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He Ascended Into Heaven

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When we speak of things we believe, we think of the Apostles’ Creed: "I believe in God the Father Almighty. I believe in Jesus Christ his only begotten son…", and so it goes until we come to these important truths,  "…(I believe Jesus) ascended into heaven and is seated on the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from there he will come to judge the living and the dead". One of the most under appreciated days of the Christian calendar occurs 40 days after Easter (which was yesterday), namely the day of ascension of Jesus to heaven.

Of course, Good Friday, Easter and even Pentecost get the headlines. And while every “Day” is important in its own way, I would posit that as far as the day-to-day of our lives go, Ascension Day, and the truths it represents, should be held in our high esteem. It is on Ascension Day that we recognize the supreme Lordship of Jesus. We remember that as the king now ascended to his throne, he is defeating all his (and our) enemies. We do not need to cower at our newsfeed or at interacting with our neighbors who are so different from us. We remember that his is a kingdom of restoration and renewal. We recall that even now he is making all manner of things new. What an encouragement as we deal with wreck and ruin in our lives; wreck within and ruin without. We remember that not a hair can fall from our head without his will. He knows our weaknesses and our frailties, he remembers that we are dust. We look to him as the source of justice in a world that still sorely lacks. We know that one day our king will return and every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of the Father!  

So journey on. Wherever your road is taking you. Journey in confidence that you serve a risen and ASCENDED king who even now has taken the throne.


Photo by Tony Wallström on Unsplash

Sided by Side

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"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,”

Philippians 1:27

What are you striving for these days? Personally, I have been thinking a lot about this verse and what it means. I have been trying to keep my walk shoveled, (yet again), trying to keep the salt off of my car, and just trying to stay warm. I’ve been trying to keep up with all of my commitments. Winter can put me in survival mode. But what am I truly striving for?

Paul reminds us that our real purpose is to strive side by side for the faith of the gospel. What a noble purpose God has given us in this life! Our great Savior has gone before us and now has given our church community a commission to be His ambassadors to a waiting world. We get to do this right here in Grand Rapids. But God’s heart is for this whole world. We also get to be part of His work by striving side by side with the missionaries that Christ Church supports.

During Lent, (Yes, Ash Wednesday is coming on March 6th!), we have the opportunity to strive with our missionaries in prayer as a church community.

A booklet entitled, Praying With Our Missionaries through the Season of Lent is available for your use. It is comprised of 40 entries highlighting missionaries and their prayer requests. Each entry features a scripture, song, hymn, or thought that is dear to one of our missionaries. It also gives specific prayer requests for the day. Please consider making this part of your daily routine for the next five weeks.

The last week, (April 7th through 14th) will culminate in our Missions Festival, Beyond our Doors: Missions 2019. We are excited to see what will happen. 

It is our hope that our own faith will be strengthened as we pray together with our missionaries. May they know that we are” standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side” with them.

Alice den Hollander for the Missions Committee

 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash