Tag Archives: Jesus

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Cross

Holy Week Worship

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Beautiful Savior offers several worship opportunities during Holy Week.  We would love for you to join us for any of these services!

Palm Branch

PALM SUNDAY

Sunday, April 9th – 9:30AM

Jesus triumphantly enters into Jerusalem as the King. We shout out joyful songs of praise.

 

Communion

MAUNDY THURSDAY

Thursday, April 13th – 7:00PM

Jesus demonstrates a love unlike any other. The King of kings becomes a willing servant.

 

CrossGOOD FRIDAY

Friday, April 14th – 7:00PM

Service of Darkness

Jesus gives up his body and pours out his blood as the perfect sacrifice.

 

Empty TombEASTER SUNDAY

Sunday, April 16th – 9:30AM

Celebration Service

Jesus is risen to free us! Freedom dawned for us on Easter morning as Jesus rose victorious.

An Easter Brunch will be served following worship. All are invited to attend.

 


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Our Savior: From Satan

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The Horror is Real

Do you have your costume yet?  Is your house decorated with spiders, webbing, bones, skulls, ghosts and more? Halloween is coming.  Whether or not you dive all into the day, some people do.  Among the costumes, there are some truly scary looking ones.  Of course, there are the red suits, horns, tails, and pitchforks of the demons and Satan himself. Some will be crafted for children. Some sized for adults will include makeup fit for a horror film. As much as we like to have a little fun around this time of year with horror, terror, and devils, there is truth behind the masks.

The devil is real. He is a former angel who fell from God’s grace. He is called Satan, which means “adversary.” He has one goal. He literally wants to “give you hell.” He stands as a prosecutor before the judgment seat of God. He dissects your character flaws; pride, anger, greed, and lust. He’s convincing and convicting. Though he is the “father of lies,” he doesn’t lie about this. You can’t deny what he says about you. You have no rebuttal to make. It appears his case work will bring the eternal sentence of hell for you.

Yet, Satan does not have the last word. Jesus Christ came to your defense. Jesus’ mission was to defeat the devil and put an end to his evil work. Jesus did not just hinder, slow down or frustrate the devil. He came to destroy him in the most unlikely way – by his death on the cross.  All of the devils’ accusations against are taken away because Jesus forgave all of your sins on the cross.  The devil can no longer successfully accuse you before God.

Since he no longer can accuse you before God, he accuses you directly.  The devil comes to you to remind you of your failures and disappointments.  He will dig up the shameful acts fo your life. He will use them to convince you God would never forgive that. Know that this is his last resort.

The victory is already won! The victory belongs to Jesus. Put your trust in him. By faith, his victory belongs to you. Resist the devil’s temptations and he will flee from you.

We can turn some scary things into good-humored fun at Halloween. On a much deeper level, we can mock the devil who tries to bring true terror into our lives.  We can mock him because Jesus died for you so that the devil cannot have his wicked way with you.

Learn more about all that Jesus has done for you. You’re invited to join Beautiful Savior in worship of Jesus at 9:30am on Sunday mornings.


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The Savior by Faith

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The Savior by Faith

June ushers in warmer weather. We hope. School is out and summer begins in earnest. Will you get outside and enjoy the warm temperatures? Do you plan to do any swimming? Our gracious neighbor has a pool she opens to us. We’re planning to hit the sands of the beach along Lake Michigan. My two-year-old Son has discovered the fun of sprinklers in the grass. In the summertime heat, people love to get wet.

Followers of Jesus get wet too, when they are baptized, but it is not just for fun. Baptism is a wonderful gift of God. Water is applied and words are spoken as Jesus commanded: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). When those words and the water are combined like this, according to Jesus’ promise, baptism take place, which is a miracle of supernatural power. Through baptism, God’s incredible power is at work to take away the rebellion and disgrace that leaves you broken and cut out from his family. Baptism makes you a child of God and a member of his family.

Baptism isn’t just a magic act. The incredible transformation of heart birthed in baptism continues as you grow closer to God for the confidence and joy of life with him both now and forever. That growth is found in the message of the Bible as it guides the journey of life and refreshes when we grow tired, sapped, sore, and exhausted. The Bible is the “living water” (John 4:10) that Jesus gives us. Much more refreshing than any pool or beach or sprinkler! It quenches our thirst for belonging, for truth, and for peace – all found in Jesus, our Savior.

