Easter - 2018

Friday, October 31, 2008

My Friend Beth sent this to me yesterday and reminded me of this wonderful Liz Curtis-Higgs poem. It is also available as a children's book.

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin.
God lifts you up, takes you in
and washes all the dirt off you.
He opens you up,touches you deep inside
and scoops out all the yucky stuff --
including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.
Then He carves you a new face
and puts His light inside you
to shine for all the world to see.

Happy Fall & Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Restitution...seventy times seven...get over it.

The day of the LORD is near for all nations.
As you have done, it will be done to you;
your deeds will return upon your own head.
- Obadiah 1:15
Not much has change over the last 2.5 thousand years. If you bring injustice to another, you will eventually have injustice return to you. I found this verse interesting today. I know that it applies to the prophets of old and the ancient countries/nations, but the principle that God is establishing still stands true today. Do unto others as you have God do unto you might be a new way of rephrasing the golden rule.

What about the times that injustice is done to you and you did not deserve it? The sinful man in me will twist this rule to say, it is time FOR ME to return the favor...but Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 18:21 and following:

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[f]

"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents[g] was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. "But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.[h] He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' "But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

So, the lesson for me today is: Yes, things have not changed much, there are will always be ignorance, injustice, and hatred this side of heaven. As for me, I have been forgiven "much" and it is my responsibility to act in response to being forgiven much.

My mother used to say to us (My Sister and I) when we would get in trouble for something we did not do, "Consider it punishment for a time you did do something wrong and did not get caught." So, I think it good to remember who went to the cross and that He has forgiven us and the next time I get the hit from another person I will consider it punishment for a time when I caused someone else grief and Jesus took my punishment. My job is to forgive and God will judge and bring restitution.

Praying for you as you read this and You know I love ya - Don

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jesus is Alive

“But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” – Hebrews 7:24-25 NIV

In the church I was raised our Minister, Lloyd Menning, would always start his Easter sermon with this phrase, "Easter! The greatest day that ever dawned, from the greatest story ever told, in the greatest life ever lived! Jesus is Alive! He is risen indeed!" I woke up this morning hearing his voice and that phrase. I like mornings like this.

People of all ages gathered in a small Baptist church in rural Bangladesh to view a screening of the “Jesus” film. The small building was so crowded that little children had to sit on the floor while rows of adults stood in the back. During the crucifixion scene, weeping and gasps of disbelief could be heard as the dark-skinned audience looked on in horror. As the Bengalis watch, they vicariously sensed the drama of the moment. It was as if they actually could feel the agony of Jesus’ pain and the disappointment of the disciples. In that emotional moment, one young boy near the makeshift screen jumped to his feet and cried our, “Don’t be afraid! He gets up again! I’ve seen the movie before.” [from Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart, Integrity Publishing, 2002]

Whether we say, “He gets up again,” “Christ is risen,” or “He’s alive!” the reality of the resurrection should not be reserved for one Sunday a year. Our shouts should be heard everyday in the lives we live. The message of Easter is the foundation of our faith every single day of our lives. Jesus defeated death and it is the greatest truth ever told. Therefore, Jesus is not bound by space, time, or distance. He’s alive and working amongst his people even now. Let us fix our eyes on Him and press forward without distraction toward the prize of seeing him face to face and celebrating our personal Easter.

You know I love ya - Don

Friday, October 24, 2008

The biggest Lie - Friday Funny

Hello Friends. I trust your Friday was a great day. I always try to find something funny for Friday. With all the campaigning going on, I thought this might be fun.

A Minister was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age.

The group had surrounded a dog. Concerned lest the boys were hurting the dog, he went over and asked "What are you doing with that dog?"

One of the boys replied, "This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. So we've decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog."

Of course, the reverend was taken aback. "You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying, beginning, "Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie," and ending with, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie."

There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the reverend was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, give him the dog."

Have a great weekend and you know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sour Dough Bread

I love sour dough bread. I am sitting here eating a piece of toasted sourdough with a cup of Earl Grey tea....I think this is a little taste of heaven.

Jesus said in John 6:32 & 35, "I tell you the truth, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven...Then Jesus declared, I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."

I cling to this verse today. Probably because of the sourdough feelings and memories I have. We used to fish off of the Santa Cruz pier as a child and we would get soup and a Sourdough Pull-A-Part Roll. We would share it as a family and it always filled us up. So, these verses encourage me, but also give me something to look forward too.

Of course my diet limits how much bread I eat, but the memories will never fade.

