3Crosses Church presents

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PRESENTATION DATES

  • Saturday, April 13 at 2:30 PM

  • Sunday, April 14 at 6:00 PM

  • Thursday, April 18 at 7:30 PM

  • Friday, April 19 at 7:30 PM

  • Saturday, April 20 at 2:30 PM 

TICKET SALES

In person sales start Sunday March 10, 2019 after Sunday mornings services
Online sales start Monday, March 11, 2019

 

Where can I purchase my tickets?

  • Sundays, in the lobby after church services

  • In the Church Main Office - Monday - Friday from 9 AM - 4 PM

  • Online at www.3crosses.org 

  • At the box office the day of presentations, if not sold out.


ALL TICKETS ARE GENERAL SEATING - $5.00 each


Tickets are non-refundable & non-exchangeable. 

Ticket holders must be seated fifteen minutes before each performance, at which time any open seats will be made available to others.


**Due to the content of this presentation, it is not recommended for children 5 and under. Free Childcare for ages 3 months – 5 years is available by reservation only at: 3crosses.org/childcaresignup. Childcare will be provided for all presentations.

3Crosses church - 20600 John Dr. - Castro Valley - 510-537-4690


Celebrating Lent
Reflect - Repent - Renew - Remember

Music:  Wachet auf, ruft uns die stimme (BWV 140 - also known as Sleeper's Wake by Johann Sebastian Bach

Romans 12:1-2  (MEV)
I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
One of the important keys to a healthy spiritual life is the daily renewing of our mind and heart.  Our spirit needs refreshing on a regular basis just like the like Israelites in the wilderness needed fresh manna everyday.  Without this we will find ourselves growing distant from the Lord and our hearts can become cold and indifferent to Him.
This refreshing can come in many forms but primarily we need to seek His presence, reflect on His love, and meditate on His Word. The old puritans used to "practice the presence of the Lord".  If we do this everyday then we will find our understanding of His love will be tangible and real in our lifes.  There are times when we can grow somewhat cold in our relationship with Christ, but it is comforting to know that He wants us to be close to Him and He is always to be found when we diligently seek Him.
Do you need renewal today?  You will find a God waiting for you with His arms open, ready and willing to restore a beautiful relationship with Him.  What an amazing God!
Pastor Kevin Ledbetter – Music & Arts at 3Crosses

"We must know before we can love. In order to know God, we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall then also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure." – Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God


"Let us occupy ourselves entirely in knowing God. The more we know Him, the more we will desire to know Him. As love increases with knowledge, the more we know God, the more we will truly love Him. We will learn to love Him equally in times of distress or in times of great joy." – Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

Galatians 2:20  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.   REVELATIONS OF DIVINE LOVE by Jullian of Norwich (1342-?)   As the body wears clothes and the bones are covered with skin with our heart inside, so are we, soul and body, clad in the goodness of God.  Our soul is so wonderfully loved of Him that no one can comprehend it. That is to say, no creature can fully comprehend how much, and how sweetly, and how tenderly our Maker loves us. Therefore we may with grace and His help stand in awe of this love, and forever marvel at this high, overpassing, inestimable Love that Almighty God has toward us of His goodness.  He that made all things for love, by the same love keeps them, and shall keep them forever.  So that I would better understand, this blessed word came to me: "Lo, how I loved you! Behold and see that I loved you so much that I died for you and suffered willingly. And now is all my bitter pain and all my hard travail turned to endless joy and bliss to me and to you. Now it shall be that if you pray for anything that please me I will gladly give it. For my pleasing is your holiness and your endless joy and bliss with me."  In love He sustains us within Himself. In love He travailed when He suffered the sharpest throes and the most grievous pains that ever were or ever shall be, and finally died. All this was to bring us to Himself, and only because of His marvelous love. He said to me, "If I would have had to suffer more to bring you to myself, I would have done so."    "God's love did not begin at Calvary. Before the morning stars sang together, before the world was baptized with the first light, before the first blades of tender grass peeped out, God was love." – Billy Graham

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

REVELATIONS OF DIVINE LOVE by Jullian of Norwich (1342-?)


As the body wears clothes and the bones are covered with skin with our heart inside, so are we, soul and body, clad in the goodness of God.

Our soul is so wonderfully loved of Him that no one can comprehend it. That is to say, no creature can fully comprehend how much, and how sweetly, and how tenderly our Maker loves us. Therefore we may with grace and His help stand in awe of this love, and forever marvel at this high, overpassing, inestimable Love that Almighty God has toward us of His goodness.

