April 9 – Holy Week Devotionals – The King is Alive

Easter Sunday: The King IS ALIVE!

Read Matthew 28:1-10

Everywhere you turn, in these days especially, we are inundated with bad news. Day after day after day.  So much so that people regularly admit to me that they’ve deleted their social media apps and stopped watching and listening to the news. And by “admit,” I don’t mean like a confession.  It’s more like a celebration.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is good news! It can’t be spun. And It’s not fake. It’s a historical fact with eternal significance. And like the account of the crucifixion, for us longstanding believers and vocational ministers of the gospel, it’s familiar. Of course, that’s good. But you know what they say about familiarity.

So let’s try to refresh it in our hearts.

Of course, there are all the important (and I mean that) theologically significant truths birthed out of the resurrection. It’s an encouraging study.  You should do it sometime. But let’s look at it from a slightly different perspective. A woman’s… I mean the women who went to the tomb.

What must it have been like for this group of women to see what they saw. An earthquake. An angel. An empty tomb. Burial cloths folded neatly and left behind. And then there’s the resurrected Jesus. Unbelievable! What a day!  And it’s not even breakfast yet!

Now, look back at our passage, and make a list of every command the women are given. To help, here are some verses to focus on. Keep in mind, some of the verses might have more than one command.

Verse 5:

Verse 6:

Verse 7:

Verse 10:

Your Turn

We will infuse good news and hope into Wayne County through the proclamation of the resurrection and the transformed living empowered by it.

See: The women were invited to see the empty tomb. The empty tomb of Jesus Christ is the concrete evidence of our faith. With confidence, we know we are forgiven, we have been released from our bondage to sin, we have been released to new life, and we have hope.

Go and Tell: These women were sent to proclaim the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. To whom is Jesus sending you to share the good news? Look at your dinner list from our Maundy Thursday reflection. Write next to each name their felt needs and how the hope of Jesus will satisfy them.

Don’t be Afraid: What fears hold you back from going and telling others the good news of Jesus? List them – one by one. Release them to the Lord. Then begin by telling your story to someone who needs Jesus.

*If you like to download a hard copy of these devotionals click here to download.

April 8 – Holy Week Devotionals – Silent Saturday

Silent Saturday

Read Matthew 27:1-66

It’s Saturday.

The cross was yesterday. And today is silent. God is silent. Jesus is silent.

Hope seems lost.

Max Lucado once wrote:

He made himself heard on Friday.  He tore the curtains of the temple, opened the graves of the dead, rocked the earth, blocked the sun of the sky, and sacrificed the Son of Heaven.  Earth heard much of God on Friday. Nothing on Saturday.

As the Messiah lies cold and lifeless in the grave. This is the “time between.”

Between questions and answers.

Between disappointment and satisfaction.

Between despair and hope.

Where it seems darkness has won.

It’s Saturday.

Doubts are looming. Assurance is dwindling. Silence is deafening.

It’s Saturday.

What’s your Saturday? That place in your life that needs a RESURRECTION.

You are not alone. God is still near. The silence of God is not the absence of God. His silence is not apathy.

He’s already at work. There’s reason to hope.

He’s working on a RESURRECTION.

The light is coming. Tomorrow is Sunday.

RESURRECTION is tomorrow.

Watch… and wait.

Sunday is coming.

Your Turn

If you’re sitting in a “Saturday,” you can celebrate that there’s a Sunday. We have the advantage Jesus’ followers did not have on that Saturday – an EMPTY TOMB. If you’re struggling with hope. If you feel in despair. If you’re hurting and broken and waiting on God, remember this: there is coming a time when“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or morning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

*If you like to download a hard copy of these devotionals click here to download.

April 7 – Holy Week Devotionals – The Death of our King

Good Friday. The Death of our King.

Read Luke 23:32-46 (with 2 Corinthians 5:21 and 1 Peter 3:18)

Familiarity breeds contempt.

You’ve heard that before.  Maybe you’ve said it. It’s referring to someone becoming so familiar with something or someone that they lose respect for that person or that thing.

We tend to take a lot of things for granted. Like that we have nutritious food available to us every day. Like we get to choose the clothing we wear every day. Healthcare. Job. Income. A lot of things could actually make the “for granted” list

It happens in marriages.  It can happen in friendships. And it can happen in faith.

