Well Watered

As Spring turns into Summer, I’m always amazed at how a little water can make your lawn flourish. We recently had to fix one station of our sprinkler system, which was causing other ones to quit working. For a few weeks we watched our neighbors have to mow their bright green lawns, while ours still remained dormant. While it was nice to have a few extra weeks of not mowing, the grass was thirsty and needed the water to grow. Once we got it fixed, the color returned, bare spots thickened up, and it looks like we’ll be on the weekly mowing rotation.

In the Texas summer heat, a well watered lawn is pivotal for growth to remain steady. Summertime can be a “dry” season for us spiritually too. During the summer your schedule is different; you may travel for vacation or to see family. Therefore, it’s pivotal for you to remain well watered for steady spiritual growth.

Primarily that means reading the Word. It is those who “delight in the LORD’s instruction” that are “like trees planted by streams of water” with unwithered leaves (Psalm 1:1-3).

Additionally, God has provided teachers whom He uses to water our souls. While Paul was correcting inappropriate attachments to certain leaders in the church at Corinth, there is a unique lesson to learn for our own personal growth in Jesus.

What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.     (1 Corinthians 3:5–7 ESV)
Did you catch that? God gives growth through the teaching of His servants. Some of those who “water” the Gospel-seed in us are authors. In addition to the Bible, God uses - and has always used - books to grow His people. I’d like to suggest two books for summer reading to help you grow. I know God will use these to keep you well watered.
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Transformational Discipleship. This book focuses not on a model of discipleship, but more how growth happens in 
discipleship. Transformational growth happens at the intersection of truth given by a healthy leader when someone is in a vulnerable posture. It will open your eyes to see how & why certain moments were transformative in your own life, and how you can be used by God to do the same in others.pasted image 0 1
Love this book! | Available on Amazon.
What is the Mission of the Church. There are differing opinions in Christianity on what the church’s mission really is. DeYoung and Gilbert examine each text used to defend each position, and show how it all points to one correct answer for what the mission of the church really is: “to make disciples.” More theological in nature, but written for non-seminarians,this book is a must read (and one of my favorites). | Available on Amazon.
May God give you growth as you are watered by the teaching in these books.
- Pastor Jonathan

Holy Week's Trajectory

Holy Week

Jonathan Mansur | March 1st, 2018

The events of Holy Week - Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday - convey in one week’s time the full trajectory of the gospel.

On Palm Sunday, Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem with praise! Upon his entry into the city, the crowds - and even children - were quoting Psalm 118 as they exclaimed “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9, cf. Psalm 118:25-26). The people knew their King had come to Jerusalem!

As the week progressed, opposition rose, culminating in the betrayal of a friend. Instead of the peoples’ praise, Jesus now heard the religious leaders’ rally: “Crucify, crucify him!” (Luke- 23:21). And Pilate conceded. In stark contrast to the shouts of praise heard at the beginning of the week, Jesus would cry out in pain as he paid the penalty for our sins.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Psalm 22:1a ESV)

Sorrowful, the disciples went home for what must’ve seemed like the longest Sabbath day of their lives.
Then, much to their amazement, they heard reports from the women who went to prepare Jesus’ body that he was not there, but had risen. Lo and behold, he himself appeared to them alive indeed!

You can see this gospel trajectory in the hymn Paul quotes in Philippians 2:6-11. It begins in the heights of heaven, follows with the condescension of Jesus “to the point of death.” But then it soars with His super-exaltation as he is risen, ascended, and re-enthroned in heaven. Universal praise befits this event!

We have prepared several things to help us experience this trajectory from height, to depth, to height again.

On Palm Sunday (March 25) not only will we celebrate the beginning events of Holy Week that morning, but we will also celebrate that evening what God is doing in and through our church with our first ‘Celebration Service’. I’m excited for this service because we’ll hear testimonies of how God has led each Sunday school class to serve our community, we’ll share a meal together, we’ll worship together, and we will pray together!

Then, each day of Holy Week you’ll read a meditation written by one of our own church members. These will focus your attention on the cross as Good Friday approaches. In them, we will meditate on the significance of what Jesus said in his final breaths.

On March 30 we will have our first ever Good Friday service at 6:30 p.m. with a “Service of Shadows.” As we leave that service in silence, we will feel - to a lesser degree - the sorrow and sadness of the disciples.

But then comes Sunday. The shadows of Good Friday will make the JOY of Easter that much brighter when we enter with praise, for our Savior is Risen indeed! Because of Jesus, we will sing the victory song with the psalmist:

I shall not die, but I shall live,
and recount the deeds of the LORD. (Psalm 118:17 ESV)

Join us as we walk through the gospel trajectory of Holy Week & celebrate our crucified-yet-risen Savior.

- Pastor Jonathan