He that made all things for love, by the same love keeps them, and shall keep them forever.

So that I would better understand, this blessed word came to me: "Lo, how I loved you! Behold and see that I loved you so much that I died for you and suffered willingly. And now is all my bitter pain and all my hard travail turned to endless joy and bliss to me and to you. Now it shall be that if you pray for anything that please me I will gladly give it. For my pleasing is your holiness and your endless joy and bliss with me."

In love He sustains us within Himself. In love He travailed when He suffered the sharpest throes and the most grievous pains that ever were or ever shall be, and finally died. All this was to bring us to Himself, and only because of His marvelous love. He said to me, "If I would have had to suffer more to bring you to myself, I would have done so."

"God's love did not begin at Calvary. Before the morning stars sang together, before the world was baptized with the first light, before the first blades of tender grass peeped out, God was love." – Billy Graham

Excerpt from "Experiencing God Day by Day" by Henry & Richard Blackaby   "Prayer is designed to adjust you to God's will, not to adjust God to your will.  Prayer does not give you spiritual power. Prayer aligns your life with God so that He chooses to demonstrate His power through you. The purpose of prayer is not to convince God to change your circumstances but to prepare you to be involved in God's activity.  The fervent prayer of the people at Pentecost did not induce the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Prayer brought them to a place where they were ready to participate in the mighty work God had already planned.  Jesus told His followers to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:4–5). The disciples obeyed His command, waiting for God's next directive. As they prayed, God adjusted their lives to what He intended to do next. As they prayed, a unity developed among them.  For the first time the disciples used Scripture as their guide in decision making (Acts 1:15–26). The day of Pentecost arrived, and the city of Jerusalem filled with pilgrims from around the world. When God released His Holy Spirit upon the disciples, He had already filled the city with messengers who would carry the Gospel to every nation. Prayer had prepared the disciples for their obedient response.  Prayer is designed to adjust you to God's will, not to adjust God to your will. If God has not responded to what you are praying, you may need to adjust your praying to align with God's agenda. Rather than focusing on what you would like to see happen, realize that God may be more concerned with what He wants to see happen in you."   SCRIPTURE Hebrews 5:7 (NIV)  During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.   1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.   Psalm 25:6-10 (NIV)  Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me,    "Prayer is both conversation and encounter with God. . . We must know the awe of praising his glory, the intimacy of finding his grace, and the struggle of asking his help, all of which can lead us to know the spiritual reality of his presence." – Tim Keller "Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God"

Excerpt from "Experiencing God Day by Day"
by Henry & Richard Blackaby


"Prayer is designed to adjust you to God's will, not to adjust God to your will.

Prayer does not give you spiritual power. Prayer aligns your life with God so that He chooses to demonstrate His power through you. The purpose of prayer is not to convince God to change your circumstances but to prepare you to be involved in God's activity.

The fervent prayer of the people at Pentecost did not induce the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Prayer brought them to a place where they were ready to participate in the mighty work God had already planned.

Jesus told His followers to remain in Jerusalem until the Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:4–5). The disciples obeyed His command, waiting for God's next directive. As they prayed, God adjusted their lives to what He intended to do next. As they prayed, a unity developed among them.

For the first time the disciples used Scripture as their guide in decision making (Acts 1:15–26). The day of Pentecost arrived, and the city of Jerusalem filled with pilgrims from around the world. When God released His Holy Spirit upon the disciples, He had already filled the city with messengers who would carry the Gospel to every nation. Prayer had prepared the disciples for their obedient response.

Prayer is designed to adjust you to God's will, not to adjust God to your will. If God has not responded to what you are praying, you may need to adjust your praying to align with God's agenda. Rather than focusing on what you would like to see happen, realize that God may be more concerned with what He wants to see happen in you."

SCRIPTURE
Hebrews 5:7 (NIV)

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 25:6-10 (NIV)
Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,

"Prayer is both conversation and encounter with God. . . We must know the awe of praising his glory, the intimacy of finding his grace, and the struggle of asking his help, all of which can lead us to know the spiritual reality of his presence." – Tim Keller "Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God"

Psalm 32: 1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.    PSALM 32 – Part I by Isaac Watts   Repentance and free pardon.  Blest is the man, for ever blest, Whose guilt is pardoned by his God; Whose sins with sorrow are confessed, And covered with his Savior's blood.  Blest is the man to whom the Lord Imputes not his iniquities; He pleads no merit of reward, And not on works, but grace relies.  From guile his heart and lips are free; His humble joy, his holy fear, With deep repentance well agree, And join to prove his faith sincere.  How glorious is that righteousness That hides and cancels all his sins, While a bright evidence of grace Through his whole life appears and shine!    "Repentance means turning from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God, and as our knowledge grows at these three points so our practice of repentance has to be enlarged." – J.I. Packer

Psalm 32: 1
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.


PSALM 32 – Part I by Isaac Watts

Repentance and free pardon.

Blest is the man, for ever blest,
Whose guilt is pardoned by his God;
Whose sins with sorrow are confessed,
And covered with his Savior's blood.

Blest is the man to whom the Lord
Imputes not his iniquities;
He pleads no merit of reward,
And not on works, but grace relies.

From guile his heart and lips are free;
His humble joy, his holy fear,
With deep repentance well agree,
And join to prove his faith sincere.

How glorious is that righteousness
That hides and cancels all his sins,
While a bright evidence of grace
Through his whole life appears and shine!

"Repentance means turning from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God, and as our knowledge grows at these three points so our practice of repentance has to be enlarged." – J.I. Packer

CHRIST THE REDEEMER

MUSIC:  "Attende Domine" 10th Century Mozarabic Hymn - Hereford Cathedral 1982 (Roy Massey) 


Hear us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have sinned against thee.
To thee, Redeemer, on thy throne of glory:
lift we our weeping eyes in holy pleadings: listen, O Jesu, to our supplications.
O thou chief cornerstone, right hand of the Father:
way of salvation, gate of life celestial:
cleanse thou our sinful souls from all defilement.
God, we implore thee, in thy glory seated:
bow down and hearken to thy weeping children:
pity and pardon all our grievous trespasses.
Sins oft committed, now we lay before thee:
with true contrition, now no more we veil them:
grant us, Redeemer, loving absolution.
Innocent captive, taken unresisting:
falsely accused, and for us sinners sentenced,
save us, we pray thee, Jesu, our Redeemer.

Isaiah 47:4
Our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is His name, The Holy One of Israel.

Ephesians 1:7
In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.

Colossians 1: 13-14
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

"The work of redemption was accomplished by Christ in His death on the cross and has in view the payment of the price demanded by a holy God for the deliverance of the believer from the bondage and burden of sin.  In redemption the sinner is set free from his condemnation and slavery to sin." – John F. Walvoord

The Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with the French engineer Albert Caquot.  A symbol of Christianity across the world, the statue has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. The statue is 125 feet tall and was completed in 1931.

REPENTANCE By Oswald Chambers (My Utmost For His Highest)    Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation… 2 Corinthians 7:10   Conviction of sin is best described in the words: My sins, my sins, my Savior, How sad on Thee they fall. Conviction of sin is one of the most uncommon things that ever happens to a person. It is the beginning of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict people of sin (see John 16:8). And when the Holy Spirit stirs a person's conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not that person's relationship with others that bothers him but his relationship with God – "Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight…" (Psalm 51:4). The wonders of conviction of sin, forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven person who is truly holy. He proves he is forgiven by being the opposite of what he was previously, by the grace of God. Repentance always brings a person to the point of saying, "I have sinned." The surest sign that God is at work in his life is when he says that and means it. Anything less is simply sorrow for having made foolish mistakes-a reflex action caused by self-disgust. The entrance into the kingdom of God is through the sharp, sudden pains of repentance colliding with man's respectable "goodness." Then the Holy Spirit, who produces these struggles, begins the formation of the Son of God in the person's life (see Galatians 4:19). This new life will reveal itself in conscious repentance followed by unconscious holiness, never the other way around. The foundation of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a person cannot repent when he chooses - repentance is a gift of God. The old Puritans used to pray for "the gift of tears." If you ever cease to understand the value of repentance, you allow yourself to remain in sin. Examine yourself to see if you have forgotten how to be truly repentant.   ISAIAH 30:15  This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.   PRAYER  Dear Lord, thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for not abandoning us to our mistakes, but for reaching out instead to bring us home. Help convict me of sin and help me accept your mercy without shame. Thank you for the love you have poured out for me and all of your children. Help me live out of that love today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.    "It is impossible to read too much, but always keep before you why you read. Remember that "the need to receive, recognize, and rely on the Holy Spirit" is before all else. – Oswald Chambers(Approved Unto God)

REPENTANCE
By Oswald Chambers (My Utmost For His Highest)


Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…
2 Corinthians 7:10


Conviction of sin is best described in the words:
My sins, my sins, my Savior,
How sad on Thee they fall.
Conviction of sin is one of the most uncommon things that ever happens to a person. It is the beginning of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict people of sin (see John 16:8). And when the Holy Spirit stirs a person's conscience and brings him into the presence of
God, it is not that person's relationship with others that bothers him but his relationship with God – "Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight…" (Psalm 51:4). The wonders of conviction of sin, forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven person who is truly holy.
He proves he is forgiven by being the opposite of what he was previously, by the grace of God. Repentance always brings a person to the point of saying, "I have sinned." The surest sign that God is at work in his life is when he says that and means it.
Anything less is simply sorrow for having made foolish mistakes-a reflex action caused by self-disgust. The entrance into the kingdom of God is through the sharp, sudden pains of repentance colliding with man's respectable "goodness." Then the Holy Spirit, who produces these struggles, begins the formation of the Son of God in the person's life (see Galatians 4:19). This new life will reveal itself in conscious repentance followed by unconscious holiness, never the other way around. The foundation of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a person cannot repent when he chooses - repentance is a gift of God. The old Puritans used to pray for "the gift of tears." If you ever cease to understand the value of repentance, you allow yourself to remain in sin. Examine yourself to see if you have forgotten how to be truly repentant.

ISAIAH 30:15
This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.

PRAYER
Dear Lord, thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for not abandoning us to our mistakes, but for reaching out instead to bring us home. Help convict me of sin and help me accept your mercy without shame. Thank you for the love you have poured out for me and all of your children. Help me live out of that love today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

"It is impossible to read too much, but always keep before you why you read. Remember that "the need to receive, recognize, and rely on the Holy Spirit" is before all else.
– Oswald Chambers(Approved Unto God)

"REPENTANCE" by George Herbert (1593-1633)
Lord, I confess my sin is great:
Great is my sin. Oh! gently treat
With thy quick flower, thy momentary bloom;
Whose life still pressing
Is one undressing,
A steady aiming at a tomb.
Man's age is two hours' work, or three;
Each day doth round about us see.
Thus are we to delights: but we are all
To sorrows old,
If life be told
From what life feeleth, Adam's fall.
O let thy height of mercy then
Compassionate short-breathed men,
Cut me not off for my most foul transgression:
I do confess
My foolishness;
My God, accept of my confession.
Sweeten at length this bitter bowl,
Which thou hast pour'd into my soul;
Thy wormwood turn to health, winds to fair weather;
For if thou stay,
I and this day,
As we did rise, we die together.

Ephesians 1:7-8 (NIV)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,

Hebrews 9:28 (NIV)
so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

John 1:9  (NIV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

"To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you." – C.S. Lewis

ARTWORK: "The Return of The Prodigal Son" by Marc Chagall    (LUKE 15: 11-32)  The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a story of a rebellious son who rejects his father's upbringing. Prideful and strong, the son heads-off to a far-away land, leads a wild life of adventure, and squanders everything of value. Not until he's confronted with failure and despair, does he return home, repentant and willing to do anything to win back his father's favor. To his surprise, and the surprise of others, he's welcomed, without question, into his father's loving and forgiving arms. No amount of time, no amount of money, and no amount of rebellion could get in the way of the father's patience and unconditional love for his son.  The amazing message of this parable is that God is patient and gracious with all of His children. When we understand that a parable is an imaginary story to illustrate a spiritual point, we can quickly perceive that Jesus is using this account to teach us of God the Father's love for each of us. And while we are all sinners, as was the prodigal son, it is heartwarming, comforting and almost incomprehensible that God the Father is willing to welcome each of us home into His loving and forgiving arms.    A HYMN TO GOD THE FATHER by John Donne   Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun, Which was my sin, though it were done before? Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run, And do run still, though still I do deplore? When thou hast done, thou hast not done, For I have more.  Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won Others to sin, and made my sin their door? Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score? When thou hast done, thou hast not done, For I have more.  I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun My last thread, I shall perish on the shore; But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore; And, having done that, thou hast done; I fear no more.   JOEL 2:13  Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is Gracious and compassionate, slow to anger And abounding in love, and he relents from Sending calamity.   I JOHN 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.    "God loves us too much to indulge our every whim." - Max Lucado

ARTWORK: "The Return of The Prodigal Son" by Marc Chagall

(LUKE 15: 11-32)
The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a story of a rebellious son who rejects his father's upbringing. Prideful and strong, the son heads-off to a far-away land, leads a wild life of adventure, and squanders everything of value. Not until he's confronted with failure and despair, does he return home, repentant and willing to do anything to win back his father's favor. To his surprise, and the surprise of others, he's welcomed, without question, into his father's loving and forgiving arms. No amount of time, no amount of money, and no amount of rebellion could get in the way of the father's patience and unconditional love for his son.