Being part of a strong evangelical Christian church serious about proclaiming the gospel, we hear and talk about the death and resurrection of Jesus a lot… I mean A LOT! Not just every weekend. But we probably talk about it or read about it regularly. For some of us, maybe even every day of the week… or nearly, at least.

It just rolls off the tongue… effortlessly. That doesn’t mean it’s lost it’s meaning. But it could.  It’s at least familiar. Very familiar.

So, let’s take a moment to make sure it’s just familiar, and that it doesn’t breed… well, you know.

It might be good to read Paul’s and Peter’s words again. Slowly. Every word. What Paul and Peter are describing, so clearly and descriptively, is the substitutionary significance of the death of Jesus – the indispensable doctrine that Jesus died in my place because of my sin, and that He endured the wrath of God and the punishment I deserved because of my sin.

When I share the gospel with someone I like to depict that momentous, historical, life-altering occasion like this. It depicts that a transaction has taken place.

Label the top arrow “sin” and the bottom arrow “righteousness.” Jesus took my sin, and I received His righteous.  He removed the obstacle (my sin) between me and God and I received the requirement for heaven, righteousness.  A righteousness I could not earn and I do not deserve.

Your Turn

On the arrow extending from you to Jesus, put your most grievous, shameful, humiliating sin. The one that, if it were ever made public, it would reduce you to a puddle of tears. Put it on the arrow. What other sin belongs there? Things you have already done, thought, or said today? Put those on the arrow as well. See where they go? They go to the Savior. And see what you get? What you don’t deserve: righteousness. O what a Savior!

Take time right now to praise Him, celebrate Him, honor Him… worship Him.

*If you like to download a hard copy of these devotionals click here to download.

April 6 – Holy Week Devotionals – Invited to the King’s Table

Maundy Thursday. Invited to the King’s Table.

Read John 13:1-38

There’s something about having a meal with someone, especially people you like. It’s rich. Filled with goodwill, joy, laughter, reminiscing, and life.

Let’s pretend you were going to host a dinner, maybe a barbeque. Who would you invite? What would you make? Where would you anticipate (or hope) everyone would sit? What conversation do you think would happen around the table?

In our faith tradition, when we think about the King’s table at that Passover Meal, we think about the truths about our salvation symbolized with the meal, the footwashing, and the bread and the cup. These are rich, indeed, and our faith is strengthened as we reflect on these truths in our threefold communion service.

But we mustn’t forget the command Jesus gave at this meal. It’s the basis for the title given to Maundy Thursday. Maundy is a shortened version of the Latin word mandatum, which means “command.”  You may have brushed over it.  The command is in verse 34. Reread it.

Now, let me ask you. What kind of love does it take to invite your betrayer to your last meal?  And I’m not only talking about Judas. All of them, except maybe John.

But this wasn’t just any meal, was it? It wasn’t your run-of-the-mill Passover. This one put Jesus’ love on full display. This was the one where Jesus illustrated His complete, sanctifying work to undeserving sinners.

It begs the question, doesn’t it? Who would you invite to your table to put on display the love of Jesus? Who should you invite? The rowdy neighbor who never returns your stuff? Yes. The neighbor who doesn’t take care of his yard and whose kids run wild? Yes. That person you don’t quite get along with? Yes. The coach who yelled at your kid or the teacher who humiliated your kid? Yes. The person who hurt you? Yes! The person who ignores you? Yes! The…? Yes! That…? Yes!

A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Your Turn

Start making your dinner list.  Write down who you should invite. Begin praying for them, right now. Look at your calendar. Pick out some dates… and then start inviting. And, yes, invite that person.

In the meantime, who’s on your list to invite to attend our Easter services, either online or in-person? Write ‘em down, now. Lift ‘em up (prayer), now. Extend the invitation, soon.

*If you like to download a hard copy of these devotionals click here to download.

April 5 – Holy Week Devotional – Betrayal


Read Matthew 26:14-16; 20-25; 47-50


It’s such a hard and ugly word. In movies and novels, it’s a word used in a byline that marketers use to whet the appetite of the consumer. But in relationships… different story. It wreaks division, discord, revenge, and bitterness.

Betrayal is caustic, an invisible acid that eats away at the soul.

Guess what the greatest betrayal in history is. It’s this story! Really! If you Google, “What was the greatest betrayal in history?” Judas Iscariot tops out at #1.

