Showing items filed under “Christian Living”

The Essentials of Communion

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For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup,
you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

(
1 Corinthians 11:26)

Most people have heard of communion, but many are unfamiliar with either its meaning or significance.

 Communion symbolizes and celebrates the most important doctrines of the church and the very essence of the gospel message. Communion is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.

 Jesus instituted communion during the Last Supper, the night before he was crucified. At that time, Jesus explained its meaning. His simply spoken explanation is deeply profound:

Take, eat; this is my body…Drink, for this is my blood of the new covenant…

 Several aspects of communion have deep significance for Christians, and, indeed, all of mankind. 

Communion is all about our relationship with God.

Jesus expressed his deep desire for a relationship with us on that unforgettable night. Jesus said, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15)

Why? Because he is eager to enter into the lives of his disciples and he wants to share his life with us. 

We have a relationship with God because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

 In Matthew’s account of the Last Supper, we read:

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28)

The “blood of the new covenant” – Jesus’ blood – was shed “for the remission of sins.” Our sins. 

Unless we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus, we have no life. It is through identifying with Jesus’ sacrifice that we enter into a relationship with him. Jesus referred to this as a “covenant.” (A covenant is a binding agreement.)

At the time, the disciples did not grasp the enormity of what had just transpired. Jesus replaced the old covenant of works and obedience with a new covenant of grace and faith. (See Hebrews chapter 8 regarding why the new covenant is a better covenant built on better promises.)

We have a relationship with God through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

In Luke’s record of the Last Supper, we read:

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) 

Jesus wants us to remember – to both commemorate and celebrate – his sacrifice for us. It is through his sacrifice that we can approach the throne of God. We do that by coming (figuratively) to the foot of the cross. It is at the cross that we apprehend the body and blood of Christ.

Jesus referred to himself as the “door” (John 10:9) and “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). That door – that pathway to God – is the cross. We need to walk through that Door.

 Jesus offers us a never-ending relationship with him.

Remember Jesus’ fervent desire “to eat this Passover with you before I suffer”? Jesus’ next words point to our final destination in Paradise.

Jesus continued, “…for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:16)

Until what is fulfilled? The salvation of all those who accept the blood of Jesus as atonement for their sins.

Jesus offers each of us eternal life with him in heaven. In Revelation 3:20, Jesus gives us an invitation: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.”

Through communion, Jesus offers us the opportunity to dine with him; to partake of the bread and the wine, which symbolize his broken body and shed blood. The time of communion invites us to commemorate Jesus' sacrifice and to remember that our relationship with God is made possible only because of what Jesus did. 

 

 

Good Morning, Morgan!

“Good Morning, Morgan” was something Daniel Lenhert uttered out of obedience but without a ton of conviction. That is, until after serving at Winter Relief changed his perspective.

Daniel serves in the Army and works at the Pentagon. He rides the Marc train to DC, then takes the Red and Blue Metro lines to get to work. He begrudgingly believes that God has him commute on the metro to teach him patience and humility as he is jostled about by fellow humans.

Where he disembarks from the Marc train at Union Station he often passes by Morgan. Morgan is a homeless, double amputee that sits inside the station on a regular basis. Daniel always says “Good Morning” to Morgan, and eventually, God moved Daniel past his aversion to touching this man to embracing him with a handshake as he said those words.

Many people would say that Daniel’s actions are already above and the beyond what the normal passerby would offer this wheelchair bound gentleman, but Daniel would have you know that he interacted this way mostly out of pity and obedience.

Having the gift of compassion, Daniel had always been burdened over the issue of homelessness, but he was never sure how to get involved. When the opportunity arose for Daniel to serve at Winter Relief at Severn Run in February, he was excited to have the chance to interact with the homeless.

Having the gift of compassion, Daniel had always been burdened over the issue of homelessness, but he was never sure how to get involved.

He prayed about how much time God would have him give. As he prayed about taking a day or two off work, he felt the Lord say, “Daniel, why are you messing around? Do it all!” He put in for a week of leave and contacted Pastor Steve about where he could serve.

Pastor Steve assigned Daniel to work overnight. The first couple of nights, as Daniel observed those he was serving. His eyes were opened.

“The guests were no different than me. Maybe they’ve made some mistakes or taken a different route in life, but their needs are the same as my needs.”

Daniel realized he was guilty of a judgmental attitude towards the less fortunate. God began to melt his heart. He began to see the less fortunate as God sees them.

“They’re just so grateful”, Daniel says. “Grateful to be seen, treated with respect, and cared for”.

Now, when Daniel sees Morgan, he doesn’t speak to him out of pity or obligation, but with respect and a genuine interest. They’ve had a few conversations and Morgan has asked about Daniel’s Fight Club bracelet. Daniel looks forward to the day we he can share Jesus with Morgan.


 Is there a Morgan in your life? Have you been guilty of judging someone that Christ loves just as much as he loves you?

Let God melt your heart and allow you to see them through his eyes.

What The Cross Means to a Believer

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The Cross--an instrument of cruel death--was used by God to bring life to all

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Jesus fulfills those words at the cross. There, he paid the penalty for all of our sins.