The amazing message of this parable is that God is patient and gracious with all of His children. When we understand that a parable is an imaginary story to illustrate a spiritual point, we can quickly perceive that Jesus is using this account to teach us of God the Father's love for each of us. And while we are all sinners, as was the prodigal son, it is heartwarming, comforting and almost incomprehensible that God the Father is willing to welcome each of us home into His loving and forgiving arms.


A HYMN TO GOD THE FATHER by John Donne

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

JOEL 2:13
Rend your heart and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God, for he is
Gracious and compassionate, slow to anger
And abounding in love, and he relents from
Sending calamity.

I JOHN 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

"God loves us too much to indulge our every whim." - Max Lucado

We Delight to Praise An except from Reflections on Psalms by C.S. Lewis   I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation….  But how if one could really and fully praise even such things to perfection - utterly "get out" in poetry or music or paint the upsurge of appreciation which almost bursts from you? Then indeed the object would be fully appreciated and our delight would have attained perfect development. The worthier the object, the more intense this delight would be. If it were possible for a crated soul fully (I mean, up to the full measure conceivable in a finite being) to "appreciate," that is to love and delight in, the worthiest object of all, and simultaneously at every moment to give this delight perfect expression, then that soul would be in supreme beatitude….  To see what the doctrine really means, we must suppose ourselves to be in perfect love with God - drunk with, drowned in, dissolved by, that delight which, far from remaining pent up within ourselves as incommunicable, hence hardly tolerable, bliss, flows out from us incessantly again in effortless and perfect expression, our joy no more separable from the praise in which it liberates and utters itself than the brightness a mirror receives is separable from the brightness it sheds. The Scotch catechism says that man's chief end is "to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God in inviting us to enjoy Him.   Psalm 63:3  Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!   Psalm 89:1-2  I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.   Romans 5:8  But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.    "By the cross we know the gravity of sin and the greatness of God's love toward us." – John Chrysostom

We Delight to Praise
An except from Reflections on Psalms by C.S. Lewis


I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation….

But how if one could really and fully praise even such things to perfection - utterly "get out" in poetry or music or paint the upsurge of appreciation which almost bursts from you? Then indeed the object would be fully appreciated and our delight would have attained perfect development. The worthier the object, the more intense this delight would be. If it were possible for a crated soul fully (I mean, up to the full measure conceivable in a finite being) to "appreciate," that is to love and delight in, the worthiest object of all, and simultaneously at every moment to give this delight perfect expression, then that soul would be in supreme beatitude….

To see what the doctrine really means, we must suppose ourselves to be in perfect love with God - drunk with, drowned in, dissolved by, that delight which, far from remaining pent up within ourselves as incommunicable, hence hardly tolerable, bliss, flows out from us incessantly again in effortless and perfect expression, our joy no more separable from the praise in which it liberates and utters itself than the brightness a mirror receives is separable from the brightness it sheds. The Scotch catechism says that man's chief end is "to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." But we shall then know that these are the same thing. Fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God in inviting us to enjoy Him.

Psalm 63:3
Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you!

Psalm 89:1-2

I will sing of the Lord's great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.

Romans 5:8
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

"By the cross we know the gravity of sin and the greatness of God's love toward us." – John Chrysostom

O THE DEEP, DEEP LOVE OF JESUS
Performed by Sovereign Grace  (From the Album "Come Weary Saints")


This well-known hymn was written by the London merchant Samuel Trevor Francis (1834-1925). Francis had a spiritual turning point as a teenager, contemplating suicide one night on a bridge over the River Thames. Experiencing a renewal of faith, he went on to author many poems and hymns and was a preacher in addition to his merchant career.

