Welcome Spring

Although the gale force winds and rain might suggest otherwise,
the calendar says today is the first day of Spring.
What better way to celebrate than with a sweet surprise in our arena this morning?


St. Patrick's Day {it's about more than green beer}

Things we learned about the true meaning behind St. Patrick's Day:
  • St. Patrick was born in France, but was kidnapped by pirates and taken to Ireland where he was sold into slavery. He tended sheep and pigs for a farmer and often ate the pig swill just to survive.
  • He prayed more than 100 times per day!
  • God called him back to France at age 17 where he trained to become a pastor.
  • God called him back to pagan Ireland as a missionary after he graduated.
  • Patrick used the clover to illustrate the trinity. One seed, three leaves...One God, three Persons.
  • The Irish do not eat corned beef. Ever. Ok, this doesn't really have anything to do with St. Patrick, himself. I don't really know where some of these American traditions came from, but it's interesting how the true meaning of St. Patrick's Day has been almost entirely lost over the centuries {I'm not sure why this surprises me considering what we've done to Christmas and Easter...}. However, thanks to a 5 minute google search and a veggie tales video, we discovered today that there is a really amazing story behind this "holiday" that certainly does bear celebrating!

For there is no other God, nor ever was before, nor shall be hereafter, but God the Father, unbegotten and without beginning, in whom all things began, whose are all things, as we have been taught; and his son Jesus Christ, who manifestly always existed with the Father, before the beginning of time in the spirit with the Father, indescribably begotten before all things, and all things visible and invisible were made by him. He was made man, conquered death and was received into Heaven, to the Father who gave him all power over every name in Heaven and on Earth and in Hell, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe. And we look to his imminent coming again, the judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each according to his deeds. And he poured out his Holy Spirit on us in abundance, the gift and pledge of immortality, which makes the believers and the obedient into sons of God and co-heirs of Christ who is revealed, and we worship one God in the Trinity of holy name.
~ Confession of St. Patrick


on why i do not celebrate lent...

Because the blogging world is full of posts dedicated to the observance of Lent right now, I thought I'd rock the boat a bit and share why I don't observe it. This post might alternately be titled, "if you didn't know I was Reformed, you do now...." ha.

1. It trivializes the work of Christ. Period! Christ suffered the torments of hell on our behalf. He bore the full weight of God's wrath even though He did nothing wrong. That is suffering! Doing without TV is not!

2. It makes a mockery of God's grace. The idea that we have any power to establish a "closer relationship" with God by giving something up "for" Him is nothing short of works-based righteousness. "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." Gal. 2:16

3. It would make the Pharisees proud. Lent has got to be the definition of "outward displays of piety". I just don't understand why the whole free world needs to know what a person is "giving up" for God...other than to be congratulated for such "sacrifice". Our Heidelberg Catechism question and answer 91 says, "What are good works? Those only which proceed from true faith and are done according to the law of God, unto His glory; and not such as rest on our own opinion or the commandments of men." {Rom. 14:23, 1 Sam. 15:22, 1 Cor. 10:31, Deut. 12:32, Ezek. 20:18, 20, Num. 15:39}

4. It's "temporary." If the point is to truly find something that is a stumbling block {and I don't believe for a second that most people actually do this...you can't tell me chocolate is actually coming between you and God. Please.} and remove it so that it no longer hinders your relationship with God, then why on earth would you only remove it for 40 days?!

5. It is our sinful heart that separates us from God, nothing else. Not chocolate. Not blogging. Not television. Our sinful heart. And that has already been atoned for on Calvary. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." Rom. 6:6-8

*steps down off soap box*

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