Monday, March 17, 2008

Ikon 24t7 March 16

This really is the most holy week for us as believers. Of course Easter is next Sunday, but without focusing on the events of the days leading up to it, we are not really seeing the whole picture. If we don't observe Holy Thursday and Good Friday, how can we see the true Joy of what Easter Sunday brings? To me, without Thursday and Friday, Easter just seems like a happier, spring time version of Halloween. But Easter is more than just dressing up and eating candy. It's about the suffering and death of Jesus Christ for our sins and the unspeakable joy and hope that his Resurrection brings.
So, Last night we had a special devotional night at 24t7 to begin Holy Week. We focused on Matthew 27, taking a look at the events that led directly up to the death and Burial of Jesus. The small group leaders each read a section of the chapter and then presented a devotional thought on it. the band played in between readings/reflections. We spent a little time in small groups talking about what Holy Week means to us and then returned to the large group where we ended the night by watching a clip from The Passion and singing "Sea of Faces" . It was definitely a change of pace from our usual night, but i think appropriate for the occasion.

I hope that this week you and your family take time to observe and celebrate the suffering and pain Jesus went through for us and are able to appreciate the true Joy that Easter brings.

Peter L-B

Monday, March 10, 2008

stunt junkies week 4

Last night was another good one at ikon. Our band was finally back together again after i had been a vacation a couple weeks ago and Trevor was gone to Rome last week. We had some great singing and worship even though Trevor was loosing his voice.

Our topic for last night was "living with pain. I gave a message and then we broke up in to our small groups to discuss the topic. Here's a summary a what was talked about:

Ever since Adam and Eve ate from that tree human beings have been living in pain. This pain comes from the sin that we are now all born with which comes along with a separation from God and a longing in our souls to return to him. Sounds pretty heavy right?

Well that was our topic for last night. We live in world that tells us we need to be happy all the time and if we are not, there must be something wrong with us. So we try to make ourselves happy with things, relationships, addictions, prescription drugs etc.. these things may do the trick for a while but after a while they leave us empty again and looking for more. The reality is we can't be happy all the time and it's OK. We have suffering in our lives, but it is how we deal with that suffering that makes us who we are. Romans 5:1-5 says:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

The stunt here is trusting God to help us deal with the pain and suffering in our lives knowing that our future holds the promise of something much better. Jesus is right there with us every step of the way and he has experienced all the pain and suffering that we have. Through this we are able to find true joy for our lives not just the temporary happiness that the world tells us we need.

This topic brought out some great group conversations and i think everyone left last night with a sense of the joy and hope Christ has to offer us.

I hope your week is filled with joy and hope as well.

Monday, March 3, 2008

stunt junkies week 3

well, I'm back from vacation. It was great to be able to spend some time relaxing with my wife before the arrival of our second child. Being in warm weather was defiantly a plus too :)
So i got right back in to things with Ikon last night. This week Trevor was gone so we had some members of the NC worship team come and help take his place. we also had our own little version of American Idol with some of our leaders singing and playing instruments. Trevor would not have been impressed :)

Anyway, on to the theme of the evening. We talked about forgiving others. We started out by viewing a Nooma video called "Luggage" In this video Rob Bell discusses forgiveness and the danger of holding on to things and not forgiving. In small groups we discussed what can happen to people if we don't forgive them, and what can happen to us if we don't forgive others. this really sparked some great conversation about the dangers of bitterness, revenge, rage, anger, and enabling people to continue their destructive behavior.
We closed the night by looking at how Jesus was able to forgive those who were torturing and killing him while he was hanging on the cross(Luke 23:32-36). We left everyone with the question "who do you need to forgive?"

Forgiveness in it's truest form is probably one of the hardest things for a person to do. it goes against everything our human nature tells us. If someone wrongs us we want them to pay for what they have done. Jesus teaches us that we need to forgive others even if they don't deserve it. after all that is what he did for us. what we wanted everyone to see last night is that while forgiveness comes with a lot of risk and pain, the reward of it for the forgiver and the forgivee is totally worth it. Have a great week.

Peter L-B