The song compares Jesus' love to the ocean in scope, emphasizing the limitless, unchanging, and sacrificial nature of God's affections for the singer and all of humanity.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o'er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o'er them from the throne!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
'Tis an ocean vast of blessing, 'tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 'tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

ROMANS 8:37-39

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


"God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. - Augustine

EASTER PRAYER  When everything was dark and it seemed that the sun would never shine again, your love broke through.  Your love was too strong, too wide, too deep for death to hold.  The sparks cast by your love dance and spread and burst forth with resurrection light.  Gracious God, We praise you for the light of new life made possible through Jesus. We praise you for the light of new life that shone on the first witnesses of resurrection. We praise you for the light of new life that continues to shine in our hearts today.  We pray that the Easter light of life, hope and joy, will live in us each day; and that we will be bearers of that light into the lives of others. Amen.    John 4: 9-11 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

EASTER PRAYER
When everything was dark
and it seemed that the sun would never shine again,
your love broke through.

Your love was too strong,
too wide,
too deep
for death to hold.

The sparks cast by your love
dance and spread
and burst forth
with resurrection light.

Gracious God,
We praise you for the light of new life
made possible through Jesus.
We praise you for the light of new life
that shone on the first witnesses of resurrection.
We praise you for the light of new life
that continues to shine in our hearts today.

We pray that the Easter light of life, hope and joy,
will live in us each day;
and that we will be bearers of that light
into the lives of others.
Amen.

John 4: 9-11
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Easter Reflections by Helen Steiner Rice   With OUR EYES we see The beauty of Easter as the earth awakens once more...  With OUR EARS we hear The birds sing sweetly to tell us Spring again is here...  With OUR HANDS we pick the golden daffodils and the fragrant hyacinths...  But only with OUR HEARTS can we feel the MIRACLE of GOD'S LOVE which redeems all men...  And only with OUR SOUL can we make our 'pilgrimage to God' and inherit His Easter Gift of ETERNAL LIFE.  'Easter Reflections' is a poem by Helen Steiner Rice that tells how God blesses us through beauty of the spring season. For the poet, Easter is the time when earth wakes up from a deep slumber and heralds the beginning of new life. Vibrant blooms like daffodils, hyacinths and tulips breathe new life and fragrance into nature. The Easter season is not just limited to its natural beauties. This is a time to feel the real blessings of God and thank him for his eternal gift that he has given us at Easter.   "But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead." - Ephesians 2:4-5  "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17    PRAYER  The veil of darkness Transformed to the brightest light. The most dreadful end Became the most beautiful beginning. The depths of despair Fade to reveal hope everlasting. The curse of death Defeated by eternal life.  Thank you Lord, for the wonder of Easter.    "The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake." Basic C Hume, (1923-1999) Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster    ARTWORK: Water Lilies by Claude Monet (1919)

Easter Reflections by Helen Steiner Rice

With OUR EYES we see
The beauty of Easter
as the earth awakens once more...

With OUR EARS we hear
The birds sing sweetly
to tell us Spring again is here...

With OUR HANDS we pick
the golden daffodils
and the fragrant hyacinths...

But only with OUR HEARTS
can we feel the MIRACLE of GOD'S LOVE
which redeems all men...

And only with OUR SOUL
can we make our 'pilgrimage to God'
and inherit His Easter Gift of ETERNAL LIFE.

'Easter Reflections' is a poem by Helen Steiner Rice that tells how God blesses us through beauty of the spring season. For the poet, Easter is the time when earth wakes up from a deep slumber and heralds the beginning of new life. Vibrant blooms like daffodils, hyacinths and tulips breathe new life and fragrance into nature. The Easter season is not just limited to its natural beauties. This is a time to feel the real blessings of God and thank him for his eternal gift that he has given us at Easter.

"But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead." - Ephesians 2:4-5

"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" - 2 Corinthians 5:17


PRAYER
The veil of darkness
Transformed to the brightest light.
The most dreadful end
Became the most beautiful beginning.
The depths of despair
Fade to reveal hope everlasting.
The curse of death
Defeated by eternal life.

Thank you Lord, for the wonder of Easter.