I hope you are excited about the gift of summer – relaxing on your deck, in the yard, at the pool, or on the beach. I also hope you know the gift of Jesus – a gift that lasts forever; a gift given in baptism and God’s Word.

Come and share with us the joy of being members of God’s family.


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Jesus Is…Immanuel

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JesusIn 1995 Joan Osborne released the song “One of Us.” Catchy tune. Provocative lyrics. A repeated question: “What if God was one of us…just a slob like one of us?”

I don’t know the songwriter’s intent in asking the question. Was there a searching desire to know the answer? Or was it a commentary on God as he is often portrayed and perceived—a distant god who doesn’t care about the human condition? I don’t know. However, I do know that in the Bible God gives an answer to the song’s question.

God is one of us. Come again? It’s true! God is one of us. In the Bible we are told of a promise God made to become one with the human race: …they will call him Immanuel—which means, God with us. Those words are spoken of Jesus Christ at the time of his birth. Jesus is true God and true man at the same time! This is the mystery and miracle of Christmas. This is the mystery and meaning of the special name for Jesus, Immanuel.

Let that thought sink in during these days around Christmas. God is one of us! When you have a rough day and it seems like nobody cares, remember: God is one of us! Jesus knows and cares because he once lived in our world. Jesus knew rough days more than most. He was innocent of all wrongdoing, and yet he suffered humiliation and scorn. He hadn’t hurt anyone or broken a single law of man or of God and yet he was sentenced to death.

Jesus died…for no fault of his own, but rather because that’s what he came to do. He was given human life in birth at Christmas so that he could give up that human life though death and fix our status before God. We have been slobs in the way we’ve lived before God. We do deserve his anger for disobedience to his commands and  the arrogance of life lived to our own standards. Jesus became, not a slob like one of us, but a slob instead of us! He died on the cross in our place, and then he rose again to life in victory over death itself.

What if God was one of us? In Jesus he was and still is! Through faith in Jesus we have what he came into our world to win—complete forgiveness of sins and eternal life. That’s the story of Immanuel. That’s the story of Christmas.


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Jesus

Jesus Is…The Prince of Peace

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JesusAre you ready for the frenzy? By now, we all know that it’s coming. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means turkeys to carve, tables to set, guestrooms to prepare—the list seems endless. And when that’s all said and done, what is waiting for us?

Christmas!

That means presents to buy, trees to trim, cookies to decorate—an even longer list than Thanksgiving’s! At times, all of the frenzy surrounding the holiday schedules of November and December may make us look passed it all, hoping for what follows: relaxing, calming, peace.

Peace. The Bible talks it too. Only when the Bible talks about peace, it refers to something far greater than a little rest and relaxation after a frantic holiday season. It refers to peace with God.

Do you have that? Do you have peace with God? Do you want that? Then the bigger question becomes: Can you have that? Is it even possible for unholy, imperfect people to have peace with a holy and perfect God? God himself demands that if we are to have peace with him, we must be holy and perfect just like he is.

You do have peace with God. Not because this article will provide a three-step, fool-proof method to holiness and perfection, but because there is one who has been holy and perfect in your place. His name is Jesus; the one Isaiah so aptly calls the “Prince of Peace.” Through his perfect life and innocent death, Jesus removed every single chink and notch and stain and blemish that ruined us and our hopes of holiness, and he gave you his perfection. In doing so, the Prince of Peace has given you exactly what your holy and perfect God demands. Trust in Jesus, the Prince of Peace, and know you have peace with God as your personal possession forever.

May his peace bring you peace during the hustle and bustle and frenzy of the holiday season.  May his peace grant you the peace to enjoy those holidays – as you give thanks to God and celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called…Prince of Peace.”

– Isaiah


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Jesus Is…The Word

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Jesus“I give you my word.” It’s a promise. We say it because we want to be trusted. We want others to take what we say as true. “I give you my word; I’ll do more of the housework,” says a concerned husband to his exhausted wife. “I give you my word; I’ll be there for you whenever you need help,” says one friend to another. “I give you my word; I’ll be at your soccer game,” says the young business man to his daughter, who only wants her dad to be proud of her.

What happens when we hear that phrase without seeing results? What happens when the dad misses the game?  What happens when the friend isn’t there when you lose your job?  What happens when the husband doesn’t pick up the vacuum? It’s emptied of meaning. The reality is, often we need to see someone keep their word before we’ll believe them when they say, “I give you my word.” We are frustrated when people make promises and fail to keep them. Just ask that daughter, or the friend, or the wife. Broken promises hurt.