If you’re familiar with Passion Week, you’ll know that nowhere is Judas’ scheming directly linked to this day. But since he left Thursday’s Passover meal to do the sinister deed, we can’t help but think that betrayal had to be on his mind on Wednesday.

Looking back, it’s natural for us to ask, “How could Judas have seen and experienced all that he saw and experienced – the miracles, the teaching, the authority, the wisdom, the love – and yet betray Jesus to the chief priests?”

Now, what I’m about to write, I’m writing with as much love and compassion and gentleness and understanding as I can.

Before we start wagging our fingers at Judas, maybe we should all take a long look in the mirror. If you look close enough, you’ll probably see a little Judas in the reflection… if you’re being honest.

How many commitments have you made on Sunday, only to fail on Monday… or no later than Tuesday?

How many times have anxiety or worry or stress or fretting betrayed the fact that you’re not trusting the sufficiency of Jesus?

… or has anger betrayed the fact that you don’t think Jesus is meeting your expectations?

… or jealousy or envy or greed gripped your heart and betrayed the fact that you aren’t content with what Jesus has provided in His grace?

How may times… well, maybe I’ll stop there. Feel free to continue with your own list.

I know, it sounds harsh… because the facts are. Yes, it’s sad. Yes, it’s embarrassing.

No one wants their name to be on the top of a Google list of betrayal!

Yet, there we are. We sit squarely in the seat with Paul who proclaimed, “… I am the worst [sinner].”

But there’s HOPE! Praise God, there’s hope! Betrayers can be reconciled! I like how Paul stated it:

For, if while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! – Romans 5:10.

The work of Jesus during Holy Week – His death and His resurrection – makes repentant betrayers holy!

[Mic drops here.]

Your Turn

I mean, what other response is there?! Thank God for His forgiveness!

Thank God that “since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Romans 5:1)

Thank God that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1) Thank God!

*If you’d like a downloadable version of this devotional click here.

April 4 – Holy Week Devotionals – The Most Famous Donation

Read Mark 12:41-44

$75.8 billion

$32.1 billion

$12.7 billion

$7.6 billion

These are the philanthropic donations of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg, and Elon Musk, respectively.

Most of us cannot even imagine that kind of wealth, much less the wealth one has to have to make those kinds of charitable donations.

These might be among the largest donations in the history of mankind, but, believe it or not, they are not the most famous.

The most famous donation, known by more people in the history of the world – more than Gates, more than Buffet, more than Bloomberg, more than Musk – was given by a poor widow in the first century, who literally didn’t even have two pennies to rub together.

Her donation to the temple was less than a cent. But she gave it with a sincere and generous heart. Jesus even commented,

Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on. – vv. 43-44

More? Really? So many people are giving so much more! Jesus, what math are you using?

None. The answer is none. Jesus doesn’t do math to determine value.

You’ve probably heard these famous words of our Lord, spoken to the prophet Samuel,

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. –  1 Samuel 16:7

It doesn’t matter what your hands do or what your lips say if your heart isn’t right.

Others gave out of what they could spare. She had nothing to spare. But what she had, she gave.

That’s the mark of a disciple. Paul said so himself.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1

And in just a few days, our Savior would make a deposit into the treasury of His Father, the richest contribution He could make, and the richest contribution ever made. He held nothing back.

He gave His life.

And His death on the cross purchased redemption for you and me. By His wounds, we are healed. Under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, Paul articulated the essence of Jesus’ sacrifice so eloquently:

God made him who had no sin to be sin[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21

Your Turn

Where are you holding back? What areas of your life are not fully devoted to the One who gave it all for you? Name ‘em and claim ‘em. Surrender them today.

*If you’d like a downloadable version of this devotional click here.

April 3 – Holy Week Devotionals – Jesus Wreaks Havoc in Temple Courts


Read Mark 11:15-18

The video definitely would have gone viral.

Countless uploads to TikTok and Instagram and Facebook. It would have been the leading story on every local news station:


Clearly, He had had enough. What was going on was despicable. Shady. Sketchy. Downright exploitation.

Maybe a little background will help.

Jewish law required worshipers to pay a temple tax when they came to offer their sacrifices. But Judea was ruled by Rome, and so everyone had Roman coins, not Jewish coins. The “heads” on a Roman coin was a pagan emperor. That’s a “no go” for paying the temple tax. So, worshipers had to exchange their Roman currency for Jewish shekels.

Now you see the opportunity. Offer a service that exchanges the coins. Add on a little fee for your trouble. And there you go. Business and (exorbitant) profit at the expense of faithful, devout, and often poor worshipers.