Here is what the Bible says about Jesus on the cross:

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18)

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Romans 6:8)

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:28)

And it is there where we find him to receive the gift of everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

It is a free gift when we repent in faith.

Jesus actually predicted the manner of his death in the words preceding his great promise. In John 3:14-15, we read: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Notice that verses 15 and 16 end with almost identical words. Why? Jesus was drawing a parallel between a spectacular Old Testament event with his coming sacrifice on the cross.

As recorded in Numbers 21:4-9, the ancient Israelites rebelled against God in the wilderness. God punished them with “fiery serpents” who bit them, killing many. After the people repented, God provided a means of salvation:

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”

In similar fashion, whenever anyone who has sinned looks at Jesus in repentance and faith, they shall live

Speaking to the crowd, Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to myself” (John 12:32). The next verse expressly states, “This he said, signifying by what death he would die.”

Just as Moses lifted up a bronze serpent on a pole to save all those who looked at it, God lifted up Jesus on a cross to save all those who put their faith in Him.

Let us all turn to Jesus, who beckons us with arms wide open.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

 

Hope for Your New Year's Resolutions

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So, we’re already into the second month of 2016!

How are your resolutions coming along?

If you’re like most people, then it’s possible that you’re finding it difficult to stick with it at this point. Most New Year’s resolutioners (yes, I made up a word there) start waning on their resolutions around the one to two-month mark—but that doesn’t have to be so for you.

Here are seven easy tips for you to follow to help you achieve whatever your weight-loss goals are:

1. Drink More Water – Drinking water helps aid in your weight-loss in several key ways. First, drinking more water in general is good for your metabolism. Adults should drink at least six 8 oz. glasses of water per day, and more if you’re even moderately exercising. Also, drinking a large glass of water 20-30 minutes before every meal will help you fill up faster. If you’re drinking that much water per day then hopefully you’re drinking a lot less of other drinks that contain calories. Try to avoid, or at least minimize, how many sugary drinks you’re taking in.

2. Portion Sizes – Most people don’t necessarily overeat on their total amount of food per day. The problem is that oftentimes adults, especially working adults, eat 2 or 3 large meals a day and don’t eat much in between. It’s more advisable to keep your meals smaller and spread out during the day. Look up the “Plate Method” on Google. Try to portion your place in this way. One-half fruits and veggies, one-quarter protein, and one-quarter starches. Following this method, try to space out your meals to about every 3-4 hours, with your last meal ending about 3 hours before bed. This helps keep your metabolism going.

3. SLEEP – Getting adequate sleep is incredibly important if you want to perform at your best. Not only does getting at least 8 hours of sleep help with energy levels so that you can be more active, getting that much also helps your metabolism perform at its best as well. If you’re having trouble sleeping, then there are some solutions. Try turning off electronics at least 1 hour before you go to bed and if you can, limit how much electronics you use throughout the day. Also, try to give yourself some relaxation time before bed so your mind can rest.

4. Keep a Food Journal – Keeping a food journal can help you get a better grasp on what, and exactly how much, you’re eating. This is important because most people don’t realize how easily the calories can add up. And besides calories, it’s important to monitor your sugars, unhealthy fats, and carbs. Most people don’t eat enough protein and under eat the proper amounts of fruits and vegetables.

5. Stay Active – Many working adults are sitting the majority of the day, and most don’t get the chance to be very active, even if you’re not sitting. So, be decisive about ways to get out of the chair or out of the office and move a little. A 10-minute stroll every few hours helps keep the blood flowing and gets your metabolism out of a sedentary state. Also, most stay-at-home moms (or dads) are often busy with the kids, but even then you can do workouts with your kids or find clever ways to workout using your kids as the weight! They’ll have a blast and you’ll be blasting some fat away!

6. Have a Workout Plan – Don’t just go to the gym and always head straight for the treadmill. Variety is the spice of life, and running on a treadmill every time won’t get you too far…plus it’s boring. Doing high-intensity cardio in short bursts can actually ignite your fat burning for longer than just running or walking. Also, don’t be afraid to pick up some weights. Weight-training is key to a well-rounded workout routine. Just make sure you’re smart and know what your limits are. If you need help or have questions, just ASK!

7. Be Accountable – Being accountable to someone will make giving up a lot tougher. If you don’t have someone, then be accountable to yourself. Keep a workout journal along with the food journal, and put post-it notes around your house to constantly remind you of your goals. Once you skip a day (or two) it becomes harder and harder to keep up the routine. Remember that you won’t hit your goals in a month. It also generally takes more than a month to create a habit, and if you’re like most people it will take 3 to 6 months before you really start seeing visible changes. But more important than how you look is how you feel. If you feel better, then you’re doing something right. Keep at it and DON’T QUIT!

Hopefully these few key tips will help you out wherever you are right now. The main thing to remember is that there are a TON of free resources available to you if you need help staying motivated or if you don’t quite know what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to read and exercise your brain just as much, if not more, than your body. It will pay off and you’ll feel much more confident about reaching your goals.

Also, don’t be afraid to pray and ask God to help you. He wants us to be healthy too!

We wish you the best of luck and God bless!

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