Monday, March 25, 2013

Live Oak Lenten Blog - Holy Week

This is my favorite week of the Christian calendar. I love it more than Pentecost, Advent, or Christmas day, itself. I love it so much because it's a roller coaster ride that doesn't make me nauseous and terrified. I go from the depths of sin to the heights of grace in one short week and it represents for me the entirety of the Christian life:

*We are sinners and doomed to death because of our depravity.

*God loved us so much that He sent Jesus (God incarnated) to save us.

*We hated His attempt to save us from ourselves and refused to accept his grace.

*But Jesus died a painful, earthly death for us in spite of us and willingly became an atonement for
  us so that our sin debt could be paid by his sacrifice.

*Jesus rose bodily from the dead on the third day (Easter Sunday) and through his death and
  resurrection we are given access to free grace and forgiveness of sins when we turn to Him...even
  if we turn and return to Him infinite times.

How awesome a week is that! I can hold the knowledge of my sin and depravity, knowing I am responsible for Jesus' death and yet at the same time hold the hope of grace, salvation, and eternal life for myself because I have seen my sin and confessed my need for Jesus.

It is not an easy week if you take it seriously but what you put into Holy Week you will get out tenfold in your walk with Christ.

I encourage you all to take at least a few minutes this week to think about why Jesus had to die for you. It will make you incredibly grateful for the dawning of this coming Sunday and I guarantee Easter will mean more you than just chocolate bunnies and egg hunts.

- Chesney Szaniszlo

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,  that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.

                                                                                                   - Isaiah 53:1-6