"The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake."
Basic C Hume, (1923-1999) Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster


ARTWORK: Water Lilies by Claude Monet (1919)

When we look our lives, it is wonderful to know that God's love for us is always there. Whether it is a difficult season of life or a struggle that seems to last longer than our hearts would want, God still watches over us. He is the God who brings "beauty from ashes, and joy from mourning". Reflect on how many times God has already done this in our life. When all seemed hopeless, it was our Heavenly Father who gave us hope. When one of our important relationships ended and we were in great pain, it was God's love that healed our heart. No matter what the circumstances it is always God and His love that is the answer. Reflect on God's amazing love, it will be exactly what you need today, tomorrow, and forever.  Kevin Ledbetter- Pastor of Music & Arts    Isaiah 61:3 Modern English Version  ...to preserve those who mourn in Zion ,to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.   Easter by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)   Most glorious Lord of Lyfe! that, on this day, Didst make Thy triumph over death and sin; And, having harrowd hell, didst bring away Captivity thence captive, us to win: This joyous day, deare Lord, with joy begin; And grant that we, for whom thou diddest dye, Being with Thy deare blood clene washt from sin, May live for ever in felicity!  And that Thy love we weighing worthily, May likewise love Thee for the same againe; And for Thy sake, that all lyke deare didst buy, With love may one another entertayne! So let us love, deare Love, lyke as we ought, —Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.   Easter is Edmund Spenser's 68th poem in his sonnet sequence "Amoretti". The poem is a joyous celebration of the Easter festival and the meaning behind it.    "God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, 'I love you.'" – Billy Graham

When we look our lives, it is wonderful to know that God's love for us is always there. Whether it is a difficult season of life or a struggle that seems to last longer than our hearts would want, God still watches over us. He is the God who brings "beauty from ashes, and joy from mourning". Reflect on how many times God has already done this in our life. When all seemed hopeless, it was our Heavenly Father who gave us hope. When one of our important relationships ended and we were in great pain, it was God's love that healed our heart. No matter what the circumstances it is always God and His love that is the answer. Reflect on God's amazing love, it will be exactly what you need today, tomorrow, and forever.
Kevin Ledbetter- Pastor of Music & Arts

Isaiah 61:3 Modern English Version
...to preserve those who mourn in Zion ,to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.

Easter by Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

Most glorious Lord of Lyfe! that, on this day,
Didst make Thy triumph over death and sin;
And, having harrowd hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, deare Lord, with joy begin;
And grant that we, for whom thou diddest dye,
Being with Thy deare blood clene washt from sin,
May live for ever in felicity!

And that Thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love Thee for the same againe;
And for Thy sake, that all lyke deare didst buy,
With love may one another entertayne!
So let us love, deare Love, lyke as we ought,
—Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

Easter is Edmund Spenser's 68th poem in his sonnet sequence "Amoretti". The poem is a joyous celebration of the Easter festival and the meaning behind it.

"God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, 'I love you.'" – Billy Graham

Reflect-Repent-Renew-Remember    ARTWORK: Leon, Nicaragua. Artists create colorful carpets using sawdust and other materials depicting images in the story of Easter in the Barrio Sutiara.    Excerpt from the book "Scribbling In The Sand" by Michael Card   You know the story. "What do you say?" they asked him, with the false adoration he had become used to over time.  But he didn't say anything. Not a syllable. Instead Jesus crouched on his haunches and "wrote down" something with his finger in the sacred sand of the temple….  Finally Jesus broke the awful silence. Standing straight up once more, leaving his scribbling, he spoke, giving in ten simple words a summary of the wisdom and compassion that gave the perfect shape of his life (and can do the same to ours). "Whoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone."  What Jesus did that morning created a space in time that allowed the angry mob first to cool down, then to hear his word, and finally to think about it, be convicted by it and respond-or not. It made time stand still. It was original. It was unexpected. It was a response to the noise and confusion and busyness all around him, yet it was not in the least tainted by the noise. Instead, Jesus' action created a frame around the silence-the kind of silence in which God speaks to the heart. In short, it was a supreme act of creativity. It was art….  Our books, our magnificent paintings, our grand symphonies, all the art ever done in his name since that day cannot hope to be more, and should not be allowed to be less, than Jesus' scribbling that morning in the sand. If what we create, write, dance or sing can open up such a space in time through which God may speak, imagine the possibilities! Painting might become a window through which a confused world looks and sees the sane order of God's creation. Music could become an orchestrated echo of the Voice the tired ears of humankind have longed for ages to hear. This is art through which God is seen and heard, in which he is incarnate, is "fleshed out" in paint and ink, in stone, in creative moment. From the flat, gray point of view of the fallen world they are only scratches and scribbles in the sand, but in light of eternity they become the occasion for divine revelation. What more could we ever hope for, and once we've seen this new possibility, how could we ever settle for less?    Scribbling in the Sand Lyrics by Michael Card   …It was silence it was music It was art it was absurd He stooped and shouted volumes Without saying a single word The same finger of the strong hand That had written ten commands For now was simply scribbling in the sand  Within the space of space and time he scribbled in the sand They came to hear and see as much as they could understand Now bound by cords of kindness they couldn't cast a single stone And Jesus and the women found that they were all alone  Could that same finger come and trace my soul's sacred sand And make some unexpected space where I could understand That my own condemnation pierced and broke that gentle hand That scratched the words I'll never know Written in the sand   John 8:10-11 (NIV) 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."     "But our wounds are part of who we are...and there is nothing left to chance.... And pain's the pen that writes the songs.... That call us forth to dance" – Michael Card  "God is beautiful. His beauty demands a response that has shaped that beauty, and that is art." – Michael Card

