foundation, and his youngest will die at the hanging of the gates. Every child in between would die in the process.

God wanted Joshua to tell all of Israel this, so no one would ever want to risk their family to rebuild Jericho. Yet someone had been shortsighted enough to do it anyway, and just as God had warned, lost his family in the process.

How many of us have rebuilt things that God once destroyed in our lives? How many of us have cost our family sufferings because of what we wanted to build. I’m not only talking about sin, I’m talking about work.

Work is good, Amos believed in work, so did Jesus. He also said, “What does it profit a man if He gains the whole world, and loses his soul?” Work should be part of our lives, but God’s work should be the focus of our lives. There came a time when God called Amos to a greater work.

Luke 19:10

10 For the Son of Man came to find and restore the lost.”

Jesus could have said I’m not going to Jericho, they wouldn’t listen to Me, but He didn’t do that. He walked into Jericho, and healed a blind man by the name of Bartimaeus. Jesus, that day, spoke the very reason He had called Amos in The Old Testament. He had arrived “To Seek And To Save.”

You see, it’s a two fold process, Seeking and Saving. We know that Salvation is a process, Pastor talked about that last week. To complete the process, we must do our part, to seek, not only for ourselves, but to seek to tell everyone about the transforming power of Jesus. God called us to go out into the highways and the hedges, and compel them to come in.

The word seek there, not only means seek, it means two other things, To Worship God, and to plot against One’s life. In the very act of seeking those who He could make part of His Kingdom, Jesus was plotting against His own life. He knew to save us all, He must do the work of the Cross.

God could call a working man, because He knew was a working God, who would become a working man, a Carpenter, to walk away, like Amos, from His occupation, to give His life for us.

God would never ask Amos to do what He was not willing to do, and more. God ask us, not to walk away from our labors, but to walk into a daily labor for the souls of those around us. We can never forget that, whether we go to an Insurance office, or welding shop, our job is to call others to meet Jesus.

Jesus spoke to a crowd that day, but more specifically, He spoke to one person. Zacchaeus was a wee little man, as the song goes. At Jericho, a place that wasn’t supposed to exist, he received something that he wasn’t supposed to get. Jesus didn’t give Him what he should have gotten, that as Pastor taught us, was Mercy. What He did give him, was Grace.

Jesus looked up, and said, “Zacchaeus you come down, for I’m coming to your house today.” The people didn’t like it that Zacchaeus, being a publican and a tax collector, received mercy. Yet Jesus, brought Him if you will, to the very Point Of Mercy, and extended Grace.

Zacchaeus walked into that Mercy and Grace, and began to learn about Faith. Jesus knew you have to prick them, before you pick them, but there is still a harvest involved. Jesus said that like He was going in the flesh, Salvation moved in to Zacchaeus’ home that day, to begin a process, not to complete it.

That’s why whenever another working man, Simon Peter, was called to speak, did the same. He had been present at the meeting between Jesus and Zacchaeus. On the Day Of Pentecost he preached about how the crowd had through wicked hands crucified Jesus, but God was extending Grace and Mercy.

When they heard it, they were pricked in their hearts, and began the picking process, the process that wasn’t just the act of plucking it from the tree, but the ripening that occurs with the sycamore, or mulberry fig over time.

Ordinary Men:

Amos 9:14-15

14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.

Amos, Jesus, and Simon Peter weren’t the only ordinary working men to be called. Men , who were called to go from the common condition of man, to the Communion of a Common, or mutual relationship as part of the body of Jesus.

Each of us was too, and while I do mean the Church as a whole, in closing, I’d like to talk about our congregation in particular. We’re not called to stop working, but we are called to focus on the greater work. Our jobs are our occupation, but seeking others to tell them about Jesus must be our priority. When we go out into our jobs, we must be concerned with a much greater bottom line than our budget.

A week ago Wednesday, we gathered beside of Pastor, and Pastor Jason, to pray at the new building. All of us were in common clothes, we had came from work, and we stood in a circle.

Each of us was asked to share what was on our heart, and to a man, we independently pledged to our God, and to the Men Of God he placed in our lives, to give our all to God, our family, our Church, and to the souls in the new field that God is calling us too.

There were tears, there was hope, and there was most definitely a burden. Common men, ordinary working men, who stood beside The Men Of God, and said we are with you, and we, and our families, are ready to work. We’re ready to plant, we’re ready to harvest, we’re ready to be Disciples Who Make A Difference.

Leaving Before Sunrise

This morning we’re leaving before the sun rises. I wonder how many times we’ve done that, and honestly I couldn’t say. I do know this, we’ve never left before The Son rose, and I thank God for that.

Every day of our lives, we wake up to the reality of Calvary and of an empty tomb, borrowed, and only used for three days. We know Jesus is alive, and alive for evermore. For the Christian, Easter is more than a yearly celebration, it’s a daily experience.

I believe that one day soon, Jesus will return for a people who have made themselves ready. Maybe your walk with Jesus, at times, involves sacrifice, but rest assured, it’s worth it. One day soon, He will return for us. Who knows, maybe we will leave before the sunrise, because The Son Rose!