But that wasn’t the only opportunity.

Some people walked a long way to Jerusalem to offer their animal sacrifices. Many didn’t or were unable to bring their animals with them. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to see the opportunity here. Worshipers need animals to sacrifice. Temple vendor pop-up shops filled the temple courts, selling price-gouging worshipers and exploiting the poor.

The temple no longer resembled a “house of prayer”… it was more like a bazaar!

Greed was disrupting worship. And Jesus was having none of it.

Greed disrupts our worship, too.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you’re exploiting the poor. All I’m pointing out is that, at the core of greed, is self. A desire for something you want.

When you worship, are you zealous for God’s glory or your personal gain?

For example, maybe you’ve caught yourself saying something like this, “I didn’t get anything out of the message today.” Or, “I didn’t like the music today.” Or “I don’t like it when that pastor speaks.”

Maybe in your personal time with Jesus you get distracted from your devotion. You end up making task lists, sending a text, start scrolling through social media… you get the picture. (Some of you are saying, “You had me at ‘task list’.”) You end up spending more time on your stuff rather than God’s.

Your Turn

There just might be some attitudes or expectations or behaviors or perspectives that are distracting your worship that you need to drive out. And I’m talking about both our public gatherings on Sundays and our personal time with the Lord daily.

There might even be some behaviors you have that are inconsistent with being a worshiper of God, and they are distracting others from worshiping.

Can you identify what those might be? What’s getting in the way of you experiencing God’s presence? Are you willing to repent of them and drive them out?

By the way, since this is Monday, what was your personal worship like yesterday? Were you distracted? Were you thinking about gains for yourself or glorifying God? Maybe you and God need to have a talk.

*If you’d like a downloadable version of this devotional click here.

April 2 – Holy Week Devotionals – The Arrival of the King

Palm Sunday. The Arrival of the King.

Read John 12:12-19


There’s an excitement in it. As a kid, we were all excited on Christmas Eve for the arrival of Christmas Day the next morning.  I remember lying awake in my bed, staring at the ceiling wondering what was under the tree for me, or imagining how my parents would react to what I had gotten them.

In school, you anticipate graduation. In sports, you anticipate the big game.

Some sort of emotion is usually attached to anticipation. When we anticipate good things, we are filled with joy and happiness. When we anticipate bad things, we are burdened with feelings of sadness or discouragement.

Palm Sunday was filled with anticipation.  The good kind… with all the “feels” that come with it.

Jesus’ popularity had peaked. Word about Him raising Lazarus from the dead had gone viral. There was a crowd already awaiting Him in Jerusalem. And then there was another crowd.  This one came with Him from Bethany – all converging on Jerusalem.

The crushing crowd was hailing the arrival of their king.  They were anticipating the one who would deliver them, although not in the way they were thinking.

Now, we could choose to reflect on several observations here.  But let’s focus on one in particular: Emotions.

In their anticipation, the crowd was carried away and joyous, maybe even in a frenzy – think the Browns’ Dog Pound, without the splashing beer and dog masks.  The disciples were perplexed. And the Pharisees were… well… angry. (They always seemed to be having a bad day when Jesus was around.)

Since you’re familiar with the story, you’ll remember that the crowd’s emotions quickly changed. They celebrated His arrival at the beginning of the week but shouted for His crucifixion at the end of the week. 

Emotions are both precarious and powerful. Sure, they’re not a good foundation for faith, but they should be stirred by our faith. There should be something moving about the Son of God dying for my sin. Rescuing me from damnation. Including me, undeservedly, in His glorious, redemptive mission.

Your Turn

Take some time to think about it. Maybe even journal a little about it. Where are you on the emotions scale? Do you tend to be led by them or cut off from them? Do they lead what you believe or what you do or how you go about what you do? Or have you left them in the dust?

You can see where this is going… or maybe you feel it coming. Are there times when your emotions have overshadowed truth and sent you spiraling in doubt, despair, discouragement, disappointment? Lethargy, laziness, laissez-faire? What are your triggers?  Is there a pattern? On the other hand, do the life-altering truths about Jesus and your redemption shake the epicenter of your heart and stir you to greater joy, celebration in worship, and compassion toward others? Journal some thoughts about where you think you should be and some adjustments you need to make.

*If you like to download a hard copy of these devotionals click here to download.