When God makes a promise, he keeps it. He made a promise to make right what we have done wrong. He promised forgiveness for our sins. He promised life rather than death. Then he kept his word by sending his only Son, Jesus Christ. To keep the promise of righting our wrongs, Jesus lived the holy life which we could not. To keep the promise of forgiving our sins, Jesus died the death we deserved. To keep the promise of giving us eternal life, Jesus rose from the dead. It is very fitting, then, that in John 1, Jesus is called the Word. He is God’s promises in action. He is the proof that God keeps his word. God said, “I give you my word,” when he made those promises. Then when he sent Jesus, he said, “I give you my Word.” Jesus made God’s promises reality.

God has made even more promises. He promises to help us when we are helpless, to strengthen us when we are weak and to guide us when we are lost. Such promises are more than just nice thoughts or good intentions. God will keep them. They’re promises from the God who gave his Word, Jesus, and kept his word to save us.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

– John


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Jesus

Jesus is…King of Kings and Lord of Lords

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JesusWe live in a world that is often affected by tragedy and disaster. Right now our president and our country are contemplating military strikes against an Islamic group, known to support terrorists. Recently, hurricanes smashed into the lush islands of Hawaii. Even on the local level we hear of arrests made for drunk driving, drug possession and distribution, and even murder. Perhaps our own families have felt the deep pain and sad consequences of those vices.

Evil in the world around us and problems in our own lives bring fear. They bring a feeling of weakness and helplessness. Evil seems to have the upper hand. This world is out of control. We wonder, “Who is in control?”

Jesus is in control. The Bible assures us, “The Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers” (Revelation 17:14). At the root of all this evil is a source. Human beings are to blame. Buried deep within ourselves is an incipient need to by my own Lord and king over my own life, which means I can justify any action I take as long as it is good for me. Inevitably, this self-centered attitude plays out and results in evil. The first time it played out that way, Adam and Eve justified eating forbidden fruit and threw our entire world into turmoil. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords because he is also “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

Jesus’ rule and kingship was demonstrated in a unique way. On the cross, Jesus conquered sin. He conquered death. He conquered the devil. He conquered evil. He wasn’t caught off guard and forced to die. He has always been in control, even on the cross. Unlike us, Jesus was completely selfless, even as the true King of Kings and Lord or Lords. Jesus willingly gave his life for us, only to take it up again. His death on the cross would seem a defeat, but it was the defeat of evil, for Jesus rose again to life to assure us of his kingship.

He remains in control today. The Savior, whose love moved him to die for us, is the same Savior whose love leads him to rule everything for our eternal good. When you abandon your need to be your own lord and king and live trusting in Jesus’ kingship and lordship, your fears are calmed and you are strengthened to face the challenges of your life.

Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords is in control. He speaks to you through his Word, the Bible. There you hear his promises. There you receive his comfort and are assured of his kingship.

– “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”  – John


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Jesus

Jesus Is…Alpha and Omega

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JesusHave you noticed the subliminal messages businesses incorporate into their logos? A close look at the FedEx logo reveals an arrow signifying that FedEx is going somewhere. The Tostitos logo has the figures of two people dipping a chip in salsa. The Amazon logo has a smile connecting the letters A and Z in its name to indicate that you can find anything on their site from soup to nuts, or more appropriately: from A to Z. You pretty much can, too. Visit Amazon’s website and you can find just about anything you could ever imagine.

No less than three times in the book of Revelation, Jesus describes himself as the Alpha and the Omega. He says it at the very beginning of the book, chapter 1, verse : “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” If you were ever in a fraternity or sorority maybe Alpha and Omega ring a bell, maybe not. Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. What Jesus tells you when he describes himself this way is that he is your A to Z. He is everything you could ever want or need.

Jesus has already met your greatest need: the forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness is essential to our life. Every pain we have inflicted, every scar we’ve left, every broken heart and dashed hope – whether ours or another’s – are the result of an inability to consistently be who we want to be and who God has designed us to be. That’s the tragedy that is sin. Jesus has forgiven and covered that sin. In addition, he gives us faith to receive that forgiveness and all of the other blessings he connects to it, including salvation and eternal life. We can’t earn his forgiveness. We can’t go online to Amazon and buy it. Jesus gives it to us as a gift of his love, as our all in all; our Alpha and Omega.

From the beginning of our life to the end, he promises to be with us always. In times of trial and frustration, he supports and strengthens us. In grief and pain, he comforts us. With times of joy, he blesses us. He promises to meet all our needs; food, clothes, shelter and companionship. We don’t have to wonder if he can or will. There’s no search bar where we have to type in the keywords of a product we’re looking for. Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega, promises in his Word to supply all that we could possibly need, in this life and in the next.

I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

– Jesus


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August 2014

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A Blockbuster God

Are you a movie fan? If you are, summer is a fantastic time for you. In summer, Hollywood always seems to pull out some of their biggest blockbuster attempts. So did you see or are you planning to see any blockbuster films? Transformers: Age of Extinction? Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? How to Train Your Dragon 2? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Planes: Fire and Rescue?

You might have huge anticipation built up for these movies. You may check every day to see when they are going to come to a theater near you. You long for that movie to come out so you can take it all in. As the release gets closer it’s almost as if you can taste it – the excitement, the adventure, the drama, the explosiveness! In Psalm 63 David expresses his longing and anticipation for the Lord, even comparing it to a deep thirst:

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

Do you have such a longing for God? Much of the excitement and anticipation of the blockbuster movies comes from the previews. There you see glimpses of what to expect. David’s longing for God came from knowing who God is and what God does. David had seen not just glimpse, but the entire beauty, majesty, and splendor of God. He writes:

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.

You also have seen God. You also have seen his power and his glory. His power and glory goes beyond the special effects of blockbuster films. Your God created the heavens and the earth. Your God created you. Such thoughts of our holy, majestic, and glorious God may even bring sadness and despair, because we know we have fallen far short of his expectations for us. You know the disgust and disappointment when the Hollywood blockbuster doesn’t live up to your expectations. Imagine God’s disgust and disappointment as he views the film roll of our lives. Yet, David praises God because he knows his love:

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

This love that produces praise is the incredible love and forgiveness God has displayed in his son, Jesus, and in all Jesus has done for us. Jesus’ death to take away our sins and his gift of righteousness and eternal life are God’s true glory and majesty.

When a movie truly is a blockbuster and wows, dazzles, and impresses us, it also sticks with us. We rave about it to our friends. We keep thinking about the incredible scenes and the climax, and the twist we didn’t see coming. David also kept thinking of God and his love, reveling in happiness, delight, and security:

On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. – Psalm 63

As you consider the blockbuster films of the summer, remember the blockbuster love of your God. He has forgiven all of your sins and brought you satisfaction and life in Jesus. He upholds you with his right hand.

Beautiful Savior’s newsletter articles in 2014 will focus on portions from short Psalms. These Psalms can be easily committed to memory and serve as wonderful prayers and tools for daily meditation on God’s Word.


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Jesus

Jesus is…Our Righteousness

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JesusHave you been doing any biking, hiking, or running this summer? What happens when you do? You sweat, right? You feel dirty. You feel gross. Even to simply step outside with the humidity lately will get you to that point: sweaty, dirty, gross. The shower brings relief and coolness. Then you can put on a dry and clean shirt and you feel refreshed. At that moment it is as if there is nothing that feels better than a crisp, clean set of clothes.

Do you ever consider the spiritual clothes you wear? We have all made our spiritual clothes sweaty, dirty and gross. Our unkind words and self-centered thoughts are like mud caked on our spiritual shirts. Then, just like your mom used to say to you as a child, God would have to say to you, “You cannot step foot in this house with those clothes on! You are filthy!”

We need a crips, clean set of clothes. Jesus lived a completely righteous life. His spiritual clothes were never stained with a single sin. Jesus says to you, “Change shirts with me.” He put on your shirt stained with sin, and in exchange he gave you his crisp, clean shirt. That’s what the Bible means when it says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It was because Jesus wore our sinful clothes that he suffered and died on the cross. In exchange, he gave us his sinless clothes. Now, when God looks at us, he does not see dirty, sinful clothes. Instead, he sees the crisp, clean clothes of Jesus. The Bible puts it this way: “He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10).

We haven’t lived a perfect life, but Jesus has. He lets that perfect life count for us. That is what makes Jesus “The LORD Our Righteousness,” (Jeremiah 23:6). Righteousness is a clean set of spiritual clothes. Jesus is your righteousness.

The next time you finish a strenuous activity, remember with joy that Jesus put on your grimy, sinful clothes. When you open your dresser and find a neatly folded shirt, remember that Jesus put a fresh, clean shirt on you. You are clothed in his perfect righteousness, and there is nothing that feels better than a crisp, clean set of clothes!

In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.

– Jeremiah


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