Here comes Matthew and I shared a bite or two...Oh the rest of the piece with him...Did I say eating a piece of sourdough with a cup of Earl Grey was a little like heaven...strike that, because I just found out what is even better...sharing a piece of sourdough with my son and drinking a cup of Earl Grey is a little piece of heaven.

Looking forward to sharing the bread of life - you know I love ya, Don

Monday, October 20, 2008

McCain/Palin & "Puts His Faith In You!"

We attended a McCain/Palin rally on Friday. It was electrifying! 24,000 people and Indiana is on fire for the Gov. Palin and I can honestly say, I feel the most like her and her family. They have my morals, they love the same God I do, they are not afraid of taking on corruption and bad government AND they stand for smaller government.

There were several statements that Gov. Palin made a the rally that resonated with me. The one that I hear over and over today is, "You have a choice between a politician who puts his faith in government and a leader who puts his faith in you." This hit me hard as a minister because it is the same with religion and the Almighty.

World religions say they have the correct answer and poof we have people of all faiths and religions that turn into religion followers and in the Christian world, "Church-goers." On the other hand, The Almighty Jehovah, puts his faith in people and loves us and guides us and molds us because He puts his faith in us.

Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Our faith is trusting in God and poof we have "Christ-followers." Then he responds with Ephesians 2:6-7, "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

Thank God He loves us and cares for us and trusts us with the message of His Son, Jesus, AND puts His faith in us.

You know I love ya, Don

Friday, October 17, 2008

Radiate Jesus

The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. - Hebrews 1:3 (NIV)
Episcopalian Cecil B. DeMille produced the first big Jesus epic. The primitive special effects accompanying Jesus' miracles somehow make them more believable and real. In a world of bigger, louder, and faster, King of Kings humanizes the Gospels and radiates a visual representation of God's glory in Jesus.

We attended a Sarah Palin Rally this afternoon. Her speech was great and the enthusiasm 24,000 plus in attendance added to memory. The words seemed to be the same. The speech was much like what we hard heard on television and on blogs. Yet, I discovered a humanizing of the entire American election process. I am proud of this great land.

Then, I thought of this verse from Hebrews, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word." We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are to be the visualization of Jesus to the world...I can't help but wonder how many people have seen the "humanizing" of Jesus in me....or you? God has trusted us with a message that is larger than comprehension and easy to grasp. It is our job to develop it with in our minsitries and lives.

In order to truly declare how much God is worth (worship), it is imperative that we are Jesus to those we come in contact with. Our current sermon series deals with, "Getting MORE out of what you've got." The answer is to "Give MORE of what you have." Therefore, give thanks to the great God we love this Thanksgiving season and be the radiance of Jesus in the lives we live. The believer and Christ follower is much like the epic, "King of Kings" in that we are to radiate the greatest life ever lived.

You know I love Ya,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Sermon Series: Getting More out of What you've Got

We are starting a new six week sermon series titled: "Getting more out of what you've got." In order to do this we are to GIVE more of what WE HAVE! I will be preaching the first two sermons in the Solid Ground Services that deal with this topic. I am very excited about where this will take us.

The above VIDEO is the Sermon Opening. Our first scripture text is Matthew 25:14-30.
The Parable of the Talents
14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'

23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'

26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

We are going to have some study "fun." Join me in praying about how God will lead us through the text and what we can do to get more out of what we've got. You know I love ya - Don

Monday, October 13, 2008

Beautiful in its time!

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. - Ecclesiastes 3:11

We are travelling home from a wedding in Virginia this weekend. Our travels are taking us through the Appalachian mountains of Virginia and West Virginia. It is beautiful! Fall is in full bloom and the trees and mountains are a alive with reds, browns, yellows and greens.

I was thinking of this verse, God has made everything beautiful in it time...in my opinion the best time is Fall. With the vastness of the cascades and the greatness of the blue sky above, I think of the eternity God gives to those who believe. With His eternity in mind, MY MIND, can not even fathom how wonderful it will be.......I (and You) can have complete confidence that God will complete the work He started in ME on His time and it will be TOTALLY beautiful!

As I see these mountains today, What can I do but worship....but to declare how much God is worth to me!

You know I love ya, Don

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Political Humor....I promise

With all the politics in our country right now I thought a good Friday Funny (its a day late, sorry) should lean towards Political Humor (well that is what the polls indicated....and I always go with the polls. Remember Al Gore and John Kerry were both winning according to the polls. Where are they now?) So, enjoy and remember to laugh a little at all the rhetoric...it will keep you from crying.

