Does anyone remember the days of Sunday School when the Flannelgraph was the visual-king-of-the-day? I fondly recall when our teacher would tell a story and animate it with those 2 dimensional flat, felt, life-like recreations of Jesus, the disciples, Noah, David and Goliath, Samson, and so many more.
Oh those were the days. I can see it in my minds-eye now. Because of those stories and that technique, the ideas are firmly imprinted in my mind. For the next four weeks, we are going to return to the pre-computer graphic days and do a series called Flannelgraph Favorites.
We’ll highlight some of our favorite OT stories that are so indelibly etched in our minds. We’ll add some new thoughts and of course, make application to today for all of us. I can’t wait!
I want you to know that my dear wife of thirty-three years and my best friend will soon walk into the presence of her Savior and hear those welcoming words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Of course we still are praying that God will raise her up and restore her to health. But, Christie and I leave that decision to our all-loving Father. Father knows best and we choose to trust Him.
Despite her valiant efforts, wise medical and professional help, and seven rounds of chemotherapy, the cancer continues to grow. We have requested hospice care and hope to move Christie home from the hospital where my bride will spend her final days surrounded and cared for by her family.
Thank you for all the prayers and support you have given us these last two years. You are an awesome family of God. I am proud to be called your pastor. You have interceded for us, encouraged us, and sustained us.
Now I ask you to do one more thing, just as important, and maybe even more difficult. Please don’t blame God even when we don’t understand. He loves us so much. We will all grieve, in different ways, but not “as those who have no hope.” We will miss her terribly but we know that her absence from us is only temporary and that eternity awaits us all who are faithful to the end.
Christie and I will spend her last days with our children–Brittney and husband, Nick and Jesse and his wife, Kate–and our 6 grandkids. I know you will respect this precious family time and understand when I do not respond to texts or emails.
Christie is not able to receive visitors, if you wish to tell her something, pray for her, tell her a story about how she has impacted your life, or say you love her, please write a letter or note, give it to the Jr. Marbles or put it in the milk box at 3641 Amber Sun Circle and we will read it to Christie.
52:13 “Just watch my servant blossom! Exalted, tall, head and shoulders above the crowd! But he didn’t begin that way. At first everyone was appalled. He didn’t even look human—a ruined face, disfigured past recognition. Nations all over the world will be in awe, taken aback, kings shocked into silence when they see him. For what was unheard of they’ll see with their own eyes, what was unthinkable they’ll have right before them.”
53 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.
He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn’t say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true.
Still, it’s what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.
Out of that terrible travail of soul, he’ll see that it’s worth it and be glad he did it.
Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many “righteous ones,” as he himself carries the burden of their sins.
Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly—the best of everything, the highest honors—
Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.
Back in December, we took an entire weeks offering and chose to give it away to ministries right here in Castle Rock. None of it was used to pay the church bills, we gave it all away!
It was such a joy for us to be able to hand over a check to each of these wonderful ministries in our town! Pastor Mark took some video when he went around delivering the checks, view it here:
Giving to our Community
Are there two words that mean more than these two in our vocabulary?
They are like a wrecking ball, a 2×4 upside the noggin, or a tsunami about to hit shore. Or conversely it can be the touch of a loving hand at just the right time, a gentle word that turns away wrath, an ordinance specialist dismantling a highly explosive bomb, a heralded arrival of Father’s Glory, or a soothing balm. They both show a side of things often forgotten. They reveal a nature outside our own. They highlight a sovereign, loving Father whose ways are far above our ways.
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 1 Cor 1:27 NIV
Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Phil 2:27 NIV
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, Eph 2:4 NASB
So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Gal 4:7 NIV
I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 1 Cor 3:6 NASB