Reflect-Repent-Renew-Remember

ARTWORK: Leon, Nicaragua. Artists create colorful carpets using sawdust and other materials depicting images in the story of Easter in the Barrio Sutiara.

Excerpt from the book "Scribbling In The Sand" by Michael Card

You know the story. "What do you say?" they asked him, with the false adoration he had become used to over time.

But he didn't say anything. Not a syllable. Instead Jesus crouched on his haunches and "wrote down" something with his finger in the sacred sand of the temple….

Finally Jesus broke the awful silence. Standing straight up once more, leaving his scribbling, he spoke, giving in ten simple words a summary of the wisdom and compassion that gave the perfect shape of his life (and can do the same to ours). "Whoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone."

What Jesus did that morning created a space in time that allowed the angry mob first to cool down, then to hear his word, and finally to think about it, be convicted by it and respond-or not. It made time stand still. It was original. It was unexpected. It was a response to the noise and confusion and busyness all around him, yet it was not in the least tainted by the noise. Instead, Jesus' action created a frame around the silence-the kind of silence in which God speaks to the heart. In short, it was a supreme act of creativity. It was art….

Our books, our magnificent paintings, our grand symphonies, all the art ever done in his name since that day cannot hope to be more, and should not be allowed to be less, than Jesus' scribbling that morning in the sand. If what we create, write, dance or sing can open up such a space in time through which God may speak, imagine the possibilities! Painting might become a window through which a confused world looks and sees the sane order of God's creation. Music could become an orchestrated echo of the Voice the tired ears of humankind have longed for ages to hear. This is art through which God is seen and heard, in which he is incarnate, is "fleshed out" in paint and ink, in stone, in creative moment. From the flat, gray point of view of the fallen world they are only scratches and scribbles in the sand, but in light of eternity they become the occasion for divine revelation. What more could we ever hope for, and once we've seen this new possibility, how could we ever settle for less?


Scribbling in the Sand
Lyrics by Michael Card


…It was silence it was music
It was art it was absurd
He stooped and shouted volumes
Without saying a single word
The same finger of the strong hand
That had written ten commands
For now was simply scribbling in the sand

Within the space of space and time he scribbled in the sand
They came to hear and see as much as they could understand
Now bound by cords of kindness they couldn't cast a single stone
And Jesus and the women found that they were all alone

Could that same finger come and trace my soul's sacred sand
And make some unexpected space where I could understand
That my own condemnation pierced and broke that gentle hand
That scratched the words I'll never know
Written in the sand

John 8:10-11 (NIV)
10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."


"But our wounds are part of who we are...and there is nothing left to chance.... And pain's the pen that writes the songs.... That call us forth to dance" – Michael Card

"God is beautiful. His beauty demands a response that has shaped that beauty, and that is art." – Michael Card

Reflect-Repent-Renew-Remember   The Lenten season is a time when many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, sacrifice, and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection for Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. Jesus Christ is our example of love and sacrifice. We are called to love God and grow in that love even more.  Join us as we celebrate and prepare our hearts during this beautiful season through expression of art forms. We will be sharing through Scripture, Music, Poetry, Writings and Art. Each day we will focus our heart and thoughts towards Christ’s sacrifice to us and our response to Him.   John 3:16   For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.    Ephesians 5:1-2   Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Reflect-Repent-Renew-Remember

The Lenten season is a time when many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, sacrifice, and spiritual discipline. The purpose is to set aside time for reflection for Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. Jesus Christ is our example of love and sacrifice. We are called to love God and grow in that love even more.

Join us as we celebrate and prepare our hearts during this beautiful season through expression of art forms. We will be sharing through Scripture, Music, Poetry, Writings and Art. Each day we will focus our heart and thoughts towards Christ’s sacrifice to us and our response to Him.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Ephesians 5:1-2
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.