A little girl asked her father, "Daddy? Do all Fairy Tales begin with 'Once Upon A Time'?"

He replied, "No, there is a whole series of Fairy Tales that begin with 'If elected I promise'."
Have great weekend and you know I love ya - Don

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Milk, righteousness, sin, and looking forward!

Hebrews 5:13; "Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness."

I just gave Matthew and Alice there morning milk and this verse came to mind. Matthew and Alice both started with a bottle with only a couple of ounces, now they get a cup with 6-8 ounces on a regular basis through out the day. The writer of Hebrews was using this as an illustration of how we are to grow into right living.

Righteousness is the opposite of sin. In the words of Mr. Spock, it is logical to follow the logic.....as we grow into more right living we will have less sin and more righteousness....will we ever achieve success? Yes, but not until we reach heaven. The flesh is a burden that holds us down. BUT, when we get to heaven we will receive a new heart, a heart that does not have the sinful nature that holds us back in this short life.

Therefore, we make it our goal to please Him and strive for righteousness, running the race and leaving behind all the sin that so easily entangles us and ruins our lives.

Join me in running for Jesus...you know I love ya, Don

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Being a Dad

I love my job as a Dad. I don't know why God saw fit to bless me with two great children, but He did. So, I am thankful for the job. I also pray God gives me and their Mother (world's greatest wife) the wisdom to do a great job...because they deserve it. Thanks Matthew and Alice for blessing me. - Dad

Thank God for Kids

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Bride and Groom - Friday Funny

Happy Friday to you! This weekend is the Riley Festival. We are looking forward to that. For more information click on "Riley Festival." The queen this year sings in our choir, awesome Christian Girl. Way to God Melanie!

I seem to be in wedding mode (one tomorrow and one in VA next week) so I thought this would be a good Friday Funny. Enjoy and you know I love ya, - Don

The Bride & Groom

During the wedding rehearsal, the groom approached the pastor with an unusual offer:

"Look, I'll give you $100 if you'll change the wedding vows. When you get to the part where I'm supposed to promise to 'love, honor and obey' and 'be faithful to her forever,' I'd appreciate it if you'd just leave that out."

He passed the minister a $100 bill and walked away satisfied. On the day of the wedding, when it came time for the groom's vows, the pastor looked the young man in the eye and said:

"Will you promise to prostrate yourself before her, obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life, and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even look at another woman, as long as you both shall live?"

The groom gulped and looked around, and said in a tiny voice, "Yes," then leaned toward the pastor and hissed: "I thought we had a deal."

The pastor put a $100 bill into the groom's hand and whispered: "She made me a better offer."

I am not sure I would go for this as a minister, but I might. - Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Advice for Sarah Palin

This is great advice for Sarah Palin in preparation for her debate with Joe Bummer.....

Romans 11:33-12:2

33Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and[i] knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
34"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"[j]
35"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"[k]
36For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[l] act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Hey, this is good advice for all of us.....Have a great Thursday! -Don

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Way to God

John 14:6-7, "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know[a] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

Do you know God? Christians have compromised to the point that many Americans call themselves Christians, yet we see panic and confusion...loss of love and courage...hatred and bickering...and self-centered actions. These are the Christians that are acting this way. The world has a whole other set of issues, but there is no standard to hold the world too...they openly do not know God!

I am asking about the ones that say they know God and act this way. Paul would have said, "I want to do one thing, but my flesh pulls me to another...." (Don's paraphrase) He also called this action his thorn in the flesh. Yet, we see Paul with a contrite heart and a willingness to seek repentance and forgiveness from the Almighty...a vast majority of Christians today are not seeking repentance or forgiveness...there is the attitude, "I did that already."

I wonder if what we really aught to call ourselves are "church-goers." I go see a movie and I am a "movie-goer." I watch a debate on TV and I am a "debate-watcher." I read a book and I am a "book-reader." I DO NOT WANT TO JUST BE A "CHURCH-GOER! I WANT TO BE A CHRIST FOLLOWER....and then I will know God!

The way to the Father is (Put your name in the "I") "I hear the word...then I respond to the word with confession and repentance...then I submit to His authority in immersing my entire "self" with Jesus Christ in water and spirit." Now "I" am a Christ Follower!

If you have thoughts or would like to know more please feel free to email me at dcrane@parkchapel.org.

You know I love you enough to tell you that there is only ONE way to the Father...it is Jesus Christ, no one comes to God without Him. To coexists is not the issue, but to exist in the love of God is.

- Don