Monthly Archives: April 2012

Fortune Cookie Wisdom

The other day I went to lunch at Panda Express with my wife.  We got our typical meal which consists mostly of Orange Chicken and we enjoyed a delicious meal.  My favorite part of eating at a Chinese restaurant, even if it is Panda, is the Fortune Cookie.  I don’t know what it is about them, but they always scream my name.  We even have Fortune Cookie rules, which are never to be broken or the Fortune inside is not valid (for the rules, talk to me later).

But this Fortune Cookie stood out to me in a way that many of them don’t.  This one was a bit more meaningful and was actually filled with wisdom.  The Fortune Cookie read, “The best way to get rid of an enemy is to make a friend.”

Fortune Cookies aren’t the only one’s that say things similar to this. Jesus is recorded in Matthew by saying, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”.

If we’re willing to be completely honest, no one likes people in their lives that they consider enemies.  That’s why they’re enemies.  But Jesus doesn’t tell us to like our enemies; he says to pray for them.  And if we’re spending time on our knees praying for our enemies, eventually they won’t be our enemies anymore.  In prayer, our hearts are changed.  When we pray for others, our hearts are softened and we have more grace toward those people.

And the Fortune Cookie nailed it on the head, especially if you combine it with what Jesus said.  If we fervently pray for our enemies, our hearts change, which allows us to put aside whatever may have happened and become friends.

Additionally, it seems that often times our pride can get in the way and we end up holding grudges for far too long.  Maybe if we put aside our feelings for just a little while, God will soften our hearts, releasing whatever deep-seeded pain we have so we can live in freedom, knowing that we have one less enemy and one more friend.

Pastor Jason Kinzel

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Making Easter More Like Christmas

As we left choir last Wednesday, one of our brothers remarked, “I wish we sang Easter songs more than one Sunday a year.  We sing Christmas songs for a month!”

If we followed the church calendar more closely, we would sing Easter hymns for at least five weeks!

No, I am not talking about the church calendar that Sarah keeps in the office.  I am talking about the calendar that many churches use to mark the telling of the gospel story year after year while relating that story to the whole of Scripture.  This calendar starts with Advent in December and ends with the remembrance of Christ the Ever Reigning King in November.

According to this calendar, we celebrate Easter for five Sundays then celebrate Pentecost, the birthday of the Church when the promised power of the Holy Spirit fell in tongues of fire on the believers.

By celebrating that group of Sundays as Easter Sundays, the Church recognized the on-going affect of Christ’s resurrection.  It was not a one-and-done event.  Christ’s resurrection changed everything for everyone in every age.  His return to life is worth celebrating more than one Sunday a year.  So how do we keep the celebration going?

Both Christmas and Easter have periods of reflection leading up to them.  Advent precedes Christmas and Lent precedes Easter.  Christmas has a post-holiday remembrance time called the Twelve Days of Christmas (sound familiar?).

Maybe we could develop some post-Easter traditions that help us continue the grand resurrection celebration.  We could continue to sing Easter hymns on Sundays.  We could plan family gatherings where we tell stories of how our encounters with the Risen Christ changed life for us.  We could have special post-resurrection devotionals that focus on thanksgiving for all Christ did in living, dying and rising again.

Whatever we do, our brother was right to say that we should keep the celebration going.  Christ IS risen.  He is risen INDEED!

Mike Spinelli

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The Lamb that was Slain

When I was a kid we raised rabbits in our backyard. It was my job to feed them and of course take the bunnies out of the hutch and play with them. I never did see any Easter eggs in the hutch… I never figured that out. The main reason we raised rabbits was for food later on when they got big. At that point they were not cute little fuzz balls, but quite frisky and wild. They were good eating (tasted like chicken haha).

Recently I have been reading in the Old Testament of the sacrifices the children of Israel made. Sometimes it was large animals, like lambs, or smaller animals and birds that were offered.

When I became a Christian at age 9, the minister that led me to the Lord read Isaiah 53. I remember verse 6: “All we like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” That was my sin he bore to Calvary.

Our Shepherd, Our Savior, became the Lamb to take care of the sin offering once and for all.

As we celebrate this Easter season, let’s celebrate the Lamb that was slain. He is worthy. He has once again become our Shepherd.

Let us follow Him.

Pastor Ed Willems